I RIDE a bike and I play guitar. It doesn’t take Freud to work out what I’m compensating for (what’s your excuse?). But I’m not alone; many of us male riders, at some point in our lives, got caught up in the mythology of the knight in shining leathers + powerful steed = copious sex. Oh yes we did.
Human males, along with males of many species, have a fairly obvious evolutionary predisposition towards risk as a display tactic to attract potential mates. There’s not a huge gulf between the reasons for a peacock’s tail feathers and the Fireblade in the garage. They’re both designed to pull the birds.
But does it actually work? Are members of the opposite sex impressed by bikes, and are they impressed enough for their clothes to fall off on a regular basis?
Here are 10 reasons why they might be put off.
10) Rebel without ’er indoors
21st century women aren’t impressed by rebels, by the image of the lone cowboy, the outsider. Conformity is the new sexy. You’d be more likely to pull in a Ford Focus or a people carrier.
9) Your appalling taste in music
Bikers like heavy metal or, at best (or worst), progressive rock. Some chicks dig heavy metal. Some even like thrash metal, Nu metal, Death metal or even Metalcore. But I’ve never met a woman who’s into prog. Anyway, everyone knows bikers have an irretrievably naff taste in music and there aren’t many women prepared to spend the rest of their life living like a sort of council house Whitesnake.
8) You’ve probably got a mate called ‘Spider’
You’re a biker, and most women’s only experience of bikers is either Hell’s Angel, scooter Mod, or some weird Power Ranger thing in between. Either way, you’ve probably got a network of undesirable mates who she’d find intolerably boring, called ‘Turnip’, ‘Ped-Boy’ or ‘Keith’.
7) ‘Does my bum-bag look big in this?’
Even if you persuade your potential other half to get on the back of your bike, you still have to convince her to wear the correct kit. Having already determined men in figure-hugging leather develop a force-field against all shame, we blithely expect women to do the same. Wrong. You might think you’re popping out for a Sunday ride with your girl, but she thinks she’s hitting a 100-mile catwalk between here and Matlock.
6) Helmet hair
Third biggest personal hygiene issue after a running nose and stinky breath is messed-up hair. There are three types:
• The pudding basin effect – where your hair develops a flattened Friar Tuck ring just above your ears and makes you look like the bloke from Dumber And Dumber,
• The ‘if you can’t beat ’em’ look – where you give up and shave your head, making you look like a snotty Phil Mitchell from Eastenders
• The messed-up, just fell out of bed look – some fellers can pull off the tousled toupee-thing. But unless you’re Ewan, Ewain’t one of them. Can we call you Charley instead?
You could always take a leaf from the Embarrassed Baldies Handbook: wear a baseball cap.
5) Bad breath
Four hours in a helmet with nothing but a chin-bar for company can increase odour levels in the mouth to eye-watering levels of bad. The pent-up pong released when you finally open your gob would strip paint off walls, so imagine how it feels to the poor lass you’re trying to impress at the doughnut stand on Hunstanton sea front. It’s like spraying liquefied garlic through a hair-drier a few inches from her face. You’re lucky she doesn’t barf into the batter-mix. Always pack a tube of chewing gum or a fresh-breath mouth spray. Or use sign language.
4) Fat man in leathers alert
Most men would think twice about walking into a supermarket wearing nought but a skin-tight leotard, for obvious reasons. You’d look like a balloon stuffed with jelly. And yet few of us have qualms about walking into a supermarket dressed in full leathers. Granted, they aren’t quite as anatomically revealing, but the basically oval outline of your physique is still all too readily apparent. You could always try wearing a jumper or hoodie over the top. Or breathe in. But you can only hold your breath for so long. Speaking of which...
3) ‘You expect me to go on the back of that?’
Girlfriends are routinely expected go pillion at least once and, as a potential suitor, you really need to be packing movie star levels of gorgeous hunk to make it worth the risk to their looks. And sorry, but you’re more George Formby than George Clooney. Harsh but fair.
2) Running nose
From the humble red-nosed dew-drop to errant bogeys trapped in a spider’s web of nose hair, poor nasal hygiene is the number one turn-off known to woman. Nothing says ‘loser’ like a leaky hooter. In winter I always take the precaution of carrying a pack of tissues in my bum-bag (see reason 6), partly to avoid alarming petrol station attendants who might otherwise think the contents of my skull are leaking out through my snout, and partly in case I run into Claire Danes. And even if the rest of me looks like it’s been dragged through a frozen mud puddle, by dabbing at my schnozzle at least I’m making an effort to be presentable.
1) Bikers are boring
We all know bikes are the most endlessly fascinating, exciting, bewildering, complex, loveable, amazing things in the universe and we could spend all day, every day, for the rest of our lives riding, fiddling with and thinking about nothing but bikes, bikes and more bikes. And when we meet other bikers, that’s the only thing that matters. It’s a shared fascination. Not, by and large, with women though. It’s not that they find bikes boring as such, just the way blokes go on and on and on about them. It’s like listening to wallpaper grow.