Ride Capital


What the deuce is Ride Capital? It's probably been around since the wheel.

Ride Capital is the virtual bank account shared between you and your non-riding significant other. I was going to be gender-neutral here, but I can only speak from the male point of view. Ladies, if you're the one mountain biker in the relationship, I'd love to hear your version of this. Anyhow...

Sort of a niche article, I suppose. Singles and folks with partners who ride as much as you do: you can sit this one out. Or maybe the singles can read this to prepare for the future, and the "bicycle built for two" couples can read this to understand a major hurdle that prevents some of their friends from hitting the trails more often.

What's Ride Capital? It's a form of currency in a metaphorical bank account - no, not Bitcoin - and if you love riding, it's almost as important as the money in your real bank account.

You save it over time,

You spend it on rides,

You accumulate it doing chores...

You know... Ride Capital! This weekend, I went out for about two and a half hours and rode trails very close to my house. I spent a small but noteworthy amount of ride capital to take that ride. I 'kept it cheap' by minimizing drive time, spending a reasonable amount of time on the trails, and choosing to ride early in the morning, so that a four hour chunk wasn't taken right out of the middle of the day.

Singles and MTB couples are rolling their eyes right now. I can see a "YOLO" thought bubble popping out of their heads.

Here's an alternative, more expensive ride I could've taken:

First, 11 AM start (because hangover or whatever).

Trail destination 45 minutes from my house.

Three to four hours on the trails.

Post ride beers (ample beers).

What time is it? I'm-in-deep-shit-30?

The expensive ride sounds like a bit more fun... and it is. At first. But when the one riding partner of the house arrives at home with a buzz created by a brilliant mixture of singletrack and Dale's Pale Ale, the .. non-riding partner is non-amused. She's been entirely unable to get anything done on account of an attention-demanding one year old, who miraculously created the effects of an explosion without the fire (hopefully) in your living room ... all while you were out.

By this time, the people I'm writing this for are totally picking up what I'm putting down.

The singles are fucking terrified.

The "we both ride!" couples are... well, they're just out riding. Jerks.

Sure, for you two

OK, so how do you go about getting this Ride Capital? Understanding that you need Ride Capital is the first step. As I'd mentioned before, time is one way. You get a slow and steady accrual of Ride Capital simply from not riding. It's like interest in a savings account, but at least it's always working in your favor. The downside is that you're not riding, of course, and as you know, that can have unfortunate side effects on a mountain biker. Like any financial plan, you've gotta diversify.

Get some shit done.

When you think about it, the reason you're using up your Ride Capital by riding is the fact that your non-riding significant other is unable to accomplish certain goals as a result of your not being there - whether fun or productive. In theory, if you're starting with a clean slate and you ride first, you're actual opening a Ride Capital line of credit! That's just dangerous. Getting shit done is the most straightforward way to build up some Ride Capital - good old fashioned sweat equity. This too has multiple 'levels' and the payoff is accordingly. Fix something squeaky or loose. There's always something squeaky or loose. This alone won't get you very far though - you'll have to find multiple squeaky or loose things. There's that sound the refrigerator's been making for a year and a half. If you can knock that sucker out, you've got some nice take-home pay right there. And if you just remodeled a bathroom with that vanity mirror she's always wanted, we can talk when you get back from Moab.

Much like a sword with two edges, this is a double-edged sword. If you don't fix any of these things around the house, you're actually depleting your Ride Capital at a faster rate than it can accrue with time. You, my friend, are heading toward a Ride Capital bankruptcy, and you need to get your money right.

It's not all about fixing either, remember - it's ultimately about minimizing the impact that your riding has on her time. So whittling away at her to-do list can have the same effect as going to work on your own list. You can get creative too, and do something she really doesn't like doing, but you really don't mind doing. Recently, my wife forgot her purse at her mother's house, halfway across Massachusetts. She was getting ready to go out there to get it, and she hates driving. I enjoy driving, so it was an easy way to make her day a lot better. An impromptu group ride came up a couple days later, and she was quick to say "go for it!"

As I get further into parenting, I'm sure new challenges will arise, but on the flipside of that coin, I will find new ways to build my Ride Capital. Getting your kid into riding is probably like the IRA of building Ride Capital, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

I did seem to miss one demographic in this post. You might be thinking "What about couples where one person rides a bunch, the other doesn't, but it's OK?" I simply group them into "people who aren't married yet" or "people who aren't single again yet."

Got other ideas for building Ride Capital? Let's hear 'em...

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