The previous posting on Riding with Your Wife was a very popular article and recently Jen and I tackled an epic ride from Taipei to Taichung - 185kms with a group from the 7th Park Bike Shop. From this ride, some additional tips emerged that are worth writing about. She managed to ride 120kms before she had to stop and get onto the support bus that was following. It was a record number of kilometers for her, previous best was only 51kms! She does not ride very often and in the couple of weeks leading up to the ride, she did regular "training" on the indoor trainer to get used to sitting on the bike (i.e break the butt in) and give the legs some indication of what is to come. The training noticeably improved her aerobic capabilities and the ability to ride for longer before fatiguing.
Once we were on the wind-swept coast, she commented "Why is everyone just rolling by me like I am standing still?". Most of the people on the ride seemed to be going by effortlessly and she was very discouraged as she was working hard herself (heart rate in the 180s). So, I asked her if she wanted to be pushed and I was granted permission. Up till this point my ride was incredibly easy - averaging only 75 watts with alot of coasting. This changed when I started pushing my wife - I was suddenly outputting alot more power and now we were both passing people like they were standing still. Jen had a blast being in the pole-position, while I was slightly behind her with my left hand on her hip while I pedaled hard to catch up. We were averaging 45-50km/h in places and this was a adrenalin buzz for my wife and more so since she was now passing everyone. The feeling she had before was completely reversed! She now felt like she was passing every one effortlessly and with the speed we both generated, no one could stay with us.
We had a big seafood lunch, Taiwanese banquet style, in Hsinchu which is about half-way to Taichung. However, Jen was having neck/shoulder issues and could only do an additional 30kms to total 120kms for the day. It was sensible to jump on the bus before the condition got worse. She did comment that her legs and lungs felt fine and had she not had the neck issues, she would have made the distance.
Prior lunch Jen maintained an average heart rate of 161 bpm, with a max of 191bpm for 3.5 hours! which is pretty high for anyone over that length of time.
The biggest tip (it was also mentioned in the first article also) is to push your wife along if she wants it. Depending on how fast you want to go, it can be an excellent workout for you while your wife can enjoy the speed without the same effort. However, she is still pedaling hard herself and is still maintaining a high heart-rate. She can coast or soft pedal whenever she wants and she'll be pushed along. This is only advisable on roads with plenty of space.
Further advice is to be always encouraging and be patient especially when your wife is struggling. Words of encouragement go along way and she will continue coming out on rides with you. Just two days after the epic ride, Jen and I went out on a short 30km ride that included a 4km hill and she made it up the hill without any pushing and completed the ride with ease. No longer felt tired like she has been on previous rides.
Jen enjoying dinner post ride
If you have any further ideas or tips for riding with your wife, please leave your comments below.