Recently, I posted an article on Jenson USA’s Facebook page about large bike decal decorations for your living room with the caption, “Not sure our significant others would want these as living room art, but we sure think they are cool. Maybe we’ll just stick with some smaller decals.” In response, one of our followers responded with this comment, “If they don’t like mtn bikes are they really significant in your life?” This got me thinking more than it probably should have, but it really hit home. And, here’s why…

The post and comment that got all this started.
The post and comment that got all this started.

My wife and I have been married for 7+ years and dated for a few years leading up to that. From the day we met, she knew that I loved bikes. Not that I “kind of like bikes,” or even “really like bikes.” I LOVE bikes. I can’t stress this enough. People often think that the number of bikes I own, and have owned, is ridiculous. My time is heavily invested in consuming pretty much everything I can that is bike related. I like riding, trail building, wrenching, and putting down dream builds on paper. Yes, some of this has to do with the fact that I am a part of the bike industry, but there is a reason that my career trajectory moved from aiming at dentistry to working with bikes.

A few of the our bikes.

Testing out one of my latest bike additions to my collection, a Niner RLT9 Frankenbuild.  Review coming soon.

Now, my life has changed a bit in this last few years. We’ve moved from the West Coast to the Midwest to follow my wife’s career as a physician. We’ve also added our first kid (Baby Danger because his middle name is literally Danger… another one of my wife’s awesome ideas.) So, with all those changes I’ve found that I needed to adjust my bike time/focus to make room for the other important things in my life.

The biggest and most awesome change in my life, Baby Danger.

With that being said, bike time for me is not just a selfish endeavor. It is truly revitalizing to me unlike any other activity (except maybe surfing). Living in the Midwest one can sometimes find themselves victims of the weather. Often the trails will be too wet, overgrown, too cold or too hot and humid to ride. During these down times of not riding, I can quickly turn grumpy. My body needs to move, I need to push the limits of my legs, I crave the rush of wind on my face, and I yearn for that flood of adrenaline that comes with taking to the air.

My trail cohort, Ryan, getting loose on some of our recent work.

And, here’s where it’s okay that my wife doesn’t ride. She gets that this is important to me and my functioning life. More so, she gets that it’s important to my family. My time with my family is enriched by the fact that I am no longer distracted by the calling to jump on my bike. It is not that I don’t want to ride, but temporarily that want/need is sated. Instead, I am invigorated by the joys that biking brings me, and I reflect that energy into the time that I spend with my family. She allows me to spend time and money on my bike passion, and I realize that I have to balance that with time and money spent on my family.

The interesting thing about my non-biking wife situation is that it actually affords me more freedom to ride than most of my friends who’s spouses do ride.  Many of my friends who’s spouses do ride struggle to find time to ride with their significant other due to life responsibilities.  Often one or the other has to stay and watch the kid(s) or mow the lawn or feed the pets.  This isn’t so different than my wife and my situation, except that we have our own unique hobbies/passions.  This little difference seems to have a big effect.  There is something about having the same passion that makes you want to experience that together, whereas my wife and I are content to enjoy ours on our own.  Ultimately, this has allowed us to both enjoy our hobbies separately, then come back to a common shared time for our family.

A few of my wife’s favorite things.

I will continually put in effort to convince my wife that she wants to be a mountain biker. I would love to slip away with her to distant trails and explore new dirt. But, I don’t need to force that. The love for the ride will be there if that’s what calls her. Instead, my wife enjoys easy spins on the bike path with baby Danger in his handlebar seat, heading to go play on the slides. She loves a good summer cocktail and rocking in our rocking chairs underneath our pergola watching the fireflies dancing their light show against the rustling corn. She loves to crochet adorable hats for babies, and she loves to bake the most amazing confections I’ve ever consumed.

If you look at the things that my wife loves, many would not be things that I would enjoy. I tried for about 3 minutes to have her to teach me how to crochet, but quickly realized that, not only was I completely confused, but I was immediately bored. But, what I learned is that I don’t have to love to do what she does or vice versa. In fact, I only need to support her passions, and seek to allow her to indulge in them. The beauty of this situation is that I can go ride as hard or rowdy as I want/need and she can take that same time to partake in what she loves. We both come back together revitalized and fulfilled.

My wife and kid may not mountain bike, but they sure love to cruise!

In the end, my wife doesn’t ride and I don’t bake or crochet, and that’s okay. What we do, instead, is to value each other’s interests and allow the other to partake in those. We also value our family above all these things. Sometimes this means I don’t ride and she doesn’t get to play Candy Smash (or whatever that game is called). There will always be passions that overlap for us like camping, hiking, and cooking, but I truly believe that our differences add just as much awesomeness to our relationship as do our common interests.

So, looking back at the original comment that got this started, my answer would have to be, “Yes, they are that significant in my life.” Biking is a significant part of my life, but others do not need to be cyclists to hold deep value to me. Some of the most valuable people in my life have zero interest in bikes. Baby Danger is not a cyclist… yet.  But, he is of absolute value to me. I would give up every last bike and future rides for him and his mommy, but the beauty of a valued relationship is that they value me just as much, and would never ask that of me.

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