Changing gears for her birthday

ID-100255904My wife is very practical, in that she doesn’t pine after many things she doesn’t need. So I was surprised one recent Friday evening – as we strolled through our local park near the Don River Valley Trails – when she said she wanted a bike.

It sounded like a great idea on that sunny evening, but I wasn’t convinced. I’m an avid cyclist in my mind but in reality, my bike is sitting in our shed and I haven’t taken it for a significant ride in the last two years.

She’d owned a bike before and her birthday was around the corner, so of course she should have one. But I actually had purchasing a spin bike in mind, since she enjoys spinning but had been finding it hard to make it out to classes lately. So I tried to subtly inquire further.

“But would you want a spin bike or a bicycle?” I asked. In other words, do you want something practical we will both likely use year-round or a more whimsical toy you may use occasionally for four months of the year?

In this moment, with kids playing baseball at the diamonds and couples out riding and rollerblading, she was feeling whimsical.

“When would you have time to ride it though?” I asked. “This is our first time this summer taking a walk in our neighbourhood.”

“We need to make some changes to our life,” she declared, causing me to grin.  I squeezed her hand and started planning the Great Birthday Bike Surprise.

It gets a little tricky to surprise your wife with a bicycle though. I wanted to stay within a budget but still get her a bike she’d like, and the only way to do that was for her to see it.  I was made to understand that once a bike left the store I was inquiring at, it could not be returned. And there was no way to know if she’d like the bike I’d chosen without her seeing it. But on the other hand, I knew if I let her know my plan she would say it was too expensive.

I spent some time trying to dream up reasons to go to the store under false pretenses, but even then, what if, after the reveal, she was unimpressed with the selection? So I devised what I thought was the next best plan – texting her a photo. So a week before her birthday I went to the store, where the bike I’d had in mind, a city-style bike, was unavailable, but I thought this one below might appeal. So with visions of us going on a bike ride that very evening, I sent her a photo, starting this conversation.

bike buy

Ms. Practical had returned. She was over the idea, though satisfied with my effort.

“It’s the thought that counts,” she said.

I kept insisting we go to a few other shops to find her this bike present. I think I had become more excited about it than her through this process.

That is, until she brought us full circle, if you will, when she said, “Maybe I just need a spin bike.”

Do you find it hard to buy gifts for your significant other? I’d love to hear about your recurring attempts to surprise them in the comments section below. 

Main Image courtesy of [tigger11th] at