Cycling and running are both aerobic sports that have a lot in common. Both encourage participants to get outside and have significant health benefits while giving participants satisfying endorphin highs and in Canada, we are blessed with a long list of amazing running and cycling events. But some, including our colleagues at Canadian Running Magazine would argue running is the superior form of exercise, a notion we wholeheartedly disagree with. While some of our best friends are runners, there is a long list of reasons cycling is definitively better than running.
1) Fewer injuries
Runners are plagued with a long list of frequent and hard to avoid injuries. Who hasn’t heard of runners suffering shin splints, runner’s knee, hamstring issues, stress fractures or Achilles tendonitis? Cycling is a low impact sport and the strain on the body is much reduced when compared to the high impact nature of running.
2) You can go places that are far away
Cycling is an amazing sport where you can travel long distances to visit parts of your province or city you otherwise would miss. Runners cover much smaller distances so they definitely can’t see as much.
3) It’s all about speed
Cycling is a thrilling sport because of the speeds you can achieve on a bike. While runners obsess on their pace over a single kilometre, cyclists often can fly along at an adrenaline-inducing pace especially on descents. Even the fastest runners are slow in comparison to average cyclists.
4) Cycling apparel is way cooler
Cycling kit is like high fashion with bold, subtle and striking designs to choose from. Cyclists pride themselves in sporting a good matching look on the ride. Runners, on the other hand, throw on a t-shirt and don’t think twice about whether the colours match their shoelaces.
While running is without a doubt a more minimalistic sport, all the gear is certainly part of the fun of cycling. With beautiful bikes to aspire to ride, new wheels, handlebars, groupsets, saddles, handlebar tape, power meters, bike computer and even tires to obsess about, cyclists have a lot of fun toys to think about.
One of the most fun aspects of cycling is the big group of friends of varying fitness levels that you can get together and ride with. One of the reasons riding with people of varied abilities is possible is drafting which means some people in a group can do drastically less work than others. It’s very hard to keep a big group of runners together of varying abilities unless they are all going very easy. With cycling, the strongest people can spend more time pulling at the front while others benefit from their draft.
7) You can do it for longer
Cyclists frequently go on rides that last two, three, four hours or more without completely emptying themselves. Running for that long on the other hand is extremely draining. If you love your hobby and want to spend more time doing it, make it cycling cause you can sink a ton of hours on sunny summer weekends riding your bike.
8) Efficient means of transportation
Bike commuting is an exceptionally efficient way to get around urban areas. There’s a reason so many people opt to ride a bike to get from point A to B rather than drive, take public transportation or run. If you run commute, you’ll need to have a complete change of clothes and take a shower. Cycling can be done at a much more leisurely pace in casual clothes.
9) Coffee stops
Mid-ride, it’s very common for a group of cyclist to stop for a snack and a coffee at a nice little cafe. In running, you don’t get that mid-run leisure experience of just sitting back with a nice cortado and having a chat with your friends. You can even eat a meal mid-ride without it disrupting the rest of your time in the saddle. In running, that would be a recipe for a disastrous second half of your run.
10) More fun and varied disciplines
Cycling has so many different disciplines that allow the sport to be practiced by very different people in different places. Road biking is totally different than downhill riding while mountain bike can be done in trail networks in the forest while cyclocross is raced on man-made parcours. These fun disciplines require very different skillsets, bicycles and types of fitness. Running has it’s different disciplines but it’s all just putting one foot in front of the other a little faster than the next person.
11) Cycling destinations are way better than running destinations
Cycle tourism will take you to some absolutely incredible destinations. Avid cyclists visit the worlds most beautiful mountain ranges, lovely rural areas, remote islands and incredible trail networks in North American, Europe and beyond, specifically for riding famous mountain passes and roads. Runners on the other hands aspire to travel to big events such as Boston or just make do with the running where ever they happen to be travelling to anyways.
12) More strategic and there’s teamwork
Cycling is an incredibly tactical sport whereas in running, the fittest person will usually win. That makes the challenge of improving in the sport much more complex than simply becoming fitter. You need to improve your fitness to be a great cyclist but also have great bike handling skills and be able to read a race. You need a great sense of timing and a team of riders who work together extremely well can win against a fitter individual.