Weigh in on Restarting Bike Commuting Before I Broach the Subject with my Wife- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Weigh in on Restarting Bike Commuting Before I Broach the Subject with my Wife

    Here is a brief run down of background. For a few years I biked into work when I could. I probably averaged 3 days a week. I have a gym at my office where I would hit the weights and then the shower after my ride in. My wife has never been a fan of my biking into work, even though I always had a safe route. Then she got pregnant and we bought a house in another neighborhood. We both work and our child has to go to daycare. I tried to arrange a 50/50 split between myself and my wife on the days we did pickup and dropoff at our sons daycare. That would have enabled me to bike in a couple days a week. She said it really did not work with her schedule, and instead I did all drop offs and she did all pick ups. Also, from my new house there is not really good safe route to work. There are train tracks, gated communities, and an interstate between my house and office. Since hanging up my cleats, I have gained 20 pounds, my wife has become pregnant with baby 2, and I have had to take over all day care duties (wife isn't allowed to hold child during a very rough pregnancy).

    So, that gets us up to date. I had a talk with my wife the other day about what things were going to be like once we had our 2nd child and settled into a routine. One issue she expressed was that that me doing morning drop offs and her doing evening drop offs had not been working for her. She said she would prefer to split the days 50/50 (my original suggestion). I was excited, as I this would enable me to bike in a couple of days a week. She may try and put a kabosh on that though. I know how she feels about me bike commuting and having the added responsibility of two kids has made her even more nervous about me being on a bike.

    The pros are that I would be less stressed, get back in shape, be happier, get to use my rig that spent a lot of time modifying for commuting, and I would be one less car on the road. The cons are she would worry about me, the route is more dangerous, if a kid got sick or there was an emergency at daycare I couldn't help out, and it will probably lead to a few arguments a month with my wife.

    Any thoughts? Any insight into similar issues?

  2. #2
    NDD
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    Tough situation. I'll leave this one to the folks that have spouses and kids.

    The other aspect - should your wife be ok with you getting out of shape? That's not good for your longevity either.
    dang

  3. #3
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    That's tough, man. I'm married, but have no kids. My wife and I both try to be as flexible as we can, but my wife's job is pretty inflexible all by itself and makes things pretty tough at times for us. Which means that by default, I have to be a little extra flexible at times and if we had kids, that'd be even moreso, I think (though my wife would have something that actually was a valid reason to be more flexible WRT her job - as it is now, it's not really her choice or her boss's choice, it's just the nature of the work she does).

    My wife also expresses some worry about me commuting. But she also knows that I take my safety seriously. When my route contains actual roads and not just greenway trails, she asks me to let her know when I arrive safely at my destination. I give her that, and I send a text. She has a pretty good idea how long my regular routes take by now, so if something creates a major delay like a construction detour, a flat, or something else like that, then I let her know about that.

    I personally put my foot down when it comes to running a tracking app on my phone that would let her check up on my location. That's way more than necessary. She knows my routes, and she has a rough idea of how long it should take me. And I send her confirmation when I get to work. That is enough. But she also doesn't worry THAT much, so it's never something she pressed me about. If your wife DOES worry that much, then that might be something you just need to do. Happiness at home is pretty important.

    I agree with NDD, though, regarding being out of shape. Make her aware of that. I know my wife appreciates it when I'm in better shape.

    Hell, I'm absolutely thrilled that she's decided that she actually wants a road bike (a gravel/all-road type bike, but it's still a road bike), and that we ordered one last night. She's currently nervous about riding on the roads with cars, but we're going to start out fairly easy. Off-street greenway trails mostly to start with, but also some low intensity rides with a group on less busy roads. What that's going to do is increase her own confidence in riding on roads, and hopefully reduce her worry regarding me riding on roads during my commutes. I've signed up for a charity century, and part of my preparation will be increasing my bike commute days (my commute is 45mi RT, so I don't do it often because it takes a long time). The thing that pushed her to commit to a road bike was me signing up for this charity, as she wants to do some of these training rides. I'm not sure if she's going to want to do the full century training with me or not, or if she has any thoughts on that yet at all. But either way, I think that's a victory.

  4. #4
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    You might not like my answer.

    With two kids, the probability of one of them getting sick and throwing off your day care schedule increases (not to mention doctor appointments and such). In about 5 years or so, you might have to also deal with scouting, or sports. The strain of your wife handling all/most "Emergent" issues than becomes resentment. It might be a slight chance, but one you should consider. Raising a family should be a shared load if you plan to remain married. It is a heck of a lot harder if you only have visiting rights.

    I'm not suggesting you just forgo commuting. I AM suggesting that you and your wife compromise.

    Mind you, I'm an olde farte, still married after 38 years, and we each got our "toys" along the way. It's all boiled down to "Mutual Respect".

  5. #5
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    Honesty is the best policy. If you will be happier and healthier, say so. Also, look into if there is any emergency ride home, etc. available. My work will pay something like $80/taxi/car rental/ etc. - rarely actually used - for just this reason; many do not bike, car pool, etc., because of your concerns, but it does not actually happen that often. Also consider co-workers/friends willingness to help in case of an emergency, assuming you would do the same.

  6. #6
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    I've been commuting on the bike through most of my 16 years of marriage and through the addition of 4 (yes four) kiddos. Establishing the routine is the hardest part. There are things that are important enough to me that they have also become important to my wife and she fights with me to protect them. The biking to work is one of those things. May sound weird to some but it's super important to my health and sanity. I'm a better husband and daddy for many reasons because of it. There are things that are on that level of importance for my wife too, and I fight with her to protect them for her. That's marriage, yeah? Getting the routine established in the middle of your kid situation will be tough, but it's do-able.
    As far as the safety piece... The trade off is getting less and less healthy from not riding... That's guaranteed. Small chance you could get hit by a car vs. 100% chance you keep gaining weight and start dealing with all the health consequences of that. Living in fear can kill ya too... No brainier for me.

  7. #7
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    This is coming from a married man with no children who is still in his 20s so...

    By my math this 50/50 split thing and given the fact that you sound like a fairly fair-weather rider, you would probably get at most two days a week in but probably lots of weeks with just one. This will not melt away that 20 lbs, nor did you gain 20 lbs because you stopped commuting a few days a week. The gym at work didn't go away did it? Not trying to be harsh but if you want to get into better shape one or two days of riding won't help all that much.

    Ideas:
    -Pitch one regular commute day a week to her, that will help with the routine aspect.
    -Find some form of exercise you can do together (after the 2nd is born obviously) so that you both improve health at the same time so as to avoid resentment.
    -Go on a diet.

  8. #8
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    You can always ride weekends. I am not married but live with my girlfriend and her two kids. I don't get to ride much on the weekdays. Sometimes I don't ride at all. But weekends are always open for me. I am always up early as opposed to everyone else. So I try to ride when the sun comes up. By the time I get back home everybody is just barely eating breakfast. Have you considered running? I mix in running on the weekdays too. Run, eat breakfast then go to work.

  9. #9
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    nobody Kaboshs anything in our marriage

  10. #10
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    my wife wants me to bike commute.

    she will insist on me buying some safety gear..lights, brightass clothing, etc..

    trying to call Nitto bike racks safety gear might be a stretch..and fenders. i think it's healthier,and my wife appreciates me being healthier.
    Santa Cruz 5010 C
    Surly Crosscheck.

  11. #11
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    Its been 3 weeks since this thread was opened, maybe the TO can give us a feedback/update how things are going?

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