So I went for a walk with my wife and kids last evening to walk the neighbor’s dog. A half mile or so into it I brought up some of the difficulties I had in getting the handlebar just right after installing my brand new $165 carbon fiber wrapped aluminum stem that matches my “A” bike’s paint scheme perfectly (aluminum stems are 50-100 grams lighter than carbon fiber). With the patience of a saint she listened and let me get through my little story, a story that I kept, mercifully, to all of two minutes.
Friday, while heading home on our normal Friday 25 mile ride, we were trying to figure out how much we’d spent on cycling in the last few years. It’s not a small amount. We had a nice chuckle about it and went about our happy day. Thankfully, my wife, Mrs. Bgddy, gets it. Others are not so lucky so I’m putting this post together for the benefit of humanity and to help keep sacred the sanctity of marriage. I go big, ladies and gentlemen. This post is intended for those married to a cyclist and assumes one very important thing: You actually want to remain married.
To the spouse:
1. I know, on one hand, we get a little crazy with the whole cycling thing. On the other, the benefit of enjoying cycling is a more youthful and healthy significant other… Your spouse will be around and employable longer… enough to make up for the cash spent on cycling ten times over. [Ed. Humorously enough, the WordPress spell checker highlighted the word “employable” as misspelled. The alternate was “unemployable”. How interesting, that]
2. Cycling, for those of us who love it, has the magical effect of clearing the way for happiness – if we’re not constantly hounded for taking an hour to go for a ride, or a few on a weekend day.
3. Men especially end up falling into some form of mid-life crisis activity. We all laugh about it, sure but let’s look at this in reality – typically men get into one of these four things: Cars, motorcycles, boats or younger women. If your man gets into cycling, while $5,000-$10,000 on a bike might seem like a lot of money, consider the alternatives… The first three options all have an initial cost several times that of a high-end bike and run solely on a fella’s wallet. A bicycle runs on fat. Hands down, the bike wins. Then there’s that fourth option. That last one can make an otherwise intelligent man so stupid we need not even discuss it further – and that one runs on your marriage. Considering the other options, if your man is into cycling, you got off easy… So to speak. Especially considering the fact that if your husband is cycling properly, his testosterone is going through the roof just about the time you’re coming into your prime. Do the math, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out: You win.
4. You get one hell of a negotiating chip. Whatever your taste, just remember this scenario: “Oh, you want a new $10,000 dream bike? I want a romantic trip to Italy.” Looks like somebody’s sucking it up and going to Italy!… Time to brush up on that Italian and put on the romantic cap. For the gentleman with the cyclist wife, you get the idea.
5. Good God you soul-sucking pain in the ass… Get off of the pity potty for just a minute and let your significant other have some freaking fun, would ya? Sheesh. Just because you’re miserable, doesn’t mean you should take your spouse with you! Happiness is an inside job. You’re not miserable because of him/her – you’re the cause of your misery. Deal with it. [This applies to a very few people. If you instantly got pissed at reading this one instead of thinking, “well this one doesn’t fit me at all”, Houston, you have a problem]
6. This last one hits close to home… While the first four in some form or another all apply to my personal life, this last one – all BS and joking aside – made our marriage better: If you can get into cycling too, even if it’s just a little bit, all of a sudden you’ll get to spend time with your spouse that was never possible before. This assumes, of course, that you married your spouse because you actually love them in the first place and that you want to enjoy your marriage. I loved my wife before we rode together, deeply, but there is no mistaking the fact that our marriage is better for cycling, for both of us.
To the cyclist:
1. Okay, here’s the deal… I know you love cycling. By now, most of the people in your world know you love cycling. Every now and again, when you haven’t seen your cycling buds in a while, you’re going to want to talk to someone outside that circle about cycling. Your spouse will take the brunt of this. Show some mercy, keep it short and simple. Going into a full technical dissertation on why an aerodynamic, $250 helmet will shave 14 seconds off of your Thursday night club ride, adding that it very well could be the deciding factor in your winning the sprint finish, is an exercise in flagellation. Save it for someone else.
2. Set up a slush fund for your gear and be honest and transparent with it. I set aside $100 a month for my cycling stuff. Enough that I can buy nice stuff every now and again but not enough that it hurts – not even a little bit. Now, if you’ve got a large income this obviously won’t be as necessary. Under any other circumstance, if your spouse is even a little bit reasonable, this can save you a headache or two. Or thirty-five. If all else fails, bribe them.
3. Dude, you don’t need to train 21 hours a week unless you’re training for an Ironman, getting paid for it, are independently wealthy or retired… Keep the time investment in check. Obligations to one’s family must be tops on the priority list. For instance, besting your 5 hour century PR by five minutes won’t mean a hill of shit in divorce court. Gaining a few tenths of a mile per hour is not worth taking three hours a day away from your family unless you’re training for and actually have a chance at riding in the Tour de France. Keep it in perspective, knucklehead.