A reader left a comment on my last blog post that I thought was a good topic to write about so here it is. The topic is balancing your cycling with the need to also devote time to your family. It’s a delicate balance that can be easily upset if you’re not careful. Here’s my perspective on it.

Those of us that are married, have kids, or are at least involved with another person romantically, know that meeting their demands and needs can put a damper on our cycling time. Conversely, devoting too much time to cycling leads to them feeling neglected. If you’re like me, and have specific cycling goals, you may find yourself stressed trying to meet the demands of both. Cultivating our relationship, whether it’s with the family or the bike, takes time. Time spent with the family and time spent in the saddle putting in the miles.

Four Tips to Balance

Is there an easy way to solve this puzzle? I don’t know about easy but there are several different things you can do to ensure you don’t upset the balance (or anger the significant other). I’m by no means a relationship expert but I think I’ve got a good routine worked out that not only gets me riding time that I desperately need but also lets me spend time with the wife and girls. Here’s some tips:

  1. Ride when they sleep. Many of you know that I ride early, before anyone else is up. In fact, I wrote an entire post on why I think the morning is the best time for cycling. During the weekdays my alarm goes off at 4:50 AM so I can get a bike ride in before they get up. Because their sleeping, I don’t feel guilty about taking the mistress out for a quick 10 or 15 miles. Getting that ride done early frees up the evening for stuff like movie time or board games. Or just hanging out.
  2. Get them involved. This can be anything like riding together as a family, watching a cycling event together on TV, or going to the bike shop together. I almost always ask my wife if she’d like to go to the shop with me and the last time she went she showed a huge interest in possibly trying to ride. Watching cycling on TV or going to the shop together also gets them involved. They ask questions about how things are done and start to appreciate the hard work it takes to commit to cycling.
  3. Talk. This is where you and your significant other need to communicate. My wife and I talk daily about when my next ride is and what my plans are for the weekend. This includes how long and how far I’ll be riding. For instance, she knows I’m planning on trying a group ride tomorrow morning and won’t be back until about ten AM. Keeping her updated on my plans lets us work out whose taking the youngest to dance practice and stuff like that. Not only is it smart to do this but it’s considerate also.
  4. Get their support. This can be a tough one but is essential if you’re trying to accomplish some big goals with cycling. Take me for instance. I’m trying to lose about a hundred pounds by riding my bike and it’s going to take a while for me to accomplish that. I explained my goals to my wife for this year and why I’m doing them. That included the number of miles I wanted to ride, how much weight I wanted to lose, and what charity events I wanted to ride. If they understand why you’re riding it makes it easier for them to understand the sacrifice you’re making to ride and they’ll be more supportive. There will be weeks where you’ll need to put in more miles as you prepare for an event and having their support will be a big plus.

Do you have a tip on how to keep the balance? Let us know in the comments.

Today is the last day to help me raise money for the Tour de Cure and get entered to win a $75 gift certificate to ClassicCycling.com. Check it out over on the contest page.

PhotoC: greensambaman