In the first episode of Sex and the City, Carrie and friends decide to stop looking for the perfect guy and to start having sex—like men. They frolic their way through one-night stands, live-ins, and promising engagements. The recent release of the movie has reminded me that men are like mountain bike rides: some are warm-ups, some are too pretty, some are (gasp!) married, and some are downright dangerous. Still, all are necessary in preparation for the epic ride, and the epic man.

Beginner Ride: Characterized by its lack of obstacles and surprises, this ride is literally for getting back in the saddle. You won’t find any long uphills or steep downhills, allowing you to concentrate on the physiological aspects of riding: correct body position and hand placement, steering and braking, and using your legs to maximize effort and minimize soreness. You need only ride this once before you move on to bigger and better rides, but this ride will remind you you still got it, even after a few years’ hiatus.

Perfect After: Nasty breakups or divorces.

Training Ride: This is the ride you go back to again and again. It’s like your commute home; it’s become all-too-familiar. You know where the loose gravel lies and where the tricky sections are, and you fly over them with contemptuous ease. You anticipate the tight turns and master them accordingly. A lack of motivation to seek something fresh and new sends you running back to this trail week after week because let’s face it, you can do no wrong here.

Perfect Cure For: Dating concupiscence.

Poached Ride: Usually committed on hiker-only, National Park, or otherwise restricted land, this ride is fueled by adrenaline, stemming from the knowledge that at any time you could be caught—by a ranger or some other interested party—and in some sense you want to be. These rides usually provide excellent scenery, which is the reason they’re restricted in the first place.

Drawback: A fleeting rush, lasting only as long as the ride. But oh, what a rush!

Technical Ride: The bad boy of rides, you simultaneously fear and are drawn to this ride by the thrill of its potential danger. This is a ride of consequences. Steep drops, rocky ledges, and whiplashing switchbacks, all playfully laid out along unforgiving singletrack, constantly test your physical and mental stamina. If you emerge physically unscathed from this ride, the endorphin rush will give you a smile the Cheshire Cat would envy. If you stumble and fall, however, expect your ego to bruise.

Drawback: Mastering this ride ruins all the fun.

The State Park Ride: With few exceptions, the antithesis of the technical ride. This is the kind of ride your parents want you to go on. But it’s a little too pretty, at times even manicured, and offers few, if any, challenges. You may find yourself looking around for better scenery, but you won’t find any in this world. Expect hordes of weekend warriors to crowd the ice cream stand and the paddleboats.

The Good News: Makes you appreciate all other rides.

The Epic Ride: You’ve been dreaming about this ride ever since you really got into riding. You’ve been planning it for weeks, nay, months. It’s worth driving hundreds of miles just to experience it. It’s been written about in all the right places. You and your friends have fantasized, over beers, exactly what this ride would be like. (Of course, sometimes a seemingly ordinary ride turns epic, which makes it even more epic.) And this ride delivers: it has flowers, unbelievable panoramas, tough but doable climbs, and technical challenges that test your abilities but don’t send you over the handlebars. It makes you a better rider: it takes your blood, sweat, and tears and in return gives you a sense of accomplishment and contentment. It is THE ride.

If you see this guy will you give him my number?

 

Advertisements