Joelle is the newest contributor to the LRS Blog, Her book of motorcycle stories is available on the Lrs website (Click Here)
Riding and Romance: The Truth About OBD -
by Joelle Fraser
Jim was tired of riding alone. Divorced, kids grown, he envied the couples he saw on the highway, together as one, sharing their passion. His buddies tried to set him up a few times, but that was a bust. And at bike events, all the women he was interested in were already taken.
Jim was lonely—and worried it was going to stay that way.
So, for almost a year, he tried online dating, posting a selfie beside his blue street glide, with a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. After work, he’d view hundreds of photos and read profiles, sending messages with half-hearted hopes. Only a handful replied. Eventually, he met three women. They were intrigued by his bike and the idea of the biker lifestyle.
But, one by one, that interest faded.
“SarahSizzle” was terrified at any speed over 35 mph.
“Sweet Butterfly” wouldn’t go on any ride—even a day ride—without a saddlebag full of extra clothes, make-up and even a curling iron.
“Fun2BWith” said it hurt her back too much. She preferred a car, period.
Finally, Jim closed his accounts, sick of the hassle and the dashed hopes. Then his sister suggested Online Biker Dating, or OBD. She told him these sites had the familiar options such as "Search by location," “Send Winks or Icebreaker,” “Chat Rooms,” and so on, but Online Biker Dating tailors dating to the motorcycle world.
For example, most OBD sites have cool features like “Bike Garage” and even a “Tattoo Gallery,” where you can upload photos of your bike and tats and give more of an impression of what kind of biker you are. These photos usually appear conveniently in two places to maximize your visibility: they’re in the gallery, and they’re on your profile with a link that reads, “View My Bike.” Some sites even have “Biker Date Ideas” for those in need of inspiration, and “Create a Ride Event” for the more group minded.
Within days, Jim was connecting with women who loved bikes and wind as much as he did. They even had their own gear! No more coaching a woman how to put on chaps; no more complaints about helmet hair. No more explaining why his Harley meant everything to him. Every woman on the site loved riding.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing at first—he had to wade through a few sites to find one that was right for him. For one, he wanted a passenger, not a woman with her own bike. But like regular online dating (where farmers can go to FarmersOnly, and Christians can go to Christian Mingle), OBD has focused options.
For instance, if you’re a Harley guy—or gal—Harley Dating http://www.harleydatingsite.net
launched in 2011 and now has more than 160,000 members.
Another site, Meet Local Bikers, http://www.meetlocalbikers.com is geared toward finding local singles and riding friends near you—you can search by state or even country—and also by category, like “Biker Moms.” This site is linked to other OBD sites, so that if you sign up with this one, you’ll overlap with others and widen your net. For the casually-minded, there’s even BikerSexHookUp, with over 4,000 monthly visitors to the site.
At last count, over 50 biker-related social/dating sites are just a few mouse clicks away. Actually, one of the premier sites, BikerKiss http://www.bikerkiss.com
with half a million registered users, has been around for almost 15 years, so OBD isn’t new. Hopefully it will help you find the riding partner of your dreams.
In the meantime, here are some tips to increase your odds of success:
- First impressions are brutal. People take about 3 seconds to decide to click on you or move on to the next person. So you’ve only got one shot. The username is one of the first things your prospective date sees. If you email her, she’ll first see your username, photo and subject line of your email.
So don’t do something like this:
- It's best to treat it just like a Facebook or any other social media. As in: don't take it too seriously. Set up your account and just give it whirl. It’s a numbers game. Don't get too attached to people's online profiles. Send out lots of messages—you'll get a few replies, and maybe a few will turn into dates. The first stage is just about initiating contact, not looking for the "perfect person" based on their online persona.
- A huge mistake people make is the "Hey, What's up?" message. If that's all you're going to say, especially to a female, right off the bat, she’s probably not responding. She probably gets 10 of those a day. If you want to get a response, try to start a conversation: say something that shows you've read her profile. "Hey, What's up?" seems lazy, and usually leads to a very short, awkward conversation.
4. People will make their way to your profile eventually. You'll go through slow periods with no views or single nights when you'll get three or four messages. Try not to attach self-worth to any of this. If you're genuinely looking for a mate, then you have to expect it to take time. You'd expect it to take maybe a year to find the perfect job in your career field, why should your future spouse take any less?
- If you're concerned about divulging your identity, not including your email address, phone number or age are the least of it. Using the same username as you use on Twitter or other platforms is another issue, as is using the same photo - with the ability to search via photo in Google you can find Linkedin profiles for folks with no otherwise identifiable info on dating sites. Providing too much detail about your work, school, etc. can also do it. Also, think twice about showing full-face pictures of your kids.
- Don't spend all of your time on your profile complaining about online dating and endless talking about what you DON'T want. No one wants to date an angry, bitter person who doesn't even really want to be dating and that is what you come off like.
- Look out for warning signs that someone is cheating or a time waster. People who don't post photos period or won't post them of their face are often up to no good, although that is not always true.
The cost is usually free to join, but in order to send messages or use other features, there’s a charge, usually under $30/month.
And Jim? He’s going on his third ride with “HardleyAnAngel” this weekend.