You don’t need a New Year’s resolution to stay active. Unfortunately, it can be hard to balance fitness with spending time with the one you love. With more reasons to avoid staying indoors than ever before, this is your perfect chance to plan a special date around a bike ride. After all, you don’t need to wait for Valentine’s Day for romance. You can show that any day of the year and we have just the biking date ideas to help you out.
But if you live somewhere with a harsh winter, then the thought of riding a bike before spring might be daunting. Even mild climates can feel unwelcoming this time of year.
With the right gear and expectations, you can plan a biking date any time of year.
If you’re not sure where to start with your bicycling date plans, we’ve come up with a few of our favorite ideas for inspiration.
8 Memorable Biking Date Ideas for Bike Lovers
The ideal biking date for you and your partner will largely depend on your interests and what’s available in your area. With that said, here are eight inspiring biking date ideas you can pull off almost anywhere.
1. Picnic destination
Pack your favorite travel-friendly meal and hit the road (or the trails). If you have a specific destination in mind, that’s great. But you can also just go with the flow and explore the area.
You don’t need to relegate yourself to sandwiches, either. There are tons of romantic recipes that are great for picnicking, like Caprese salad or chocolate-covered strawberries. Use a bike-mounted cooler to transport your feast.
Check your local laws before packing alcohol — even beer or wine — for your picnic date. Sipping a glass of red wine while you picnic might sound lovely, but carrying an open container of alcohol is illegal in many places.
Speaking of beverages, it’s not just about whether or not you’re allowed to consume alcohol at your final destination. Only transport sealed alcohol containers while cycling. Otherwise, you’ll be entering into some murky legal waters.
Feeling brave? Nothing is stopping you from planning a chilly picnic getaway. Just remember to pack an insulated thermos of hot cider or cocoa!
2. Restaurant crawl
Picnics aren’t everyone’s cup of tea — no biggie! Indoor dining might be off the table (no pun intended) for many areas right now.
But you can still plan out a culinary tour of your local restaurant scene while maintaining social distance.
Restaurant-hopping is a great way to try out courses from a bunch of different establishments. And with a bike at your disposal, it’s remarkably easy!
You can either call ahead and order, so the food is ready when you and your date arrive or take advantage of the wait for a one-on-one conversation.
Most restaurants are happy to accommodate on-the-go eating with disposable cutlery. If you want to be prepared (and simultaneously cut down on plastic waste), pack a couple of sets of travel utensils.
3. Scavenger hunt
Are you a giver rather than a taker? Make the date one you won’t forget with a bike-powered scavenger hunt.
Scavenger hunts take a bit more forethought than other date ideas. However, they’re a tried and true way to wow anyone who cares more about the experience than any old gift.
While you certainly don’t need a bicycle to bring a scavenger hunt to life, you and your date will be able to cover more ground in less time. So you can get even more creative with your list of clues.
End the scavenger hunt with a big surprise. It could be a knockout gift or a private picnic in the perfect location.
4. Go tandem
If you live in a tourist-friendly area, bicycle rentals are likely a dime a dozen. Consider hiring a tandem bike for a date that will keep your partner close.
Tandem riding is perfect if either you or your partner is less confident on a bike or doesn’t have a good grasp of the area. On a tandem bike, you don’t need to worry about getting separated or lost.
Plus, your date will always be within earshot for engrossing conversation.
Going on a scenic ride together could be the entire date. Or you can combine a tandem bike with any of our other biking date ideas for a one-of-a-kind experience.
5. Share a “drive-through” experience
There’s a good chance your local metro area is full of outdoor attractions. If going to a museum or indoor performance isn’t an option this year, you may just be able to replicate the experience outside.
Check if the local zoo allows bicycles inside. Or look up the schedule for live musical performances at your favorite city park bandshell.
If you’re in a cold climate, check for winter-specific activities like visiting an ice sculpture garden or artistic light display.
Even if you need to chain up your bikes and walk for a bit, biking to the attraction is still a great, eco-friendly alternative to driving there.
6. Go off-roading
Mountain biking is a whole other beast compared to street biking. But if you and your date are up for an adventure, there’s no better time to try!
When planning the day, think of mountain bike trails like ski slopes. You’ll want to start out on the easiest ones available in your region — unless you both have some experience. It’s easy to find trail information online through sources like the MTB Project.
Be sure you can get your hands on the right gear before trying to plan a mountain biking date of your own. Your regular old commuter bike won’t quite cut it.
7. Tour some breweries
If breweries are offering outdoor tastings in your city, why not take the opportunity to trial some new beers?
You might be surprised by how many local breweries offer heated patios and outdoor service, even if you live in a colder climate.
While biking to and from various breweries is great in warm weather, it’s also not so bad in the cold. Once you get a flight or two in your stomach, the small amount of alcohol will help stave off the bitter wind chill while you ride.
Of course, enjoy responsibly! Biking while drunk doesn’t put you above the law.
Cyclists can be stopped by law enforcement if they show signs of riding under the influence. Most often, these encounters end with the bicyclists needing to find a more responsible way home.
However, some states do issue DUIs to people riding bikes while intoxicated. Cyclists are subject to the same BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.08-percent as drivers of motor vehicles.
If there’s any question about you or your date’s ability to safely ride home, it’s best to walk or hire an Uber. You can always retrieve your bikes in the morning. Some breweries may even be willing to store your bikes inside, so they stay safe overnight (be sure to throw the staff an extra tip if they help you out!).
8. Cross the finish line
There are plenty of great activities you can try for your date if you both are casual cyclists. But what if you both partake in cycling for health and fitness?
With a little bit of planning, you can set up a race route and let your competitive sides out to play.
Since you won’t be able to shut down intersections like an official race, choose a route with minimal vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
To really make this date idea special, be sure to have a prize waiting for the winner. It could be something as simple as choosing the after-race meal, or you can get creative with something you know your partner would enjoy.
Everything You’ll Need for a Cozy Bike Ride With Your Date
Even if you and your date are already avid cyclists, a successful bike date takes some planning especially if your local forecast is cold and snowy.
Believe it or not, you can still pull off your booking date ideas in the cold. Yes, even if there’s snow on the ground.
The days are still quite short, so it’s a good idea to invest in reflective gear and some LED safety lights. If you find yourself riding after sundown, the last thing you want is poor visibility.
And, of course, don’t forget to don your helmet before hitting the road.
Pack on the layers
Depending on your locale, your date could be warm and sunny or below freezing.
What you and your date wear for the ride will make all of the difference.
While you should use your best judgment before going out in particularly cold temperatures, layering up can really help protect you and your date from the elements.
A thermal base layer is a must if you want to stay cozy even when not cycling.
Layering up isn’t just a handy motto for those carrying out their biking date ideas in the midwest and other extremely cold climates. Throwing on a few thin layers before heading out on your date will let you strip down as your core temperature rises with your cycling effort.
Skip the fat bike
Fat bikes are the go-to solution for cyclists who need to power through slush and snow. However, they’re also expensive and not 100 percent necessary.
For a quick jaunt around town, you won’t need anything fancy. Your everyday bike will do just fine. Or you can rent or borrow one if needed (and by all means, borrow a pair of fat bikes if they’re available to you!)
If you are somewhere knee-deep in snow, opting for a mountain bike can provide a bit more stability and traction.
You can also use a pump to adjust the air pressure in your bike’s tires. The lower the tire pressure, the better the traction on snow.
Whichever bike you choose, you can protect it from the wear and tear of snow and road salt by washing it immediately after your date.
Wear protective gear
Layered attire will insulate your core and limbs. Don’t make the rookie mistake of cycling in the cold without proper hand and ear protection.
While cycling gloves do exist, you can stick with a pair of warm, flexible gloves that provide a good grip for handlebars. There’s nothing stopping you from layering two pairs if one doesn’t cut it.
Before securing your helmet, add a fleece hat or wool buff to protect your scalp and ears from the cold. Buffs are also quite handy for blocking the wind on your neck and face while riding.
Get Moving Along the Bike Trail
We’ve helped you brainstorm a few fun biking date ideas to celebrate your love. With that said, don’t feel like you need to go above and beyond to have a successful date.
Sometimes, spending quality time together is the best option — and a quiet, zero-pressure bike ride is a great way to facilitate it.
Whether you’re celebrating the day with a lifelong partner or a new romance, only you know what your date would enjoy best. Any activity tailored to their interests is guaranteed to be a winner.
If you can find a way to combine those interests with a simple bike ride, even better.
What are your favorite outdoor activities to do with your partner or as a first date? Have any recommendations for cold-weather bike gear you want to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!