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Why I Chose Cycling Over Running…

November 2013
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I read a post, written by a guy who I’ve been following for quite a while now who is quite fast – a good twelve mile pace for him is around 7:30… I can’t hold that for more than four. That said, he had a tough run a while back and wrote that he always has a tough time finding motivation after a tough run – and I could relate, been through it at least twenty times in the decade that I ran exclusively, before cycling.

I’ve been cycling for a little over two years – three seasons now. I’ve had one ride that I might be able to call a bad ride. One.  I’ve ridden in pouring rain, snow, sleet and oppressive heat – over 780 different rides and I had one bad one…and that one was “bad” because I bonked – but that was my own dumb fault for not eating enough and I rode with the wind on the way out.

On one hand, this is why I ride (and now run in the winter to stay fit for riding).

On the other I am not foolish enough to believe that this would be the same for everyone, it’s quite obvious that cycling is simply my thing“.  There are several reasons I prefer cycling over any other kind of cardio-fitness activities.

First would be, without a doubt, recovery time.  I can ride a century and be back to something that resembles normal the very next day.  Anything shy of a metric century and I’m in good shape after a nap and some dinner.  Try running even a half marathon and you’re out of commission for at least a day or even two.  There were some weeks where I’d have a tough time chasing around after my kids in the back yard because I was recovering from a run…  That simply wasn’t okay with me.

I’d have to put the speed of cycling at second.  I love going fast, and there’s no arguing the fact that cycling feeds the speed demon better than running.  Even going around a simple corner at speed provides a level of excitement that simply can’t be had with running, or (God forbid) walking.

The camaraderie would be on my short list but you get that in running as well so I’d probably call that square. I do get along well with the cycling community though.  Nice folks, both sports.

Next is the bikes themselves. I love the bikes themselves.  Mountain bikes, road bikes, they’re all good.  Before I picked up cycling 2-1/2 years ago, the only bike that I had real miles on was an ’80’s suspension-less Murray 10-speed mountain bike – that I quit riding when I got my driver’s license in ’86…  I think my Venge weighs less than the Murray’s wheels did (of course the Venge cost about 30 times more too, but please don’t misunderstand my pointing this out as a complaint).  The things they do with the composite bike frames are simply amazing – and the way the newer bikes handle and the way the components work is nothing short of spectacular in comparison.

Heck while we’re at it, I like the shorts and bright jerseys too…and the jackets, gloves, leg warmers, arm warmers…

In a nutshell, I pretty much like every aspect of cycling.  Given an afternoon, a day off, a weekend or a vacation, I can’t think of much I’d rather do than go for a ride.


15 Comments

  1. elisariva says:

    I get it – I started running first and within a year I had a bike. For me it is triathlon. Each sport has its unique points that motivate me. Really want injury free and the ability to go strong every day? Jump in the pool. I am at the point that if I talk about the things I love about one sport, I feel like I am disloyal to the other two. You worded it well – the truth is you are a cyclist at heart. I know you are gifted as a swimmer and are a good runner but your heart is on the bike. Finding the passion is what it is about, so it took ten years… Great post!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks Elisa. I took special care to word this post so it couldn’t be seen as “do it my way because it’s the best”… Too many folks out there pushing their program. The majority of folks who try that find they hate it and quit, dejected. I’m all about loving the exercise first and letting the rest work out in the wash.

      You’re right too, I should swim more – and now that the snow is going to start falling and my daughters are little fishes, it’ll be time to start hitting the High School pool on Sunday for open swim. 😉

  2. meganjanicke says:

    Yes to all of this 🙂 Good post.

  3. runnerrich says:

    Keep it up, man. I see cycling as the future too.

  4. vegastrigirl says:

    I can see why you’d prefer cycling, some good points here. I like both, but one thing I tend to prefer about running over cycling is that I can zone out while running and not put myself in as much danger. Also, I’m not technically inclined in the least, so I do appreciate the lack of equipment for running.

  5. vardotrichic says:

    That is why I became a triathlete. I started out as a runner and decided I needed variety. I love cycling and I’ve always loved swimming, so triathlons seemed to be the next step. I get out on the bike whenever I can and often times enjoy the wind (since we have a lot of that in central Iowa) in my face and at my back 🙂

  6. While contemplating your post I looked down to the next one on my reader list to see a picture of ‘runners toe’. Its not pretty! I’m transitioning to cycling from running as I find it more exhilarating, and I don’t want runners toe 😉

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thank God, I’ve never had runners toe – I never ran more than four times in a week and I only did that a couple of times (and the mileage was pretty short too). I can’t ever imagine wanting to run that much. Nasty. I do still run during the winter to keep my bones strong (the body does need the impact).

      Enjoy!

  7. okahkonen says:

    So true. I do running to stay fit, but cycling for fun. And because of that, I’m much more fit when I cycle.

  8. Like I said in my previous post riding at speed or in large groups is dangerous. From the speeds that people keep posting on here yes, you should all be wearing helmets. But you also shouldn’t be comparing your road-warrior/MAMIL cycling experiences on higher speed suburban and exurban roads with some 28 year old using bikeshare to ride a mile through the city to get to work.

  9. Great post as always. For me, I had to break down which activity I like more being a triathlete. My #1 favourite is the bike, even after some scary falls this past year. I get such a sense of freedom when on the bike that the other two activities just do not give me. My #2 is swimming as I find it so relaxing and that I can let my mind wonder as I swim. My #3 of course is running. This mostly likely has to do with all the pain and injuries I have experience in the last three years due to running. I still enjoy running but I seem to find it harder and harder to motivate my self to go for a run. Running was my #1 love for so long and I just need to train correctly to avoid those injuries so that I can get that joy back again.

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