Dating Magazine

Know Your Dating Enemies: The Bicycle

By The Guyliner @theguyliner

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.

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.)

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, his cute smile, amazing hair and boiled-egg buttocks weaving in among traffic and heading miles and miles away from your 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 and, as you’re three-quarters of the way there, it’s likely he will turn to you and say those four words every serial first-date shagger comes to dread: “Actually, I’m pretty tired”. No. No. NO.

If you’re lucky, he’ll remain under your spell all the way home, whereupon he will then 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.

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

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 challenger’s 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 then you’ll try to get 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.

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, 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 you were 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.

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