Cyclists often have a strange yet forceful way of gathering together like small children round a brand new toy. We’ll happily share stories of our best sprint, our worst hill climb, the time our bottom bracket fell out and our deep loathing of the motorist. Pain will be shared, hearts encouraged, minds inspired and laughs, they will be abounding. All is well; or at least all would be well if other cyclists were the only people cyclists ever interacted with, yet for most of us that is clearly not the case. Many cyclists have partners who do not share their passion and practices. If we’re honest that can be an emotionally tiring place to inhabit, especially if your relationship is otherwise good (if it’s bad we’ll assume you simply value the solitude and escape your bike offers!). So here’s a 10 step guide on how to share the thing you love with the people you love.
Stop Using language which excludes others from truly sharing your joy. It's just stupid behaviour! When articulating your love of cycling, your personal ‘cadence’ count is much less inspiring than a description of the view you had time to appreciate or the thoughts you were able to work through.
Affirming small steps to participation. Your partner is unlikely begin his cycling adventures in an identical fashion to your own development but that makes his participation no less valuable. If you ever want to enjoy long rides out together you’d be wise to start by enjoying a ride to the pub, round the park or over to your friends BBQ. and when you arrive remember the glory belongs to them, not you!
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Going on and on about your next carbon fibre acquisition it is painfully uninteresting; leaving opened cycling magazines in your bed is equally inapropriate behaviour!
Recognising that for many new cyclists the appeal is often what we call 'aesthetic functionality'. “Does the bike get me where I need to go while enabling me to enjoy the experience and look good doing so?” Warning: For most normal people looking good involves niether lycra nor high vis functionality!
Shouting and looking miserable. If the hill is killing your partner your long term goals are far more likely to be achieved by getting off your bikes and walking than by prooving your own insecurity as you compete for horrible man of the year. This is not a battle! Battles leave good people bruised, broken and longing for Peace.
Rewarding goodness with goodness (while keeping everything in theme). I’m not suggesting for a minute that you bribe your partner but it might not harm your ambitions to show her your delight. Treat her to a beautiful Bobbin basket or giving him that very cool water bottle you both noticed on that other guys bike.
Staring into the future. All that endless talk of what you’ll achieve in three years time as you cycle up the Bolivian mountains together is simply heard by your partner as a rubbishing of their efforts in the now. Now is all you know for certain. Now is all that matters.
Enjoying this moment, this ride, this journey, this view. Every turn, every view, every soaking in rain, every amusing site, every ridiculous driver, every aching muscle, every penny saved on fuel. NOW is your priority.
Being a bore!
Celebrating the coolest mode of mobility ever. Take your que not from insecure MAMILS but from Dutch cycling culture. I’ve often found that a flat white in a cycle cafe inspires the mind and the body much more than my lamenting the lack of city council cycling policy and investment. . . YAAAAAAWNN!
Practicing all of the above is a discipline which is not in my natural disposition. I am far more inclined to shout, be moody and obsess over the horizon. Thanks to Jenny and Matt for showing many of us a much better alternative!
We all share one truth. Somebody, somewhere taught us to ride a bike, they shared with us a wonderful thing; a thing to be given away that it might grow and flourish in the lives of others. Hold anything too tight and you simply kill it. Cycling is far too precious for that.
Go on then, stop reading, start sharing. You could start by sharing this blog post we'd certainly be very grateful :-)!