Any marriage counsellor or agony aunt will tell you that the secret to any successful relationship is complete honesty and trust, but unfortunately they don't know what it's like dealing with a non-cycling partner when you've got home late from a ride.
If they did have experience of this, they'd know that all cyclists need to have a number of go-to excuses for their tardiness, covering the fact that they managed to sneak in an extra loop or spend a little more time than planned eating cake at the cafe stop.
1. I had a puncture
No one can avoid getting a puncture so this should be the go-to excuse for any late arrival of around 20-30 minutes. If you want to make it extra convincing then get a bit of grease on your hands and make sure your other half is made very aware every time you order a box of inner tubes.
2. Someone else had a puncture and I just had to help
For slightly longer delays, play the good Samaritan card where you were very nearly home before coming across a stranded cyclist in need, not only lending them a spare tube, but fixing it for them too. You're just such a kind person that you couldn't just ride on past.
3. The traffic was awful
This one won't work if you live in rural Scotland or if your partner is a cyclist who knows you can just cycle down the side of traffic jams, but if you live in a city and the last part of your ride is on busy roads, then of course you might get slowed down by the big queue of 4x4s outside the Waitrose car park.
4. I was having so much fun I put in an extra loop
Get your puppy eyes out for this one. Your partner knows how much you like cycling, so surely they can't begrudge you staying out for an extra half hour because you're just having such a great time. Ok, maybe they could, but it's worth a shot anyway.
5. I was late leaving
Save this for early morning rides when your partner is still in bed and will be asleep when you creep out of the door. If you were planning to leave at seven and be back around 10 then of course you'll be back a little later if you didn't leave until half past. Whether you actually left late doesn't really matter, does it.
6. My mates were late
This one might not wash quite so easily, but if you're heading out for a group ride then surely your other half can't expect you to ride on your own just because your mates running 15 minutes late. Ok, maybe they will, but it's still worth a shot, and after all it's not your faulty for having such tardy riding companions.
7. There was a big headwind on the way home
Ideal if you've managed to get your partner into cycling so they know the trauma of riding into a headwind, but they still want to do other things with their Saturdays than wait for you to get back from your ride. Always make sure to accompany this with "yeah, it's much windier than it looks" when they point out how the trees outside are barely moving.
8. I'm just really not feeling that great
Best deployed at the end of a really hard ride where you stagger in the door barely able to walk and in need of a lie down. Of course you're partner doesn't need to know about the seriously tough intervals that you've been smashing out, just tell them about how you've felt rubbish all ride and you're not sure what's wrong.
Fingers crossed this will instantly make them forget that you were late at all, overcome with worry that might even see them make your lunch too.
9. I had a major mechanical
Save this one for special occasions (i.e. being an hour or more late) and be sure to keep your other half up-to-date with your "misfortune".
A quick text to tell them about your "snapped chain" or "broken derailleur" half way round, then a follow up message telling them that it's fixed but progress will be slow for the rest of the ride will let them know that you're thinking of them, while actually sneaking in another hour of riding.
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