You know the drill. You’re introduced at a party / by a mutual friend / by some little-known app called “Tinder” and it doesn’t take long to work out what your new squeeze does for fun. They’re a cyclist, a fully-fledged aficionado.
When you meet one of these highly evolved, handsome, dashing, mystical creatures there’s a few things it would probably help if you knew in advance. For example - what’s more important to this babe on a bike... Luft or LOVE?
Let us give you a few pointers, just so you’re 100% aware about what you’ll be getting yourself into and the fantastic fun / hopeless aggravation that awaits you.
1). Dealing with superior beings is not a task for the faint hearted.
You need to get really comfortable, really quickly with spending your time with a motivated, driven, inspired go-getting individual. Or not spending time with them, because riding takes time, and that time is mostly spent riding away from, and then back towards you! And on your cyclist’s return there’s bound to be a lot to cover... essentially all aspects of #wymtm - where they went, what they saw, who got dropped, what Barry was wearing and who was celebrating #newbikeday.
2). Bars used to be places you’d go to mingle.
Now they’re portable and highly efficient sources of energy. Breakfast, lunch and possibly dinner may in fact consist of a bar or a gel. Whilst on the move your cycling squeeze turns into a highly evolved spinning machine. When off the bike they like to eat, a lot. Food is fuel and their body is a temple.
3). Do you like to sleep in? Well you better kiss that goodbye.
They’re either going to bed very early in preparation for an early ride, or very late to watch one of the international bike races. The click-clack of those cleats on the floorboards are music to nobody’s ears, especially at 5am.
4). They’ve got a lot of friends...
but don’t expect them to recognise these cycling pals at the supermarket or down the street. Out of Lycra, minus the helmet and glasses and they’re basically like Clark Kent – unrecognisable in normal attire. They may not be able to tell you what the hopes and dreams of their bike mates Tom, Dick or Harriett are; but they’ll certainly know what they’re riding, how they’re training is going, and how many kudos and KOM/QOMs they really deserve.
5). Succulents may be on trend, but I really hope you like cactuses.
Gone are the days of fluffy, manly (or womanly legs), and kiss your razor goodbye – it’s been acquired. Despite what your cyclist beau may believe there’s no amount of shaving that will ever make their legs 100% smooth, although look at those calves... they’re bound to be the envy of all your friends. You’ll probably never truly understand the rationale for shaving but at some point they will probably crash, removing layers of skin, subcutaneous tissue and dignity along with their Lycra. And then when they yelp in pain should you try to get to close to their sensitive road rash, you’ll understand the reasoning behind their compulsions.
6). There’s no denying it; they love a good happy snap.
But scroll through / stalk their Instagram feed and you’ll see the variety of shots of toned legs drawing attention to calves and frames, shiny frames. They delay washing the car and the dishes, but they will wash their bikes. And when you find a new graffiti art masterpiece, it is essential that the rest of your day is put on hold, at least for a few minutes while they work their #baaw magic.
7). Their socks cost a fortune.
All of a sudden there’s an appropriate ‘sock length’ and as it turns out bright and colourful is better. Or shades, not colours - with black for training, white for racing. Whatever happened to $8 Holeproof ones? In fact everything costs a fortune and once they try to convert you to their ‘religion’, you may also suddenly find yourself on two wheels with birthday and Christmas packages from Wiggle, Rapha and Shimano.
8). Speaking of Lycra... please respect the lycra!
It’s oh so comfortable, oh so stylish, and may potentially cost more than your education. These technical garments are expensive but worth their weight in blood, sweat and tears. Money well spent to keep us active, happy and healthy.
9). Tan lines, where to begin?
They love keeping them razor sharp and seem to think that the darker they are the better, but in all reality your cyclist beau will always look ridiculous on the beach.
10). Holidays will now be spent in ‘bike-friendly’ locations.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the only reason they suggest that you holiday in France in July is for the fresh baguettes! And if you’re staying on home soil, don’t be surprised if their precious carbon cargo is packed first and more securely than Fido or the kids.
If your cycling lover tells you this is the last bike, the final one they’re ever going to want or need, let me please refer you to the gospel rule of “N” being the number of bikes they currently own and “+1” being what they really want and need. This will not change; it’s completely normal and an investment in keeping them (relatively) sane. Your perfect comeback would naturally be the “S-1” rule, where S-1 is the number of bikes you will buy in your lifetime and S is the number of bikes you buy which causes your non-cycling partner to leave you.
If things progress well and one day you’re lucky enough to bring children into this world, you better vet potential baby names through a cycling database first. I’m sure baby Cadel-Sagan-Contador will be terribly cute, but that doesn’t guarantee your retirement on their future TdF winnings.
13). The End
And if it all ends badly, and you come off second best to their noble steed don’t rush to cry on Dr Phil’s couch. You can sleep soundly knowing that while they’ll miss you terribly their passion for life on two wheels will not fade, if anything it will be increased. Your loss will be Rapha’s gain as the cyclist will fill the void in their life with stylish apparel and overpriced essentials.