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A man’s language of love is pretty simple; Food. Cook that food wearing nothing but an apron. Make love. Before or after dinner. Thanks for playing. For extra credit, meet your man at door wearing nothing but the apron with a smile and a kiss when he comes home, if possible.
A woman’s is vastly more complex, but the easy part is this, fellas; DON’T try to connect with your wife using YOUR language!
I know what you’re thinking, because I thought it too, “But how will she know what I want if I don’t tell her?
She knows. Our language is simple, and if you want her to talk to you in yours, you have to figure out how to talk to her in hers.
For instance, my wife met me (fully clothed, which was fully appropriate for the occasion) at the door when I got home from work. She smiled gently and planted one astonishingly wonderful kiss on me, then smiled again and whispered, “Welcome home”. It’s the first time I can recall that happening in our 25 years of marriage and it was awesome. And that was a negotiated benefit of my beginning to learn how to really connect with my wife the way she wants me to.
I’d been working on dropping my language and using my wife’s for less than a week. For the first time in our marriage. To get what I want, I gave my wife what she wanted first.
Now, I know what you’re thinking; “But why should I give her what she wants first“? “What if she doesn’t give me what I want”?
Well, let’s break that down, because that’s what I thought. 25 years, I just wanted my wife to meet me by the door so I could feel important to her and nothing. Just a few days of trying to care for my wife the way she’s always wanted and I got exactly that. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure what comes after the equals sign; Who freaking cares, just do it!!!
The point is, whatever it is blocking you from communicating the way your wife wants, get over yourself and ask her what it is and do it. Don’t wait as long as I did.
You’ll love the results. And if it doesn’t work, you can pick up the refund for your misery at the door.
If you’re absolutely lost, start here… it’s a little crass with the Title, but I tried these things for a few days to outstanding results. Also, I didn’t want to “make my wife horny”, I wanted to make her happy. And it worked.
Saddle Height, Leg Length, Cleat Shims… and the 10-Second FREE Alternative to Addressing Having One Leg (Slightly) Longer than the Other.
My wife and I both have a one leg shorter than the other. Ironically, mine’s the left. My wife’s is the right. I don’t quite know how that would throw a tandem off kilter, but we manage. Happily. To an extent.
There are two things you can do to address one leg being shorter than the other on a bicycle; lower the saddle height so the shorter leg gets its proper extension, or shim the shorter leg by putting a shim betwixt the cleat and the shoe sole.
For me, I can live with lowering the saddle to my left leg’s length. That doesn’t work for my wife. The issue is that with the saddle lower than you’d like, when you start putting power to the pedals, you tend to sit harder in the saddle which creates all kinds of bad interactions with the saddle. With the saddle high enough for her left leg, her right hip socket bothers her immensely. That meant we had to go the shim route.
Now, shimming a cleat works a treat for a road shoe where you duck-walk with exposed cleats anyway. On a mountain shoe, shimming the cleat exposes the metal to the ground instead of the sole lugs. That, my friends, is no bueno. If you’ve never tried to walk metal on rock, tile, hardwood, laminate or concrete, that would be because you’re smart or lucky (or both). This makes shimming the cleat on a mountain biking shoe a little more dangerous… and that’s what we use on the tandem, so it was suggested, rather intelligently by our local bike shop owner, that we simply take an insole from an old shoe and slide it beneath her cycling insole. Brilliant!!!
Now, me being me, rather than get my wife an insole, I bought her a new pair of exceptional cycling shoes. They’re not top-end, but they’re a fair bit nicer than mine. Then, I took the insole out of her old mountain bike shoe and slid it into her new shoe beneath the new insole.
38 miles later and my lovely wife reports the hip pain is gone. I may update this post if we run into problems in the near future, but those of us who have put an obscene amount of time in on a saddle will tell you, generally speaking, you know when you get the saddle right. My wife is one who puts an
obscene outstanding amount of time in on a saddle.
Note: While the additional insole is a fantastic idea, it’s not exactly a scientific remedy to a short leg… for instance, what if the width of an insole is too much shim? We could be throwing too big (or too little) a fix at the issue and create another. However, free is worth a try to see if it works.
This is interchangeable by sex, of course, it could just as easily be “a woman walks into a psychologist’s office”…
A guy walks into a psychiatrist’s office and sits down on the couch for his first working appointment. He looks at the psychologist and and the psychologist back at him. The psychologist says in that quiet, calm psychologist voice, let’s begin.
The guy says, “Well, my wife has a bunch of flaws that really annoy me and I’d like to know how to fix them.”
The psychologist whispers under his breath, “We’re going to need a bigger couch.”
Fans of the 1970’s Steven Spielberg classic, Jaws will get this joke. For the rest… erm, dude. It’s Jaws. You gotta see that movie.
The last I left you, I’d gone through some pretty significant changes in character. Since, there’s been a lot of writing about my wife and I on our tandem, and that’s all been great, but what about the rest?
This has all been a tremendous learning experience for me and, to be quite honest, it’s been a bit of a pain in the butt. The honeymoon phase, which lasted a few months, was awesome. The love I felt in my heart was surprising and fabulous. On one hand, at times I miss the old, confident me. On the other, the old self-confident me was rather ignorant in terms of how to be great to my wife and soulmate… and I really don’t miss that.
Not to put too fine a point on it, I’m basically completely re-learning how to be a better me. While it’s work and often quite difficult and sometimes awkward, I really love it. I love who I’m becoming.
To put this into perspective, I remember back to when my AA sponsor, Mike died. He could light up a room just by walking into it. He immediately made everyone in that room feel better about being themselves. He was an amazing force for good in the world and I was fortunate to know him. I was telling my wife the other day that I used to hope and pray that I could be like him some day. The tough part was, I had no idea how to get there. Without a “Mike” to guide me through the process, I felt lost in the woods. So, with tears running down my cheeks, I said to my wife, I know I’ve still got a long way to go, but after all of these changes, for the first time in my recovery, I can see actually the path.
Now all I have to do is walk it.
Disk (or Disc) Brakes and Bicycles: How to Go From Soft and Squishy to “Holy Crap!” (Even With Mechanical [Cable] Brakes).
I was told, when I purchased my tandem, that the calipers we had were meant for a flat-bar bike and that we might have to swap them for road calipers should the need arise. They were squishy, but they worked well enough that I was never afraid of riding the bike with my wife on it… and I’m about six times more careful with my best friend, wife, partner and Rear Admiral on the back of the bike than I am solo.
On the other hand, it took a second to stop the bike properly and I really didn’t like that, so this past weekend, I took to figuring them out to see if I could improve on what I had.
First things first: Your Rotors
If your rotors are wobbled (and many are – mine were) and if you’re going to keep them quiet while you ride, you have to open the calipers which makes the brakes squishy. Sometimes it’s really tricky the angle you have to be at to see where you have a wobble so I’m going to give a photo at a very tight angle to hopefully illustrate what you should be looking at to see if your rotor is straight.
In the photos above, it’s difficult to get the camera in exactly the right location to pick up the two gaps on either sides of the pads – trust me, they’re there.
You have to pay attention to which way the rotor needs to be bent to straighten it out by looking for light between the brake pads and the rotor. If everything seems to be straight, then you see a wobble to the outside, you bend that exact part of the rotor in. Opposite that if it wobbles in, bend it out. Use an adjustable crescent wrench or a special rotor tool to gently bend the rotor in or out as needed. The rotor should be dead straight when you’re done or this won’t work.
Now, assuming the calipers are properly aligned, you have two adjustments for a mechanical set of brakes once they’re centered. The cable tension/barrel adjuster and the inboard/outboard adjustment at the back of the caliper (or front with a set screw depending on the model of caliper – mine are on the back (toward the spokes). The cable tension sets the outboard pad for my calipers. Once the rotors are straight, look between the brake pads and set the cable tension with the barrel adjuster so you’ve got just a few hairs worth of space between the rotor and the outside pad. Then, turn the dial (or set screw with an Allen key) on the back so there’s just a few hairs’ space between the inboard pad and the rotor.
Give the wheel a spin. If it rubs anywhere, you’ll hear it. Get yourself in a position where you can see the wobble and figure out where the rotor is bent and straighten it. Once it’s perfectly straight, give it a spin and test the brakes. If the pads are relatively clean, it should be quite stout compared to what you had. If not, tighten down the barrel adjuster or the back set screw/dial to get it even tighter.
If done right, there should be a world of difference betwixt what you started out with and what you ended with. The key is patience. Straightening the rotors is a bit of a tedious process.
We had a 14-person deep pace-line going on a quiet country road. We were crushing it at about 23-mph when we passed a decent cyclist riding with a friend. Those of us who have put in tens of thousands of miles riding in groups know a legit cyclist from a noob, usually, with just a quick glance.
In this case, the fella may have been a decent cyclist, but he showed himself to be, unquestionably, an @$$hole. All of a sudden the yahoo starts passing up the right side of the pace-line, on the white line with barely enough room to operate. He’d work up the line a few cyclists, then fall back a little, then work up a few more in the line. I saw enough of that crap and decided I’d put an end to it. I signaled and pulled out of the group and headed up on the left (where normal American cyclists pass – right for those in left lane driving countries). I passed the lead cyclist and told him to keep the pace steady as I passed him. I then went to his right as if I’d completed a turn up front. I effectively flushed the jerk out the back. Thinking my job was done and that he’d gotten the message, I got back in the draft of the pace-line.
At which time he announced, “passing on the right”.
I moved right and said, “Like hell, you pass on the left like a normal cyclist, or did you just learn how to ride this year?” He started complaining and I cut him off. Whether he was butt hurt that we passed him or he was just looking to be a jerk, I can’t tell you. I can tell you this, you don’t pass on the inside of a pace-line… and everyone worth their clipless pedals knows this.
Later, same tour, same day, another guy decided he’d join our group. He started at the back but started leap-frogging up a few riders, squeezing into a gap less than a foot between wheels by “pushing” the rider behind him to the right. He did it again. And again. Three people complained to me about what I’d just watched.
I rode up along side him and asked, “You don’t ride in a group very much, do you?”
He replied, “Actually I do.”
I said, “Well if you do, then you know better than to do what you’re doing. You don’t leapfrog the group like that, and you certainly don’t cut off other riders to do it. If you want to get to the front to take a pull, get up there and do it. If not, get back to your place in the pace-line and wait your turn”.
He went to the front and took a pull. We rode his wheel for something like five to seven miles before we wore him out completely. Then, the next guy in line hit the gas and we dropped him off the back of the group.
Later on that evening at dinner, the guy’s dad (the son was just a few years younger than me) complained to a friend of ours in the group that I bullied the guy and made him feel unwelcome. We had a fair chuckle over that – because who would welcome someone who cuts off other riders at 23+mph to leapfrog up the group?!. In truth, he wasn’t exactly wrong… though I was the only one to speak to him, the whole group dropped him.
Now, here’s the point; if you’re in the group for your own selfish aims and you don’t know how to look out for the rest of the people you’re riding with, you’re the problem.
That’s a period at the end of that last sentence. Don’t be that person.
I had the opportunity to ride both bikes yesterday while trying to dial my wife in to her single bike so she could ride comfortably on it. With as many miles as we’ve put on the tandem, we were both more than a little nervous about how she’d do on her good bike. The test ride was long. And ssssslllloooooooooooowww-uh, but we got a lot accomplished. My fingers are crossed for her.
On my end, I’ve got a saddle sore. A massive, hurty one, so I wanted to see if either bike, the Venge or Trek, favored the sore better. My money was on the Specialized Venge with its super-narrow 128 mm saddle, so I took it first. It was not a comfortable ride. The saddle hit right on the sore and, though the bike was impeccably smooth and quiet (especially so on brand new tires), it hurt.
Next up was the Trek… and it was as if the heavens opened and the clouds parted, and God said, “Let there be peace and a happy tuchus on earth”. And it was so.
The Trek is going on DALMAC for its day in the sun, even though the forecast says “Venge” all the way.
My 1999 Trek 5200 wins by a butt!
Now that I think of it, in all fairness, the S-Works milk would end up weighing a half-pound less…
If you’ve been around for a while, you may remember I’d taken a fondness for the Ten Commandments of Cycling… well, I felt yesterday’s ride rose to the level of a Commandment, and lucky number Seven at that: Thou Shalt Not Squander Perfect Days on the Couch.
My lovely wife had board meetings that I had a feeling were going to run late. Still, I thought, what if she actually gets to come home between them, as she normally does? I don’t want to miss her, I thought (I’d gotten home from the office just in the nick of time to give her a kiss before she drove off to that first meeting). On the other hand, it was perfect out. Barely a cloud in the sky, a barely there breeze… and the temp was even reasonable in the low 80s (probably 27 or 28 C if memory serves). It was literally a perfect day. There’s no way my wife would want me to miss riding in that, not today. Not the way we’re doing today. I reasoned, if she wasn’t on the way home at 5, I’d ride (she had another meeting start at 6).
I threw my leg over the top tube and was off at 5:10.
Tuesday night’s ride on the tandem had been hard. Strava and Garmin showed an estimated power output of over 360 watts for the hour and twenty minutes and I’d actually woken up the next morning with shaky legs, adding weight to the guesstimate… so I chose easy, recovery pace… for maybe one or two miles. It was just too perfect!
And just like that, at 5:20-ish, my wife texted me a simple, “I love you”. I took a quick selfie video from the bike and said, “I love you” whilst pedaling and sent that. Technology is grand. And I pedaled on.
I had a busy evening ahead so I had to shave the route and cut some corners to get done in time to pick up pizza for dinner and drop a love note off on my wife’s car on the way by, but I filled every spare minute I had on the Venge. I’d even dressed in my best Specialized peacock kit, with my racing helmet, S-Works shoes, and the whole getup. I was feeling quite spectacular as I rolled down the road.
I pulled into the driveway with just shy of 16 miles and a little better than an 18-mph average. It was no ride on the tandem with my wife, but it was a lot better than polishing the leather on our couch with my butt, too. Thou shalt not squander perfect days…
I didn’t intentionally blow off a meeting to ride with my friends, but that it wasn’t intentional didn’t mean I didn’t blow off the meeting. I did.
My wife had meetings in the morning so the tandem was out. Originally, I was just planning on riding with my buddy, Mike but Chuck and Phill showed up, too so it was a picture of the good old days when the four of us would ride all over God’s creation together. My mind drifted back to the heady days of Mountain Mayhem: Beat the Heat when Mike managed to pause his Garmin on the way up Brutus Road, while Phill tried to see exactly how slow he could go without tipping over on his bike (1.2-mph). Ah, those were the days!
Mike and Chuck showed up early so we rolled out well before 7:30, our scheduled departure time, and picked Phill up along the way. It wasn’t long before we got into a great rhythm heading into the wind in a tight pace-line. Unlike the pros, where they take twelve seconds of headwind before rotating to the back, we were up front for several miles at a time (we were also well short of the pro’s 30-mph pace).
The sun shone gloriously and the breeze was mild… and the four of us had our fun.
My 16-pound Specialized Venge was all pleasurable business, a model of mechanical perfection as we strolled down the road at a brisk (but fun) pace. Mike, Phill and Chuck had their “good” bikes as well. Phill has a Fire Engine Red Specialized Roubaix, Mike a Trek Emonda 7.0 and Chuck a Black on Black Ghost Giant TCR Advanced… We talked and laughed and caught up… and I pulled into the driveway with 35-ish miles at 18-mph and a smile on my face.
It was perfect Michigan summer cycling. With friends. The only way it could have been better would have been if my wife and I were on the tandem. There will be plenty of time for that, though.