Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ah, Valentine’s Day. One of those holidays where you either love it or absolutely hate it. There’s really no in between. We don’t celebrate many holidays, but we usually try to make Valentine’s Day special. We’re not big on chocolate or roses, so we usually just make sure to spend some quality time together. This year, I thought I’d put together some special bicycle themed Valentine’s for my Valentine.

A girl with a bicycle

co-motion bicycle

bike route signtwo kids with bicycles

a penny farthing

a bicycle with hearts for panniers

A chain with heartsWhat do you think? What are you going to do with you Valentine this holiday?

We Are A Team

So, what are you going to do while your husband is on his bike ride? Are you going to drive the car for him and carry his gear?

This question was recently asked of me, by a stranger, who had just learned that we are planning a long distance bicycle tour. Even though we said “we,” the guy didn’t seem to understand that we were doing it together. When I explained that I would be riding my bicycle alongside my husband, carrying gear and camping out with him, he was stunned. Apparently his wife would never agree to even try something like that.

My wife would never do something like this with me.

Part of a conversation I had with a man while in the middle of a particularly tough obstacle course race. My response to him: You didn’t marry the right woman. Some of my favorite memories have happened while my husband and I work as a team to complete the obstacles in the races.

When my husband and I got married, I had no idea where our marriage would take us. Did I think we would become long distance bicycle tourists? Not really. And I had never even heard of obstacle course races. But I did know that we were both adventurous, and willing to try new things. And I knew we liked to do things together. And once we tried this whole bicycle touring thing, we loved it. Yes, we have separate hobbies. But there are many activities that we enjoy doing together.

I think the key is finding something that you both like to do, that requires cooperation. Whether we are riding our bikes, setting up camp, or finishing a race, my husband and I are a team. We rely on each other to meet our goals. We have become closer as a couple, and learned to appreciate each other.

What kinds of activities do you enjoy with your significant other? Give us some ideas in the comments below!

How to build (and not destroy) your relationship on tour

Day 36 of our Pacific Coast bicycle tour started off on the wrong foot. The previous day’s mileage had been cut short due to allergies, and we both went to bed cranky. The biting flies didn’t help put us in a better mood, either. While packing up the next morning, I could not for the life of me find my leg warmers. I just knew Matt had put them somewhere, and now they were lost. It was a cool, Pacific coast morning, and I didn’t want to ride with just my shorts. I had had it. This bicycle touring had quite suddenly become not fun. We were getting on each other’s nerves, and it was starting to show.

So, how do you maintain a good relationship while spending every waking minute (and all the sleeping ones) with another person?

It’s not all rainbows and sunshine. First off, you have to realize that it’s bound to be rocky sometimes. Even the best couples go through rough patches sometimes. Everyone only has so many nerves, and it’s easy to let little irritations become big ones.

Cut the other person some slack. Are you tired and sore from the previous day’s ride? Well, he probably is, too. Was your sleep interrupted by some rowdy campers? Guess what. He’s right there with you. Are you cranky because you had trouble breathing through your stuffy nose? News flash. He had to hear you snore all night. A little patience can go a long way.

Give yourselves some space. Sometimes, you just need to be alone. That’s perfectly normal, and will probably save you both some sanity. Just make sure to communicate what your plan is, so he doesn’t think you’re purposefully avoiding him. You’re riding together, eating together, sleeping together. Sometimes, too much together can be too much.

Enjoy the little moments. When it starts to feel like work, slow it down. Find an awesome spot to sit and enjoy the view for a minute. Breathe the fresh air. Give each other a hug. Remember your reason for embarking on this epic journey together.

It’s going to be tough sometimes. But it’s also going to be amazing. You’ll grow closer than you ever thought possible. Besides. Think of the stories you’ll be able to tell your grandkids. Oh, and day 36? It ended on such a high note, at a campsite with a beautiful patch of grass and a view of the Pacific Ocean. I couldn’t wait for the next day’s ride.