Three Stories About Sex and Bicycles

Tales from the sexier side of biking.

Whether you're a local fixture on your Bianchi or a casual weekend enthusiast, there's no denying bike culture is a real and vibrant scene, filled with toned quads and puns about riding. Here are three stories about the sexier side of that scene. 

U-Lock Cock Block

We pull up outside the bar — it’s packed, the bike racks are full. We wheel over to a stop sign. I pull my lock out of my bag.

“Can you lock to me?” he says, placing his bike next to mine.

I pause for a moment that is way too long. I stare down at my hefty, beat-up lock. Now would be the time to have that awkward conversation. The one that starts with a coward’s lilt, “Oh, hey, so. I’m planning to leave with someone else?” But I don’t.

“Yeah!” I say, sliding my Kryptonite around his frame. “Yeah. Of course. I might ditch out early or something, though.”

This guy is cute, that’s not up for debate. Dark hair, a week’s worth of stubble. He’s smart, he’s sincere. He’s a writer and carpenter. Swoon. We kissed on New Years, in my scarce minutes between midnight toast and onset of vomiting. If this were a movie, we would soon have a cute misunderstanding, then we would fall in love, then live monogamously ever after.

Instead, we walk into the bar and I lose him immediately. There’s an art show going on and the place is busy, busy. The other guy is there and I find him. We laugh and buy drinks and don’t talk about leaving together but I know that we will.

Because we’re too awkward to be direct, we all grope for symbols. The writer guy and I are locked together, we kissed first, we rode here together — at a point that’s far too soon for me, these silent clues decode the phrase “fidelity.” The price of independence is honest conversation. Ugh. The dread!

Some peoples’ parents instill in them a belief that they must be skinny enough and charming enough to attract a stable mate. My parents encouraged the opposite, spooking me into me a running mental mantra: “Don’t let some loser drag you down.” Don’t hitch your bicycle to anyone’s star, because you’ll get dragged into his life, where you will sit on the sidelines doomed to a lifetime of housewifery and stifled orgasms. Never! I’ve dated a guy who huffed glue; a guy who tried to seduce me by reading aloud from The Fountainhead; a guy whose nickname was Slim Jim; a guy whose bed was a literal pile of clothes. That’s all fine.

The only red flag I care about is a failure to appreciate and respect my excessive independence. And by “red flag” I mean, “I will silently bristle at small presumptions and cute attempts at coupleishness, never bring it up, then flee the relationship.”

At the bar, all this fretting feels absurd. I’m making too much out of it, I tell myself over and over. I’m in awe of how easy off-the-cuff codependence is for most people. Biking is for the independent at heart; there is a specific thrill to being self-propelled. But I know there’s also a pleasure to locking up with someone. It’s nice to assume I’d like to leave with him. Another person might call that “being sweet.” But to me, a kind, quiet suggestion to lock together and leave together rings alarm bells of potential u-lock cock block.

We have finished our drinks and talked to everyone we know.

“What’s next?” he asks.

“Come over,” I say.

“Great,” he says.

“Hang on,” I say, and run off to track down my lock-mate. No big deal, he says, he is heading out, too. Just in the opposite direction. Totally no big deal. No need to talk about it, really.

— Sarah Mirk is a Portland-based reporter working on a book about relationships called Sex From Scratch. This essay was originally printed in feminist bike zine Taking the Lane.


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