Before we begin, let’s be clear - not all bike riders are the same. If you for some reason find yourself in a relationship with a professional cyclist, you need more help than we can give you here. No. Rather, we mean that your significant other simply likes to ride their bike. Whether it be for fun, for exercise, to commute to work, or just as a great way to explore the city. Riding a bike is part of their lifestyle and now, by default, it is part of yours. You may not share the same enthusiasm for bike riding as your partner, and that’s okay. You do, however, love and support them. So, what can each of you do to make a bike riding lifestyle a positive aspect of your relationship?
If your significant other is an avid bike rider, here are some date ideas and suggestions for you.
Plan a bike-centric date where you don't ride bikes.
You can help your in-house bike rider get their daily fix by making dates that are bike related but that don’t necessarily involve riding bikes. Once the weather gets a little nicer, go grab a drink and check out the cycle speedway races at Royal Foundry Craft Sprits (following strict covid guidelines of course). Similarly there are increasingly more and more bike shops that have either a coffee bar or wine/beer bar attached to them. An hour or two enjoying each others company in one of these spots is a super painless way to tell your significant other “though I don't share the same obsession with bikes, I'll go along with it”. A lot of these bike cafes take their coffee as seriously as they take their bikes and you can usually find one of the best coffee experiences in town. If you are in Minneapolis, check out Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop + Coffee Bar. The coffee is GREAT, and there is plenty for you to look at while your SO looks at bike gear.
Sign up for a bike repair class.
Feeling a little more adventurous? Just about every city has a shop or advocacy group that offers repair classes. In our home city of Minneapolis, The Hub Bike Co-Op offers a few free classes with donation of a canned food item. These in-person classes are limited and sometimes suspended right now due to covid, so, how about an online class with your special person. The International Open Academy offers a comprehensive class that will have both of you speaking the same jargon in no time. Similar to a cooking class experience, these can be a super fun way to understand more about bikes and mechanical things in general. A lot of the principals you will learn for bike repair are highly applicable to other things. You might even learn a little more about your SO's passion.
Short rides to somewhere you want to go.
You don't have to go all-in, in order to make your significant other happy. In most cases, if you are willing to bike somewhere, your partner will be excited, no matter where it is. For me, a two-wheeled date with my wive is at the top of my favorite list. We don’t have to go very far for it to make me super stoked! Even just riding to the restaurant or wine bar that is 4 blocks away is enough to show your SO that you care about what is important to them.
Give them gifts for their bike.
Nothing says that you care like a well thought-out gift for that rider you live with. Pay attention to their bike-related needs. If they ride at night, make sure they have a good set of lights. If they commute to work, make sure that they have a proper rack, basket and bags to carry spare clothing. Fenders, like our Mud Butler Hammered Fenders, make sure they stay clean in foul-weather conditions. If they ride just for fun, consider getting them a sweet bell for their bike. People don't like to admit it, but everyone likes dinging a bell like they are 5 years old. Plus, a bell is a safety piece and you want them to be safe out there. If they are into fitness, there are bike-specific computers that track their miles and more. Bike computers can track all kinds of things and higher-end models can be synced to your smart phone to connect apps like Strava or Mapmyride. Most likely, if your partner is a bike rider, he or she will probably tell you what they need without having to ask. Sadly, we like to talk about our bikes and our rides A LOT!
Now, lets flip the script. Here are some suggestions and things to keep in mind if YOU are the bike nerd and your SO isn’t so much.
Fit, Comfort, Quality and Safety.
If you are asking your significant other to ride with you, make sure their bike fits them, is comfortable for them, has fully inflated tires, and most importantly that they feel safe on. Again, if we call on our own personal experience both of our wives had old beater mountain bikes when we met them, and not surprisingly hated riding. Once we put them on new Handsome She Devils, they each had this “aha” moment where now they began to see that biking can be super fun and way less work with the right equipment. Indulge them and spend the time with them to make sure everything fits right. If you don't know how, take them to a shop and have a professional help you out. If your SO complaining about their seat, try a different one. Sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find the right one. Pretty much everything you do for yourself to feel right on the bike, you should do for your SO. Remember, they aren't that into it, so you need to do it for them if you want them to participate.
Ride at their pace!
Another thing to keep in mind when going on rides with someone who isn’t the avid rider that you are is that pace is everything. If you are on an uber light road bike while they are on a beach cruiser and you keep blasting ahead…things won’t end well. I tend to try and have a detailed conversation with my wife before we head about where we are going, what routes we are going to take to get there and how fast paced she wants to ride. This helps reduce any confusion out on the road and gets both of us on the same page.
Just an appetizer, not the tasting menu!
I love nothing more than spending an entire day on my bike roaming around. My better half, however, is good for around two hours on the bike. So I will often plan it out where I will do the first part of my ride with her, then drop her off back home and go out and finish my ride. That way we get to spend part of the day together on bike, and I can get in the length of ride that I want without pushing her beyond where she is comfortable.
Keep your bikes out of the way and clean.
Often we hear from the significant others of bike riders that the biggest problem are having too many bikes and that they drag every piece of the dirty street into the house. Invest in good storage, keep your bikes clean and make sure they are out of the way. If your significant other gashes their shin open on your pedal because they couldn't get by it easily, you won't hear the end of it.
Overall, it's just about compromise. Think about what the other person wants and needs. Most of all, just love one another and keep moving in the same direction. A smart man once said: 'Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.' -- Albert Einstein
- Bike Centric Dates Where You Aren't Riding – Cycle Speedway at Royal Foundry Craft Sprits
- Bike / Coffee Shop Mini Date – Angry Catfish, Minneapolis, MN
- Bike Repair Classes -- The Hub Bike Co-Op in Minneapolis, MN
- Online Bike Repair Classes -- The International Open Academy
- Dynamo Lighting Kits
- Mud Butler Hammered Fenders
- Even More Apps
- Handsome She Devil
- Custom Bike In A Gift Box