Part of the idea with this blog (and the shop) is to encourage people to ride their bikes more often. I’m convinced that once a person catches the ‘bug’ of cycling, they will be a convert. They will realize how good it makes them feel to cycle, how much money it saves, how efficient it is, etc. Conversely, they will also realize how terrible the car is: big time monetary cost, you are a passive slug when you drive, really bad for our planet, etc.
All that seems pretty straight forward in my mind. Unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn’t see things the same way I do (actually it’s fortunate, I’m a bit crazy). One of the people who doesn’t see things the same way as I do is my wife. Mrs. Guru has never jumped into the cycling thing with both feet the way I did. This is in spite of my gentle and loving encouragement in favor of the beloved bike (read: fire and brimstone sermons on the evils of the automobile).
The real hurdle to getting her to ride more was actually one that I was completely unaware of until it had already been crossed. As you have realized by this point, I have neglected my people skills and intuition and used that energy on bike related matters. That’s why I didn’t realize the reason my wife didn’t like riding with me was because I was going too fast. Also, she asked me regularly to slow down, but I didn’t clue in.
It was after we had kids. I remember pulling our son in the chariot for the first time to go visit grandma and grandpa. We stopped about 18 times and set a very leisurely pace. When we got to our destination, Mrs. Guru was smiling. She had enjoyed the ride. No one was sweaty or out of breath and we had done this trip as a family. I finally got it. Slow down. Take it easy. Enjoy the ride.
I had been pushing to go fast and make it to the destination in a good time. I had neglected to think about the ride itself and whether Mrs. Guru was actually that concerned about efficiency and time. Now she likes riding, and it seems our two speed-challenged children will keep me honest for at least the next few years.
It wouldn’t take the average family man this long to figure out what might make cycling more enjoyable for his partner, but it did for me. Hopefully it gives someone out there a bit of a head start on figuring out how to get their significant other more comfortable riding.