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Cycling does not require skills?

Old 03-24-24, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by BTinNYC
"You're tall, skinny and uncoordinated, cycling is perfect for you."
I feel seen.
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Old 03-24-24, 10:27 AM
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I didn't see anyone mention soccer - Endurance plus sprint speed plus skills plus teamwork.
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Old 03-24-24, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
I didn't see anyone mention soccer - Endurance plus sprint speed plus skills plus teamwork.
I think they did but called it football. Separated by a common language & all that.
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Old 03-24-24, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
I didn't see anyone mention soccer - Endurance plus sprint speed plus skills plus teamwork.
Yeah, the skill there at the highest level is off the charts, with fitness to match. But still a very accessible game at the lowest level.
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Old 03-24-24, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by MSMechanic
I was talking to my friends about skills require in different sports when we were watching the snooker world championship. One of my friend (who is not a cyclist) said that cycling, as an endurance sport, does not require much skills. Where as football, tennis...etc emphasis much more on skill levels. I didn't know what to say then. Do you think this is true?
I have this conversation a lot, about all sorts of sports. Every sport requires skill(s) and at the pro level, it requires an unnatural amount of it, makes no difference what the sport is.
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Old 03-24-24, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
I have this conversation a lot, about all sorts of sports. Every sport requires skill(s) and at the pro level, it requires an unnatural amount of it, makes no difference what the sport is.

So by that logic marathon running at elite level must require an unnatural amount of "skill". I don't think so. I don't think endurance road cycling requires insane levels of skill either, even at pro level. Some sports are for more dominated by skill than fitness and some require a high degree of both. I think road endurance cycling is heavily biased toward fitness rather than skill, but some of the riders also do have a high degree of skill e.g. Tom Pidcock and MVDP.
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Old 03-25-24, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
So by that logic marathon running at elite level must require an unnatural amount of "skill".
And it does.
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Old 03-25-24, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
And it does.
Your definition of “skill” must be quite different to mine then, at least in a sporting sense.
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Old 03-25-24, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by MSMechanic
I was talking to my friends about skills require in different sports when we were watching the snooker world championship. One of my friend (who is not a cyclist) said that cycling, as an endurance sport, does not require much skills. Where as football, tennis...etc emphasis much more on skill levels. I didn't know what to say then. Do you think this is true?
If you look at roadies, yes, most of them don't have too many bike skills

but if you want to be successful mountain biker (XC, Enduro, DH) you need more and more skills.
Also, look at a few other styles: BMX, slopestyle, freeride, trial - all of them require a lot of skill and dedication.
Even on a road bike some skills are useful, look at Pidcock or Sagan

Last edited by razorjack; 03-25-24 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 03-25-24, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Your definition of “skill” must be quite different to mine then, at least in a sporting sense.
Probably, but my position holds true for any reasonable definition of skill. We can substitude ability, talent, or anything similar, doesn't change the discussion in a significant way. I find that most folks who hold your position define it narrowly around visible physical prowess.
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Old 03-25-24, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
I have this conversation a lot, about all sorts of sports. Every sport requires skill(s) and at the pro level, it requires an unnatural amount of it, makes no difference what the sport is.
To me, the word "sport" implies recreation and fun. For most folks, your "sport" shouldn't require more skill than other things, like your job. People play sports to have fun, stay in shape, and develop random skills for the heck of it.

I have to disagree that the sport doesn't matter - hard to convince me that target shooting for example requires anything other than 100% skill (and the right equipment).

High-level/professional sports are a weird animal because athletes are technically doing a "sport", but it becomes their "job".
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Old 03-25-24, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
I find that most folks who hold your position define it narrowly around visible physical prowess.
I don't hold that position at all. I would define skill as dexterity, hand-eye coordination and technique. Physical prowess for me is more related to fitness and strength.

So if you compare say marathon running vs tennis. What really separates amateurs from pros in those two sports? For marathon running I would say it is mainly down to their aerobic fitness and with tennis I would say it is mainly down to their racquet skills. It's that relative weighting of skill and fitness that varies from sport to sport. I think endurance cycling is much closer to running than most ball sports in that respect. That's not to say there aren't considerable skills involved. But they are less important than physical fitness. You can be a very average descender in the pro peloton (no better or worse than decent amateurs) but you need to have fitness levels way beyond the norm. Usain Bolt briefly tried to cross over into pro soccer when he retired from running, but didn't have the ball skills required despite possessing supreme speed and strength.
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Old 03-25-24, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe
Another zombie thread revived by someone with their first post ... why?
Lighten up. If the thread was a bust, there wouldn’t be so many people commenting on it in present day.
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Old 03-25-24, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Lighten up. If the thread was a bust, there wouldn’t be so many people commenting on it in present day.
Lighten up about what what? I just asked a simple question -- why are zombie threads so often revived by newbies with their first post?
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Old 03-25-24, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by halsallian
The skill is in winning - all sports at elite level require absolute dedication.

In cycling the skill is the mindset to train relentlessly.

That's a skill - not many people can put themselves through it - depends how you define "skill" in the end......
Welcome to bike forum. Please ignore some people whom get their enjoyment by giving others a hard time. There is an ignore function which will hide their posts.

And you are quite correct that it is a rare breed that can endure countless hours of suffering in order to succeed. That is a mental skill that few sports need other than endurance running - double marathons, 60 to 100 mile adventure runs, etc. As a former competitive tennis player and downhill ski racer, these are sports, one just cannot step out on and expect to succeed without a lot of physical and mental skill building. Bike racing, from what I have seen, since I have never raced, takes physical prowess (genetic gifts), tactical skills, and a good knowledge of physics. But for Joe average getting his bike out once a month to poodle along on a MUP, it only takes balance and the ability to endure a sore bum.
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Old 03-25-24, 10:52 AM
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As it relates to the thread, I would define "skills" as something learned through practice, not something a person is born with. For example, running the 110M hurdles requires more skill than running the 100M dash.The same for running a leg on a 1600m relay instead of just running a 400M dash. You have to learn how to pass/receive the baton.

Last edited by seypat; 03-25-24 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 03-25-24, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Welcome to bike forum. Please ignore some people whom get their enjoyment by giving others a hard time. There is an ignore function which will hide their posts.

And you are quite correct that it is a rare breed that can endure countless hours of suffering in order to succeed. That is a mental skill that few sports need other than endurance running - double marathons, 60 to 100 mile adventure runs, etc. As a former competitive tennis player and downhill ski racer, these are sports, one just cannot step out on and expect to succeed without a lot of physical and mental skill building. Bike racing, from what I have seen, since I have never raced, takes physical prowess (genetic gifts), tactical skills, and a good knowledge of physics. But for Joe average getting his bike out once a month to poodle along on a MUP, it only takes balance and the ability to endure a sore bum.
Yeah if you define “skill” in a broad sense, including mental state and physical attributes then all top level sport requires insane “skill”. But I think it’s more interesting to look at how those various attributes differ in their relative importance across different sports. Darts for example doesn’t require any degree of physical fitness, but it requires immense levels of concentration and amazing hand/eye coordination.

Downhill skiing is interesting and requires both strength and amazing technique, along with mental toughness and balls of steel. I think it has more in common with DH mountain biking than road endurance racing, even though the technical skills themselves are different. Endurance road racing requires only a relatively modest bike handling skill set, but the ability to suffer has to be off the charts.

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Old 03-25-24, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Endurance road racing requires only a relatively modest bike handling skill set, but the ability to suffer has to be off the charts.
What do you consider "endurance" road racing? If you're talking about ultra-distance types of events where there generally aren't competitors around you, and most of your riding is solo, then I tend to agree. If you're talking about World Tour racing, not so much. While aerobic fitness is certainly the biggest factor, the skills required for handling a bike in a pro peloton, at pro race speeds, are not insignificant, nor are the skills required for descending at pro race speeds. Those conditions will make the average, well-experienced, amateur rider $#!+ themselves.
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Old 03-25-24, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
What do you consider "endurance" road racing? If you're talking about ultra-distance types of events where there generally aren't competitors around you, and most of your riding is solo, then I tend to agree. If you're talking about World Tour racing, not so much. While aerobic fitness is certainly the biggest factor, the skills required for handling a bike in a pro peloton, at pro race speeds, are not insignificant, nor are the skills required for descending at pro race speeds. Those conditions will make the average, well-experienced, amateur rider $#!+ themselves.
It’s all relative. Tom Pidcock has bike handling skills way above the average level seem in the pro peloton. While useful, those handling skills are much less important in road biking than they are in mountain biking disciplines. Bike handling skills are also more important to the sprinters than the climbers.
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Old 03-25-24, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I don't hold that position at all. I would define skill as dexterity, hand-eye coordination and technique. Physical prowess for me is more related to fitness and strength.

So if you compare say marathon running vs tennis. What really separates amateurs from pros in those two sports? For marathon running I would say it is mainly down to their aerobic fitness and with tennis I would say it is mainly down to their racquet skills. It's that relative weighting of skill and fitness that varies from sport to sport. I think endurance cycling is much closer to running than most ball sports in that respect. That's not to say there aren't considerable skills involved. But they are less important than physical fitness. You can be a very average descender in the pro peloton (no better or worse than decent amateurs) but you need to have fitness levels way beyond the norm. Usain Bolt briefly tried to cross over into pro soccer when he retired from running, but didn't have the ball skills required despite possessing supreme speed and strength.
I was a tennis player before I was a cyclist, as a matter of fact, I used cycling to work on endurance for tennis because while really good at it, I hate running. An elite endurance runner isn't that because he/she is fit (yes, that is a prerequisite) they are elite because they pocess the abilities to be at that level. You can take the average person, make them as fit as they can be, and that will not take them to the top of any endurance sport. we are going to have to agree to disagree, though I don't think we are so far apart that we couldn't hash it out over a couple of beers.
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Old 03-25-24, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
It’s all relative. Tom Pidcock has bike handling skills way above the average level seem in the pro peloton. While useful, those handling skills are much less important in road biking than they are in mountain biking disciplines. Bike handling skills are also more important to the sprinters than the climbers.
Valid, but I still think you're under-estimating the bike handling skills of most of the pro peloton. That said, I agree that the riders who also have a lot of experience with CX and MTB tend to be above average.
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Old 03-25-24, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
I was a tennis player before I was a cyclist, as a matter of fact, I used cycling to work on endurance for tennis because while really good at it, I hate running. An elite endurance runner isn't that because he/she is fit (yes, that is a prerequisite) they are elite because they pocess the abilities to be at that level. You can take the average person, make them as fit as they can be, and that will not take them to the top of any endurance sport. we are going to have to agree to disagree, though I don't think we are so far apart that we couldn't hash it out over a couple of beers.
The ability to peak at the highest level in endurance sports is about genetic potential, but there's essentially no skills component. Maximum power, VO2max, ability to tolerate hard training -- these all respond to training but are limited by genetics.

Any clumsy oof can run fast or pedal hard -- technique is of little importance. Swimming has a skills component, but even swimming is primarily about aerobic fitness.
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Old 03-25-24, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
The ability to peak at the highest level in endurance sports is about genetic potential, but there's essentially no skills component. Maximum power, VO2max, ability to tolerate hard training -- these all respond to training but are limited by genetics.

Any clumsy oof can run fast or pedal hard -- technique is of little importance. Swimming has a skills component, but even swimming is primarily about aerobic fitness.
No, swimming is about technique and body proportions. Just ask Jimmy the Greek...
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Old 03-25-24, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
Valid, but I still think you're under-estimating the bike handling skills of most of the pro peloton. That said, I agree that the riders who also have a lot of experience with CX and MTB tend to be above average.
Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciate the skills of the pro peloton and I watch all the big one day races and Grand Tours in detail. It’s just that I don’t think their bike handling skills are as insanely high or as critically important as they are in say Enduro and DH mtb. Tom Pidcock demonstrated a whole next level of descending skills on his Alpe d’Huez stage win last year.
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Old 03-25-24, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
The ability to peak at the highest level in endurance sports is about genetic potential, but there's essentially no skills component. Maximum power, VO2max, ability to tolerate hard training -- these all respond to training but are limited by genetics.

Any clumsy oof can run fast or pedal hard -- technique is of little importance. Swimming has a skills component, but even swimming is primarily about aerobic fitness.
This is exactly what I was arguing. To me, genetic prowess is not a skill in itself.
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