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Home » Cycling » How To Ride a Bicycle with Your Wife (Without Blowing Up Because She’s Too Slow [Or Vice-Versa]). Five Fantastic Tips That Will Having the Two Of You Riding Off Into the Sunset Together

How To Ride a Bicycle with Your Wife (Without Blowing Up Because She’s Too Slow [Or Vice-Versa]). Five Fantastic Tips That Will Having the Two Of You Riding Off Into the Sunset Together

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The title says wife, but I’ve heard a few stories where the wife is the stronger cyclist, so this post can cut both ways. I’ll simply say I know a bunch of guys who wish they could ride with their spouse but can’t get over the slow ride. Take it easy, Foghat. I have help to offer.

There are at least five great tips I can give that helped get my wife motivated and riding to a point we were planning next season’s tandem trips before the first snowflake ever hit the ground on this season (hint: it looks like the new tandem is going to Kentucky next year).

The first great tip I can give is, if you want your wife to ride with you, go out on a ride first to wear yourself out, then ride with her after. She’ll appreciate being able to go her own pace, knowing you’ve already gotten your workout in. And you’ll be tired enough to freaking relax a little bit, there killa. My wife and I had some pretty fantastic rides together after I was already beat up.

The second great tip I can offer is this; buy her a nice bike. It doesn’t have to be better than your race bike, just nice enough that she knows you value riding with your spouse regularly. Bonus tip for the husband buying for his wife; don’t go too nice. She doesn’t work like you. She’ll probably feel too much pressure to perform with too nice a bike. I was able to carefully ride this ledge on the side of a cliff. It’s delicate. I also bought her a triathlon-specific road bike which showed I was paying attention to what she wanted out of cycling.

Third, you can ditch the aggressive, fast, have to use every minute on the bike to get faster bit when riding with your wife. She doesn’t care and a slow ride every now and again is freaking fun and amazing. Especially if you get into riding dirt roads. I can already hear you, though. “But my wife likes to test my patience by seeing just how slow she has to go before I’ll blow up… if I try to match her 14-mph, she’ll just drop to 13. If I drop to 13, she drops to 12! Why?” Ah, the speed test. This is a tricky one. And the fourth tip will solve this problem in its entirety.

Tip number four, the magic, loving push. If your spouse begins to tire out, rather than get into the aforementioned power struggle, try riding up along side and place your hand on the small of their back with a little bend in your elbow. Ride like that for a minute or two, then gently start increasing your wattage. You act like your spouse’s very own eBike. The help should be greatly appreciated if done in a genuinely loving way. Personally, I love the connection so I’ll simply ride with my hand on my wife’s back just to let her know I’ve got her back if needed and I’m happy to be there with her. We’re both happier for it. Then, if I see her struggling on hills later in the ride, I’ll give her an extra 30 or 40 watts.

Tip number five: Buy a tandem. Now, this tip comes with a massive caveat, thus why it’s last. A friend of mine often says of tandems, “they’re marriage makers, or marriage breakers“. As a couple, especially as the stronger cyclist in that couple, you’ve got to be willing to work together to a level you probably haven’t attained before to successfully ride a tandem. They’re hard… but rewarding, if you put in the work. From my perspective, it’s meant giving up who I was on a single bike (and I did it gladly, and would do it again). The truth is, I’d rather ride tandem with my wife, whatever the pace, than ride solo. Cycling is vastly more enjoyable on the tandem, but it took a ton of work to get there. The big down side is, tandems aren’t cheap. You’re looking at $3,000 for a low-end tandem with the better brands and lines topping $14,000 for a complete bike. It’s an investment that should only be entered into with a full commitment. If you need to test it, try a used tandem first, before you buy the space-grade aluminum frame with a Shimano Di2 drivetrain and custom carbon race wheels.

The main point to remember is to be patient so that riding together can be enjoyable. Believe me, it’s worth the effort.

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4 Comments

  1. The first tip is great! I used to do that a lot. I’d do my hour or two hammering on the pedals “training” ride. Then later that day, go for a ride around the park with April.

    Also having a screen on your Garmin that doesn’t display speed or distance or anything “racy” can help. I have one just with the time on it. That way, I’m less likely to look down at it and try and go faster.

  2. I love this post for so many reasons. You’re so spot on! I’ve always been the more frequent rider while my husband was the silent stronger occasional rider – I had more confidence (or cockiness) and he had more desire to ride for joy. We recently challenged ourselves on a 2,000 mile ride across Europe. His strength improved (as well as his cockiness) and I saw him riding with more confidence- while I learned to actually ride for joy. Bikes are the best! We would
    love to try the tandem. We’ve kayaked together and that was challenging – I can’t imagine blending riding styles to accommodate the ramdam. Great job!

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