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From Cristiano Ronaldo to Rory McIlroy, professional athletes are cycling to maintain fitness during social distancing

Many Pelotons and a few outdoor rides have kept these pros fit and safe

Cyclists are relatively lucky when it comes to our sport. Many of us are privileged to have indoor trainers we can use while staying at home. Outdoor cycling is increasingly being encouraged as a safe means of getting some exercise. You don’t need more than one cyclist to go for a ride.

Unfortunately many athletes aren’t so lucky. Team sports and sports that require staff and/or facilities have been widely cancelled for the moment, leaving professional athletes scrambling to find alternative ways to train.

Many of these athletes have turned to cycling as a way to maintain cardio and fitness. For sports like soccer, indoor bikes are already a part of the program, but other sports have branched into the world of cycling as well.

American football

American football fields are massive and players need a strong cardiovascular base to be able to spend hours running back and forth, so it makes sense that many are turning to cycling to keep up fitness while they wait for the return of football.

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“Bike Life..” 📸 | @theovision1

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Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is known for biking to his games, using the transit as a nice means of warming up. On May 2, he posted a screenshot of a 74.42 mile ride the football media dubbed “insane” and “ridiculous”. According to his Twitter it also looks like specialized hooked him up with a bike to train on.

Chicago Bears wide receiver Ted Ginn is known for his speed, so it’s no surprise he’s been training his cardio. He’s been biking 20 to 30 miles every few days, “I bike a lot, just try to create the base stamina that I was always taught,” Ginn told the Chicago Tribune. “You go out and create a base, and you can be able to run all day. … I can’t do the Teddy Bridgewater yet, but I’m trying to get there.” According to his Strava he’s been riding with Captain Munnerlyn, a free agent quarterback.

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C.J. Mosley, New York Jets linebacker has been training on a stationary bike (along with a treadmill and rowing machine). Atlanta Falcons players Grady Jarrett and Allen Bailey chat and ride together remotely using Peloton bikes. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Jarrett isn’t a big fan of bib shorts and prefers to put a towel on the seat for comfort. Other football Peloton fans include Duron Harmon of the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who has talked about his intention to get a Peloton bike to multiple news outlets although there’s no word on whether he’s actually bought one yet.


Basketball was one of the first sports to cancel the season it’s season, when Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus March 11. After a negative test and 14 day quarantine, the Toronto Raptor’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson started looking for a bike (and was swiftly called out for not staying home).

He clearly took the stay-at-home advice, and posted an Instagram story of himself riding his bike for 43 minutes (dripping in sweat but also wearing a hoodie????)


Hollis-Jefferson challenged his teammates to beat his time on the bike. Teammates OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka, Malcolm Miller, Terence Davis Jr., Dewan Hernandez and Matt Thomas were all called out, as Hollis-Jefferson said, “I know you got bikes.”

They other’s haven’t replied yet but with the OVO training centre recently reopened for limited training, Raptors may be off the bike and back on the court soon.

Other NBA and WNBA teams are also training on indoor bikes. Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics got his wife a Peloton last year and has discovered its use as a cross-training tool. Minnesota Timberwolves’ Jarrett Culver has also been riding a Peloton.


Many soccer teams have sent their athletes indoor bikes to ride during lockdown in Europe. As a means of training together, the Bristol City Football Club has all their athletes on Zoom while they ride exercise bikes.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has been riding a stationary bike every day, but in a Zoom session on health and wellbeing, he admitted it’s his least favorite piece of gym equipment, saying “I hate the bike but we’ve got to do it every day.”

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No days off 💪🏾🚴🏾

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Other footballers such as Ada Hegerberg and Nikita Parris of Olympique Lyonnais seem content to ride inside, although it looks like Parris has run into the classic ‘where do I fit my trainer’ issue.

It’s not surprising to see soccer players on stationary bikes, although it is surprising to see how basic many of their setups are. Weirdly, big names such as Cristiano Ronaldo (who makes 31 million euro a year), are riding pretty basic indoor bikes.

Hockey, volleyball and golf

In a relatable move, Canadian beach volleyball player Melissa Humana-Paredes has been watching Netflix while she spins on a stationary bike in Victoria BC.

While many NHL players have turned to rollerblading to maintain fitness, some, such as New York Islanders captain Anders Lee and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Blake Coleman have gotten into Peloton. Free agent Kevin Bieksa allegedly got a Peloton just to be able to beat everyone in the virtual class.

Pro golfers, an unexpected subset of athletes, are also Peloton fans. While golf doesn’t seem like the most cardiovascularly straining activity, it’s always good to stay fit, as demonstrated by Rory McIlroy who is currently number one in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Not satisfied with beating all the competition in one sport, McIlroy—drenched in sweat post-ride—issued an Instagram cycling challenge to a number of other pro golfers.

He had already bested Billy Horschel.

Clearly these professional athletes are craving the rush of competition. Maybe we’ll see some of them competing on Zwift in the coming months, or at least using bikes with more comfortable saddles.