Unfortunately we’re not talking about balancing on your bike, you should already be good at that by now. But the balancing I’m talking about in this article has to do with 2 of the most important things in your life, family and riding. We all know that making those two work together is essential to having a happier life. Just think about it, a mountain bike who cannot ride will be miserable.
Before we start, let me say that I’m not here to talk as if I’m on a high horse. I’m simply sharing some things that have worked for my family and I. Between wife, kids, career and all the other responsibilities I have, I’ve had to become pretty creative in making sure that no one gets neglected. Below are some guidelines that could help you, so here we go!
1. Schedule: Make plans for the rides you want to do. If you plan on going after work, run it by the Mrs. and make sure that it doesn’t conflict with Jr’s baseball game or Susy’s Soccer practice. For my wife and I, we keep a calendar of all our events and activities. We sit down regularly and go over our calendar to make sure all of our bases are covered. I typically schedule my races months in advance so she knows that I won’t be available that weekend. But if there’s something MORE important than riding or racing, then I’m flexible.
2. Be Flexible: Just because you put it on the calendar doesn’t mean you HAVE to do it. I’ll give you an example, this coming Saturday is the Marzocchi Night Race in Fontana, but it’s also the same night as my daughter’s arrival from her Washington DC trip. So with that in mind, I’m foregoing the race to make sure I’m there to pick up my off-spring.
3. Don’t Neglect your Kids: We all know that riding can take up to a few hours at a time. Heck some rides are an all day event. So if you’re going out for a few hours, make sure someone is there to watch them. If the Mrs, isn’t a mountain biker, then ask if she can watch them while you ride. It also helps if you set them up with donuts or breakfast before you leave. Another thing you can try is to let your kids know that once you get back from your ride, you’ll spend time with them by going to the park, lunch, movies and etc. But you gotta make sure you’re not too tired to do any of those afterward. Redbull and Monster Energy drinks help with this.
4. Get the Family involved: I wish I could say that all my kids are into mountain biking as much as Priscilla and I are. Well that’s not the case, but lucky for me, my youngest daughter took up tandem mountain biking with me. One of the ways I convinced her to start going with me was with food. I had told her that we typically will go out to eat after each ride. So now on our week night rides, she knows she’ll be having Cheese Enchiladas from Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. Though my older daughters aren’t into the sport, they know enough about it to cheer on their mom at races. They each have beach cruiser type of bikes that they’ll ride with their own friends. But there might be some hope for one of them because my middle off-spring took an interest in road biking. We’ve taken her out a few times and found that she enjoys it. My oldest, being a hormonal teen, says she doesn’t want anything to do with bikes, but will often ride downtown with her best friend. She’ll even take our dog for rides in the basket and when she does, I try not to make a big deal about it or draw any attention to what she’s doing, because if I do, then she’ll rebel and not want to ride at all…ugh teens, still trying to figure them out.
5.Happy Wife=Happy Life: If your wife isn’t a mountain biker, then make sure that you’re spending the same amount of time with her as your are for your hobby. It helps if you barter, for example, if I were to say I wanted to go for a ride with some of my buddies, I better follow that sentence with, “when I get back, we can go out for lunch, go shopping or just do what ever you want.” Or you can say, “when I get back, I can watch the kids while you go out.” Basically make sure the wife has her husband-needs taken care off so she won’t resent mountain biking. Jewelry helps too.
6.Do your chores before you ride: If you have a Honey-Do List, make sure you are finished with those before you hit the trail. If you neglect that list, then your wife will have ammo for a huge argument. It will basically sound like this, “Oh I see how it is, you have time to go riding, but you can’t (insert chore HERE)!!!” So don’t be lazy and take care of your household duties.
Look mang, we all know that mountain biking is important to us, I understand the need to get out there and ride. Something about it makes you happy, healthy and it helps get all your angst out. But make sure you find the right balance that works for you and your family. The last thing you need is your family resenting you because you spend way too much time riding with your buddies. Remember its a HOBBY, its not something you do that makes you money.
If you have other suggestions on what has worked for you, please leave a comment below.