So here I am, a single female cyclist, and I'm caught between a rock and a hard place. For you guys who think it's easy being a single female cyclist, I beg to differ. It sucks. I mean it really sucks. For the women who don't ride who think we (single female cyclists) are any threat to your partners who do ride, think again...we are very little, if any threat at all. Let me explain all of this, to the guys and the non-riding girls...and let me say I am speaking only for myself, but I have heard similar thoughts from many of my female cycling friends.
First, most of us are seen as guys. Yep, that's right. In fact, one friend of mine told me "you are more dude than dude". What am I supposed to say to that? I've grown up training and racing with guys. I hang out with guys after races, and I'd much rather talk about upcoming rides/adventures than shopping. Does that make me a "dude"? No. That makes me a woman who loves her bikes, loves adventure and loves swilling beers post ride while still on that ride high. Sure, I am seen in my cycling wardrobe (lycra and cycling t-shirts) more than my sundresses, but underneath those clothes, I'm still a woman. And yes, I may sport hideous tan lines when I do choose to wear a dress, but that just shows I'm passionate about being outside on summer days!
Secondly, most guys like to test us female cyclists...some may like it, I do not. Does a throwdown somehow make you feel good about yourself? Do you feel like you need to either prove yourself to me or see if I can keep up (aka am I worthy)? Guys, this is bullshit. I ride because I like to ride. I work hard, sometimes I like to push, but if I'm feeling "off" one night, don't pound me into the ground. You won't win any brownie points and I'll just think you're a Strava thumping douche.
Third, and this is for the females who don't ride, if you think we are hitting on your significant others when we ride with them, think again. We are just happy to ride with others who are passionate about riding. Sure, there may be a woman who is looking to "hook up" with a guy, but this is pretty damn rare. What are we thinking about on these rides? Hanging on, not looking like idiots, making sure we take pulls, and the beer at the end. Yep, this is what goes through my mind on group rides.
So let me talk about this whole dating thing. Since cycling communities are way too small, almost everyone is connected in one form or another. This doesn't bode well when you're searching for someone new. Essentially, the cycling community tends to be ridiculously small and incestuous and that's just gross. I really don't need anyone knowing my personal business and I certainly don't appreciate rumors which can spread like wildfire in tight groups like this, but it happens, and cyclists tend to act like little kids about it. In fact, I've heard cyclists bragging about who they "hooked up with" in a very similar fashion to their Strava bragging. Nope. Sorry. I want nothing to do with that. And yet, at the same time, I'm not keen on dating someone who doesn't like cycling. Trying to explain to someone why I'd rather go on an 8 hour gravel ride vs. go to a Packer game doesn't bode well with non-cyclists. I've seen marriages break up over stuff like this (even when it's been discussed early in the relationship). I will almost always choose my bike/health/passion over a relationship, but that's not to say a person isn't important to me. It's just that cycling is my therapy. If I don't have it in my life, I'm not a nice person, and non-cyclists just don't seem to understand that. So ideally, that leaves me with trying to find a guy who loves riding, is someone I find attractive, is age appropriate and likes/respects me enough not to be a douche while we ride together. Much tougher than you think. I laugh and say this is more rare than planetary alignment. I don't think I'm the only woman out there that feels this way. In fact, I think we, female cyclists, should form our own dating website! Until this happens, you'll find me riding solo or with packs of male friends.