A while back I wrote an article on how to snare a mate. Now it's time to provide an update on how to keep her once found.
So, you've followed my previous sage advice and got yourself a sweetie. After the initial period of euphoria, you settle down to the comfortable stage where you start wondering "Do I really want to spend my life with someone who flicks her toenail clippings into the bed." This is a critical period because she is pondering similar questions about you.
Despite the fact you met her on a bike ride, she may in fact have another life. After the Lycra comes off you may be surprised to find she has Other Interests. Her idea of a getaway weekend may not be doing Tour of New England. You should tolerate, nay embrace, these extracurricular activities (at least try to fake it). You may find you develop more scintillating topics of conversation than optimum gear ratios. You should try to schedule at least one non-biking activity per weekend (eating and drinking don't count).
You have to make some adjustments at home as well. She might not agree that her mother's casserole would be great for cleaning bike parts. And she might not think the living room is a good place to air out your sweaty bike clothes, no matter how many sponsors logos are on your jersey. She may actually prefer watching Masterpiece Theatre to reruns of Tour de France videos.
You can only push love so far. Strange as this may seem, the highest aspiration of your SO may not be to become captain of your crew and designated driver of the support vehicle. "I'll just do this double century, and you can wait for me every twenty five miles of so with power bars and gatorade, and then when we get home after my massage you can make dinner and clean the bike since I'll obviously be too wasted to lift a finger to do anything but open the pop-top on a beer can." Legend has it that there were actually Real Men who could get avay with this, but I wouldn't count on it.
It's generally not good form to drop your sweetie while out on a ride. Circling at the top of hills doesn't curry favor either. This is the beauty of a tandem. But failing this, you must at least make it appear that you're happy with the sheer joy of being with her, at whatever speed. Phrases like "Well, I just thought I'd climb the hill a couple more times to work on my mileage while I was waiting for you" may not make her gasp in awe at your obvious prowess, but grit her teeth and wonder what would happen if she rammed her pump into your rear wheel.
Unless of course, you happened to snag a hammerette who can smoke you on every climb. In this case, you have to avoid being sullen and morose, and making excuses. Another reason to get a tandem -- she can push your sorry butt up the hills, while you take credit for it (have you ever heard anyone say "He's not pedalling"). You can assuage your male ego by rationalizing that you can at least drink more beer than she can. Bet she can't belch the Star Spangled Banner either.