Need an excuse to get on the bike? Or perhaps you need a little inspiration to get back in shape? We’re here to light that fire, get you on the bike and riding faster…
What if we told you that cycling (faster) could make you more attractive? No, really.
In an article by BBC Environmental Correspondent Matt McGrath, states that “Successful professional cyclists are seen as more handsome than their struggling colleagues, according to new research.”
There have been a number of studies in recent years that suggest that women are subconsciously drawn to men with greater athletic ability. One such study showed a positive correlation between NFL quarterback’s passer ratings and their facial attractiveness to women. In fact, McGrath writes, women seem to have “a sophisticated radar for athletic performance, rating those with greater sporting skill as more attractive.”
In this most recent study, Dr Erik Postma, of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Zurich, asked subjects to rate the attractiveness of professional cyclists from the 2012 Tour de France. (To be fair, their scores were excluded if they recognized an athlete.)
The top 10% of performers were rated on average as 25% better looking than the others, leading scientists to conclude that humans have evolved to recognize athletic performance in faces.
The ability to recognize athletic performance via facial features doesn’t belong to females alone. While men argue that they find it difficult to rate attractiveness of other males, researches in this study found that the men’s ratings corresponded with the women’s. “It suggests that men do have this inherent ability to judge who is handsome, according to scientists, and they believe it has evolved to help men rate their competitors.”
Interestingly, one element that significantly interfered with the overall results was contraception. “Typically, studies find that women using the pill have a reduced preference for masculine faces,” said Dr Postma.
Could it be true? Are we as humans subject to our most basic instincts. Despite power of reasoning, are we only walking proof of Darwin’s most basic laws?
If that’s the case, we all have more reason to jump on the bike and amp up our training. Get faster on your bike and simultaneously become more attractive. And, should these studies be disproved in the future, know that we ladies are also capable of reasoning that cyclists make sexy partners.
Below is an excerpt from the BBC article:
Faster cyclists are more attractive, study says
by Matt McGrath, Environment Correspondent, BBC News
Successful professional cyclists are seen as more handsome than their struggling colleagues, according to new research.
Women rated facial attractiveness among riders in the 2012 Tour de France, won by Britain’s Sir Bradley Wiggins.
The top 10% of performers were rated on average as 25% better looking than the laggards.
The scientists conclude that humans have evolved to recognise athletic performance in faces.
The research has been published in the Royal Society journal, Biology Letters.
Some biologists argue that evolution has shaped women to select mates on the basis that they would either make good fathers or would pass on good genes.
Healthy, physically fit men would on average be seen as more attractive by women.
A number of other studies in recent years have suggested that women have a sophisticated radar for athletic performance, rating those with greater sporting skill as more attractive.
This new work, though, set out to test if the same applied to more inherent physical qualities such as stamina and endurance.
Cycle of life
Dr Erik Postma, from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Zurich, asked people to rate the attractiveness of 80 professional cyclists from the 2012 Tour de France. The cyclists were all of a similar physical stature, were tanned and around the same age.
Around 800 participants were then asked to score the cyclist’s attractiveness based just on their facial appearances. Their scores were excluded if they recognised the athlete.
Dr Postma then compared the attractiveness scores with the cyclists’ performance in time trials and in the race itself which, at well over 3,000km (1,860 miles), is a renowned test of endurance and speed.
“To my initial surprise, I found a positive relationship between the two and it was actually quite strong,” he told BBC News.
“If we took the 10% best riders and compared their performance to the 10% worst, we found the best were on average 25% more attractive than the worst ones.”
“We don’t know what people are picking up in the faces that is signalling the riders’ performance.”
One element that significantly interfered with the overall results was contraception.
Dr Postma and his team found that women who were on the contraceptive pill were less likely to link attractiveness to performance.
“Typically, studies find that women using the pill have a reduced preference for masculine faces, and we found the same phenomenon: women on the pill had a reduced preference for faster cyclists,” said Dr Postma.
Many men argue that they find it difficult to rate the attractiveness of other males, but in the study the researchers found that men who took part had a fairly similar view on who was handsome as the women.
It suggests that men do have this inherent ability to judge who is handsome, according to scientists, and they believe it has evolved to help men rate their competitors.
The scientists say that smiling didn’t make a big difference in the survey. Men who were beaming were rated as more likeable but not as more attractive.
To read the article in its entirety, please visit the BBC website.
Trying to bring your sexy back?
- Join us this winter in Higher Gear’s CompuTrainer Studio.
- Outdoors or nothing? Get our tips for Winter Cycling.
- A reminder on why Cycling Weight is important.