How to love cycling with your partner 

Nextbike in Bath
Cycling with your partner
As Shakespeare wrote in A Midsummer Night’s Dream “The course of true love never did run smooth” and cycling related romance is no different. For Valentine's day we're offering some advice on how to love cycling with your partner.

Over Cycling UK’s 140-year history thousands of people have met and fallen in love with someone they met through their local cycling club or their love of cycling has brought them together.

In an ideal world, if you love cycling the love of your life will agree too, but before you think compatibility on a hobby or mode of transport is a recipe for bliss, remember that love and relationships are rather complex. 

If one of you loves cycling and the other doesn't

Dee Holmes from Relate explains why it's so important for couples to communicate about how they feel: 

“If cycling is a new obsession and one partner is consumed by cycling, the other person may be left out and feel that something else is now more important than them and that they are second best.  

“When couples come for counselling, some explain that when other things are the sole priority eg. work/children/or even a hobby like cycling, the one who is left out can feel like their partner is having an affair. The solution is to talk about how it makes you feel, without arguing or sulking and explain that cycling is leaving less time for you both as a couple. If you find yourself drifting apart it's great to try and take part in a hobby together."

Ideas to try:

  • Arranging to meet at the end of a ride for a pub lunch
  • Meeting up with the partner’s new cycling friends
  • Arranging a ride with another couple
  • Buying the other person a nice bike and encouraging them to cycle too
  • Supporting the person with their cycling even if you don't want to do it yourself
  • Booking a treat for the non-cycling person at the time you are usually out riding
  • Making sure you spend more time as a couple as you do cycling 

If you go for a ride together, Cycle magazine editor Dan Joyce recommends: 

The partner who rides less sets the pace at the front and you go somewhere the partner who cycles less wants to go. Too often, with both these things its the other way round!

Dan Joyce, editor of  Cycle magazine

If you both love cycling, but one of you is fitter and faster 

It can be tough when one of you is fitter and faster than the other, and your partner may feel discouraged to ride with you as they know they will be left behind or won't be able to do the same routes.

So neither of you gets disheartened on a cycle ride together here are some solutions: 

  • Consider joining your fitter partner for the last 20 miles of a ride when they're a bit tired and you can both go same speed 
  • Have the fitter of the pair of you carry most of the gear to slow them down a bit, the other can carry a snack and their own tools so they can take separate routes if you need to 
  • Understand it’s good for both of you to ride separately and that’s ok
  • It's ok for one of you to fly up a steep hill, if they wait at the top and doesn't complain about how slow the other is
  • Pick your own lines when you're mountain biking that suit your abilities
  • Plan your routes together, so neither of you is frustrated that it’s either too slow or too arduous
  • Stop for lunch so you can chat
  • Borrow a tandem


In a relationship you should be comfortable enough to try something and if it’s not for you know that you can just get off and walk and be secure that the other person will be OK about that. This takes a bit of time, as at the beginning you may just want to impress the other person, but if you plan your rides together you should discuss how each other might react if the other person finds it too much. 

Cycling together should be enjoyable for both of you. 

If you both love cycling and are both as strong, fit, fast and skilled as each other 

Dee Holmes warns against competing with your partner and that:

It's always good to recognise your strengths and weaknesses. Try and work together as a team as this will strengthen trust between you.


Is compromise the answer?

Talk about what you like best about a bike ride and try and incorporate it into your ride. Dee explains: 

If you share a pastime like cycling you shouldn’t always compromise. For example if one of you loves red wine and the other white wine – don’t compromise all the time and drink rose, as neither of you will get want you really want."

Therefore, if one of you is a roadie and the other a mountain biker, don’t just cycle on the towpath! Take it in turns to choose cycling routes and rides that you like and explain why to your partner.

"Don’t be overly critical," says Dee, "Or push your partner too much to keep up with your pace and be respectful of the other person if they say they don’t want to or can’t do something – it demonstrates to them that you support them and care."

Dee’s partner is a keen cyclist and although she cycles she’s not as in to it as he is. Her advice is: 

“Whether you share the hobby or just support it – it's about give and take.”