"Cycling makes you more attractive!" The status updates last week were inspired by new research into the benefits of cycling.
Now for a start, that wasn't what the researchers had discovered. What they had found was that faster male cyclists were rated as more attractive by female respondents. In other words, that doing something brilliantly makes you a little bit hotter. Here's what they actually said: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26034659
That's nothing new. Expertise, confidence and success in anything is always attractive. Right now, someone who could hang bookshelves competently would look fairly gorgeous in my eyes.
But reducing the benefits of sport down to a promise of good looks as vague as the adverts that keep appearing on the sidebar of my Facebook timeline does us no favours.
We're living in a society so seriously screwed that an athlete weeps on television because she fears her body will be compared unfavourably to that of the beauty queen sitting next to her. With four Olympic medals, two of them gold, the champion swimmer feels inferior in a swimsuit. Surely we don't need further confirmation that being attractive is a goal worth pursuing?
Young girls - the ones supposed to have been inspired by London 2012 - don't want to take part in sport because they think that it's a turn-off to look hot-sweaty and generally knackered.
If only they could discover that the hot, sweaty, knackered path leads to a place of strength, a feeling of power and self-esteem. A place where you value your body for where it can take you, not for whether you can squeeze it into a pair of skinny jeans.
Here's some alternative research. Every cyclist will have their own.
The exclusive There She Rides report into the benefits of cycling
(One person was surveyed. By the same person)
|Me, ready to ride. Possibly attractive only to bank robbers|
* Cycling gives you confidence
When I first started pedalling I inched along the kerb among the roadkill, trying to stay out of the way. On average, I got one puncture every ten days and very little thanks. I was never in the right position to enter roundabouts and had to get off and push across the pedestrian crossings.
Now, I take the lane as well as responsibility for my own safety.
In stationary traffic I even wheeled my bicycle round to the window of a car whose driver had sounded his horn to point out that I was in his way. I asked him where was the "F****** fire?" He apologised. My husband would be appalled if he knew I had said the F-word. Me - a middle-aged cake baker and bell ringer.
But then, he doesn't know I blog, either.
* Cycling makes you stronger
Stronger physically but better than that, mentally. Cycle further than you think possible, ride up hills you don't believe you can climb and you become more resilient. Best of all, you'll start to believe in your own potential.
* Cycling makes you happier
My friend and I went out in the gales at the weekend. At first, the wind was in our faces, whipping away words before they had left our mouths. Then, suddenly, it was on our backs. We flew along, fallen leaves swirling around our faces, laughing, giddy as children in a playground. Cycling lifts your mood and believe me, a happy person is a lot more attractive than a miserable one.
But heck, if it gets people exercising and helps them to share the benefits I've experienced then sure, cycling makes you more attractive. It also makes you better in bed and three inches taller. What's more, *statistically, if you do the lottery after cycling, you are 3.7 times more likely to become a millionaire.
* Having escaped a lot of maths lessons on discovering I could make my nose bleed at will, statistics mean whatever I want them to mean.