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Gear Prudence: I succumbed to peer pressure and now I’m in trouble. I go on long rides with my buddies on weekends and we’re out almost all day. My wife doesn’t mind, but the one thing she asks is that I text her when we stop for water breaks so she’s knows that I’m OK. It’s a safety thing and it’s sweet, but every time I take out my phone to do it, my friends make fun of me. So, this past weekend I didn’t do it and when I finally pulled into the house, she was so pissed! I don’t want her to be mad at me, but I also don’t want to be mocked. Is there any way I can make her understand?—Can Have Empathy, Concerned Kin Implores Notification
Dear CHECKIN: GP sympathizes with your plight. It sounds very onerous both to go on long weekend rides with your friends and also have a significant other who cares about you. Bicyclists truly can’t have it all. It’s pretty uncool of your friends to mock your “I’m OK” texts. Clearly your wife worries about your safety (or maybe for reasons that currently elude GP, she actually misses you), and it’s not like you can’t spare the three seconds during a stop to send a quick text. But what’s even more uncool is that you’ve let your boorish buds dictate the terms of your relationship! You have nothing to be embarrassed about, and succumbing to peer pressure was seriously lame on your part. GP suspects that what really rankles you isn’t the checking in, but your desire for some clearer boundaries. You want your bike time to be your time, free from the intrusions of normal everyday life and that harridan of a wife who selfishly wants confirmation that you’re not in the bottom of a ditch somewhere in Darnestown. Is it too much to ask, you think, that you be simply left alone for eight hours at a time with your hobby? After all, you wouldn’t bother her on the weekend when she’s doing whatever it is that she does (laundry? scrapbooking? lusty affairs?) when you’re out riding. If a quick text is too much (and it shouldn’t be, so get over yourself), rely on other technological solutions. Maybe she can track you on Strava or some other GPS-enabled cyberstalking software on your phone. Check in on Facebook. Or post to Instagram sepia-toned pictures of whatever gas station that served as a resting point. In fact, both of these options can serve a dual purpose: You can verify your continued well-being while bragging on the social about your epic ride. Make sure you tag your riding buddies. It’s possible that someone out there cares about them too. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email email@example.com.