Some months ago, I wrote a piece on the seedy underbelly of the cycling community. I described a world where people pulled on their waterproofs in order to pull. They mounted the pedals to get mounting elsewhere. They jumped on the beast with two wheels to make the beast with two backs. Their crossbar wasn’t the only thing they were hoping to get their leg over (we get the idea, Ed). Not wishing to let any hypothesis go untested, I went out amongst these people and became one of them in order to get to the truth of the matter. Here, in an exclusive expose, I uncover the truth behind cycling and flirting… Prepare to be shocked.
1. People are still wearing Lycra
Despite a national campaign and weekly updates from a Twitter feed with at least 100 followers deploring this practise, people commuting on bicycles have still not got the message. These things are sexy: well-cut jeans, snug-fitting jackets, miniskirts. These things are not: luminous jackets, men in tights (with the exception of Cary Elwes in Robin Hood: Men in Tights).
There is an urgent need for us to rise up against this tide before it brainwashes all of us, and the last remaining well-dressed cyclist disappears into a blackhole of shiny, skin-tight leisurewear with colour-coordinating go-faster stripes. I do understand the need to be practical when faced with all the elements the London winter can throw at you, but this still doesn’t explain the three-quarter length shorts and trainers that you wouldn’t walk the dog in.
2. Mountain bikes are still being used as acceptable forms of transport.
The pointlessness of this can most easily be compared to people who go for a stroll in Richmond Park wearing all-weather gear, hiking boots and crampons. Unless something dramatic has happened since I started my campaign, London is still free from mountains. And there rests my case. Yes, there are some quite steep hills in the farthest reaches of North and South London (the formidable lurch up to Alexandra Palace, the heady whizz when travelling back from Wimbledon), but most cyclists cycle from point A to point B with little need for gear changes, and hardly notice gradient changes. This practise must be wiped out.
Not even with my eyes scanning the road, seeing every red traffic light as a potential meeting point, have I had so much as a “nice bike”
3. Fundamentally, there is little flirting to be had on one’s bicycle.
I have been to bars, offices, restaurants, nightclubs, and a multitude of public transport, and in all these locations have I, if not scored to some degree, then at least had a little chat or a wink or a flirt. Flirting is what I do. But not on my bicycle. Not even with my eyes scanning the road, seeing every red traffic light as a potential meeting point, have I had so much as a “nice bike”. Pedestrians, van drivers, motorists, they all love a cyclist. What a novelty: a pretty girl in a great outfit astride a bike. Yes, cross-pollination is an avenue yet to be explored by this researcher, but my fellow cyclists? Lycra’ed up to the armpits, eyes straight ahead, feet firmly wedged into clips, awaiting the light to turn amber.
And why so? Why have we not challenged this cultural phenomenon? Why is it that the bicycle is still used solely for the purpose of getting from point A to point B? The answer is that, in the heterosexual world in which I operate,
4. There are still no girls on bicycles
It’s quite simple, ladies, these guys with their amazing thighs and pheremones don’t even know that we’re out there. While men still dominate the cycle lanes of this fair city by 3:1, they will not use this time in their day as an opportunity to meet new people. They assume that everyone out there is also a man, because a girl is still such a rarity. It’s like on the football pitch or at the golf club. This is man territory, they let their guard down, they go into their man-caves, they forget their latent sex-appeal.
Girls, we have a job to do. If we can transform the streets of London into a level playing field, and make the guys realise that the roads are as good a pulling venue as the disco, cycling and flirting will become a reality.
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