Riding with the wife

The situation is the following:

I love riding my MTB, doing XC rides for a couple of hours. Now, my wife likes to cycle too, but she is on a road bike. She likes to go on rides with me, about twice a week, for about 2h per ride, on the road obviously. Now the problem is: there are only a limited amount of hours in a week I can ride, and her speed (even on a road bike and me on a MTB) is too low for me to even make it a solid Z2 session. My heart rate is hovering around the upper end of Z1 during the entire ride. To give some numbers: after lactate testing it was determined that my Z2 starts at 111bpm, and our last ride together I had an average HR of 109bpm. Most of the time I am even below 100bpm when I look at my cycling computer. It just increased because at the end I did a few sprints because I was getting cold…

Now my question is: is there a way for me to get something out of this, from a fitness point of view? Since my time on the bike is limited and I spend 4h per week doing 2 “recovery rides” of 2 hours, that doesn’t sound very interesting for my MTB fitness, on the contrary …

former colleague of mine and wife of a passionate cyclist would have loved to go on some more rides with her husband but just couldn’t keep up with him. got herself an e-bike, problem solved :biking_man::+1:


I can second the eBike.

Or you can try use easier gears and spin your cadence well up to get a higher HR.

Or sign her up to SYSTM and get her a smart trainer. :+1:


All good suggestions above, but if she’s amenable to the e-bike, those Z1 recovery rides could turn into ones where you are hanging on for dear life depending… turn the tables!

One of the best things about e-bikes (and there are so many reasons) is that it can be such a great fitness leveler. I love seeing some older ladies on my home roads gaining on me and passing me on climbs!

We have a regular on our weekly group ride with a gravel e-bike and he will drop back and pace those that have fallen off the group back to us.

I don’t say this lightly when I say, we should ALL have an e-bike in the stable. They are just so much fun for running errands and all that. Can’t wipe the smile off my face when I get on one. I converted a fat bike in 2020 or my son that was not driving yet, and while I don’t get it out too often it is a lot of fun to do so.

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You could do NM or AC work intermingled with recovery. Sprint ahead, ride back and recover.


:arrow_up:This :arrow_up:

Find a shorthish climb and do hill repeats while your wife goes up at her own pace. I do that sometimes on the rare occaisions I go out with my daughter.


For the ebike suggestions: that would be the best indeed, because if I suggest an ebike to her she’ll throw me out of the house and I can do all the riding I want by myself :rofl:


The point is that I have limited time to ride, so adding more rides isn’t going to work.

Don’t know about “problem solved”. In Europe ebikes are limited to 25km/h. Even with my MTB I go faster than that on the flats. That only solves the problem uphill :slight_smile:

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A bit different is a tandem, which some use as an equalizer. You can alternate being captain and stoker. As the terms captain/stoker suggest, it’s a bit more like piloting a ship. There are mtb tandems as well.


Get a bicycle trailer for your bike and put weight in it. You’ll get your workout in while keeping to her pace.

Let’s not and pretend we did :rofl:

You might try it and see what it’s like. It can be very fast on the flats, and especially downhill. Uphill? Not so much. Learning to coordinate mounting and dismounting can also be interesting. My wife and tried one for a while and were planning on getting one, but life took a turn and we haven’t… yet.

Been here many a time… here are my solutions:

On the ride:

  • Low cadence and focus on your form. Gets much harder after 5-10 minutes
  • High cadence I find gets a bit silly… you’re not gonna be sticking at 120rpm+ for any real length of time
  • Go hard on the hills. Agree to stick together on the flats, but hills are an all-out solo effort.
  • Hold a new position e.g. aero, or standing while it’s windy.


  • Intense intervals on the trainer (Extra Shot is only 20 minutes)
  • Weight training to tire your muscles

Add resistance:

  • Fill your bike bags with heavy stuff, full water bottles, wear loose clothing etc.
  • Even knobblier tyres on your MTB
  • Lower your tyre pressure till it’s like riding on sludge

Since having kids, we hardly ride together anymore, and I miss it. We did once a few weeks ago and it was amazing fun.


No brainer, as others have said she should use an e-bike. Plenty of decent fast road based ones around that are nearly as fast as ordinary road bike on the flat. My other half got an Orbea Gain and now has a Ribble SLe which is a weapon. My z1 recovery rides are now a thing of the past. I sit on the front on the flat and then we hit the hills and I’m working hard.

The assist goes up to 25kph but you can go as fast as you like by pedalling; so same or just slightly slower than ordinary road bike on the flat.