Find out how a date ride can be a rewarding experience

Find out how a date ride can be a rewarding experience

SPT 8d mercier molas 121111
SPT 8d mercier 121111

Anyone who has been married for a while knows that to succeed, you have to be willing to suffer. Few activities involve more suffering than cycling. This combination would lead one to assume that riding with a spouse would lead to new heights of misery.

But my wife Mandie and I have found that riding together is one of the most rewarding experiences in our marriage. There is something romantic about getting out of the house and away from the phone, kids and other stresses of modern day life.

The alone time, along with the endorphins released from the exertion, can bring you much closer to each other and really help with bonding.

I also think perhaps one reason I enjoy our rides together is because I get a little payback for the suffering I have endured in our marriage!

Shortly after we got married, I bought Mandie a mountain bike and put slick tires on it because I thought it would be a great way for us to spend time together. She didn’t want a road bike at the time and felt that a mountain bike would be safer and more comfortable.

But with babies and the stresses of motherhood and moving to a new country (she is South African) with a different culture, it was difficult to find time and she did not enjoy it. Plus, since this was my sport and my idea, it couldn’t possibly have been a good one.

It also didn’t help that whenever we would ride together I would make fun of her slow speed and sarcastically pedal beside her with just one leg while humming the tune to Rocky. She would get upset and frustrated. I would be confused and left wondering why she didn’t want to ride with me anymore.

About seven years ago, however, she picked it up again and slowly started to engage herself in the sport. The kids were a bit older and she wanted to get back in shape.

At the time, Cold Shivers Point seemed like an unattainable goal. In her mind it may as well have been Mt. Everest.

She stuck with it and slowly gained in both fitness and confidence. When she finally made it to the top of Cold Shivers Point, she stopped the watch at more than 48 minutes. She rides it much faster now.

I learned to shut my mouth and have patience and her enthusiasm and love for the sport grew. We would get into occasional arguments if I tried to take a ride when she had been planning one.

On more than one occasion I stayed home to watch the kids so she could get in a ride. I began to wonder if her riding was really such a great idea.

As the kids grew and enrolled in school we had more time to ride together. She progressed from that initial mountain bike to an aluminum bike with a triple chain ring to the light carbon fiber road bike that she now rides.

Her bucket list has included the Iron Horse ride from Durango to Silverton. She tackled this last summer on a beautiful day. Although she was recovering from the flu, she finished, but did not beat the train. Hopefully the weather will be just as nice in 2012.

We take “date rides” where we ride to the high point on Colorado National Monument, or if time allows we will complete the loop. We enjoy this and have a streak of 17 consecutive months of riding at least to Cold Shivers point.

If you are encouraging your spouse to ride, it is important to remember how intimidating riding on the road can be for new riders.

With the speed, the thin tires, the distances and the traffic on the roads, the sport can be frightening.

Even just getting into and out of the pedals can seem challenging. Mandie endured several cuts and dark bruises on her legs and arms from crashing in our driveway at the end of rides because she forgot to clip out of her pedals.

Through suffering comes salvation. This can be true for couples riding together as well. It is astonishing that my wife continued with cycling. She is now both an avid participant as well as a fan — but still calls me if she gets a flat tire. We both look forward to years of riding together and I hope you can, too.

Good riding!

Scott Mercier is going on hiatus for the winter. Until it’s cycling season again, Dave Buchanan will be alternating Sundays with Bill Haggerty, writing about Colorado’s favorite winter pastime, snow sports.

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