cyclists do not have to be all skinny and stuff


After getting a desk job I gained some weight, I took up cycling to try and keep fit. And I can completely understand what this article talks about. There are some guys I ride with that can haul, but are bigger than me. I am not strong, fast, and do not like really big distances but do OK.

It turns out that others, too, have been struck by the paradox of bicycling fitness.

“When I first got into cycling, I would see cyclists and say, ‘O.K., that’s not what I perceive a cyclist to be,’ ” said Michael Berry, an exercise physiologist at Wake Forest University. Dr. Berry had been a competitive runner, and he thought good cyclists would look like good runners — rail-thin and young.

But, Dr. Berry added, “I quickly learned that when I was riding with someone with a 36-inch waist, I could be looking at the back of their waist when they rode away from me.”

He came to realize, he said, that cycling is a lot more forgiving of body type and age than running. The best cyclists going up hills are those with the best weight-to-strength ratio, which generally means being thin and strong. But heavier cyclists go faster downhill. And being light does not help much on flat roads.

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