Whether you call it “getting your hand stamped”, “winning brownie points,” or simply “getting permission”, every cyclist with a non-cyclist partner knows the feeling: You want to wake up on Sunday at 5AM, they want to sleep in until 9AM. Your definition of fun is getting your sweat on, their definition of fun is taking it easy. The list goes on.
But just because your partner isn’t a cyclist, it doesn’t mean you can’t make it work. With a bit of compromise and communication, you can both get what you want.
Read on for our top tips on how you can win brownie points so you can go for a ride.
Tip 1: Understand the Conflict
Before trying any of our next tips, it’s important to remember that everyone’s situation and relationship is different.
There’s a big difference between skipping Sunday morning cuddles in bed and skipping your partner’s mother’s birthday party. There are times, no matter how much you want it, you’re just not going to win brownie points to go for a ride.
Before trying to sweet-talk your partner in to giving you permission to go for a ride, ask yourself the following questions (and be honest with yourself!):
- Does your partner feel excluded because they don’t share your passion?
- Have you canceled important dates to go for a ride?
- Do you think your partner worries about you getting injured?
- Do you make cycling plans or buy gear without including your partner in the decision-making process?
- Do you think your partner simply misses you when you aren’t around?
Nobody’s perfect, so if you answered yes to some of these questions, don’t worry. It doesn’t make you a bad partner (and it definitely doesn’t mean you should give up cycling!). Often, conflict can be reduced by simply considering where your partner is coming from.
For example, if the core issue is that your partner feels lonely, making them a cup of coffee in the morning won’t solve the problem. It’ll be much better in the long-run if you plan weekly dates to make them feel special. Then, when you want to go for a ride, they won’t feel like they’re sacrificing quality time with you. It’s all about compromise.
Tip 2: Find Another ‘Couple Thing’
Find an additional hobby that’s exclusively for the two of you. Seeing as you’ve already found your passion, you’ll win extra brownie points if you let your partner decide what your “couple thing” should be.
Maybe they’ve always wanted to take pottery classes, or dance classes, or a cooking course. Whatever it is, withhold your judgement (even if you think it’s silly) because the point isn’t for you to find a new passion, it’s to make your partner feel like you share something between just the two of you.
If you decide to pick up a new hobby with your partner, don’t forget that you need to actually commit to it. Make sure it doesn’t clash with your training schedule or club rides, or you’ll end up getting your hand swiftly un-stamped.
Tip 3: Make Your Miles Count
Of course your miles already count - to you. But if your partner doesn’t get as hyped up as you do after you’ve finished another century, why not game-ify your cycling to make it fun for them too? After all, every sport is more exciting when you’ve got some skin in the game.
Here are some ideas on how you can game-ify your training to make your non-cycling partner feel like they’re part of the action:
- If you stick to your training and nutrition plan all week, cook a romantic candlelit dinner on Sunday evenings.
- When you hit a new personal best, break out your suit and tie for a fancy evening out.
- If you’re competing in an event, book the nicest hotel you can afford and bring your partner along. Remember, if you’re with Velosure Premium, you’ll also get racing coverage so your bike is covered during events and races.
- Sit with your partner and come up with your own special ways to game-ify your cycling so they can also reap the rewards of your training.
Tip 4: Free Up Your Partner’s Time
Your partner might not admit it, but chances are that they feel a little jealous of you. Who wouldn’t be envious of the fact that you get to spend your Sundays with your friends, doing what you love, and enjoying a post-ride coffee or beer afterwards?
Even if your partner doesn’t overtly need to earn brownie points with you in order to go off and enjoy themselves, taking on a bit more than your fair share of household duties can give them the chance to relax, go out with friends, or enjoy their passions.
Here are some subtle ways you can make your partner’s life a little less stressful:
- If you have kids, assign yourself one full babysitting night a week. That means cooking, cleaning, bathing, putting the kids to bed - all of it. And yes, you do get points taken off if you ask your partner for help.
- If there’s something around the house that you’ve been putting off doing, do it. Whether it’s cleaning out the garage, fixing a broken light, or mowing the lawn, your partner will appreciate the extra effort.
- If you’re getting up early for a ride, make sure the house is clean before you go. There’s nothing better than waking up to the dishes magically washed!
- If you’re not sure what your partner needs to free up some of their time, there’s no shame in asking what you can help with.
Tip 5: Get Your Partner into Cycling
Chances are, you’ve already tried to get your partner into cycling and, for whatever reason, it didn’t stick… But, chances are that you tried to get them into cycling the way you like to ride instead of how it would be most enjoyable for them.
Here are some foolproof ways to get your partner to love cycling (almost) as much as you do:
- Buy them their own bike. If their first experience was on your old bike that didn’t fit them properly, it’s no wonder they didn’t take to cycling. Get them involved in the process of learning about different types of bikes and shopping for the perfect one. Don’t roll your eyes if they choose a bike because it’s “cute”, even if you desperately want to.
- It’s probably your natural instinct to be helpful, but don’t offer your advice unless your partner asks for it. Eventually, you can pepper in some helpful tips but to start with, let them figure it out for themselves.
- Tame your competitive spirit. This isn’t the time to show off, even if you really want your partner to see how fast you can go. Let them set the pace. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t, under any circumstances, speed off without them. They’ll never forgive you (only joking - sort of).
- If your partner likes beer, do a pub tour. If they’re into coffee, do a cafe tour. If they love shopping, get your credit card ready and follow them to boutiques. You get the point. Your chances of getting them to love cycling are much higher if you tailor your ride and route to things you already know they enjoy.
- Be patient. Chances are, you’ll always be faster than them. Use your group and solo rides to push yourself but when you’re riding with your partner, simply enjoy your time together. If your partner gets frustrated because they can’t keep up with you, consider getting them an ebike to level the playing field. Remember, Velosure offers comprehensive insurance for bicycles as well as e-bikes!