Time Management for Cyclists

A Note from Fatty: I’ve got a new article at BikeRadar.com today. You can read a snippet it below, or click here to read the full article.

It is common knowledge that if you want to be a rider of any consequence, cycling must be the only thing you think about, ever.

Sadly, there are those who — bizarrely — think that there are other things in the world that approach the importance of cycling. These people are often called “family members,” and — for reasons that have never been made clear to me — they believe they have some sort of claim on your time.

And since — for the time being, anyway — you live in the same house as your family, there’s probably going to be a little awkwardness if you simply ignore these people and go about the very important business of riding of and caring for your bicycles.

How, then, can you get in all the quality bike-riding time you deserve? By using the time-tested time management (also called “manipulation” or “being a weasel”) techniques described below, that’s how.

Determine how much you should be prepared to give up
When you negotiate for time to ride, you must be prepared to give something up in return. The trick is in understanding how to give up as little as possible. Use the following as a guideline:

  • Ride during business hours, when you wouldn’t be home anyway: Do not give up anything for this. In fact, why even bother revealing that it happened at all?
  • Short ride (which may or may not turn into a longish ride) after work: Make a phone call on the way home from the ride volunteering to pick up dinner, so your partner doesn’t have to cook (and so you can eat immediately upon returning home, because you’re starving).
  • Long ride (4+ hours) during the weekend: Volunteer ahead of the ride that you’re planning to spend most of the day working around the house, but would like to start the day by getting in a “good-length ride.” This is, of course, code for “long ride,” but it’s crucial you don’t actually call it that.
  • Long weekend away with the riding buddies: Flowers and chocolate.
  • 4+ day cycling road trip: Flowers, chocolate, and jewelry.
  • Month-long trip to go pre-ride the Tour de France: Anything asked of you, since the only negotiation tactic open to you in this case is pure, outright begging.

Good Deeds: Timing is Crucial
I don’t even need to tell you the value of pre-emptive good deed-doing as a finding-time-for-cycling technique.

However, if your sense of timing is off, you run the very real risk of sabotaging yourself, and your act of “kindness” will be for naught. (Oh, you could say that the act of kindness is its own reward, but neither of us really buys that.)

The simple, important rule of “good deeds as a form of currency to be spent on permission to go on a ride” is: do not, no matter what, mention the ride you want to go on while you are performing the good deed.

If you do, your significant other will draw a line connecting the dots so fast, you’re likely to be sliced in half by it.

Instead, wait a minimum of six hours — nine is preferable — before mentioning that you’d like to go on this ride. And when you mention this ride, do not bring up the good deed you did. Both of you know a transaction is happening, but neither of you should acknowledge it. Kind of like when you give a copy a $50 to get out of a ticket. You’re each pretending you’re doing something nice for the other person because that’s the kind of people you are.

You abandon the charade at your peril. I say this with the wisdom of experience.

Click here to see the rest of “Time Management for Cyclists” at BikeRadar.com.

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