Winter is over. Spring has broken like a downhiller’s spokes, and with spring comes that special feeling that blooms in the chamois area of the single rider. Unless you live in the southern hemisphere, that is, in which case you’re experiencing fall… also like a downhiller.
Yes, on dirt trails, across hill and dale, from the mountain tops to the river crossings, mountain bikers are turning to one another and thinking, “this is great, but it would be so much better if I were attracted to you.”
Now, I am by no means a dating expert, but it seems to me that the most important part of any relationship are things like trust, mutual respect, and attraction. A compatible person with just those basic ingredients is hard enough to find without also requiring them to ride mountain. But riders are human, and there’s nothing humans love quite as much as ignoring things that actually matter in favor of things that don’t matter at all.
Which brings us to sites like MTBdating.com.
Dude bikes like a lady
Singletracks.com was contacted by Ralph van Troost, founder of MTBdating.com, to ask if we might like to have a look around the site. When I informed the editorial team that I already have a girlfriend, they just laughed and said “Yeah right, tell us another one!”
As their laughter went on, though, I realized that this might be an opportunity for me. Not to gain a girlfriend — I’m barely competent enough to maintain one, let alone two — but to gain insight into the mind of all dating women. I resolved to sign up for MTBdating.com as a gorgeous badass mountain biking lady, all of which I happen to already be, with the exceptions of a “lady,” and “badass.” I’m full-on gorgeous. Ask anyone.
When I got to the web page I recognized a problem straight away. The site would allow me to search for singles using all manner of criteria, but there was not a choice for “mountain biking.” If you’re going to market to mountain bikers as a subset of the greater population, it seems to me that being able to filter out roadies and triathletes would be a prerequisite. Again, I’m not a dating expert.
But can you imagine? Dating a triathlete? Blegh!
Nice day for a… white label
To his credit, Mr van Troost makes no bones about the fact that he’s offering a white label product, which means that he is marketing someone else’s dating software. He also has sites for farmers, gamers, people of Islamic faith, positive people, people hoping to have interracial relationships, single parents, and seniors. I am making up none of the previous list.
These sites are all basically funnels to get you and your information into one big database of singles. Mr. van Troost probably gets a little money for each person he convinces to sign up.
I have no doubt that it’s possible for two mountain riders to meet one another and ride blissfully into the sunset using MTBDating.com. But you can do that on any dating site, or maybe even by wearing dirty mountain biking shoes and a stinky jersey 24/7 so people know you ride. Myself, I decided not to make a profile because no one’s going to believe I am a lady unless I shave my face, and I’m not due for a shave for another two days.
Bottom line, there’s nothing wrong with offering a service to mountain bikers and hoping for a little money in return. That’s how communities thrive, and the revenue generated drives innovation. And there’s no wrong way to meet the right person. But there’s still something a little weird about a dating site purportedly for mountain bikers that doesn’t differentiate them from all other kinds of cyclists. Or from all other kinds of people, for that matter.
Whatever your preferred riding style, I think I speak for the rest of the Singletracks.com team when I say I hope your love life is as full as your tires. Just maybe filled up with more than hot air.