I was recently driving in a carpool full of dirty mountain bikers (Cory Knight and Nahum Burt). I was talking about how my bike rack was broken and I was researching a new one. (Read about my troubles with my old bike rack – Bike Rack Blues)
This rack was amazing. It had every feature that I wanted. It had a nice wide platform so we weren’t squeezing the bikes on when we carpool. It was easy to take on and off the car with the “Hand Tight Cam System” and it looked like it was solidly constructed. There was a built in bike repair rack and it would allow my tailgate to fully open. It had everything!
There was just one problem I told them – the price. It was way more expensive than other 4-bike options.
I don’t remember exactly how the conversation went, so I’ll paraphrase…
“What, your wife won’t let you get it?”
“No. my wife would let me get it. She’s pretty supportive of my hobby. She’s never said ‘no’ to any of my mountain biking requests.”
I keep track of the money in our family and if I really wanted to I’m sure I could find a little extra in our accounts to purchase this super-sweet bike rack that would make me the NV of my mountain biking friends. But I don’t do it. Why?
Well, one, because I would like to retire someday and my stay-at-home dad salary doesn’t provide me with unlimited funds for mountain biking.
And, two, more importantly, out of respect for my wife, Chrissy. She has never told me to cut back my spending on cycling, but I put my own limits there so that I am not testing hers.
I love my mountain bike, but I don’t have the expensive carbon-framed version out of respect for her.
I’d love to get a new road bike because mine is starting to fall apart, but I make due with what I have so we can afford some of the projects that she wants.
Who wouldn’t love to have a fat tire bike, or a cyclocross bike, or a commuter bike, or a ride around the neighborhood with your kids bike? There is an infinite amount of bikes a fella could want. (I’ve been told that the formula for the number of bikes you need is n+1, where n equals the number of bikes you currently have.) I purposely try to stay away from the bike shop (which is a fun place for me to go) because I don’t want to catch a case of upgrade fever. I try to spend that saved shopping time with my wife and family who have supported me all along.
Chrissy is not into cycling. It’s not a stimulating activity for her. She doesn’t hate it, but there are about a million activities that she would choose to do before spending her Saturday cruising the trails.
I can’t exactly explain why I like biking. I just know I do. I like exploring new roads and trails. There is a certain thrill in trying to test my endurance or in challenging myself to go faster. I also like the social rides too, where you just ride along slowly and chat about life. It’s a great way to get to know someone.
Even though cycling is an individual sport for me, there is no way I could ride and compete the way I do without her being on my team. She watches the kids when I go cycling on Saturday mornings or when I’m gone for an entire day at a race. She doesn’t complain when I’m trying to squeeze in a ride when she gets home for work or when I go to bed super early so I can wake up and work out. It’s definitely not convenient for her when I insist on bringing my bike along on vacations – but she let’s me do it anyways.
I’m a stay-at-home dad and I spend most of my waking hours with my young children. Biking time is “me” time. It’s a chance to get away and recharge my batteries so I can come home and be a good father. Chrissy appreciates that and allows me to have freedom to enjoy it.
She even takes the time to listen to my biking stories. She gets to hear turn-by-turn details from my races and epic tales of endos and washouts. She even listens when I tell her about VO2Max intervals and how I noticed a drop in my heart rate for a given level of power. Let’s face it. Most of these stories are not that interesting for a non-biker. But, she patiently listens.
She even reads this mountain biking blog.
And that’s why I’m writing this. I want her and everyone else to know how much I appreciate the support she has given me over the years. Not everyone has that. Most guys don’t get to go to as many races as I do, and a lot of times it’s because their spouse doesn’t want to let them go. Many of them return from a ride to an argument, but when I get home I hear “How was your ride?”
Chrissy has tolerated the time, expense and effort that I have invested into mountain biking and she has done it lovingly. I am thankful. The hours I have put into this blog have made this investment even bigger and she seems happy to let me work on it. I am grateful.
Honey, I love you. Just in case I don’t say it enough… Thank you for your support.
P.S. I ended up buying the Yakima Fullswing from roll: Polaris. Still not cheap, but I’m super-excited about it. Hopefully it doesn’t push her over the edge. 😉
What about you? What is your cycling support-system like? I would love to hear about it in the comment section.
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