24/7 with the same person for months, possibly years, on end? Sounds like a recipe for a short-lived romance, a costly divorce or a nasty end to a friendship.
Add to that the stress of biking through unknown lands under sometimes harsh climatic conditions and you start wondering if two on tour is such a good idea after all.
It is. Biking the world with a partner means you’ll always have someone with whom to share the joys, triumphs and tough times of your bike tour. Cresting the top of a mountain and taking in the spectacular valley vista below just wouldn’t be the same without someone to ooh and aahh with.
Slogging 500 kilometers on a sandy track and no one to cheer with once the tarmac re-appears? No thanks.
And who wants to grumble alone about all the kamikaze drivers trying to run you off the road. A partner with whom you can commiserate goes a long way in keeping up morale.
Here are 5 things we’ve learned about getting along together on the road:
1) Discuss tour expectations BEFORE you set off. Just four days into our epic Africa tour I shocked Eric by suggesting we take a day off. He’d thought finishing off the Sahara without a rest would be no problem. Read conflict and quarrels.
2) Accept physical limitations. If you’re a stronger cyclist and your partner’s always lagging five kilometers behind, divvy up the weight so you’re both equally challenged. This will relieve a huge amount of frustration and ensure everybody’s getting a good work-out without the weaker cyclist risking a coronary.
3) Don’t shy away from talking money. Alright, we’d been married for almost 10 years, so we were used to talking finances. But still there were arguments. As I recall it, Eric asked in an off-handed manner how much he thought we’d spend per day. Around $10 per person, per day, I reckoned.
Turns out for him, that figure was set in stone.
$10 per person, per day meant $7,300 per year, not a penny more. A new computer, airline tickets for an unanticipated flight back to Europe, replacement gear– all that was supposed to come out of the daily budget. Before you know it he was trying to cut me off from hotels with hot showers and trips to the bakery.
My advice? Agree to a detailed budget and put it in writing.
4) Take a little time for yourself. When you’re out bike touring it can be surprisingly difficult to find time for yourself. Sure, when you’re out pedaling you can get lost in your own private thoughts, but once you’re off the bike two on tour can become stifling. For me yoga is the great escape. Other cyclists I’ve met regularly schedule time apart.
5) Divvy up the tasks. I set up the tent, Eric gets dinner going, then it’s my turn for clean-up. He keeps the bikes running , I manage the website. We find life on the road a lot easier this way.
Any other ideas for making sure two on tour goes smoothly? Please share your tips in the comments section below.