Friday, May 30, 2008

Cycling and Relationships : A Tough Question

Suppose : Your new life partner, apple of your eye, but obviously not as crazy as you about cycling, tests your commitment in relationship. One day, in a very serious tone, he or she asks you to drop your passion altogether. Its either him/her or bicycles, not both. Its a one way street.

You've finally found a perfect mate after years, but cycling is another thing that keeps you alive. How will you reply and act? Will you do the obvious - say yes and keep riding (hehe) or will you give in, either to your urges or their demands .

Many, if not some, may already have gone through this situation. Because lets face it - serious cycling is a lot of investment in time. If you have not realized that by now, I don't know what to tell you. You don't necessarily have to be pro to decide to do every race in the local calender or ride 10,000 miles every year, not including the hours that go in training, preparation, reading cycling blogs and magazines, watching bike races and hunting for new equipment to buy every season.

Replies will not only help a young guy like me, it'll be interesting for other readers as well.


Anonymous said...

My wife and I have always agreed on one thing regarding this. Asking someone to give up a part of who they are, when you knew that part of who they are, before you became involved with them, is asinine. Regardless if it's cycling, or football, or garage sale shopping, falling for someone whose life(or a big part of it) is comprised of the afore mentioned activities and then once you've planted yourself into their lives and asking them to give up those activities is absolute shit. That's the sign of a significant other who wants to change you into their ideal, instead of finding some one who matches it. It's not that I love cycling so much I wouldn't give it up. It's that I married someone who understands and appreciates that cycling is a large part of what makes me, me.

bikesgonewild said...

...your first poster signed in w/ great advice & there's a nice sentiment woven throughout those words...

...if you, like he & myself, turn out to be someone who defines themselves in the longterm, through cycling (& it kinda sounds like you may) then he very succinctly stated what needs to be considered...

Brucemeister said...

Tim mirrors my advice, mine based on experience: Get a tandem. Riding a tandem with your girlfriend will halp you find out if:
A) She like to ride or not
and B) If you both can operate as a team.
My gal and I have been together for a dang long time. I'd like to think it is due in part to our riding the tandem. It allows us to both get our ride in and get "there" at the same time.

Plus, it's rippin' fast down hill....


carpetfiber101 at yahoo dot com said...

Beware the ultimatum!

Anon in post #1 said it best, very true, thoughtful words.

Lets hope this blog post is just a "theoretical question!"

I was in a similar boat (except with religion). Everybody needs to work with each other and be comfortable with having obsessions other than each other.

Best of luck, I hope it works out if you want it to!

Gunnar said...

The obvious answer is that if this person will not accept you for what you are, then they are not worth keeping around.

But then what if when you met, your passion for cycling was on the down-low? Maybe you were burned out for a bit and took a year or so off. Maybe you just went through a phase where it wasn't important. But then after the relationship is estabolished, something re-fuels the desire to experience the freedom of rolling on wheels under your own power. Does that change the answer at all. Isn't it then you who are changing into something your partner was not expecting? Suddenly you are spending large amounts of time away from the relationship, and large amounts of money on equipment. Plus your are tired all the time, falling asleap at 7:30 in the evening (when you're not out on a group ride) and eating 3x as much as you used to. What then? Does the same "Accept me for who I am" statement hold true?

I posted a little more about this on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Life is made of compromises. I started cycling seriously more or less at the same time I began my current (serious) relationship, about 5 years ago.

Cycling takes a huge amount of time and effort, and it has resulted in some frictions in my relationship. So for me the deal was just organizing better around cycling, but not dropping the ball with responsibilities around the house and stuff.

The difficulties with cycling (or any other hobbies) rarely stem from the activity itself, but from the things that you weren't unable to do because you were cycling. This is the opportunity cost, and you need to be aware of it.

I'm great at reaching agreements, and try to uphold my end of them. I think this has kept me from waking up with a knife in the back!

Best of luck, mate.


Fritz said...

The commitment is more important than the hobby. The hobby is about self, while the relationship is about the two of you.

That's a two way street, of course -- I'm absolutely confident that my wife would never tell me to give up bicycling because she understands that it's a part of me. We've both had to make adjustments and compromises to accommodate our interests.

If you go into a relationship believing you can change the other person, you're in for some horrible disappointments. The only person you can change is yourself, and even that comes with great difficulty.

Anonymous said...

Simple, ask your wife (girlfriend) which she would prefer for you: A. Time with a mistress, or B. Time on the bike.

Most would reluctantly pick B and would be happy with the results. Be concern if she says both.

UltraRob said...

I've been riding my bike lots of miles for over 20 years. Telling me to not ride my bike is like telling me to not enjoy life. Nobody around me will be happy long term.

Will said...

A friend of one of the above commenters visited me in Europe last year and I was asked to take him riding.

Long story short - after some great rides, we had a long dinner conversation about his wife and how she constantly nags him to stop cycling.

Poor guy was getting up at 5 am to ride. Returning by 10 am and still getting lectured.

I (after some wine) gave a long speech about how if it is was my wife I would leave her, etc.

He returned to the USA and promptly got divorced. Hehe - wow!

Apparently he is MUCH happier

Wayne Myer said...

The whole premise of the question is actually invalid. The "perfect" mate would not try to sway the partner away from a life's passion. Ergo, this is not the perfect mate. Move along.

Tim said...

If the partner would make such an ultimatum, then she/he is not "the perfect partner" as stated.

Whether or not there is such a thing as "the perfect partner" is a question for a different philosophy class.

In many relationships (especially when there's children involved) people make a decision that some things are more important than cycling. But it's your decision to make, and if it comes to the point of being issued an ultimatum, you've pretty much already decided.

If your relationship is less important than your cycling, then so be it; your partner needs to understand that. If that hierarchy of priorities is unacceptable to them, they have to make some decisions of their own.

Wutz said...

I just look at it this way: I am the summation of the things I've done. If I were to stop doing something I love I'd develop into a different person.

In the instance of subtracting cycling from your life, you'd probably exhibit a higher level of stress in your daily life. You'd probably also gain a fair bit of weight. If the relationship problems created by the added stress don't bother your mate, maybe your newly chunky body would.

You could follow that up with the continuation of the "weight gain" scenario saying that you might develop body insecurities which could manifest themselves in your daily life. Not only will you be a stressed-out, overweight version of yourself; you'll develop confidence problems and come running to your partner to make all your decisions for you.

I don't know about your situation, but I know my girlie would not be down for that.

Plus, if I lose something I love, she has to give something up, too.

schulaura said...

Red flag! If they're asking you to give this up, what will be next?
Love your blog. I just received it from a friend in San Diego and read Victory Salutes so i started parusing other "articles" and saw this one. Don't give up who you are! Laura in Mtn View, CA

Jamie said...

I don't do well with demands and someone who really cares about you will not make this type of demand. I know that my riding adds stress for my wife when I head out and leave her at home with four kids. Our compromise has been the purchase of a trailer. I know take our 2 and 5 year olds with me on 80% of my rides. Those don't appear as impressive rides on velog, but they do give you a great workout.


RPM said...

Cycling is about pain, not love.

HTFU and shun all relationships that stop you from training, murder your accountant and sell your wife to buy carbon wheels.
There is no room for pitiful human emotion on the track or in the bunch sprint or on the jump, or on the berm.

Success at all costs is your aim, your family is your coach and your mechanic, your mind is merely a tool to operate your bodily machine.

This is the way of the true winner.

CharlieTuba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CharlieTuba said...

My wife, Carrie, wants me to quit cycling, because she is afraid that I might get killed in an accident. I don't know what to do. I love to cycle and I only ride for recreation and transportation. Last September I was rear-ended and suffered a concussion, broken left clavicle and other minor injuries. Most recently I slipped on railroad tracks (almost parallel to the road) and broke the metacarpal of my right thumb and index finger.
I try to make myself more visible and look out for road hazards.

I don't know what to do. HELP!

Ron said...

Sorry to hear this.
Is there something that you could do to continue enjoy cycling but make it safer? One way is to get up early in the morning, before traffic volume increases on the road and finish your workouts before your wife wakes up.

Could you include her in your passion? Rent bikes, ride together. Perhaps this way she will appreciate not only being able to join you, but also know what keeps you enjoying your hobby?

Unknown said...

Amen. I've been biking seriously for 28 years. Cycling has outlasted one wife and 4 girlfriends. If a woman doesn't like your cycling, find a new woman... or NO WOMAN!

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Most non cycling partners are not going to like biking. I've lost friends when I tell them I completed a 70 mile charity ride in 4 hours. I get a blank stare and never hear from them again. I have no good advice for you. My s.o. and I spend lots of time apart because if my cycling. She does her thing and I do mine. I'm ok with that. It beats resentment and sub optimal living via so-called compromise.

Unknown said...

No question. If married, quit biking. If if she is a girlfriend, dump her.