People with kids…how do you get your riding time?

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  • People with kids…how do you get your riding time?
  • AdamT

    Another vote for lights. My mates think it’s funny as I almost never ride in the daylight now! I ride when my nippers are in bed (2.5 and 4.5yrs old). To be fair, my missis is great too. Her view is that if she’s watching desperate housewives or ER or something, then I’d be better off being out on my bike rather than interrupting! 🙂

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    I came to this from another direction – got back into riding when Jnr was born as we “couldn’t” afford the £45 per month and 6 hours a week I was spending at the gym. 6 years, several thousand miles and 5 bikes later, never has the term “false economy” seemed so appropriate!

    I can only agree with what others here have said, especially:

    Commuting – don’t be sniffy about it. 10 miles each way 3-4 times a week made a huge difference to my basic level of fitness, saved some money and wear on the car, and gives me some time to clear my head at the start and end of the day. And this is on a busy A road into Nottingham city centre.

    Get some good “bad weather” gear – if you have a pass to ride at the weekend, you can’t let dodgy weather stop you. By default, if the weather is nice at the weekend, we want to be doing something nice as a family, ergo, when the weather isn’t up to much I am free to ride as much as I like.

    Lights – useful for evening rides and commuting duties.

    Local stuff – there is always something nearby, unless you ride at such a dizzyly high level that only the “best” is good enough. And it means you can maximise unexpected opportunities for an hours riding.

    Road riding – stone the unbelievers!

    Think laterally – yes dear, lets go to Chatsworth on Saturday – I’ll be setting off an hour before you on the bike though. And a bike can always go with you on holiday.

    Be fair and compromise – I commute 3 days a week, (which isn’t counted as “me” time by either of us) get one evening ride in the week and a half day at the weekend, which I use to get an early start so I can have 60-70 miles (if on road) by lunchtime. In return, MrsSwadey is out at Guides (her hobby is being a leader) one night a week and I’ll happily have the kids any other night or day she wants for Guide stuff/gym/meeting friends.

    Sure I can’t do days or weekends away often, but that’s not a great interest to me when I get to be at home to watch Jnr master balancing on his new bike, or Babyswadey saying her first sentences.

    Premier Icon el_boufador

    I’ve not much to add to the above really (dad of 2). It’s a case of sniffing out the opportunities which exist & don’t dilly dally when one appears!


    I get every other weekend free so cram in as much biking in as I can. Having more kids isn’t a part of my future as I’m not prepared to be a full time parent – call me selfish but I’ve done my baby making duties and as I have the best of worlds right now I’m not going backwards for anyone!


    With an 18-month old and number 2 on the way, I’m guessing 2 kids under 2 will make getting time to ride will only get tougher.

    From 6 months we started managing to combine the cycling with ‘quality family time’; a different kind of riding but just good to get out on the bike:

    Surprisingly good workout as the load you’re pulling gets heavier by the month!

    As Little Mefster is getting bigger he took delivery of one of these last week:

    His feet don’t touch the ground yet but we’ll try it again in a couple of months. Looking forward to seeing him on 2 wheels!

    When number 2 arrives we’ll need to consider a double trailer (better weather protection but the width might be limiting) or look at a bike seat for Mrs Mefster’s bike.

    ‘Proper’ riding consists of more road riding (can go out for an hour after work) or pre-planned weekend rides without the family (less often).

    I enjoy my cycling, but I enjoy my family as well!

    Premier Icon BillOddie

    I have a 13 month old and another due at Christmas.

    It’s not baby-sitting it’s “baby wrangling”.

    In addition to the points above:
    1) Grab any opportunity to ride you can.
    2) Low maintenance bikes rule. Singlespeed or roadbike for example.
    3) Be organised, keep your pack um packed and just grab some water and go.
    4) A quick 30mins on a turbotrainer can do wonders for your fitness (but prod not your mental state.
    5) I do weights too in winter when I have not enough time to ride but want to do “something”.

    I commute by bike daily, although I live a 10 minute walk away from work. Therefore i extend my ride in the morning to a m15 min blast and the ride home to a full circuit of Richmond Park.

    I go out once at weekends, but if I am on my own its early so I’m home by the afternoon.


    We both work strange hours – I now do 7-3 to get home by half 3 so I can watch our daughter whilst my wife goes out to work – admittedly only Wednesday/Thursday, Friday evenings and all day Saturday (music teacher) – but it does leave other time rather sparse.

    Monday night’s she does her thing, which leaves Tuesday night to do my thing…which should be cycling but if I’ve got stuff to do then the cycling takes the hit and I get the other things done on the Tuesday as it is the only chance I get.

    Saying that, if I can get my head sorted early in the week, I can arrange a grandparent to come across and watch her so I can go ride on Saturday – but it is only a half day ride at most.

    Sunday depends on what my wife wants to do – it’s either family time or I can get out for a few hours on the bike.

    Night rides would be ideal, but as I don’t tend to get in until after 10 on the Tuesday rides, doing it regularly would knacker me out as I’m up at 6 to get to work – I need my sleep!

    I think if you both work 9-5 it should be a bit easier to get blocked out time for just you, we don’t really have a huge issue with it other than our 2 jobs leave pretty much Monday and Tuesday free and nothing else (during the week).

    My cycling has taken a huge hit…I seem to be going backwards in skill/ability and fitness whilst everyone else is moving forwards…it’s rather grim but I know it won’t last for long…as she gets a bit older, I will get more time to ride my bike.

    The commuting thing almost works for me – but due to parenting requirements I could do it 1 day of the week (on the Tuesday, my wife has a fitness class at 15:30 so riding my bike home isn’t an option)…

    I’m really missing my biking, but the flip side is that being a father is seriously good fun!

    The jump from one to two kids makes things much harder.

    So how would a third affect things if you have two already?


    The jump from one to two kids makes things much harder.

    Agreed – my brother and his wife have just had their 2nd and grossly underestimated the increase in ‘workload’ having another one involves 🙂 We’ve friends who’ve just had their third and they say the difference is nowhere near as pronounced as going from 1 to 2. I’m one of four siblings and my parents have always said that after 2 it gets easier!

    Back to the OP – when our eldest made an appearance I ended up selling my MTB as I got a total of about 10 minutes on the bike in the 1st 12 months. Then came our second and even with the best negotiation skills the practicalities of having 2 girls under 2 years old as well as a job meant that I would be lucky to get 1 evening a week ‘off’ and TBH the last thing I felt like doing was going anywhere. Didn’t help that neither of our two were/are good sleepers or feeders as babies.

    Now they’re both a little less ‘resource-intensive’ things have improved but the bulk of my cycling is done on my commute. At it’s shortest route it’s about 7.5 miles each way but over the last year I’ve stretched this out to 25 miles+ each way, 5 days a week. It’s unsuprisingly done wonders for my fitness and it’s a great way of waking up in the morning / clearing the head after a day at work. It’s not difficult to get up a little earlier or to justify getting home 20 minutes later than normal if I want to add an extra loop to the ride home – the alternative would be to get out to the gym / go for a ride in the evening. By the time the kids are in bed and my wife and I have eaten it’s going to be 8pm and I’m running out of waking hours to get out and ride.

    (However, we’re lucky in that we live in the middle of the Sussex countryside so the majority of those miles are along quiet country roads – lots of wildlife, fields and many, many hills. If I had to that distance on A-roads then I don’t think I’d be quite as enthusiastic.)

    Weekends are difficult as I want to spend time with my family rather than disappear off to the hills to get muddy – hopefully when they get older they’ll progress from cycling around the driveway and garden to being able to tag along around Bedgebury but currently they’re too young…


    We’ve got a second kid on the way and so my free-time is due for a further dive – but there is some compensation. We’re moving to Peebles in a couple of weeks – so at least there will be some “decent” riding from my door (house is right at the end of the Gypsy Glen route)….I work from home full-time – so pre-work & “long lunch” rides are easily possible for me – and I can kind of organise my time pretty flexibly so I can do a few hours at night instead of during the day if I want.

    I have two mini officers – 5 and 3 (tomorrow).

    Its a definite that two are considerably more of a resource/time shock than one.

    I basically didn’t ride for the first 8 months after both of them were born, and slowly ramped back since. TBH, My job became very demanding shortly after the birth of mini-oficer 2, with me living away from home in the week, so I was reluctant to ride at all on the weekend due to restricted family life anyway.

    Generally, I fit the twice a week model already described on this thread.

    I get up early to ride with Candodavid, Singletrackmonkey and Clink from here – either on the hill for 07:00 on Sunday morning and back before midday, and a long old night ride on Thursday after the kids are in bed.

    Mrs officer isn’t really a hobby person like I am, but basically, she gets
    all the other evenings to use as she see fit. Somtimes she’s in, sometimes she’s out. We have Sundays from 11:00 as a family.

    Anything else is for negotiation.

    I was made redundant in March, and despite the money issues its been great to be back at home with the family, and get into a regular riding habit again. Mrs officer has just got a job, so as of this week, I’m the full time carer. Its remarkable how much of my life my old job gobbled up, and whilst I was on a good salary, looking at the pay as an hourly rate, it wasn’t even that well paid!

    I regard my redundancy as a good thing really. I’ve never defined myself by my work so I’ve not had any ‘issues’ and I get to strengthen my relationship with the two most important people in my life (even if they’re bloody hard work!)

    Premier Icon snowslave

    A nice thing about this thread is how bikists see redundancy as a positive cos they can ride more – brilliant perspective!

    Work life balance innit.

    So far mine has swung to each extreme but hasn’t settled in the middle!


    I have two kids (4 & 2)and as the above says pick your times and if you have a pass …ride whatever the weather.
    I commutee x2 a week so 50 miles there to start with which does not count.
    Once per week night ride minimum usually more (kids in bed done my chores now **** off out whilst she watches cr@p on the tv.
    Weekends much harder one pass per month for an all dayer …she gets the same in return. Usually a 4 hour ride at weeeknd but generally after 5 pm in summer.
    Whilst you need to get out cycling remember the mountains are going nowhere but your kids are growing up fast and soon enough they will be teenagers who think you are a kn0b so enjoy the wee ones whilst they still adore you!!

    Yes, The day rides are a thing of the past.

    I’m hoping I may get a bivvy weekend this year later in the summer so I can do some longer distance stuff over Dartmoor or Exmoor. If it happens it’ll be my first for 5 years.

    Premier Icon FOG

    Beware when they get older weird things happen. When my kids were younger I used to race m/bike enduros which involved maybe 10 weekends a year as well as my road bike and my mtb time and my wife was fine with it. Now they have left home it seems I am her appointed servant and entertainment master and it is all I can do to get out at all. I have taken to entering loads of events because this seems to work on her psyche. Just saying ‘I am going out for a ride with my mates’ almost always brings the response
    ‘ But you said you would ….’ whatever boring household chore is on the go.

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