5 Reasons Running Is Better Than Cycling

Friday 5As many of my friends and Salty readers know, my running has seen a big decline since early 2012. Plagued with plantar fascitis, making big life changes (like eloping in September), and dealing with a bit of burnout I have not yet made my way back to my former sub-elite level run training.

To pass the time and hopefully heal my foot in the process, I’ve spent much more time on the bike this year. I’ve bike-commuted to work. I’ve raced cross country on my new cyclocross steed. I’ve raced triathlons, and I’ve even tried out mountain biking! I’m definitely a convert in the sense that if you had asked me in 2003 (when I started triathlons) about cycling I would have told you it was a means to the end, the run that is. Running was always my favorite sport and cycling was my worst sport then and I only trained for it because you had to. Now I actually enjoy my cycling, and gasp, there are days I would rather ride than run. But mostly, despite the lack of training, I’m still a runner at heart.

So with that, here are five reasons why running will always be better than cycling!

1) Location, Location, Location

Want to hit the trails today? How about the beach? How about the track? If you are headed out for a run all you need is appropriate shoes. Want to bike these locations? Well you better have the appropriate mountain bike, fat tire bike, or time trial steed to hit these locations. Not to mention that finding a bike friendly trail or track is not always easy. Here in NE Ohio options are very limited, but the running trails and tracks are everywhere! It’s a no brainer, when you want to hit something other than the pavement running beats out cycling almost every time.

Winter Rush Fat Tire bike race
Good luck riding through sand, unless you can afford one of these bad boys! (Photo credit: Genevieve McKeiver Photography)

2) Layers, Less of them!

Cold weather running outfits are so much simpler than cycling ones! When you are on the bike you create more wind, which means you will feel colder than you would when you are out running.  Winter run, what do I need? Tights, shoes, gloves, long sleeve, maybe a jacket, ear warmers and we’re set! Winter bike? Tights, bike shorts, shoes, winter gloves, long sleeve,  jacket, ear warmers or hat, bike booties, helmet insulator, helmet. Note which list is more cumbersome!

3) More Social Time

While some crazy cyclists may feel a group ride is great social time, I find that riding on the roads is not the ideal situation for small talk. Riding single file you are moving too fast for your voice to carry far on the wind and it’s dangerous to ride double wide. Running is much more conducive to conversations with friends even in a more trafficked area. And there are more paved options open for social running than there are for cyclists being that all purpose paths cannot be used for those cycling at speeds above 10 mph.

English: Cycling around the capitol in Madison...
Pace Lines are not the time for conversations with friends! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4) Less Ridiculous Tan Lines

Let’s face it, bike shorts and bike jerseys = ridiculous tan lines! And you usually need to be on a bike longer to get the same advances in cycling as you would see in running = more time in the sun. Take my word for it, buns and sports bras are the way to go if you plan to be spotted in anything sleeveless or two pieced next summer!

5) It’s cheaper!

I am now the proud owner of way too many bikes. I have my first road bike which has been converted into a commuter. I have my cyclocross bike for CX season. I have my new road bike for racing multisport and road training rides. I have my original hybrid bike, which is currently collecting dust. I have an old steel tube shifting bike which I want to make into my commuter. And I currently have a borrowed mountain bike! And I want a triathlon bike and a mountain bike of my own. I don’t think I need to tell you that these bikes are not free! This year alone with a two bike purchase (My cyclocross and new road bike, which I love) from the store I am sponsored by, I spent enough to buy about 25 pairs of shoes give or take. I get about 500 miles out of a pair of shoes. That means for the cost of my two bikes I could run 12,500 miles (I shudder to think what it would have been at full price and without the boyfriend contribution!) I’m guessing my bike wheels won’t make it that far before needing replaced, but that’s just my guess 🙂

And don’t get me started on the costs of bike upgrades! Let’s just say if you are low on cash, running is a much better sport for you than cycling!

What about you Salty Readers? Any other reasons why running is better than cycling?

A gal on a mission to save Cuyahoga County streams one storm water facility at a time. An ex runner of many facets including marathons, pacing, ultras and more. Chronic left side issues have me cycling more than running these days but I'm attempting to get back to my running roots.

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  1. Injuries. Even though running is known for a high injury rate, when cyclists do get injured, their injuries can be very severe.

    I am not a cyclist. But I have heard of people falling on their bikes and breaking their collarbone and have their collarbone puncture their lung. I have also heard of a cyclist going down a hill, hitting a small rock, flying off the bike and breaking his pelvis in six places.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but runners injuries, while more frequent, seem to be minor by comparison.

  2. That is true any sport where you are moving that fast comes with an inherent crash risk! I certainly come home with a lot more bruises during CX season than I do when only running!

    1. Ah, cyclists are made of some pretty tough stuff. My aunt, who is 57 years old, competed in a full Ironman in Arizona last year.

      She crashed her bike about half way through the ride. Skinned herself up pretty bad. What did she do? Get back on the bike and continue riding. Then she ran the whole 26.2 miles to finish the Ironman in about 13 hours.

      No way, Jose, would I do that. It would have been a big time dnf if it had been me.