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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    California's Central Valley
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    106

    Bike Lust is straining my (human) relationship

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    It has been quite a long time since I posted here, but I wanted to get some perspective on a small problem I'm having.
    I've been cycling for a few years now with my original entry level road bike. It was a birthday present from my husband, and I picked it after trying countless others. The feelings I have for it are still the same and I am enjoying the sport even more since I have had a chance to get more experience. You know how it is!
    About 4 months after I got the road bike, I invested in a commuter bike because my interest in biking was growing. He frowned and fussed a bit, until I explained that it was like having a sports car for fun (the road bike) and a utility vehicle (the commuter). He mostly understood that but even now he still shakes his head sometimes at having/needing 2 bikes (not sure what he would do if I liked mountain biking-we'd probably be divorced!).
    Cut to the present. This spring and summer I have once again started cycling more often and doing longer distances. In fact I just finished my first official metric century recently! This has led me to where I am now, looking flirtatiously at a new bike. First I brought up the idea of "upgrading" my components and he got grumpy. See, he thinks that one bike should work for the entire life of my hobby and you should not need anything else. After reading more and researching, I concluded in the back of my mind that a whole new bike might be more economical, plus that way he could get mine fitted for him and we could ride together. If I even mention getting a new bike, he now becomes very upset. Now, we have separate banking accounts, and I have my own full time job so I am not seeing the problem in this. To me it is a natural progression to move up to a better bike after a time. It doesn't mean the older one is trash (I'd never part with it!), it just means you've outgrown its capabilities. ITs like upgrading your PC or similar.
    I am finding myself pouring over "bike pron" (manufacturer's websites, reviews, videos, sourcing out local bike shops) when he isn't around.
    It seems pretty obvious that he sees the replacement of my original bike as a slam against him in some way, but I can't fathom the workings of the male mind enough to fix that. Help!!!
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
    - Eleanor Roosevelt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    247
    This seems like a marriage issue, not a bicycle issue. Do you have established guidelines for spending money on personal items? Start there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    perpetual traveler
    Posts
    1,267
    Maybe talk about how the bike was the best present you could ever had received because it got you into biking and fitness and changed your life. But now with riding longer rides you need a bike that will take you too that next level. Or maybe not. It wouldn't work with my husband.

    My husband is mildly disapproving of me buying lots of bike stuff. But he is disapproving of spending money in general. Even though I am retired I do some consulting work on the side and used that money for bike stuff. He agrees that this money is my "spending" money. But he still thinks I am wasteful. He thinks Americans in general consume far too much stuff. I have the money to buy a mountain bike but haven't yet because three bikes in one year is just going to be too much for him to grok.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,259
    Could he be talked into riding with you? Before my hubby talked me into trying cycling I didn't particularly like the money he spent on bikes...or his need to have at least 3 (road, mountain, cyclocross).

    Then I got my first road bike (which I upgraded a year later to something more suitable to the sort of riding I liked and with better components)...and the rest is history. Now I have 3 bikes (well, I did--before my kiddo took over my mountain bike, so I will be upgrading again, soon). Hubby has 4 (road, mountain, CX, fatbike), kiddo has 2 (CX and my former mtn. bike) and we have a tandem...which is mostly DH and DS's so we can all ride on the road together.

    I'm sure to some our # of bikes would seem excessive, but we don't have the sorts of $$ toys that a lot of folks near us have, like boats, jetskis, snowmobiles, ATVs or horses. We don't take many vacations, and the ones we do are generally rather short and close to home or to visit family. We have a cheap old house with a cheap mortgage. We drive relatively economic cars and drive them for a very long time.

    If you can't talk him into joining you on a bike (and seeing why n+1 is serious!), then I think the relationship angle is the important one to address. Even if you were to convinced him to join you, that's a good conversation to have.
    Kirsten
    run/bike log
    zoomylicious


    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,367
    Find a good marriage counselor.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    97
    We Americans do consume to much stuff but that is a completely topic because this is BIKES we are talking about.

    I'm curious as to how often OP and spouse buy new vehicles. Maybe that can be brought into the discussion especially if it is every few years. My DH didn't understand the whole bike lust thing until he finally tried out a bike that was sized appropriately for him. Now, I think if our finances permitted it, he would be looking for another one (and we just got the new ones in March).

    Good luck and I hope you overcome these difficulties with DH. Does he have any hobbies that he has more than one thing for?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
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    9,075
    You have a commuter which actually saves you money. I've read somewhere, perhaps LAB that the average person saves roughly 3k a year by going car free or even car-light depending on car you drive and MPG. Every time you ride is a savings or investment. What you do with that is something to discuss.

    I'd think of cycling as an investment in your health. He does want you to last a long time, right?
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,516
    I agree with those who have said that this is really more of an issue with your relationship than the bike.

    I am so thankful to have a DH who shares my passion, and is quite indulgent in all things hobby related.
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    Quote Originally Posted by roo4 View Post
    This seems like a marriage issue, not a bicycle issue. Do you have established guidelines for spending money on personal items? Start there.
    I tend to agree with this. In the very least, I think you need to figure out what's really driving his grumbling. Is it purely a financial issue? If so, then I'd ditto the question posed above about your established guidelines on spending. Can you (and by "you" I mean your household) really afford a new bike? Of course, every couple has different attitudes about how they view their money. For instance, my husband and I have seperate accounts and our own jobs. Still, I don't see the money in my account as "mine" such that I can spend it freely. While we don't consult one another for every purchase, we do on larger items and even with smaller items, I'm always aware of their impact on our overall financial picture.

    Is it a relationship issue, i.e., is he threatened by your cycling in some way? Does he feel left out or abandoned? Are you changing in ways that make him feel insecure about his own body or athleticism? If that's really what's driving his reaction, then I think you'd be better off addressing that first and foremost--because with our without a new bike, that's just going to continue to fester.

    If it's just that he doesn't understand bikes, then I think you need to be honest with yourself, first, about what's really driving your bike lust. Have you truly outgrown your bike? Are the components of such a lower quality that they're not functioning properly? Is the bike too heavy for your needs or does it not fit properly? If you just want a new, nicer bike (and trust me, I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with that), then I think you need to be frank about that with your husband. I really hate when somebody tells me that they need something when in reality they just want it. I'd rather they were straight up about it.

    If we're talking purely about want, I think should emphasize with your husband that riding makes you happy and that upgrading your bike from time to time is a fairly natural progression for cycling enthusiasts. Establish a budget and make darn certain that your new bike is really going to be the bomb. Assuming you don't otherwise indulge your every want, then hopefully you will ultimately get his support. If he's still resistent, then I tend to think it circles back to being a relationship or financial issue.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    California's Central Valley
    Posts
    106
    Thanks for all the thoughtful replies.

    I agree that mostly we Americans spend too much money in general. In my life-I am 50 years old, btw-I have owned exactly ONE car. I kept it for 16 years, and donated it to a charity last summer. As a family we currently have a small SUV for hauling kids, bikes and camping stuff, and an old mini pickup that my DH uses for commuting. I am in general, a fairly frugal person, preferring thrift stores to department stores, and I do not often toss money around lightly. =)

    My DH is a computer geek. Very recently, he decided he needed an upgrade to his PC (which was about 5 years old) and after some discussion and my input on the matter he decided to build his own. He sourced out the parts and was able to build a top notch machine for about $1000.00 less than a comparable off the shelf model. I agreed with his doing this in part because he very rarely treats himself to anything nice and I thought it would help him see my point about a new bike.

    It didn't. He is just stubborn on the fact that he doesn't think I should ever need a new or different bike.
    As far as finances go, we pay a share of the mortgage and bills then are pretty free to do whatever with the leftovers (save, buy things for the kids, house, etc). I make more money than he does and we have separate accounts. Trips and large purchases are discussed openly, options evaluated and a decision is made.
    I am certainly willing to wait another year or so for a new bike, I'm itching to try a nicer one but it doesn't rule my life. Putting more miles on the one I have can't hurt anything, and in the end will only help my case. I know that being patient is the way to go but it is a little difficult where bikes are concerned! =) There are some really nice ones out there!
    Thanks all for your input.
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
    - Eleanor Roosevelt

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,259
    Quote Originally Posted by Blueberry View Post
    I am so thankful to have a DH who shares my passion, and is quite indulgent in all things hobby related.
    Mine has to be...frequently he will groan when I get a bad case of bike lust, but I point out that he only has himself to blame and he'll invariably chuckle. Last night when we were talking about the 29er that I'm drooling over while on a mountain bike ride with friends and their kids (including limewave) he grinned and said "I'm loving every minute of it, really." We've both joked that we should set up a way to do direct deposit to our LBS--actually, it's not even much of a joke. If we could do it, we probably would.

    It would be one thing if a person's chosen hobby were unhealthy in some way, but when your love is something that is so good for you and good for the planet, then the criticism from your spouse seems like it's not about the bike or cycling at all. My guess is it's about your time away...but there's nothing stopping him from joining you. If he doesn't want to ride, then that's his issue. He shouldn't hold you back, just because he doesn't have interest in it. Unless you're sacrificing all couple time for your bike, it sounds like he's being petty.
    Kirsten
    run/bike log
    zoomylicious


    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
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    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,516
    Quote Originally Posted by zoom-zoom View Post
    It would be one thing if a person's chosen hobby were unhealthy in some way, but when your love is something that is so good for you and good for the planet, then the criticism from your spouse seems like it's not about the bike or cycling at all.
    Mine groans more about my knitting yarn stash than the bikes, but it's all good natured. The only only serious grumbling I get is when I've missed a workout and "find" time to knit at night (which is my way of de-stressing). I do know him well enough to know that that really is him worrying about me, and wanting me to be healthy (I need to lose weight, and I am certainly not perfect about getting in workouts). It's all good in my house.
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    I wonder if he's seeing it as something that takes you away from him, and the idea of a bike that will make it easier for you to do those really long rides is making him uncomfortable, and the money/practicality thing is a cover.
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    California's Central Valley
    Posts
    106
    Indysteel-
    I think you brought up some really good points. I agree he is feeling threatened by all of this in some way, just not sure of what part is setting him off.
    As for getting him involved in cycling himself-we have discussed that and after the most recent event he agrees that it would be fun to do it together. He is supportive in other ways as in, watching the kids, taking my bike into the shop when needed, driving us to events, etc. He was very athletic most of his life and has played sports from grade school to some in college, and even adult leagues afterward. He has a very sports minded family (his dad was his soccer coach in HS) and both is parents played adult soccer for years. I don't see how my recent devotion to cycling and the progress I've made compare to a lifetime of being a jock (even though he has not participated in sports for about 10 years now).
    My bike is an entry level road bike, mostly aluminum frame with carbon fork and a few other bits, and has lowest end components (Tiagra and Sora). It is a wee bit heavy but not badly so. The only things I have done to it are changing the original saddle and adding a computer. It was not a woman specific model. I guess you could say it is a "want" thing for now but it will be a "need" in another year or so. Conceivably, it could with a little adjustment and tinkering, fit him so we could bike together.
    I agree with so many of you that it is a relationship issue, and writing this has really helped me see where some of the problems may be. At least I have an idea of what to work on, now all I need is patience!
    Thanks a ton!
    Last edited by Medianox; 06-28-2012 at 09:07 AM.
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
    - Eleanor Roosevelt

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,259
    Quote Originally Posted by Medianox View Post
    As for getting him involved in cycling himself-we have discussed that and after the most recent event he agrees that it would be fun to do it together.
    I really encourage you guys to talk more about this. This is where DH and I were about 3 years ago. He's a JDRF coach and that was putting a strain on our relationship. He'd be gone at least every-other Sunday for the better part of a day, all Summer long (they'd work up to 70-80 mile rides...rides that were generally an hour away, plus an hour of socializing post-ride), in addition to him being gone several nights/week after work on his bike.

    I have to admit, things got pretty ugly right before he left for one of the JDRF events. I called him on the time he spent away (leaving me alone with an 8 year old and having to schedule my workouts around his, minimal time for us to do anything as a family on weekends, etc.). He got VERY defensive. After we both cooled-off he admitted that he'd been a turd.

    Not long after that we purchased a bike for me and it's really helped in a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" fashion. We also have the tandem that DS rides on the back of, so the 3 of us can go on family rides (childcare was an issue before that, since it was impossible for DH and I to ride together without finding a babysitter). And now DS is totally gung-ho about riding, too. I am now a JDRF team member, so DH is no longer abandoning us for long training rides--DS and I are "along for the ride," too.

    I still feel some bike-related tensions from time-to-time. DH turned 40 this year and is on a sort of midlife-crisis bucketlist race spree (in some ways I think it would have been easier if he'd gone out and bought a sports car, heh). He has already made noises about doing the same, next year, but I may have to sit him down and remind him that *I* turn 40 next year and would like to have my shot at doing something similar. I have sacrificed a lot of races this year because of the time constraints that his training have put on us. For instance, I am not doing any duathlons this year...last year I did 3. It's just too difficult for me to get in the workouts I need when he's been training for things like a 100 mile mountain bike race. We can't both put in training like that with a kiddo still at home (and no local grandparents or other free/cheap childcare options).
    Kirsten
    run/bike log
    zoomylicious


    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

 

 

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