Ask The Advice Pedaler: Etiquette for the Conscientious Cyclist

Dear Advice Pedaler:

I met this really charming cyclist and we've been spending some time together. Most of our dates have involved a bike ride. Well, she's just so much faster than me, I can't keep up. It's no fun to be stuck at a light two blocks behind her. Then, when the ride's over and she wants to... uh ... do something else physical, I just have no energy. What am I gonna do?

Left Behind

Dear Behind:

Do not despair. There are many options with a bicycle. You can agree upon a meeting place and then both proceed at your own pace. You can express your feelings and see if she'll ride at your pace. Or, you can ride a tandem! The Advice Pedaler's brother, Pedaler Jr., bought a tandem to ride with his girlfriend and now they've been happily married for 8 years.

Dear Advice Pedaler:

My significant other and I decided to take a tour from San Francisco to Los Angeles. My partner went out and bought a new tandem for us. I was so excited to go, but after a couple of days I was bored watching his back and asked to captain for a while. He refused, saying I didn't have the strength to captain. I was so mad and bored I got off the tandem in Guadalupe, hitchiked to San Luis Obispo in my Lycra, and took the train home! He pedaled all the way to San Diego to spite me. My question is, what can I do to make the back of the tandem more interesting?

Lonely in My Lycra

Dear Lycra:

Alas, not every couple can ride a tandem. It requires patience and coordination, and both partners have to be willing to relinquish some control. A good captain need not be male, female, bigger, or stronger than the stoker, but rather, one who can steer clear of danger, communicate clearly with her stoker, and keep the tandem comfortably under control. A good stoker responds to the terrain and the needs of the team by adding more effort at suitable times. A really good stoker straps a picnic basket to the back of the bike and gets snacks out for the captain and himself! Obviously, the tandem is not for you and your relationship. You might find tandem riding with a good friend less stressful than with your partner.

Dear Advice Pedaler:

Whenever I go on a bike ride I have trouble parking my car at the start. Can you help?

Healthy Rider

Dear Healthy:

The Advice Pedaler thinks you may not be as healthy as you make yourself out to be. If you can't ride from home, the Advice Pedaler recommends the monthly recreational rides sponsored by the SFBC, which start and finish at convenient city locations or at bike-accessible public transportation.