A guest post by Laura Colbert of Loose Nuts Cycles in Atlanta, GA.
Hey love birds! It’s Valentines Day and while I’m not a big fan of this day, I am a fan of going on dates on other days of the year. I also like giving/receiving romantic gestures on days that are not explicitly prescribed for that purpose. So, in the spirit of St. Valentine, I thought I would provide those of you last-minute Valentine’s Day planners and others of you who plan dates year-round with a couple of fun bicycle-related date ideas. Let’s do this!
- Bicycle picnics–Required supplies: weather that both you and your partner enjoy, portable food, a bag of some kind, and a place to which you will cycle. Good picnic foods include: a nice block of cheese, fresh bread, some pretty grapes, a fancy salami or other no-refrigeration-required meat, and beverages. (Don’t forget your picnic accessories–cups, pocket knife, eating surface like a paper napkin.) The critical part of a romantic picnic is the location. Traditional choices include parks and scenic overlooks. I have friends who like the tops of parking garages. Scout out fun, private locations in your city. Get creative. You could even make it a fancy occasion by getting dressed up for your picnic and bringing flowers for your significant other. There are so many fun ways to make a picnic extra romantic or fun (whichever you’re going for), so let your imagination run wild.
- Dinner and a race (or other bicycle-related event)–My partner and I regularly visit Atlanta’s Dick Lane Velodrome for a fun Saturday evening. One of us treats the other by buying the tickets. We pack beer or coke, buy dinner from the concessions stand, and we picnic in the bleachers. It’s a unique twist on dinner and a movie. You could do this with a lot of cycling related events. Criteriums and cyclocross are good for dates because of the shorter, repeated courses. Bicycle parades (think Halloween Critical Mass in any major city) are also a good opportunities. Sometimes even an alley cat stop can make for some good spectator fun.
- Ride your bicycle to somewhere together–Both my partner and I ride bikes, but we often comment that we don’t ride many places together. Ride to dinner at your favorite restaurant or ride to a movie together. It doesn’t have to be a long ride. It’ll give you the chance to chat, comment on the funny/weird things you see along the way, and otherwise enjoy each others’ company.
- See the city tour–Spend an afternoon on your bikes together. Don’t plan a route or even a destination. Just get on your bikes, pedal at a comfortable, no-sweat pace, and go with the flow. Maybe you’ll find a cool bar that you didn’t know existed. Maybe you’ll pedal around the park. Who knows?!?! Take your time, make a couple stops, and have fun.
- Try a tandem–Find a bicycle shop near you or a friend that owns a tandem and you borrow it. I guarantee that you’ll learn something about each other while you’re straddling a tandem. A couple tips for those of you who haven’t ridden a tandem before: Captain (person on the front)–be a good listener and compromise with your partner. Stoker (person on the back)–Trust your partner because they don’t want to crash either. Good luck!
I think the most important things to remember for a bike-related date is that it’s not a race and you’re doing it to spend time together. There’s no need to be serious or competitive about it. That takes “date” part out of it and just makes it another bike ride. Enjoy each other and your bikes–whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not.
What other good bike date ideas or advice do you all have?
P.S. Saint Valentine did not actually ride a bicycle. Historians think he lived around 200 A.D., when the bicycle was not yet invented. Still, I bet he’d ride a bicycle if he were alive today…mostly because he was deeply religious and would probably live a minimal, car-free life. Just a guess….