I am writing this for several reasons. First off all I believe I have some solid advice that I want to share in hopes that others do not make the same mistakes. It sucks that I have learned only by my own failures, and hopefully my words can save some people from the heartaches I have been through. I am also writing this because I’m at a point in my life where I do not want to make these mistakes anymore and by writing this I hope to embrace what I have done, and begin down a better path of my own.
If you’re a cyclist you know how fun and addicting cycling can be. What may start off as a simple hobby or weekend activity can soon turn into an everyday habit. For single girls and guys this is a pretty easy road to be on and as long as you’re paying your bills and staying healthy (besides the occasional bumps, bruises, and cuts) you may not have much else to worry about. Well, maybe you do need some new bike parts, or even possibly you have spotted a new bike that needs a home.
Now for those in a relationship you may need to follow an entirely different set of rules and experience a lot of challenges. I’m not saying you that everyone will experience this, but it is more than likely you will face difficult times at one point or another. It really depends on how serious you are into cycling, or maybe even just the fitness benefits or stress relief it provides. In looking back I acknowledge that there are things I could have and should have done differently in every relationship that was affected by my riding. If you’re anything like me cycling is your passion. It not only brings a smile to your face, but it is also a great way to de-stress, stay fit, and has a great social element. If your partner is a cyclist then chances are that they are capable of understand and relating to your need and desire to ride. In this case your biggest obstacle may be planning rides together or separately, especially if you have kids.
Ok, so you’re in a new relationship and to the best of your partner’s knowledge you “ride bikes”. It seems as though when I tell most people I ride bikes they get two visions of riding bikes in their minds. They either envision a road cyclist or a Red Bull commercial. They typically don’t know how diverse cycling is, or exactly how involved it can be. They are just as happy on a Wally World bike as they are on your bike. To them a bike is just a bike. It is this lack of their experience and understanding that when you say that you ride almost every day that you may catch them a little off guard. If this is the type of person you are then you will definitely want to have a talk and figure out how you can schedule things so that both of you are happy with the amount of time being put into the relationship. I honestly believe that if you can achieve balance you can have happiness. Now don’t get me wrong, some people may be completely understanding of your love for cycling and can see the positive impact it has on your life. Just do your part and make sure that it doesn’t interfere with the love you both want to share.
My first suggestion to setting the stage to a healthy relationship is to be honest with yourself and your partner about how much time you spend riding. In order to do this successfully you need to be realistic about how much time your rides may take. The ride itself may be one hour long, but it could possible take one hour to get there and then back home as well. If you’re a road cyclist you may have an easier time, especially if you can leave from your house to get your rides in. If you’re going to be gone all day then make that known, and make sure to get quality time in before or after that day.
To have a healthy relationship you need to find balance, it’s that simple. This is something I’ve always found myself struggling with. When we talk about balance in can mean a few things. If you typically ride seven days a week you need to consider what strain this may place on the relationship. In order to keep balance you need to first off put the relationship first. I know this may not seem like balance, so just stick with me for a second. If you already have balance in the relationship then cycling will find its home in that relationship. This may mean things such as riding early, riding alone, at night and so on. If you’re a casual cyclist this may be easy, and you may be ok with changing your riding around. If you race and are very committed to your training it may be more difficult but far from impossible. I know dads with three kids and a great marriage and can still kick everyone’s ass.
One of the best things about cycling is that almost anyone can do it, so this gives you an opportunity to introduce them to your hobby. Cycling trips for food and coffee make great ways to enjoy time together. The most important thing here is to remember that they won’t be as strong as you, and they will most likely hate a cycling seat.
In order to have a successful relationship and to keep the relationship wheels spinning you need to make sure that you are both happy. You may think everything is ok and that your riding isn’t hurting the relationship but it just may be that your partner is afraid to tell you otherwise. Don’t be afraid to speak up and put in the time to make sure that everything truly is ok.
You love biking but chances are your partner is perfectly fine with you leaving all of that bike talk in the hamper with your dirty spandex. We all know how excited we can get from a great ride and the stories that went along with it but spare your partner hours of bike talk. This means taking the time to reflect on what has happened in their day and the time while you were away. By no means do I mean to not share your excitement, I’m just saying to tune into what exciting things they may want to share as well. The last thing you want is for them to feel like biking is more important, and the only thing you care about. This topic also includes the evil power that a smart phone brings. You probably can’t wait to see all of the great pics from the ride and you know what? They will still be there tomorrow or the next day. This goes for any relationship, put the phone down and turn into the human being next to you.
The last thing I want to talk about is the almighty dollar. If you’re in a healthy relationship and want to see it continue to progress the I highly recommend you keep in mind how much you spend on bike stuff, and how much you contribute to the relationship and the future. If you easily spend hundreds and thousands on bike parts and a lot less on the relationship this action may show where your priorities are and make someone feel less valuable to you. Love isn’t about money, but all of us want to feel loved and important and sometimes objects can take away from feeling that way.
My cycling life started pretty much by accident. In high school I was nerdy, overweight, and not very popular. One day I was taken to some mountain biking trail right outside of town and I had my first real mtb experience and I fell in love with it instantly. Being in the woods let me escape all of the things in my life that troubled me. There were no bullies in the woods, no being judged, and I was free to be myself. Riding has always been an escape for me and a way to express myself. It was through riding that I began to change my physical body and mentally I began to have self-worth. Riding gave me confidence and a feeling of empowerment that I had never felt before. Cycling has changed my life and help me to grow as a person. Some people will only see riding a bike as the simple act of riding and to some of us it has forever changed our lives.
I have made many relationship mistakes along the way and I hope my words can prevent some of you from falling into the same pitfalls. I whole heartedly believe you can have a great balance for all of your passions and the people on your life if you set the stage early and be respectful and loving to one another. Communication remains the key to happiness and understanding. Thank you very much for reading.