(Reprinted from the November 1996 issue of WheelPeople)
Itís interesting to observe the mating rituals of cyclists. These rituals are actually quite complex, rivaling the flight of the bumblebee. I must preface this by saying that now that I’m a happily married man, I am merely an observer. For many years, though, I was a serious player. Now that I’m on the bench, I can still do some coaching. My remarks apply to the male of the species. I’d be very interested to hear an account of the distaff side.
There are several impediments to the successful consummation of the mating ritual. The reason you got into all this was that you wanted to meet people while doing something that you actually enjoyed. So you started club riding in hopes of finding a compatible cutie with an equal love of the sport. Unfortunately, many novices in the mating game let their love of the sport overcome their ulterior motives and find themselves riding in an awesome paceline with a group of other males. Now, this may be appropriate for some, but assuming you have heterosexual tendencies, you’re missing the mark.
The strong female rider commands a considerable advantage here, since she’s the queen bee surrounded by a hive of adoring drones. Unfortunately, as far as the drones are concerned, snagging the queen is a pretty low percentage shot, and their time is better spent elsewhere. Your intended doesn’t need quads of steel. That comes later.
The male should instead use his superior speed and stamina in true hunter/gatherer fashion to quarry his prey. When I was in the game, my favorite technique would be to move up and down the line of riders and survey the field. Then I would choose one or more lovelies to bestow my favors on. Since I could ride faster than them, they couldn’t get away. The beauty of this is that you can strike up conversations with several sweeties on the same ride, with none of them being the wiser. I used to refer to this as the shotgun approach. I was the master of the surgical strike — five minutes conversation, elicit phone number, move on.
Not so with your current breed of riders. In fact, the male on the prowl makes such little contact with the opposite sex, that if Darwin were around he’d mark the biker species as slated for extinction.
When boy actually does meet girl, usually at the lunch spot, the courting moves are hard to pick out. Remember the reason your typical male chose this avenue to meet women was that he was not comfortable with the basic heavy-handed pickup technique, something along the lines of “Hey, babe, you wanna boogie?” So his pickup line may be rather oblique. A trained ear will be able to cut through the nuance to the real meaning. Let me give some examples:
“That’s a fine looking bottom bracket you have.”
“I want you to have my baby.”
“Maybe we’ll bump into each other on a ride.”
“If you don’t go out with me, I’ll kill myself.”
I must say, though, that despite the formidable odds, I’ve witnessed (in fact aided and abetted) an awful lot of pairings in the club, and expect to see many more.