Balancing other hobbies with cycling?

I’ve gone through phases (as I’m sure most of you have) with focusing on different hobbies. I do use the term “hobby” loosely because I used to enjoy woodworking before we decided to redo our house a while back :rofl:

This is my 4th year really focusing on cycling and currently I’m training/riding around 10 hrs/week. I also have to juggle work and raising a family. I’ve played guitar off and on since I was 14 and I just turned 40 :exploding_head: … I’ve been itching to really pick it up again. It’s not so much that the specific hobby matters, but I’m wondering how folks balance everything.

I’m OK with being a so-so guitar player, a mediocre cyclist, and an great (hopefully) dad. Just looking for advice for other folks who’ve managed to keep multiple balls in the air while still having fun!

I should add that part of my motivation is to set a good example for my son who’s almost 7. He can laser focus on 1 thing (Minecraft, anyone?) but I want him to explore lots of things without the concern that he has to excel at everything.

14 Likes

So hard to balance other hobbies & relationships for that matter with cycling. I’m about 10 years older than you & my kids are 26 (daughter) & 17 (son) so they don’t require (nor desire!) as much of my attention as they once did. I do have to watch myself in regards to my relationship with my girlfriend who enjoys mtb with me but isn’t the fanatic/addict that I am. Being intensely introverted is a tough line to walk in that regard, too.

My other primary hobby is photography but it requires insane amounts of time for me to invest to get the results I want. I love landscape photography & particularly “nightscape” images like these:

I also do portraits & such & occasionally get paid work but I don’t really pursue it. I’d rather ride my bike!! So yeah, I have other hobbies that suffer due to my cycling habit but riding, especially in the woods, keeps me healthy, happy & most importantly centered in a fairly crazy world.

47 Likes

Since my kids came along exercise/cycling is my only hobby. Everything else had to drop by the wayside (table tennis, learning Spanish, etc…) because with work, two kids under 5, sharing household duties with my spouse it was all too much. cycling is the most important to me along with exercises in general - so that’s the one that stuck around. My hope is to get back to those other things - but there is literally not enough time in the day/week for anything else.

I imagine as my kids get older I’ll be able to get back into table tennis, or add more hours to my training - but right now I’m just doing what I can. My guess is I can’t raise my FTP much higher without adding volume, but I am about at my limit with that too.

Good luck

4 Likes

I only have time for one 8-10 hour per week hobby and I’ve decided that I want to be the best cyclist I can be right now. I don’t want to half a$$ cycling.

I used to do the old car hobby. I gave it up because the cars were becoming an albatross around my neck. 30-40 year old sports cars always have some small thing wrong with them and need some attention. And I used to do car shows, swap meets, and club fun runs. Plus all the time spent online finding old parts. It also wasn’t compatible with family life - like ‘honey, I’m going to be spending the next two weekends replacing the clutch’.

Guitar - check. I have that one too. I think you can play for relaxation 10-15-20 minutes a day or just a few times per week. Learn a new song now and then. But if you want to start an old geezer band with your friends then you’ve ended up with another 10-15 hour per week hobby. :slight_smile:

Some people are just better at doing things half ass. :slight_smile: I know guys that cycle 2-3 times per week and magically remain pretty strong. They do a lot less or zero in the winter and then ramp it up in the spring, peak in July, and fizzle out by September.

Maybe that is mentally healthier if you fill in all the other time with going to the gym, some swimming, running, or playing tennis. I’m more of an all in type.

5 Likes

Well Kris…whatever youre doing, you’re doing right. Those images are beautiful!!!

@AJS914 Definitely don’t have time for my geezer band. Who knew playing Nirvana songs would plant me squarely in the classic rock category these days :rofl: You might be on to something. Maybe a goal of learning a few songs per month and playing for fun is enough to scratch that itch.

3 Likes

Thank you very much, I appreciate it! The darkest skies near us are in Acadia National Park which is where the 2nd one was shot. So 12hrs round trip driving, 6 hours scouting location & shooting then probably 8 hours editing. It’s a lot of time not riding :joy:

1 Like

“Other” hobbies? What is this “other?” I do not know this word, only cycling.

4 Likes

Balance it baby!

4 Likes

I played guitar many years ago before finding sport… I was never in a band or took it too serious but really enjoyed the gear. Then came wife, kids and responsibilities which ended with me getting rid of all my gear almost 12-13 years ago.

I just placed an order for a new guitar last week and a bit concerned how I’ll manage to juggle sport, family and guitar. I suppose its similar to trying to balance being a midpack cyclist and front of midpack runner all while trying to be a good family man… And realize there are times in the year in which one will take primary focus (running vs cycling, or vice versa… not being a good family man lol).

I definitely don’t want to regress in sport but also realize I won’t be winning races or touring anytime soon.

#lifeishard

2 Likes

I was never able to balance playing bass and bikes. After a year or two of failing, I decided my health was more important and decided to set the bass aside and set my retirement goal to really become a strong musician. I retired last fall and I’ll tell you what…all these people who say “what will you do with all your time?” have no idea how much time it takes to focus on both the bike and the music. Add in doing stuff around the house, cooking, cleaning, etc., and trying to get in 8 hours of sleep and I can’t find enough hours in the day!

Also, if anyone who’s a musician has ever wondered what my user name was about, now you know!

4 Likes

Right now, cycling keeps me sane.

I realized something recently about myself: I love the process of improving. I looked at all my hobbies growing up and even now. I like role playing games as a kid, improving a character in level and equipment. I restored classic cars. I reload ammo. I make yogurt and want to start brewing my beer.

I spend a ton of time on my trainer and outdoors riding.

I realized that I love the process of things. The small improvements. I’ll probably keep riding for a long time, and the only thing I see potentially stopping me is either injury or lack of motivation when I stop improving no matter what I do.

8 Likes

@varmstrong Cheers thats awesome! I feel like having a beer you brewed after a good ride must be a great feeling.

@Pbase Hope you’re enjoying the retired life. I’ve always had guitars but I’m stepping over to the dark side…just bought a bass :star_struck:

3 Likes

You’re probably already better than me! :metal:

1 Like

All in on cycling here too - i dont have time to commit to other hobbies given family. In the past though, i have gone through phases and gotten pretty darn good / knowledgable about cooking, gardening, financial analysis (zzz), weight lifting (once upon a time). But now, just bikes… only bikes

3 Likes

I’m in the same boat as you with a 4 year old, 6 month old and a demanding job. It’s hard. My focus is definitely cycling, and I try to structure my day so that workouts get done while everyone else is sleeping. I also play guitar and have found it really rewarding to involve my son- teaching him notes helped me (finally!) learn the fretboard. I also play guitar a lot more in the off-season while not riding as much- periodizing all my hobbies, basically :joy:

6 Likes

Depends on the hobby and where you are with it I guess.
I’ve played the guitar since I was 12 (now 39). While it was nowhere near as time consuming as cycling, I did spend quite a bit of time some years (not nearly as much nowadays).
Most of it is accepting that some hobbies will take more space / time in your life than others at certain times and that’s ok. Learning to have a healthy relationship with your hobbies a good goal to have :slight_smile:

Also specialization or pushing one interest to the max is not a bad thing IMO. I won’t ever have kids but if I did I think I’d want them to balance life with hobbies not multiple hobbies (unless they wanted) with each other. You can introduce them to things that you think they might like but in the end, they do what they do. You should pick up mindcraft and play it with him! :slight_smile:

Which reminds me, I suck at sharing my life with anyone so here’s a link to our "band"s couple songs. It’s really me on guitars / bass and my friend of 20+ years on drums. We record at home and across continents. Gotta find a singer real bad :rofl:

5 Likes

I ride over 20 hours a week, run about 3 hours a week with my GF, about 3 hours at the bouldering gym every week. About 26 hours a week of activities.

GF is sitting at around 15-20 hours a week of doing the same (less cycling, more running) while being a single mom with two teen boys at home (adult daughter at home is autonomous, another daughter out of the house). She was going to school full time and working part time, but she is finally finishing up her program and is just working full time (finishing up her student teaching).

Neither of us do social events (except a weekly group run with her friends), we don’t drink, we don’t watch TV.

Look at your schedule, pick your priorities.

4 Likes

I started playing guitar when I was 8, played in a band in college, continued to play/practice, played American football in high school/freshman year college, then casually ran/biked/lifted all that time, enough to stay in shape but not in the “hobby” sense. Had a pretty nice collection of guitars/amps/effects. Around age 45, joined a band of other dads (all a little younger than me)–practice once a week on Sunday nights, gigs every few months (mostly private parties/charity events, occasional bar gigs but loading out at 2 AM in your 40s is rough). My wife, who’s a surgeon, was very supportive, and it was great to have a group of friends to hang out/play with. In the mean time, two of our boys became interested in biking, so we started local MTB rides with the kids. Then, at age 50, we had the (happy) surprise of an unexpected baby. Within a year, although my wife was still supportive, I became more and more guilty about being away at least one night a week and stopped playing in the band, although still kept playing for myself.

Within a few years, the boys started doing NICA and then cross, my wife and I started doing cross with them, and biking became what we did as a family, with my wife and one of my sons being nationally ranked. I still have most of my music gear, but haven’t played seriously in several years. I’m 60 now, with one kid at 30 in the work force, one college sophomore, one high school senior, and a 4th grade daughter. My daughter has been riding a pedal bike since she was 3, and my wife and I are planning on continuing, with and without kids, for as long as we can (and if I survive my 60’s with a teenage daughter I’m going to live forever anyway)

Take homes:
–Balancing work/family/things you do for yourself is hard and the balance will likely change at different times in your life–there’s no right answer, but be REALLY honest and open with your spouse and make sure that she has her hobbies as well
–It’s harder to get back physical fitness after time away then your musical skills
–After years of observation, I believe that there is a gene on the Y chromosome that requires every man to have at least one hobby where (a) you’re never satisfied with your level of performance and (b) you’re convinced that if you just get that one more piece of gear you’ll finally be able to satisfied. Most of us only have enough disposable income and/or physical space to be committed to one of those hobbies at a time.

8 Likes

I’ve never had such a time consuming hobby as cycling. I remember when I was a pretty serious runner I thought an 8 hour week was a solid solid week… 8 hours as a cyclist just feel like a regular week (and for some that’s an off week).

Even still, I dropped most of my other hobbies in pursuit of getting fast on a bike! Although, riding your bike doesn’t have to be the only thing you do as a cyclist - I’m enjoy tinkering, building bikes, sourcing second hand parts on eBay, planning routes, all of which I suppose can be classed as a micro-hobby in itself!

There might be ways to combine your other interests with the bike. And I can see this as a great way to promote the bicycle whether as a sport or mode of mobility :slight_smile: I work in architecture and have done little fun paper projects on cycling infrastructure in my city!

2 Likes

Those are some really nice photos!

3 Likes