Riding for new(ish) dad , finding time? Does it get easier?

Fellow cyclists/dads out there did you find that you had ZERO time to ride when your little one (LO) came along? Any tips on finding time / excuses?

*Should say that I ride my bike for enjoyment / mental health - the fact it helps keep me fit is a bonus so I have never been into HIT training or sprints etc as that is simply not fun for me for the same reason I cannot bear turbo trainers - Boring as F**K even with Zwift / iPad etc.

We have a perfectly fit and healthy 13 month old and since March I have worked exclusively from home so should have some time to ride but in 10 months I have ridden my bike just 13 times compared to 126 times the year before.

I have put on 10kg just by not riding (diet has not changed at all)

To highlight the issue here is my current daily schedule:

6-6.30am - LO wakes up
6.45am - LO gets up , changed and dressed
7am - Breakfast
7.30am - Playtime (which means basically keep 100% concentration to stop her from killing herself!)
8.45am - Wife takes over and I start work
9am - LO naps for about 90 mins
9am-12.30pm - Work (11.30am one of us takes 30 mins to give LO lunch then play until 12.45)
12.45pm - Take LO to nursery (take it in turns - takes 15 mins to walk to nursery and back)
1pm- Back from Nursery drop off
1pm-1.45pm - Lunch - I have tried to get a ride in but it takes me 10 mins to get back from spare room, get changed etc. then by the time I have hit the road after maybe 15-20 mins I have to turn around and come back
2pm-5pm - WORK
5-5.30pm - Collect LO from nursery (we walk as driving takes just as long as you have to go around a stupid one way system and we go the quieter longer way as traffic freaks LO out)
5.30pm-6.15pm - LO evening meal / We also eat too
6.20pm - Bath for LO
6.30pm - Wind down for bed (LO)
6.45/7pm - LO asleep
7.15pm - Tidy house / clear up the bomb site that is the dining table
8.45pm - DEEP SLEEP (borderline comatose)

As above but instead of work we end up just going out for a long walk or food shopping etc. The only difference is not being at nursery in the afternoon she has a longer 2-3.30pm nap but I feel guilty using this time to go for a ride as the house by this point is a completely s**t hole and needs all that time to get it even vaguely tidy so buggering off for 90 mins would not be fair - I should point out my wife works from home full time too.

*Rinse / repeat next day*

I have tried on a few occasions to go out at 8pm but I am so mentally drained its not enjoyable and I am so away with the fairies its borderline dangerous

Starting to think its going to be a LONG time before I can actually have a few hours to myself

How do other dad's cope?

When does it get easier?



  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,170
    Yes mate, it does get easier, and yes, when i had my little one I didn't ride my bike much at all. Most I got was a quick pop into town to get something.

    I didn't cope very well in hindsight - I didn't find being a father anywhere near as easy as I had anticipated. I probably still don't.

    Once you get into a routine and they're sleeping a bit more you will gradually eek out more and more time. I totally get the feeling guilty for going out - I had the same. There is a point where you need to do something for yourself, but it's not easy.

    Eventually when mine was 9-12 months we had enough of a routine that I could go out for 45-1hr rides in the evenings - I set fairly low expectations of once or twice a week. That seemed to be OK.

    To be honest, I only really got properly riding again in lockdown, and I'm hoping that when the pandemic passes I'll have a bit more time than i did before coronavirus.

    It does depend on how much time your wife is happy for you to be out during non-working hours, and that is dependent on how easy or difficult she's finding it - which also depends on how easy your child is or not.

  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 41,083
    There's a reason why I had a 12 year gap from the mid 90s (and gained the best part of 4 stone).
  • mr_eddy
    mr_eddy Posts: 830
    Glad that I am not the only one. Suppose I just need to get what I can when I can then? At the very least I can potentially get some riding in during the summer when its still light at 7/8pm

    COVID closed the local pool down too and I was hoping at the beginning of autumn that I could attend their 8pm adult swim sessions as I really enjoyed that too but alas it is what it is. I also had no guilt about it as the missus does not swim so she is not 'missing out'

  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 73,170
    Honestly don't put too much pressure on yourself. Time to do it will come in time.

    I found it easier when I resigned to not being as fit/healthy as I was pre baby. It's a time when you have to sacrifice a bit for the little one but you'll get that paid back.

  • david37
    david37 Posts: 1,313
    its only riding a bike, a break of a couple of years wont hurt. plus youll be too skint to buy new chains and cassettes anyway :)
  • elbowloh
    elbowloh Posts: 7,078
    I have a 20 month old and have barely found the time to ride. In proper lockdown when wife was on maternity I occasionally got up at 6.00, out for 6.30 for an hour or an hour and a half, but that was infrequent. I had the occasional day where the wife took child out to meet friends (pre-covid) and even an entire week where wife to son away on holiday with her family - which was bliss and i managed to do some rides.

    I thought things would start to get easier from around now, but instead number 2 child is due end of Feb, so it's back to the beginning again.
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame
  • edward.s
    edward.s Posts: 222
    I started getting time back when my youngest went to school at age 4, so 7 years from birth of first sprog. I wasn't an active cyclist then but was a very active UK Scuba diver and my hours in the water dropped off pretty much to half of what they had been.

    I'll be honest I wasn't really bothered as I loved spending time with them for the most part.

    Now they are 10 and 13 and can be left for a few hours and I am working from home permanently, I manage 4 or 5 decent rides (2hrs or more) a week.
  • slowmart
    slowmart Posts: 4,488
    edited January 2021
    iIt changes and so does your focus and concern

    My daughter is 20, left home a whole ago and turned up in her car.

    me , this tires look like they don't have much grip?

    Daughter, what do you mean

    me, i explain about tyres and minimum tread

    Daughter, is that why i keep skidding everywhere

    I phone the local garage to get the tyres sorted, daughter attends and then i get a call to say the brakes are knackered too.

    Like i said it just moves along,

    Enjoy as there is a certain innocence at that age and its just a lack of sleep which you are suffering from. Sleep deprivation is a tactic used to get information from suspects ( Military context)

    either way enjoy your time as they grow up so quickly.....

    As for riding, sh1t the bed and get up earlier if you want to ride your bike, otherwise something will always come up during the day. So control what you can!
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • MattFalle
    MattFalle Posts: 11,644
    Nah, you've fckued it mate. Game over.

    14 years in and MF is still not back to a tenth of riding time. If its not school run its after school activities then its taking to friends house or scouts or cubs or music lessons or something.

    Then you have life, marriage/partnershop, eating and sleeping.

    Kiss it all goodbye.

    The camera down the willy isn't anything like as bad as it sounds.
  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    edited January 2021
    5am start is the way to go.

    I didn’t do much for a long time when the kids were young. Even when they got a bit older, I still found it impossible to free up time in evenings / weekends as 3 kids and a wife take time.

    In the end just decided that if I wanted to ride, stupidly early was my time with no compromise. It works amazingly well once you get used to it.

    Only one teenager permanently at home now and I find the lack of demands on my time equally as challenging as the never ending list of tasks I thought were killing me off when they were all at home.

    There’ll be many more bike rides to come, make the most of the ones you can fit in.
  • TheBigBean
    TheBigBean Posts: 20,802
    Not saying it's easy, but from 6.15pm you only need one parent, so the other can have some free time to do as they like.

    One super fit guy I know gets up two hours before the rest of his family.

    Riding a bike is easier than other hobbies as it doesn't require anybody else. I'm pretty much retired from playing squash as it is hard to find other people to play and to get them fit around my limited availability.
  • elbowloh
    elbowloh Posts: 7,078
    Also, turbo. It might be easier to fit in turbo time rather than a full blown ride.
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame
  • webboo
    webboo Posts: 6,087
    Can you not negotiate with your other half some time, say 2 hours on a Tuesday and Thursday evening and 4 hours on either a Saturday or Sunday. Then she gets the same time to do some stuff for herself. You don’t need to be both there all the time. As by the time they are sixteen and they hate you or you are paying off their drug dealer. You be wondering why you made so many sacrifices. :s
  • pangolin
    pangolin Posts: 6,362
    Could walk to nursery with your bike and go straight from there, I used to do that on my way to work in the morning. Then eat at your desk at 2.

    It is tough though. I miss the forced commuting miles. When you don't have to do it there is always something more important.
    - Genesis Croix de Fer
    - Dolan Tuono
  • photonic69
    photonic69 Posts: 2,496
    It goes by so fast you'll be wondering why you worried about it.

    1/ Get a child seat - consider it resistance training
    2/ Get a pull-along trainer - consider it resistance training
    3/ Get a tag-along bike/Trailgator - consider it resistance training
    4/ Go for short rides with them - consider it a rest day
    5/ Go for slightly longer rides with them - consider it a recovery ride
    6/ Go for a ride with them - discover they have dropped you on all the hills
    7/ Job done!
    8/ Go for rides by yourself and miss them lots

    Sometimes. Maybe. Possibly.

  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 41,083
    MattFalle said:

    Nah, you've fckued it mate. Game over.

    14 years in and MF is still not back to a tenth of riding time. If its not school run its after school activities then its taking to friends house or scouts or cubs or music lessons or something.

    Then you have life, marriage/partnershop, eating and sleeping.

    Kiss it all goodbye.


    Don't all the MFs take turns?
  • Defblade
    Defblade Posts: 140
    I'm just back on after 19 years.
    Daughter is basically home again as Uni has turned to rubbish this year, but at least she mostly looks after herself these days...
  • MattFalle
    MattFalle Posts: 11,644
    Pross said:

    MattFalle said:

    Nah, you've fckued it mate. Game over.

    14 years in and MF is still not back to a tenth of riding time. If its not school run its after school activities then its taking to friends house or scouts or cubs or music lessons or something.

    Then you have life, marriage/partnershop, eating and sleeping.

    Kiss it all goodbye.


    Don't all the MFs take turns?
    They all travel together, like a posse or massif.

    Its a blimmin' good idea though- grazie.

    The camera down the willy isn't anything like as bad as it sounds.
  • Stevo_666
    Stevo_666 Posts: 58,923
    Once this bloody pandemic is over, ride to work.
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • john80
    john80 Posts: 2,965
    I ran the London marathon a couple of years ago. I had a couple of young kids and most of my training took place between 2000 and 2200 during weekdays. Your free time is when they are in bed I am afraid or splitting time at the weekend with the other half.
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,761
    Either prioritise riding or accept it. If you prioritise riding either your career or your relationship with your kids will suffer. That's just how it is - life is about choices.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • david37
    david37 Posts: 1,313
    kids are over rated. leave them before they leave you. your new younger girlfriend will appreciate it.

    And if you're lucky so will her sister and mother.

  • MattFalle
    MattFalle Posts: 11,644
    david37 said:

    kids are over rated.


    this, totally.

    sorry to say it but you've stuffed it. unless you're happy with massive amounts of disappointment when it comes to riding then you've stuffed it. Kiss it all goodbye Bye bye dreams, ambitions, hopes and future memories.

    The best you're going to get is a couple of half crappi rides where you finish and go "oh, I felt rubbish. Need to do more miles" and your other half goes "yeah, fine, now come on, get changed, children to look after, jobs to do"

    The camera down the willy isn't anything like as bad as it sounds.
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,761
    edited January 2021
    In all seriousness it does depend on your life/work situation. I took up cycling about the time my 2nd and 3rd were born but still managed to race.

    What I did was go out on the local smash fest Saturday morning and get 60 miles in.

    Then I'd use a turbo in the garage - go out at 10pm for 90 minutes and do 2*20 hard as I could sustain.

    Local chain gang starts 2 miles from my house so I could go out at 6:30 and be back by 8 -

    go out at 6:15 am for 90 minutes, quick shower take the kids to school/nursery then work.

    If I wanted to do a Sunday club run or a race or sportive I could the wife looked after the kids.

    At the same time she was training for and running marathons so you just have to work it out between you - it only takes one person to look after kids.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • johngti
    johngti Posts: 2,508
    Stevo_666 said:

    Once this bloody pandemic is over, ride to work.

    This. When my youngest was very little I commuted three or four days per week and managed to negotiate a couple of hours on a Sunday morning (usually 7.30 starts).

    Then, just as he got big enough to not worry about watching him every second of the day, I changed jobs to a school within walking distance of home and that has an expectation of being involved in school sports on a Saturday morning. So I dropped to about 20 rides per year for the four years up to last April (2020) when I decided ~14 stone and no exercise was a bad idea for a 51 year old so starts up again. Still not smashing the miles like I did but I went from 200 miles in April to 1080 miles at the end of the year plus running and a strict diet. Now under 12 stone and much healthier.

    Just takes some careful negotiation and spreading the childcare load somewhat. And determination.
  • nickice
    nickice Posts: 2,439
    Well I'm not sure the suggestions of getting up earlier will work as the OP seems to need the sleep he gets considering he's asleep before 9pm.

    I have a Hamax bike seat and I first took my first one out at about 14 months but my second one went in it at about 11 months. If you, like me, have no particular fitness goals, then this would seem to be the easiest solution.

    Your relationship is none of my business but it's always good to give each other a bit of time away from the children. I find it's best for everyone.
  • Ben6899
    Ben6899 Posts: 9,686
    edited January 2021
    mr_eddy, no kids here but I can tell you that my brother trained for and completed an IronMan (Bolton, no less) when his eldest was 2 years old.

    So he was training when she was 1 / 2 years old. He trained a lot as well, didn't do bare minimum.

    From that I deduce that, yes, it does get better.

    Bikes: Donhou DSS4 Custom | Condor Italia RC | Gios Megalite | Dolan Preffisio | Giant Bowery '76
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben_h_ppcc/
    Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/143173475@N05/
  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,624
    I think I cycled more after becoming a father, and like RC, I didn't find becoming a father that easy, and still do not. Some people take to it like a duck to water, and others do not.

    My gf likes to run, and cycle a bit, so we ensure we each have time to take part in fitness activities - I'm a huge believer in the fact it boosts my mental health no end, and with currently not being in a position to see anyone (really) outside of my gf, 7 year old daugher, and my parters mother, it's very much needed.

    Turbo for me was the key, either get up super early, or fit a turbo session in during lunch - I tried in the evening, but personally I find after a shower it's late, but I then struggle to get to sleep.

    As for making things interesting on the turbo - I use trainerroad (Great for if you like an easy to follow training plan, and hitting numbers / looking at stats) and more recently RGT, which is a virtual cycling piece of software.
    I do have a garage with power, a smart trainer, and a permanent turbo bike, which is one I bought back in 2007.

    If I had to put a bike on the turbo, or get it out of a cupboard each time, I doubt I would be able to make myself do it - especially if it's a brutally early session.

    The other motivation aspect with RGT, is that if I agree to ride with some people on a course the following morning, I'm much less likely to turn over and go back to sleep when the alarm goes off. Oh and RGT can be used for free as well, permanently if you like.

    For me, becoming a father made me use my time much more effectively, and I found I became more organised - well because you kind of have to really, what with shopping, keeping the house clean, clothes washing etc etc, there's a ton of stuff to do, and it would be easy to let it all get out of hand.

    You do need an understanding and supportive partner, but luckily that is what I have, and it's give and take, though I probably get a bit more cycling tie than she does running time, but that's kind of logical as she wouldn't want to be running for 5 hours a week.

    I probably turbo for 3.5 hours a week during week days, and in the summer and autumn months I was either going out with my club every Sunday for maybe 2.5 hours, starting at 8, or we would alternate if she fancied riding - she's not quite as keen as me.

    With all the turbo work, I found I enjoyed my outdoor riding MUCH more, as I was fitter and faster, and it really opened my eyes to how enjoyable it can be, as opposed to just slogging it up a hill.
    Plus riding with people is something I only started the year before last (Not that you can currently) and that was also an eye opener - I'd always put it off as I was sure I would be holding people up, but if it's the right kind of ride, people really don't care at all, and will either ride with you, or simply wait.
    Plus you can just choose a ride speed you are happy with, and go conservative until you are happy.

    Advantages with riding early doors, is that I am WIDE awake and able to concentrate on my work really well, for me I'm sure it makes me more effective at work, and boosts my mental health no end.

    I would strongly suggest you try and find something exercise related you can do, be it cycling, running, cross fit, weights or something of that aspect, and something that is flexible and works around your schedule.

    Actually that's another benefit with a turbo, much less kit to get ready, no lights, helmet, overshoes, spare tubes, pump etc etc, so less prep time, and also no worry about a dreaded visit from the fairy - when I workout in my lunch hour, or extended lunchour, as I take 2 hours, and finish later, I need to know what time I am going to finish, so I can get showered and get back to work in time.
    I eat before usually, whilst I work, and then get maximum bang for my buck for the actual time not working.

    Finally, I too have put on weight over lockdown, and have not really managed to shift it - hoping to this year, but I'm not overly confident about it, but equally I'm not going to beat myself up about it.

    Best of luck with whatever you choose.
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • super_davo
    super_davo Posts: 1,164
    There are lots of good suggestions to free up time but the key is to talk to your partner and make sure you have a bit of time for yourself and she does likewise.
    I think a major cause of the "I didn't find parenting easy" comments are when you have had to give up so much that you don't appreciate what you've gained, and it just feels like hard work. You and your partner need to work as a team and ensure that doesn't happen to either of you.

    Accepting you're not then going to have oodles of time to ride like you used to, then make the time you can find count. Turbo is a massive help because you can literally do it any time of the morning or evening, and its very time efficient i.e. if I have a free hour I can get a good workout in. It also means when you can negotiate a proper amount of time to get out you're not so puffed getting up the first ramp that it kills you.

    As a suggestion, looking at your schedule... I'd probably wake up at 5 three days a week, take the baby monitor to the turbo and ride until the little one wakes up and when they do you deal with it in full - tell your partner to sleep in. Do that in exchange for a two hour ride at the weekend. And make sure your partner has similar time for herself so nobody feels guilty and you can all recharge.
  • nickice
    nickice Posts: 2,439
    I feel like a lot of people haven't actually read the OP's post!