Disclaimer: Running Warehouse does not wish to discourage any individuals from cycling. In fact, many of our staff greatly enjoy the sport. Anything that gets people excited to get outside and get active is great in our book. That said, the claim that cycling is better than running cannot go unchallenged. Therefore we will be setting aside any appreciation for the bipedal sport in our response.
A recent post was released on bicycling.com titled 7 Reasons Why Cycling is Better Than Running. Ha! The very title is utterly outrageous.
To begin, here are explanations for why each of the 7 so called “reasons” is as unfounded as Google in 1800.
1. Get Fit & Build Endurance *Slowly*
The opening point for the opposition is that running burns more calories per mile. Well said, in fact, bingo! As a counter argument, the idea that people can ride more miles than they run is introduced. However, this fails to address the fact that running burns calories faster, i.e. runners spend less time gaining similar amounts of fitness and endurance with a more full-body workout. Boom! Rrrrrrrroasted.
2. Pain Points *From An Erroneous Data Set*
Point two is that running beats you up more than cycling. Right, and people produce highlight reels of people crashing during 5k road races. Oh wait no, that’s bicycle races. The study cited compared people running and cycling for the same amount of time, but, as we addressed in point 1, people don’t need to run for the same amount of time that they cycle. Statistics on the rates of injuries amongst recreational and professional runners and cyclists that provide an accurate comparison with regards to how often people run or cycle and how high their intensity level is are basically nonexistent, but suffice it to say that overuse injuries occur regularly for sports. The key difference is that runners don’t crash at 30 miles an hour on the cheese grater that is asphalt.
3. Go Places *That Are Bike Accessible*
Over a two hour span, the bicycle will almost always go farther than the runner. However, the plain and simple truth is that bikes cannot go as many places as runners. Many more trails are inaccessible to bikes than are inaccessible to runners. Adding to that is the fact that bikes are generally moving faster, which means that the details of the surrounding scenery are often unnoticed. We’ll take less total visual stimuli for a closer look at hard to access trails any day. Additionally, the point about saddle bags is moot. Can we see hydration packs and vests for $600 Mr. Trebek?
4. Tame Your Hunger *?*
Cycling says that this is a tie, so our job is basically done; but if both sports suppress hunger equivalently (we’re assuming the goal of which is weight control) then why not pursue the option that burns calories faster? #wreckyourself
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5. Style Points *Hahahahahahahahaha*
Correct, it is not even close. Cycling lists bikes, helmets, glasses, socks, shoes, kits, caps, stem caps, saddlebags, arm warmers, gloves, jackets, vests, and components as their variable accoutrements. Deleting cross-over apparel items cyclists have bikes, helmets, saddlebags, and bike components as individual options for stylistic variations. Let’s look at running, shall we? In the place of helmets, runners can wear trucker caps, visors, speed bobs, and drape hats. In the place of saddlebags, runners have hydration backpacks and vests, handheld bottles, and waist packs. Finally, cyclists have bikes and their components, so as a counter we offer the fact that a competitive runner will sometimes use up to 3 different pairs of shoes for a single competition and many more stashed at home. Now, let’s revisit the apparel and see how far the scales tip. While cyclists share similar top styles with runners, the variety of options within each style of top is much greater for runners. Just look to the wide variety of men’s and women’s tank and tee styles on runners. It’s incomparable to the small selection for cyclists. Another highly notable point, that is perhaps purposefully ignored by cycling, is bottoms. Like running, cyclists can wear half tights, full tights, and occasionally shorts, but they lack one Earth-shattering option: split shorts, baby! Try riding a bike in a 1-inch split short without receiving a public indecency charge. The variety of prints and splits available on what is quite literally the best piece of apparel known to man means that this debate is over. We could have just written “Split Shorts” and that would have been enough. #lawyered.
6. Whee! Factor *Wheels Not Required*
Clearly the cycling side has yet to run down a single track tail, legs flailing and flying over crags and snags with a drop on one side, a cliff face on the other, and unadulterated joy in between. If so, they might just wee themselves. No, runners cannot rip down a hill at 60 miles an hour, but the high leaping, precision-based foot placement required for trail running offers an adrenaline rush all it’s own. And let’s get into coasting, shall we? No, runners cannot stop moving their bodies and continue to move (see point number 1 on calories) but runners certainly have the ability “coast” in an almost effortless stride while rolling along mellow roads and trails. Also, runners get to enjoy the wind through their hair without a helmet, Cycling.
7. Growing Old Together *2nd Marriage*
Look up Ed Whitlock. Nuff said. But if you still disagree, how about the fact that there are a good number of people who do run into old age. In a way, the goal of being able to continue running encourages a person to take even better care of themselves. Sure, biking will always be there, but running is a labor of love. And fine, a good number of older runners switch to biking because their bodies won’t cooperate. The key point being “because their bodies won’t cooperate.” I.e. they would rather be running. Ipso facto running > cycling.
Now that that’s out of the way, here are 3 additional (that’s right Cycling, we’re upping the ante) reasons why running runs train on any pedaled mode of transportation.
Running is more accessible. While cycling requires a bike at the very least, running requires zilch. Even at a more realistic basic level, a pair of shoes, a shirt, and shorts are still less than the basic necessities for cycling. As a tie in, running is much less expensive for that same reason. #savethatmoney
9. Cramps for Ramps
Running doesn’t require the participant to be hunched over a metal contraption that generates both bruised tailbones and that Scrunch Back of Notre Dame physique.
10. Hotties with the Bodies
Uhuh, we’re going there. While both sports trend towards T-Rex-esque quads, that oblong bike bod just can’t quite hang with the shredded steppers. Throw the mid-quad tanlines of cycling on there and it’s lights out.
Thank you to Selene Yeager and Cycling for putting forth your article. It’s always fun to engage in silly debates, and we look forward to continuing the conversation.
If any of our argument got you excited to test out some new gear, check out Running Warehouse for top tier running gear without top shelf prices.
Will has been running competitively since high school, and is currently running with the HOKA Aggies, a post-collegiate club here on the central coast of California. With a preference for the humorous and the verbose, he enjoys playing the wordsmith almost as much as his daily runs.