Sex, surveys, women and bikes

I just came across this article on Treehugger: Female Cyclists Say They’d Give Up Sex Before Biking. (But with one disclaimer: only for a month.) As a woman who loves cycling, I’m not that flabbergasted. According to the article, 58% of women who were surveyed would choose cycling over sex versus 50% of men. This makes me think, perhaps we need to redefine what a “good ride” means these days.

Would the percentages differ widely in the Netherlands where cycling is a daily practice, much akin to brushing your teeth? I’m guessing 80% would give up sex because moving around town with no bike is like leaving the house without shoes, just totally impractical. Or perhaps the percentage would hover at 5% because the Dutch—even though they love to moan about it—boast a top-notch public transportation system unlike other countries that can count their transportation alternatives on one hand. Or one finger.

Because the survey was done in America, participants were also asked which celebrity biking partner they’d prefer. We all know American celebrities don’t cycle that much. They drive and are driven, fly in private jets or man them themselves and if they do mount a bicycle, it’s probably for a photo shoot. The women surveyed opted for Patrick Dempsey, a good choice in my book, whereas men wanted to ride with Gisele Bunchen. Or just ride Gisele Bunchen.

Well, there are exceptions. Here’s Reverend Al Sharpton on the streets of NYC, a good example for putting your pedal where you mouth is, but far from a sex symbol:

It’s not unusual to see Dutch celebrities cycle. They’ll gladly do it for charity events, such as fundraising for war orphans, or like to be snapped aboard a Babboe bakfiets, a trophy bike that costs nearly 1,000 euros, the very antithesis of their thrifty Calvinist upbringing. Here, the Babboe proves you’ve made it. So does a Mercedes, about the only another concession Dutch celebrities, who take pride in being frugal (save donating funds to starving children in Africa) are willing to make.

The Baboe in action

Unlike Americans, the Dutch don’t need to make cycling sexy or glamorous to encourage people to do it. They do it because the benefits are obvious, both to the individual and the collective whole. To me, thinking about the big picture, about how to sustain our individual desires and freedoms while guaranteeing the same liberties for the whole, is truly sexy and vital.


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