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Old 06-05-07, 05:51 PM   #1
Valpo Hawkeye
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Attitudes: Running vs Cycling

First off, I'm not trolling or flaming or anything. I'm sure when you look at my post count, that is what you may think. I'm very new to cycling, so I speak in ignorance. However, I'm a decent runner, so...

Is cycling for people not tough enough or determined enough to run? To illustrate, when I was in my early 20's, I thought runners were idiots. As the saying goes, 'I'm only running if someone/something is chasing me.' However, when the cheeseburgers and general "American" way of life caught up with me, I decided I had to drop some lbs. Since running is the single most efficient way to do so, I started running. Of course, at first, I could only do 2 miles, alternating run/walk. After shin splints and other newbie injuries, I finally got the hang of it and 4 years later, I'm hooked.

Recently (within the last few weeks) I became interested in a nicer bike (read: one not from Wal-Mart). I wanted something to ride around town and also to cross-train on. I selected a Specialized Tricross and it's being built and fit to me on Friday.

In my research, I've found that the time/distance required in cycling to equal the benefits of running seem pretty high. So my question is this, (again, I'm not trying to be a jerk), "Is cycling just for people who can't handle running, either physically or mentally?" With the exception of the elites, are cyclists on par with runners?
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Old 06-05-07, 05:56 PM   #2
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No. It's just different. If it's suffering you seek, we have as much as you can handle.
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Old 06-05-07, 05:58 PM   #3
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Yeah. And boxing is for people that can't handle being nuked.
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Old 06-05-07, 06:00 PM   #4
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To answer that question, allow me to direct you to a few cycling sites I frequent:

http://www.ultracycling.com/
http://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/links/links.html
http://www.machka.net/
http://www.machka.net/links.htm

And yes, you have to put in more time with cycling to equal running because cycling is so much more efficient. But cycling can be tough too!!!
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Old 06-05-07, 06:05 PM   #5
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I do both, but get a much better workout running, and in turn, running makes me a better cyclist. If it weren't for the cycling benefit, I wouldn't be running. Running, in itself, for me, is boring. Besides, I love tinkering. I can't tinker running shoes.
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Old 06-05-07, 06:18 PM   #6
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I do both, but get a much better workout running, and in turn, running makes me a better cyclist. If it weren't for the cycling benefit, I wouldn't be running. Running, in itself, for me, is boring. Besides, I love tinkering. I can't tinker running shoes.
I suppose I see what you mean, just for me, it's the other way around, I'm cycling to get some x-training in on 'off' days. Plus, I wanted to get a decent bike so I wouldn't feel like a doof on my cheap bike.

Personally, there's no better feeling than when I'm 6-7 miles into a long run.
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Old 06-05-07, 06:46 PM   #7
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Personally, there's no better feeling than when I'm 6-7 miles into a long run.
I usually experience the high at around the 5 mile mark...
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Old 06-05-07, 07:22 PM   #8
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ummm.............cycling is for people of low moral fiber? ......................
as stated above, running is boring. You can't run fast, even if you are a fast runner. Running is lousy as a transportation mode.
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Old 06-05-07, 07:30 PM   #9
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One might argue that running is not the "single most efficient way to lose weight". It's not a bad way, but cross country skiing for a couple of hours, or rowing, or any aerobic activity where multiple major muscle groups are in the game might shed the calories faster.
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Old 06-05-07, 07:33 PM   #10
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ummm.............cycling is for people of low moral fiber? ......................
as stated above, running is boring. You can't run fast, even if you are a fast runner. Running is lousy as a transportation mode.
Low moral fiber? I'm not saying cyclists are going to go beat up old ladies or shotput puppies. I was just wondering if cyclists had a different mindset/attitude toward their sport. Running is significantly cheaper ($100 for shoes, another $100 for socks, shorts and other technical wear as opposed to easily thousands in cycling), running gives you a similar connection to your surroundings and it offers a 'better' workout. Additionally, and this is in ignorance, but I would suppose that running allows you to learn more about yourself since there is no 'coasting' and you do have to dig deeper to complete a distance race. Maybe after I bike for a while I'll feel differently; I'm still getting my feet, or tires, wet.
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Old 06-05-07, 07:34 PM   #11
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One might argue that running is not the "single most efficient way to lose weight". It's not a bad way, but cross country skiing for a couple of hours, or rowing, or any aerobic activity where multiple major muscle groups are in the game might shed the calories faster.
I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure it's a 'fact' or at least a generally accepted idea that running is the single best calorie burning activity.
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Old 06-05-07, 07:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Valpo Hawkeye
I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure it's a 'fact' or at least a generally accepted idea that running is the single best calorie burning activity.
Actually, I believe swimming is considered the best overall exercise you can do.

And dredging deep in my trivia archives, there are many activities that will burn more calories in a set amount of time than running; racquetball being one.

When you come in here and ask if our sport is for people "not tough enough or determined enough to run", you certainly imply your attitude and judgement.

Some people just plain don't like running. Some people have bad knees. Some people like to go faster or see more in the greater distances they cover.

Before you come in here and denegrate all of us - and make no mistake, your questions do just that, intentionally or not - get your bike and go ride the Hotter than Hell Hundred. Or the MS 150 of your choice. Or the Leadville 100. Or any cyclocross race since you bought a cyclocross bike. I think your tune will change very quickly.
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Old 06-05-07, 07:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valpo Hawkeye
Low moral fiber? I'm not saying cyclists are going to go beat up old ladies or shotput puppies. I was just wondering if cyclists had a different mindset/attitude toward their sport. Running is significantly cheaper ($100 for shoes, another $100 for socks, shorts and other technical wear as opposed to easily thousands in cycling), running gives you a similar connection to your surroundings and it offers a 'better' workout. Additionally, and this is in ignorance, but I would suppose that running allows you to learn more about yourself since there is no 'coasting' and you do have to dig deeper to complete a distance race. Maybe after I bike for a while I'll feel differently; I'm still getting my feet, or tires, wet.
I'm not sure what you mean by a different mindset/attitude. I've done both running and cycling (and cross country skiing, and bodybuilding) and my mindset/attitude is the same for all of those activities.

Believe me, if you ride long distances like I do, you learn a lot about yourself and you have to dig deep. Most runners are out there for a max of about 6 hours for a marathon once a year ... I'm out there 24+ hours on many of my rides. Most runners remain relatively near services (towns with stores, home, etc.) I ride way out into the middle of nowhere, day and night, and I have to plan ahead in order to survive. Most runners are a cell phone call away from help. I ride into areas where there is no cell phone coverage. On my rides, life is reduced to the basics ... attaining food & water, hoping I'm carrying enough essential clothing, finding places to relieve myself, finding a bit of shelter where I can get a little bit of sleep ... and my bicycle. Life is no longer cluttered with non-essentials. And sometimes it takes every ounce of mental strength to keep riding. You better believe I learn a lot about myself!!

Have you had a look at the links I posted yet? They might open your eyes to a whole different world of cycling ... one which many cyclists don't even know about!!
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Old 06-05-07, 08:15 PM   #14
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Machka, I thank you for your reply. However, I think you throw out a handful of stereotypes about runners regarding our reliance on 'services' and only going out for 6 hours a year. I'm not interested in arguments, though. Honestly, I am just trying to break into cycling and understanding it as a culture. As I stated, I'm interested in commuting and some training on a bike. I suppose this is like Mac vs. PC or Coke vs. Pepsi...
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Old 06-05-07, 08:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by skiahh
When you come in here and ask if our sport is for people "not tough enough or determined enough to run", you certainly imply your attitude and judgement.

Before you come in here and denegrate all of us - and make no mistake, your questions do just that, intentionally or not - get your bike and go ride the Hotter than Hell Hundred. Or the MS 150 of your choice. Or the Leadville 100. Or any cyclocross race since you bought a cyclocross bike. I think your tune will change very quickly.
I'm not trying to offend you or anyone else on this forum. You know what they say about opinions though... As for extreme events, I don't think that's a fair comparison. I could throw out the Badwater ultramarathon as an extreme event, but let's face it, I've never run it and neither will 99% of the serious runners out there.

Honestly, I think we would all be better off if more people cycled. I think it's ridiculous that 'Joe Suburban' will jump in his H2 to go to the video store that is a mile away. I think cities should promote cycling initiatives with bike lanes, bike racks, etc. However, I'm just trying to wrap my mind around it as a primary form of exercise.
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Old 06-05-07, 08:27 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by boyze
One might argue that running is not the "single most efficient way to lose weight". It's not a bad way, but cross country skiing for a couple of hours, or rowing, or any aerobic activity where multiple major muscle groups are in the game might shed the calories faster.
Years ago I saw a calories burned for some activities. This was way back at least 15 years since it was before I started cycling. Running was number 1 at 900 per hour, swimming was second at 800. But the running pace was 5 minute miles while swimming was at 1/4 mile per hour. Anyone here able to run just one 5 minute mile, let alone keep it up for an hour? I can still swim at 1/4 mile per hour while not looking like I'm doing anything between the flip turns.

I've cross country skied and it is right up there.

Cycling is perhaps the most variable. Cruising at 15 MPH on somones wheel does not take much and burns little. 25 MPH out in front burns calories pretty quickly.
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Old 06-05-07, 08:37 PM   #17
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I'm not trying to offend you or anyone else on this forum.
I can't imagine what you'd say if you intended on offending us
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Old 06-05-07, 08:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valpo Hawkeye
Machka, I thank you for your reply. However, I think you throw out a handful of stereotypes about runners regarding our reliance on 'services' and only going out for 6 hours a year. I'm not interested in arguments, though. Honestly, I am just trying to break into cycling and understanding it as a culture. As I stated, I'm interested in commuting and some training on a bike. I suppose this is like Mac vs. PC or Coke vs. Pepsi...

NOT 6 hours a year!!! I didn't say that!! Most runners I know of run regularly for an hour or two several days a week, but might do one marathon, which might take 6 hours, each year. And you can't get too far away from services running for an hour! Most runners don't run more than 6 hours at one go ... and for some of us cyclists, that's just an afternoon ... we're barely getting warmed up.

However, I know of some runners who can manage more than one marathon a year, but they are few and far between. I also know of some runners who run centuries (100+ mile runs) but again, they are few and far between. I don't know how much you know about long distance running, but here's a site that might interest you: http://www.godeathracer.com/ Those runners would learn a lot about themselves and have to dig deep!


If your goal is commuting, your comparison would be something like this ... a 2 km brisk walk to work would be about equal to maybe a 7 km ride to work. They would take about the same amount of time and effort, and pretty much the same attitude ... at least from my experience.

Now if your normal run is 1 hour in an evening, and you want something comparable with cycling, ride hard for a couple hours ... do some intervals, ride hills or into the wind.
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Old 06-05-07, 08:43 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Valpo Hawkeye
Is cycling for people not tough enough or determined enough to run? "Is cycling just for people who can't handle running, either physically or mentally?" ........... With the exception of the elites, are cyclists on par with runners?
i understand your question - i had the same questions when i first started riding my roadie. incidentally, i got into biking due to an injury from running. i love to run, but it seems my body just can't handle the long runs that i love to do so much. this spring i did start running again when old man winter decided to stick around for a while, and can tell you that my cycling has made me a meaner, faster and more able to withstand suffering. i've set new PB's in the 5 mile, 10 mile 5K run - all thanks to cycling.

what i've learned so far is that they're just not comparable. complimentary to each other, yes... but not comparable. it's not apples to apples.

my suggestion would be to do some group rides. try some different club rides and shoot for a century, or the biggest friggin' hill you can find in your area - or a century with the biggest hills! give it hell for a season and then give us your own thoughts.
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Old 06-05-07, 08:54 PM   #20
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I often wish I didn't find running so boring, because it seems much safer. Cars aren't as much of an issue, you don't have to worry about tires blowing out while descending at 40 MPH, etc.

The key issue is speed. Speed is what makes cycling so much more fun than running, and so much more dangerous. The fastest marathoners are going, what, about 13 miles an hour? Other than sore feet or sore knees, how badly can you hurt yourself going at that speed?
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Old 06-05-07, 08:56 PM   #21
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Unfortunately, the nearest cycling group is about 45 minutes away, and at this point, it's just not worth it to me. I do have one friend who has a nice road bike and enjoys riding, but honestly, riding with him wouldn't really be a workout.

As for long rides, what's best/safest, country roads or a local highway (not a freeway, just a State Road) with big shoulders? What about hydration? Is two bottles on the bike enough for a 2-3 hour ride? What about gels?

Machka, that may not be what you meant, but it is what you said. I know, I know, just semantics.

PacersGuy, glad to see a fellow Hoosier. As you might have guessed from my username, I'm in NWI. Maybe that's why you're the first one to not think I'm crazy. Of course, I am a Bulls fan!
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Old 06-05-07, 09:00 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valpo Hawkeye
I'm not trying to offend you or anyone else on this forum. You know what they say about opinions though... As for extreme events, I don't think that's a fair comparison. I could throw out the Badwater ultramarathon as an extreme event, but let's face it, I've never run it and neither will 99% of the serious runners out there.

Honestly, I think we would all be better off if more people cycled. I think it's ridiculous that 'Joe Suburban' will jump in his H2 to go to the video store that is a mile away. I think cities should promote cycling initiatives with bike lanes, bike racks, etc. However, I'm just trying to wrap my mind around it as a primary form of exercise.
Those aren't extreme events, they're simply century rides. Well, except for the MS 150s; those are typically done over 2 days. None are extreme; go try them out yourself and see if you think running is that much easier than some of those rides.
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Old 06-05-07, 09:07 PM   #23
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I am a Bulls fan!
you're crazy......... or considering the past few seasons for the pacers.. maybe i am?
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Old 06-05-07, 09:09 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valpo Hawkeye
As for long rides, what's best/safest, country roads or a local highway (not a freeway, just a State Road) with big shoulders? What about hydration? Is two bottles on the bike enough for a 2-3 hour ride? What about gels?

Machka, that may not be what you meant, but it is what you said. I know, I know, just semantics.
First, I was comparing the single marathon most runners run a year, with the multiple 24+ hour events long distance cyclists ride a year ... and of course both the runners and long distance cyclists run and ride shorter distances in addition to those events to build up to their events. We don't just leap off the couch and run a marathon or ride a 24 hour race.

As for long rides, just don't ride on a freeway. I ride on pretty much anything else ... I usually just head out and explore.

As for hydration, the recommendation is one 750 ml bottle for every 1 to 1.5 hours of riding. I use gels for emergency use. Usually I carry one in my handlebar bag, just in case. But I depend more on granola bars and that sort of thing. For 2-3 hours, 1-2 granola bars would do. However, as you get into longer distances, the recommendation is 250-300 calories per hour.
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Old 06-05-07, 09:39 PM   #25
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Recreational cycling is running with more bling.

Driving vs. Cycling is a far more interesting comparison, however.
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