Romance by Bike

Bikes are great for the necessities of urban living: commuting to work, picking up groceries, running errands. They make it all more fun. Which is why they're great for the fun stuff, too!

Why date by bike?

It's not the destination--it's the journey! All the reasons bikes beat out cars for commuting and running errands apply to dating, too. Instead of fighting traffic in a car, you can get your blood pumping and endorphins flowing. You don't have to endlessly circle the block looking for a place to park. You can stop wherever, whenever, if you want to check out a cool-looking bar or park or public artwork, or if there's a nice view or you just want to enjoy the weather at a different pace.

Riding bikes puts you and your date on equal footing as far as the direction the night will go. When you're both transportationally independent, you know your date is hanging out with you because he or she wants to, not 'cause you drove the car, or vice versa. Since you don't have to worry about losing the prize parking you already paid for, you can follow your whims with ease instead of picking one destination for the date and hoping it works out all right.

If you don't both ride already, look into bike rentals in your city. You might consider renting a tandem bicycle built for two for a truly picture-perfect afternoon, but keep in mind that they're a little harder to ride than they look, and make sure you're both comfortable with who's piloting and where you're going.

So where should you ride?

Meet somewhere that's convenient for both of you and set off in whatever direction feels right. You might find something you never knew was there, and exploring a place with a date is a great way to get to know each other. Get lost together! Or pack a picnic and ride to a park on a nice day. Ride along a bike path and stop to smell the wildflowers or show off your wheelie. Find the best view in your city and watch the sunset. If it feels right, pedal uphill to the highest point in your city together. You'll learn a lot about your date's attitude (does she wait for you when you lag behind? Is he good-natured about getting a little sweaty?) and you'll both feel so good when you get to the top. Lie on your backs and tell each other what you see in the clouds, or stay there until dark and watch the stars come out.

You could also check out social group rides in your city, to take the pressure off to find the perfect route or destination. Try some of the links in our sidebar for resources.

If you do choose a particular destination, consider planning your route together to make things go smoother. You don't want to be yelling at each other from either side of a street when you disagree about what turn to take. If one of you is a slower or less experienced cyclist, let that person set the pace, and keep in mind your level of comfort with traffic when you choose a route.

If you or your date is new to cycling or you're otherwise unsure of your collective stamina, or you just want to do something laidback, consider choosing a nearby destination--maybe a coffeeshop or a restaurant for dinner, where you can fuel yourself with food and scintillating conversation before you hop on your bike again. To see what's really near you, put your address into WalkScore.

After dinner, you can take the long way home and practice holding hands while you ride.

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