I cycle with my wife. We don’t belong to a cycle club so our cycling is either on our own indoors or riding together outdoors.
Unfortunately this year my fitness has moved on quicker than my wife’s so when we cycle it gets a bit frustrating for me as I feel I’m sitting in Zone 3 and getting fatigue without getting any fitness gains and for my wife she feels like she’s flogging herself all the time which just isn’t fun for her. As you can guess, it leads to the odd frayed temper from both sides.
So my question is:
Is there anything I can do to cycle a little slower but still get gains?
We already have it that I cycle certain hills at my pace and wait at the top.
I also over gear to make it harder for my legs in the hope they will get stronger, (not sure if this is true but it seems logical).
Does anyone have any other ideas?
Please don’t include:
Buy a heavier bike
Join a cycle club etc
What I’m after are tips of how to ride slower but still improve fitness in some capacity.
When I ride with my wife I go easy on the flats so she can keep up and hit the hills hard. When I get to the top I ride down and repeat the last part with her (she is approx 20% slower typically). We don’t ride together often though so it’s not my normal training.
Ride slower. You in zone 3, she presumably in zone 4, that doesn’t sound like an enjoyable bike ride. Keep you rides slower (zone 2), and then deliberatly have ‘training segments’ (can be hills) where both of you go at their own speed (hard, if you want to), and then meet up again.
Along those lines, it may be useful to plan some rides together while others separate. Depends on your goals and training, but it may serve you both better (training and relationship) to have some separate and aimed at your more specific goals, while doing the easier and more social slow stuff together.
I did lots of slow riding with my wife at her pace, Z2 stuff. It forced my easy to be really easy and was fun for both of us. But I still did my hard stuff solo or with other faster riders.
This is what I do. Wake up an hour early. Do my scheduled TR workout and then I get to add extra Z2 time with my wife and not stress about our pace. It makes our rides way more enjoyable for both of us.
I had exactly the same issue…I ended up getting an e-bike (MTB with slicks) for my missus however I have overridden the speed limitation via a workaround on lcd display (legal if used off-road!) which enables a top speed of 30mph and a thumb trigger for acceleration without the need to pedal either.
This now means that she can come out with me on a ride and still average 20mph which is roughly my target average…she can also fly up hills without pedaling which absolutely destroys me, however it’s good incentive and training for me too. She seems to enjoy it!
What I will say about ‘normal’ ebikes (certainly in the UK/Europe - I’m not sure about the US)…the pedal assistance limit is set to max of 15-16mph, so if you ride at a speed above that, an e-bike will still be uncomfortable over that speed as the pedal assistance gets disabled and then you/she are pedaling a ~20Kg bike which takes even more effort.
The AIRhub is one reasonably good tech suggestion, as is the idea to go out earlier to do your SS or VO2 or whatever efforts you have on the schedule solo so you’re not stressing getting those in. However, I’d like to emphasize that it’s pretty important to be able to “downshift” into an enjoyment mode. It will help the relationship and also, if you ride with other people, it is a LOT more pleasant to ride with people who are capable of riding at different paces. There are a couple of people on my team who just have no understanding of “riding at a slower pace”, so when they ride with others, they just immediately drop the hammer, regardless of the capability of the group/mood of the group/purpose of ride. I should note that they also have problems riding with their partners, where their partners are slower than them now, and it leads to a lot of unhappiness. But there are other people on my team who totally “get” that there is a time and place to hammer and to not-hammer.
Also: is she able to draft off you when you are going harder? Or is that when you’re in z3 and she’s in z4? If you’re in z4 and she can draft while staying in z2 or z3, that would be a good solution as well.
My comments are similar to others. I am in the same spot. This year has been a year if gains. Then she wanted to ride together like a few years ago. Her training has been affected by work so she asked me to change from mid volume to low volume. I was against it. But ended up with higher volume.
So. I stay on low volume and hit those structured days with enthusiasm.
Wednesday and one day of the weekend we ride together. I just see it as a day to ride without the goal of a workout.
I echo everyone about hills. I am an awful climber so why not repeat or wait when they are a beast.
Also. Very important. Always talk about the positive things about the ride.
“You have a great jump”
“That’s it! Keep the cadence high, go! Whoohoo”
If your fitness is higher but kind of in the same ballpark…either ride a MTB if you have one while she is on a road bike, or throw on a pair of gatorskins and run them at like 50psi, while putting a good set of road tires on your wifes bike. GP5000 at 89 psi vs gatorskin at 50psi is a lot of watts. That combined with drafting might be enough of a difference if you pull for her.
Aside from that…yea just go slower. Accept that your rides with her will either be a recovery ride or zone 2 endurance, while she gets a workout in. I wish I could get my wife on a bike even for a cruise around the neighborhood to a pub for dinner.
My partner rides with me to get a recovery/zone 2 ride in,or to get some intervals in - he rides hard then waits for me to catch up. As I’m approaching I shout “ok” and he sets off just ahead of me. If there’s something I need to tell him/do he waits.
On fire rds we will have a chat and laugh about the difference in effort we are putting out riding side by side. We look at HR when we get back and he understands how much effort I’m putting in (especially at the moment due to meds).
What I love is, when I’m fit enough and we’re doing a small group ride and I catch up and shout “ok” and the lads have only just got to the wait point and they are trying to catch their breath and I ride past and say “catch me up!”. I know I’m on form then. Good feeling.
We stop and practice skills when we’re on our own. Video each other and try to deal with our disappointment
He’ll be back to fast group night rides soon. I don’t go on those as it’s basically like an A race for me and I think he needs his time not looking out for me (my view).
If your wife got an ebike her riding would be about your training. What a missed opportunity for her.
And for you to get creative
Also, could you support each other strength training?
My partner just started running/riding and there’s a pretty big fitness difference between us. Honestly, I’ve found the best way is just to do some sessions separate. Recovery rides are great obviously, and I’ll get a structured workout/first part of a Z2 session done and then join him when i’m already fatigued. Indoors is also great because we have our own separate workouts/targets and we can still chat.
I’ve also found the track really good when running, because even if you’re going at different speeds you’re still “around” so to speak. That might work with a bike loop depending on your local geography.
Seriously (though you dragging a parachute would work), all of the above suggestions - do hard interval workouts before going out with your wife, put on watt increasing components, etc. - will work well. Or do them all
When my wife and I started cycling, she was very discouraged because she was unable to keep up with my pace (she also suffers from exercise-induced asthma). We then decided to invest in smart trainers and Trainerroad, and since then, we get the same quality workouts side-by-side. Now when we ride outdoors, I consider it a recovery ride and do my best to maintain a pace that she can handle. If I feel I need more of a workout, I hit the weights when we get home. I also sometimes wake up very early in the morning to get a quality outdoor workout in, so I’m back by the time she gets out of bed.
As much as I don’t want to admit it, I discovered that my cycling addiction is a bit selfish. I make these sacrifices in my cycling hobby to uphold my family at a higher importance. So I commend you for asking this question as I’m sure many of us struggle with balancing cycling time with family time.