Movement is romantic. Dancing the night away, long strolls on the beach, rides through the countryside…When was the last time you heard about someone falling in love during traffic?
It’s no surprise that bikes easily bring together characters on wheels. Cycling makes a beautiful backdrop for a love story. You have meet-cute situations, adventure, and the general sense of joy and wonder a ride can bring.
The Beginning Of A Beautiful Journey
When I met my husband-to-be Alex, at a theme party, he instantly recognized me by my bike. “You’re the gal with the hot pink helmet and white Giant!” he proclaimed over the soaring sound of disco music being spun on vinyl. My daily commute included dashing by his job and he started to look out for my sweet ride. Five years later, we are mapping the 42 mile “commute” from our apartment to the site of our wedding.
That isn’t to say that the road has always been smooth. While cycling can strengthen your relationship, it can also be a source of tension.
The First Roadblock
When we started riding together, I was the stronger cyclist. However, as time went on Alex began to outpace me. I felt like Alice sprinting after the white rabbit and our rides became less enjoyable. On one less than idyllic trip, my frustration got the best of me and I simply left the ride; abandoning Alex on the trail.
How did we overcome this obvious roadblock? Clear communication over ice cream.
When you’re the “faster” rider in the couple, it can be easy to forget how you felt at different fitness levels. When all the pressure falls on the “slower” rider, it’s bound to burst. We both checked our egos and established routes and a pace that worked for us as a duo. When you understand each other’s goals, you not only have mutual support, but respect as well. I now lead most of our rides and am a stronger cyclist than ever. Alex has helped me push myself while ensuring I am not over-extended and I’ve taught him technical skills and how to slow down and smell the roses. On the days where one of us may desire a heartier ride, we’ll take separate routes and meet up at the end to share a good brew or snack.
Learning From The Best
I joined fellow cycling “Solmates” and Terry’s Director of Sales, David, and his adventure paramour, Annie, to learn how they’ve mastered the art of riding together.
David and Annie met on the ski slopes but take their passion for the outdoors (and each other) to gravel grinds across Vermont and beyond. While you may think of skiing and cycling as solitary sports, they make a phenomenal team.
Know Your Strengths
“We both have strengths in each sport – Annie is definitely stronger climbing and I am [stronger] down more on the rolling hills and flats but we work together as a team to have fun” says David.
Annie is the route planner extraordinaire, but that doesn’t stop her from taking a spontaneous trail seemingly spurred out of nowhere. David rides prepared for her hairpin turns and is the mechanical mind of the couple.
Get Out Of Town
Living in Charlotte, VT there’s no lack of amazing gravel riding locally, but to get out of town some of their favorite routes are the Natural Turnpike and Snake Mountain around Middlebury, VT. “We’re not riders who take the same route twice, you won’t catch us riding circles” says Annie. Keeping things fresh, keeps things FUN. Last summer they headed to Maine in search of gravel roads, sandy beaches, and lobster. They were met with a bounty of all three, exploring around Mount Agamenticus and Wells Beach. Sharing new experiences is a great way to carve out bonding time and step back from routine.
It’s A Date, Not A Race
When reflecting on past races, Annie mentions “We do a lot of group rides with friends. We used to do more races, but I nixed that program — I am too competitive and he would laugh at me. I was out to WIN” while David notes he is most competitive with himself. Lately, they’ve swapped racing for fundraising, most recently participating in the 2022 Richard’s Ride. Uniting behind a good cause and training for the same event keeps them motivated and excited. They’re able to cheer each other on while experiencing the sheer enjoyment of riding together.
When you’re moving in the same direction you build trust and create a connection that goes beyond the time spent in the saddle. Now with that: go out, ride, and smooch at stop lights.