Advice for a cycling first date

Liz Colebrook's picture

Advice for a cycling first date

Going for a bike ride can be a great way to get to know your date, but before you set off with your steed it's best to heed some advice from Liz Colebrook.

Cycling is a great way to get to know your date, but way before you reach for your cycle clips, engage in some fact-finding. Chat about places you’ve enjoyed cycling and talk about the disasters too. Sharing your experiences with each other will give you all the information needed to plan a successful first cycle ride.

On a first date, do not invite them on a 100-mile ride unless you are 100% sure it’s the kind of ride they really love doing!

Don’t judge their bike!

On being introduced to your date’s bicycle/s, you may see a steed that’s fit for purpose (hooray) or you may not. Finding the right bike may not have happened yet but the important thing is to help engineer a good experience.  Pumping up the tyres may be all that’s needed.  If you see something that could be improved – go gently and talk about it together in the fullness of time.

Be truthful

It’s a big mistake to be economical with the truth regarding how far or how long a ride will take.  Check the weather and have a plan B. You may both be up for a challenge at altitude but it’s pointless taking the high road if you’ll be riding in cloud. Sit round the table and plan the route together or if this isn’t possible describe the route succinctly but attractively (i.e don’t go on till eyes glaze over). 

Riding in front or behind?

Plan the ride featuring stretches where you can ride side by side. This gives a sense of pace and a chance for a chat. For sections later when you have to ride single file, both of you know what feels comfortable. 

It’s never appropriate to ‘half-wheel’ someone – this is an annoying habit designed to show the other that you are the stronger one.  Distinctly not helpful and best kept for a regular cycling sparring partner. Don’t go too fast and have patience if your date doesn’t automatically slip steam like a sniffer dog. Remember you are on a date, not in a race!

Stopping for breaks

During a ride, stop regularly for water and use the opportunity to talk about how you’re both feeling as well as setting the scene for the next ride section. Try not to focus on how many miles, talk more about place names, landmarks, good views and nice quiet roads. Something along the lines of: “We’ll be riding along the lakeside for about 20 minutes then there’s a bit of a climb – good views at the top and nice road down into the hamlet where we could stop for lunch…”

Have a destination in mind that welcomes cyclists. Think about what to wear. Talk about this together as inappropriate clothing is a potential disaster on a date.  Judge it so you don’t embarrass your ‘new friend’ by over doing it with the lycra.

Be considerate

Be prepared for inclement weather. Consider your date’s dietary needs, carry spares and a compact tool kit. Bring a lock that can lock both your bikes together and relax.  

In a nutshell, leave your date wanting more – if the cycle ride was doable and achievable and didn’t totally exhaust them then ask them if they’d like to do something similar again - this could be the start of something beautiful! 


Liz Colebrook is a member of Cycling UK and owns

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