The 40ish guide to dating a cyclist: The challenges

While I love nothing more than a night out with a hard bodied cyclist, you have to accept that these rare creatures come with their fair share of quirks. Its not all thighs of Thor and lactic acid massages.  While the benefits of dating a cyclist are profoundly enticing (and I should know, I’m on my 20th year of dating them), the cyclist boyfriend should come with a warning sign. This ain’t no civilian.

Cyclists are into S&M. Lets not beat around the bush. All cyclists are sadomasochists. Sitting on a seat of carbon with, maybe, 5mm of padding for 6 hours while battling a 15mph headwind on a 4% incline isn’t most people’s idea of fun. That these guys do it for fun.. well its sick. They love to feel pain, potentially to the point where they throw up, can’t breath or even have a small stroke. That they dream, eat and sleep this for 6-9 months of the year, even weirder. Not only do they derive pleasure from freezing their nuts to their leg, or losing 20% of their body weight in sweat during a single ride, they love watching others suffer even more. Find me a cyclist who doesn’t like watching racing and I’ll show you a weekend cruiser rider. Watching Andy Schleck painstakingly grind his way up a 7% incline on the 1100th mile of the alpine stages of the 3 week Tour De France, veins popping, legs like cocktail sticks.. your average cyclist has never been happier. In fact he’s downright bouncing in his seat with enjoyment. The pleasure of watching someone almost dying on 2 wheels.  If its not uphill, they’re obsessed with replaying the crashes, hoping for bloodied limbs, crumpled carbon and hopefully, hopefully, a protruding bone.  What this means for you if you’re dating one? Well, each comes with their own peculiarities but every single one enjoys pain for fun, so bear that in mind when you approach the bedroom. This is not a soft and sweet lovey dovey guy, no matter what his mother thinks. Be armed, be prepared and maybe buy some padded shorts.. for him… or you.

Malfunctioning parts. A sad downside to dating a lifelong cyclist is the prevalence of malfunctioning parts. No, not his gear shifter. Give me someone who cycles regularly, one who may have raced at some point and I can bet something is slightly malfunctioning down there. Whether from an ill timed dismount, a bad crash, too many hours one summer or a simply spending 20 hours a week sitting on what amounts to an aluminum bar .. they’re all slightly damaged goods in the pants department. Can’t get it up, can’t keep it up, can’t get it to go down, can’t make anything happen, frostbite (yes, I saw it), and even scarring (even scarier)… all those hours in the saddle not only numbs the brain, it can seriously affect the guys ability to make shit happen. Thankfully most recover with a little time off the bike, (and in some case, stitches) but remember that what you gain in thigh strength, you lose in functionality. But hey, as long as his fingers aren’t frostbitten and he can still talk… you can tend to work around any temporary issues. 

Psychosis.  If they’ve still got working parts and they’ve not scared you out of the bedroom, you probably need to know that all cyclists are basically psychotic.  Most guys are happy riding their bikes ooo 100-120 miles in a weekend and calling it good. For no reason. (Ok, some guys race, I get it but largely most don’t). During this time, your average cyclist has envisioned races he’s won, beaten his ‘best time’ on imaginary legs of some nefarious stage race (the Tour de Boulder?), he’s overtaken multiple imaginary opponents and he’s taken his ‘training’ one step closer to….. well… next weekend.  All in his head. Psychotic.  Not only does your average cyclist compete in his head, he’s also competing via his gear (‘I need a new wheelset, responsiveness isn’t there’). He’ll spend hours on the laptop researching the best, lightest, ‘fastest’ seat post (you know, the thing that doesn’t move),  in order to compete against himself in an invisible race. He’ll spend thousands on new components in the quest of making his bike the lightest, fastest, coolest (cos its important to be hip at 45mph), best vehicle OF ALL… in order to ride from A to B and back to B for no reason. As I said psychotic. Your role, should you choose to accept it, is not to question why, but simply smile and be glad that its this and not hookers.

You will never be the skinny one. Finally, the make or break for most women. Dating a cyclist means that you will never be told that you look a little thin, that you’re too muscular (unless its your arms, big arms really freak them out), or that you need to gain some weight. Nor will you ever feel slim and lightweight in his arms. With the body fat of the average body builder and the bulk of a salamander, your average cyclist is basically skin and muscle with a soft inch somewhere between waist and dick. The rest is ripped, streamlined and hard. Your cyclist boyfriend will love you like his 1982 Le Monde no matter what weight you are, but some less warm hearted guys will notice a few extra pounds and question when your training season kicks off. And unless you’re similarly committed to the bike, you’ll never look at your naked selves wrapped around each other and think ‘oooo I look so skinny next to him’. More likely you’ll be wondering ‘ I wonder how many hours of cycling it would take me to get that butt?’ If you have body issues, want to feel like the delicate flower that you are or need to feel overwhelmed with brawn, dating a cyclist is not for you.

Which is just fine with me, cos I need a new one.

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