A bike propped up against a whitewashed wall
Tiffany Nutt/Unsplash
Dating 101

Know your dating enemies: The bicycle

When you have been on as many dates as I have, there are lots of things you dread. Spending three hours downwind of someone’s halitosis, hearing about their ex and wondering whether that a boil, a mole or worse on the end of their nose can all be terrifying events, but one thing that used to really make my heart sink on a date has two wheels and a seat just for one.

You are Diana to its Camilla, and it’s got its eyes on your throne.

What has the humble bicycle ever done to me, you may ask. They’re environmentally friendly, good exercise and most men who ride them have thighs you could open bottles of Coke between. Sure, sure, but what a bike really means is that, unless you’re a hardcore pedal pusher too, there are going to be three of you in this relationship.

You are Diana to its Camilla, and it’s got its eyes on your throne.

Seeing your date – who you’re meeting for the very first time – arrive on a bike is a one-way ticket to a heavy heart. Bicycles are built for one, so if things should get interesting – and I don’t think my use of ‘interesting’ here takes too many dictionaries to work out – you either have to postpone your ardour for another day, or gamely totter alongside him while he pushes the bike home, praying he doesn’t live too far. (I have done this; I have no shame.)

As soon as the handshake is over, his cockblocking bike will whisk him away.

If a man brings his bike on a date, it means he’s fully prepared for a quick exit. No lingering with you at bus stops or vague promises of “let’s get you a taxi”. As soon as the handshake is over – or the peck if you’ve actually got on well – his cockblocking bike will whisk him away. Off go his cute smile, amazing hair and boiled-egg buttocks, weaving in among traffic and heading miles and miles away from your ravenous fingertips.

If he does take you home, pushing the bike along the street with a near-stranger in all that dreaded fresh air gives him plenty of time to snap out of his lusty haze, realise he has work in the morning and, as you’re three-quarters of the way there, turn to you and say: “Actually, I’m pretty tired”.

If you’re lucky, and hot enough, he’ll remain keen all the way home, whereupon he will spend what feels like for ever finding somewhere to put the bike, or drag it into his house, leaving it exactly where a flatmate can trip over it in the morning.

Later, as your breathing quickens and things get frantic, he’ll suddenly stop, crying out into the dark: “Shit! Did I lock my bike?”

If you can get over this hurdle to end up actually dating this guy, don’t think his bike has finished with you yet.

Of course, if you can get over this first hurdle and end up actually dating this guy, don’t think his bike has finished with you yet. The thing about going out with a guy who rides a bike is that he’s going to want you to do it too. This isn’t unreasonable, of course; a shared hobby can forge an even stronger bond. But if you’re not into it, prepare for his bike, and other men who do like to ride bikes, to be your main challengers for his attention.

You’ll try, perhaps spiritedly at first, to go for a bike ride with him. He’s more than likely to have an old one lying around – pedal fans buy new bikes with startling regularity – or he will borrow one from a friend for you.

You’ll stumble and wobble and shiver and shake… and that’s before you’ve even got on the thing. It’s harder than you remember. The seat seems so… high and the handlebars aren’t like your dear old BMX, which was the last time you came into contact with the saddle, aged 14.

You draw his attention to the plot of One Day.

Your bike-loving boy will watch wearily, ask you if you’re sure you can’t do it, before telling you it doesn’t matter and you can always have another go later.

Desperate, knowing your fate, you relay all your fears about riding in the road and being squished by a van. You draw his attention to the plot of One Day. You tell him about the one time you rented a Boris bike and had to pull over and PUSH it along the pavement because  old ladies in Nissan Micras were heckling you as they overtook.

He says he understands. He gives you a playful chuck under the chin. He pats his bike. You will never see him again.

The bicycle has won.

Photo by Tiffany Nutt on Unsplash

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  1. This is hilarious and so true. What is it about bicycles that turns perfectly normal human beings into douchebags. Give me an angry, shouty driver any day instead

  2. Mind you, there is always the possibility he will let you sit while he stands and pedals home…. But then you do spend a lot of time with his butt in your face…. No, I’m with you, bikes spell disappointment.

  3. I love this so much! Hahahahah. You are hilarious. I have yet to go on a date with a biking man.. But my friend dates a biker and that’s all he posts about, talks about, and often is the source of their little disputes….
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hahaha this is awesome! I have never dated one, but I have known them through work or friends and I literally laughed out loud when I read, “Shit! Did I lock my bike?” because I have heard this phrase echoing through the office or breaking the conversation in an important meeting so many times and I can fully envision it happening.

    1. I’m married to someone that loves playing with and building cars, motorcycles and computers… I have perfected the art of nodding and smiling when he talks about things I have no comprehension of. Although I must say I am pretty proud of the fact that I now know many things I had no clue about 7 years ago, if someone has trouble starting their car I immediately recommend they check their spark plugs and duel pump hahaha. What happened to me?!

  5. Reblogged this on angel31260's Blog and commented:
    Some people are just like that ! The old saying goes, if you ever rode a bike get back on because you never forget ! It’s like riding a bike, people with a bad attitude remind me of that saying, but they’ll always will have that attitude something they can’t forget to act that way, time for a new bike, get it ! Or a flat tire to end it.

  6. I actually find this post ..weird. You see, he and I have lived a cycling lifestyle. We don’t have a car and haven’t had one for over last 20 yrs. We’ve lived in major Canadian cities, each over 1 million people. We don’t always cycle together but try to do it often. We go shopping together by cycling, go on trips, etc. Everything. He goes on solo bike touring trips across the continent.

    When I met dearie, I actually was wanting to return to cycling 6 months prior to meeting but didn’t know how to restart …buying bike, etc.

    There will be a blog post in few months..what it means to be cycling couple, or I should say 2 cyclists who are joined by love, but that’s not the only thing that binds us.

    I belong to internet of cycling women..and these are women like myself..who own and ride several bikes. 🙂

    So sorry, let’s not get arrogant about the bike. Really, it’s a partner in a love relationship that respects each other’s passions and interests without feeling left out /put down.

    Yes, I realize this post was to be a satirical piece, perhaps. But no doubt, given some commenters here, it was a source of conflict: that had nothing to do with cycling…..deep down.

  7. I can SO relate to this. The bike always wins. But it’s just as well. I don’t look good in a helmet.
    One time (one being the operative word) I went on a date with a guy who greeted me by saying, “How can you call yourself an environmentalist and still own a car?” Sigh.
    Congrats on your FP!

  8. I have been dating my bike loving man for nearly 3 years and I absolutely love him. We on bike photography dates around the city and make interesting park, restaurant, and street art discoveries. I, too, felt like you once. He was a bike riding addict and I didn’t think I could compete but now, I get it. I feel a real freedom racing past traffic, over the Brooklyn Bridge, visiting museums, helmet in tow. I highly recommend giving up the traditional “date” and being a bit more adventurous. It’s okay. Really. Leave the heels at home.

  9. Heh. I bike to dates because it’s how I get around 95% of the time, but this post reminds me that occasionally, it’s been a handy escape tool. Though I have the opposite perspective from you–I’ve given up on trying to date people who don’t get around by riding. It makes for awkward transportation.

  10. This would be completely lost on people here in Japan. Going on a date by bicycle is very normal. Especially with the traffic and lack of parking here. You’re more likely to be on time with a bike than in a car. But then, people take the train most of the time, rather than a car.

  11. A bicycle will always be first in a man’s affections. it is like a trusted steed or faithful pony. he will always love it first.
    I do believe that bicycles are good for dating teenagers. long before he could drive my brother rode his to his girlfriend’s house. He got to see her a great deal more than if he had relied on lifts from parents who believed in early nights.

  12. hahah I love this. They whole way you wrote this down. So funny and clever. I ride my bicycle and I underline everything you say! But have never really thought about it before 🙂 A cockblocker can be a good thing though 😉 keep it up, you just got a new follower. bikelover 101

  13. haha..I really like bikes but they could get dangerous if you’re not used to ride in the highway. i even bought a book on how to fix bikes but I still don’t use one at present. Maybe I will in the province or in a safer place.

  14. This is too funny! 🙂 I had a boyfriend who threatened to get rid of his car and trade it for a bicycle, claiming that he’d pick me up for dates on it. Not exactly the dream.

    I will definitely be linking this on my Link Love Wednesday roundup next week, and I will be tuning in for more. Great read!

  15. There is something awry about a man who would ride a bicycle to a first date. I love bicycles, and a “bicycle date” would be a great first date – if it was planned and agreed upon by all parties. But to simply show up, unannounced on a bicycle, is as course and self-centered as showing up riding a horse. Although, at least the horse would probably suffer another passenger if need be.

    I suggest you be more forthright in dates. “I’d love to go for a walk around the lake or do some window shopping afterward”. Make note of your expectation that two feet are better than two wheels – at least for some things. If they still show up riding, assume three things (1) they are oblivious to your heart – and likely always will be, (2) they lack the ability to plan resources needed for events (“hmmm… walking will require that I ditch my bike and leave it… gulp… unattended… so I’d better hail a cab or ride the bus”), which means you’ll be handing them their lunchbox on the way to work each day, and possibly doing his laundry – forever, or (3) they did plan on not bringing their bike and walking with you, but their last “affair” left them short on time. In all three cases, I’d recommend noting their lack of due diligence, and going on that walk alone.

    Should you find yourself absolutely desperate for the company of a man (please, no), you have the other option at your disposal and, honestly, it’s not a bad road to navigate: buy and ride a bike to all your first dates. You’ll meet healthier people (generally speaking) just riding around town, and now have your own “quick exit” when the need arises. The confidence of a woman riding an upright bicycle (wearing normal clothes – not chic or racing clothes) is unparalleled. If men can’t match it, maybe you’ll be filtering out weeds automagically by riding more. See Momentum Magazine and Bicycle Times for ideas of how to ride a bicycle in the city and not pretend to be Lance Armstrong.

  16. Pardon my insensitivity. I did not notice that you were a man posting this. Saw your masthead only after reading the article and posting my comment. My thoughts still apply, just change “woman riding a bicycle” to “well-dressed man riding a bicycle”, a la George Hahn of NYC.

    I came from Freshly Pressed, like the hoardes before me, and in ten years of reading WordPress, I’ve zipped through mastheads like nobodies business. All too big and flowery and keeping me from the juicy content. Guess I need to slow it down to some degree.

    Thanks for the great article, nonetheless.

  17. As a keen bike rider I enjoyed your post. I’ve ridden a bike for over 20 years and believe I may not have have given thought to 2% of the points you mentioned. But then perhaps I’m not too fanatical about it. Ah yes , of course, this is about THOSE cyclists!

  18. I’m a bike fanatic of a girl and I swoon for boys on bikes. It’s way better for cyclists to date cyclists for sure… no one else understands. The correct number of bikes to own is the number of bikes you own plus one OR the number of bikes your spouse will leave you minus one. Cyclists dating cyclists turns into a full garage of bicycles and happiness.

  19. Love Guys, not averse to bikes, no problem with my guy taking up the sport (or as a hobby), kind of cute story for under 18’s BUT Turning up to a date on a bike and said bike is your sole source of transportation? this is best described as a “warning” ladies. Unless you love the environment and/or cycling to the exclusion of getting some/someone, men,please refrain. Love the post!

  20. This is hilarious, I’m a cyclist but seriously what kind of tool turns up to a first date ON THEIR BIKE??! Great first impression that, especially once you’ve hit a puddle, caught the oily chain on your leg, and manked your hands up fixing a puncture, apart from the sweating and wind and/or helmet hair. Jesus, you’re supposed to be making a good first impression surely? If my date turned up on a bike I’d think them a nob. Just get a bus for once. Surely your Strava total for the week isn’t that critical?

  21. Actually I’d never date another cyclist, it’s actually full of divisive loyalties on the same level as sci-fi (have just read your blog on the matter), putting your foot in the wrong camp in the Star Wars vs Star Trek debate will illicit equal response to getting into the whole helmet argument. And that’s before you even start on road vs mtb, or shorts vs bibs, or Strava vs not Strava.

  22. I went on three first dates last weekend (am I a slut, or just desperate for company/attention? Probably both…), and all three guys turned up for the date on their bikes! Aargh! I must admit, for the first one, I really didn’t even try to hide my feelings about it: “Oh… you came… on your bike?” By the third, I was horribly resigned to it. Needless to say, none of the dates resulted in sex, especially with those two-wheeled cockblockers in evidence!

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