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That Knee… Why So Many Cyclists Are Ex-Runners; Or, Another Runner Earns His Cycling Shoes


That Knee — Read on

Another friendly runner is about to earn his cycling shoes…

Five or six of my best cycling friends are ex-runners. One, an accomplished runner, in the low five-minute miles for a marathon distance – he was fast. I am a one-time runner, much slower. My wife, too. I’m a rare ex-runner cyclist, though . I found cycling long before injuries sidelined me and I found a love for cycling I never had for running. I liked running, I love cycling.

About 25 years after I rode the wheels off the Murray Baja mountain bike my parents bought for me (coincidentally, exactly ten minutes after I was first licensed to drive a car), I bought my first real bike and found joy. I ran sparsely after for a couple of years, but once I picked up my first carbon fiber road bike/rocket ship, it was all over for running.

My best cycling friend, however, said he would go back to running in a minute if his body would let him.

Once we learn peace and serenity are achieved through the physical exertion of running, some of us have a tendency to overdo it. With excessive running, if the form isn’t perfect, the body will break down over time.

Thus, when we get to that point where we can’t (or don’t want to) run anymore, many turn to cycling because those of us who turn to running because it makes us feel spectacular, need something to do to keep that going.

For all you runners out there, I’m here to tell you, cycling works. In some ways better, in others, not. It’ll get you that euphoric feeling that running gives you, only you can ride every day without fear of beating your body to a pulp. There’s a big learning curve, of course, but once you get the hang of it… well, it’s quite fantastic.

If you are getting to the point where you think running is just too debilitating anymore, you’ve earned your cycling shoes. Try them on.


  1. paragvs says:

    I took up little bit of running to get quick exercise in 30 minutes when I don’t have time for a 2 hour bike ride. My usual run is only 3-4 miles and I am not good at it but, I find it enjoyable.

  2. Graham says:

    Thanks for the shoutout! Although I’ve never really tried road riding, I used to do a lot of mountain biking as a teenager. I had a trusty Kona hard tail that I rode into the ground. I loved getting out on the trails with my mates. You’ve got me thinking- I know there are some great trails in the mountains in the part of Wales where I live- I might go hire a bike for the day and see if I can rekindle the passion!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Try it, Graham. Especially if you find you can’t get running again with this latest setback. Cycling saved more than a few of my friends. People like us, we need that relief that a good cardio workout gives.

  3. crustytuna says:

    EXACTLY. Everything you just said!
    Fricking knees. Sigh.

  4. unironedman says:

    There is also swimming, but you have to be careful here, as it can lead you down the path of triathlon 😉

    Also, if any of you don’t already follow Brendan Leonard, a shout out here (hoping Jim is cool with that) for his blog, and in particular, his latest post:

  5. Mr Shit50s says:

    This blogpost is bang on – “If you are getting to the point where you think running is just too debilitating anymore, you’ve earned your cycling shoes”: excellent! I’ve been doing both for a while now, but I think I’m on the same page as Jim’s mates and crustytuna above – the knees are just too much of a problem to carry on running for much longer. Over the last few years, since I bought my first road bike, I’ve been increasing the amount of cycling I do and getting fit enough to join a club, and I’m definitely going to follow through on that once we get out of these damned lockdowns over here. I also think there’s a bit of a technical education you need to do before you can really get into cycling – simple stuff like puncture repairs, getting used to wearing cleats, figuring out and acquiring the equipment you need to take with you on a solo ride and even the more exposed feel of being on a smaller road bike. So it’s a little bit harder to start cycling than running, especially if you already have a basic level of fitness (from football/soccer in my case) to build on for your running.

  6. curlymamaof2 says:

    Could not agree more! Definitely in the runner-to-cyclist camp!

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