What to wear for bicycle speed-dating?

Nature's way of warning off women

Nature’s way of warning off women

If I were to find myself single and tired of the solipsism (that right now I expect I would relish), I would simply post my intension to marry on Twitter. “Send photos and succinct bio to gmail address.” I have a regular job, shave my neck and don’t ride a touring bike to the office. I’ve found women don’t expect all that much really.

While I admit that having a full head of hair, a PhD, a book out, indubitable athleticism and a Danish Balloon Bike do make me especially beguiling, I maintain that any man with a considered collection of bikes can never stay single for long. Allow me to qualify that: any man with a considered collection of bikes, architectural qualifications and piercing eyes like the ones staring back at you from the left of this page, cannot stay single for long. But then most of my readers do fit that description.

I offer this preamble as a way of managing the expectations of Sydney’s community of single women cyclists, before they commit to attending an evening of Bicycle Dating planned as part of the Sydney Rides Festival this coming October. Ladies, you would do better to have your portfolios ready and to closely watch twitter for any announcement. I’ll use the tag “#DoctorBehoovingIsFree”, and allow a few hours to be sure the news has had time to reach you.

But let us suppose you do find yourself single in Sydney this coming October? What should you wear for speed dating on bikes!? Since any kind of dress looks fantastic to me, I’ll turn my focus now to male readers. None of you I’m sure (except perhaps for the odd vehicular cyclist web troll), would dream of wearing a lime green Netti spray jacket to a bicycle speed dating occasion. I shall therefore speak directly to my star students.

For branded items, I recommend you stick to Rapha and Paul Smith. Women agree to sex the first time for the chance this affords them to read and google our clothing labels while we’re on the bog and on the basis of what they find, agree to a next date, or not. At the risk of sounding like a misogynist—which I am not—women are slaves to their genes and seek men who will provide their own offspring with signs of cultural capital. If a man is willing to endow himself with such signs, it stands to reason he will be willing to similarly endow the children a woman has to him with the signs they will need to prosper like him. And if, like yourself, she has been monitoring the shifting sands in this age of peak oil and global warming, she will be impressed when her googling reveals that Paul Smith is a cycling enthusiast and that Rapha dresses Team Sky.

6a00d8341c86d053ef017eeac405a9970d-400wiI’ve always looked for style gurus roughly 20 years older than I am. They give me hope about ageing. My newest role model is Peter Murray, chairman of New London Architecture (and just about everything else), pictured right wearing Rapha jodhpurs with socks designed especially for Peter by Sir Paul Smith himself, and holding a bike Peter had custom made in Portland by these guys, to match his socks. We’re talking major league sartorial cycling now gents. Earlier this month I fronted to a gig in New York where Peter and I were both on the bill. I really thought my hand made Italian shoes, Brompton with copper Brooks saddle and Carridice saddle bag, Paul Smith/Rapha Cap, etc etc would stop talk before it began as to which of the world’s bicycling advocates is the best dressed. I left knowing I’m not that man. It is Peter Murray.

Though I had some fine conversations with Peter, about cyclists being tighter than freemasons or thieves, and about the ousted labour government turning Jorn Utzon into some kind of martyr (fn to Peter’s book), we did not get to the topic of speed dating, or what Peter would wear if speed dating while riding. We didn’t get to the topic of relationship status at all. In the interest of brevity though, shall we surmise that if Peter Murray were single and wished to change that, new love would be one tweet away. We would not likely find such a gent speed dating by bike at the Sydney Rides Festival. If you are single, and don’t want to be, then I think I have given you enough information. Sign up for Bicycle Dating, but first fix your clothes. Your brothers in cycling stand at the ready to cheer and say “attaboy.”


  1. Edward says:

    Kids, I cannot tell you how valuable this advice is and Dr Behooving is giving it to you for nothing! Girls used to say of me, “I’d marry Edward but I wouldn’t shag him”. This advice could well have changed that. Listen to and heed these wise words.

    I recently started shaving my neck. Changed my life.

    • Steven says:

      I guessed you to be a late bloomer Edward. (Takes one to know one!)
      My regards to your lucky Mrs.

  2. Bec S says:

    Thanks for thinking of the important sartorial matters for the event. Very timely – gents have well over two months to get planning. By the way, what’s wrong with a tourer? !

    • Steven says:

      What’s wrong with a tourer? Picture national lampoons cycling vacation.

    • Bec S says:

      This is an official announcement to any gents with tourers that they are most welcome in Sydney at Bike dating this October! (and race bikes, MTBs, folding, etc, we’re a broad church…) Just remember to look up from each others vehicles from time to time. : )

    • Steven says:

      But surely not men with Netti spray jackets??

    • Bec S says:

      Personally, I had never heard of thing but google image gives an impression. Well we do need a rain contingency – I have suggested to my co-organiser that it could be “wear your wet weather gear including over-pants and anyone who is still interested is a keeper”. She however, would disagree firmly and vocally with this approach. So choose wisely!
      I’d also advise mudguards as the top priority to avoid an unintended feature stripe on your outfit.

    • Steven says:

      May I encourage an “all weather” policy for this event? If I were single, I would not be looking for a fair-weather companion. Two ladies foul-weather cycling brands that would impress me are: http://culturecycle.org/shop/ and http://www.cambridgeraincoats.co.uk/

  3. Hi, Steven, what to wear on bicycle dating would be covered in the most recent issue of Momentum Mag, where New York cycling luminaries such as Clarence Eckerson (Streetfilms) and Janette Sadi-Khan (New York Commissioner of Transport posed for a fashing pic centrefold…..see here http://momentummag.com/bikestyle/beny-look-book-2013/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.