I’m using Valentines Day as an excuse for this posting, so please look away if you are not amorously inclined.
Last year I found myself to be newly single, and also newly passionate about bikes. I spent some of the year indulging in deepening bicycle fetishism, and, until I happened upon my beau, some time dating, much of it by bike.
Along the way last year,I learned a few lessons about how cycling fits in with modern dating. So here goes:
Lesson 1: Cycling increases your dating currency
As a truly modern single I turned to internet dating, using a popular mainstream dating website. Having something to put in my sports and activites that wasn’t going to the gym seemed to catch attention. I started off making my “concientious objector to lycra” status clear, but as time passed I started longer, sportier training rides. My reference to my bike-fitness seemed to outweigh any reservations about my “voluptuous” (ahem) physique.
I didn’t really understand the cycling subculture to begin with, so when messaged and asked “what type of cycling do you do?” I really had no idea how to answer. This lovely and funny article in the UK Guardian helped me out. It’s clear that I am somewhere between the Beautiful Godzilla and the Righteous Cyclist.
Anyway, one thing was clear: men like bikes, and they like women who cycle.
Lesson 2: Let your bike do your publicity
When we first started cruising around town last year Mamachari had not quite taken off, and there were very few of her ilk around. I have never attracted so much attention around town. Like having a cute dog to walk, a pretty bicycle is quite an icebreaker. I have no idea how many times I had “nice bike” shouted at me, but the role call includes our mayor, blanket man, and my friend’s husband (he didn’t realise he knew me).
Returning to my chained up bike I often found people (usually men) examining and admiring it. “Ooo, I love it when people admire my bike” I’d say, and a conversation about matters velo would follow.
I’d been given a present of a tshirt with “Love me, love my bike” printed on the front, but with all the attention my baby attracted round town, I thought I should change the wording to “Love my bike, Love me.”
Lesson 3: Cycle to a date
In heels and a skirt or high heeled knee length boots. Signed, sealed and delivered, he’s yours.
Lesson 4: A cautionary tale of helmet hair and too much lycra
I often wonder if the purpose of my life is to serve as a warning to others. I live so that you can learn dear reader, and here lies a cautionary tale.
I became acquainted with a gentleman triathlete, who invited me to join him on a pedal round the bays as a first (and blind) date. Feeling a little bit stodgy I wisely declined to be seen in lycra at such an early stage. Instead we arranged to meet for lunch a few days later, still blind. I cruised into town on my pretty city bike, skirt and heels in place, but my usual freewheel down Adelaide Road and Cambridge Terrace had become an epic battle into the strongest Northerly in months. I arrived at the restaurant, chained up my bike, and sat down to make my good impression, helmet hair crazy and pouring sweat like I’d run a marathon. I finished the date without recognising the pasta I had dribbled down my top.
Later, once the absence of any romantic agenda was clear, I got to join the gentleman triathlete on a pedal around the bays, and can give this piece of advice to the gents among us: Be careful with the lycra, fellas, it’s not always your best friend.
Lessons learned: A happy ending
My mountain biker and I exchanged emails, met, then we sealed the deal with an exchange of photographs of our bikes, and we pedalled off into the sunset together, without a backward glance. It seems that Beautiful Godzilla/Righteous cyclists and Mountain bikers are extremely compatible.
Keep pedalling Wellingtonians, who knows what you might find out there.