Runners Vs. Cyclists: Who Has It Better?

I am a runner, among other things. I spend a decent amount of time on the Cape Cod rail trail, where I see a lot of cyclists, and other runners. While I run, I thought it would be fun to compare the two sports. Full disclosure, I do own a mountain bike that I like to ride from time to time, even if I consider myself a runner first.

Let’s keep score… Who has it better, and who has it worse?


I envy the speed with which cyclists whiz down the trail. It takes the elite male marathoner approximately two hours to run 26.2 miles. Meanwhile it takes Tour de France athletes 30 days to ride 2,000 miles (roughly half the distance to the sun).
Advantage: Cyclists


Cyclists typically rock spandex, while there is no set attire other than wicking stuff for runners. As someone who color coordinates their race day outfit, down to the shoes, I’m not going to make fun of the brightly-colored spandex bike attire. I think a lot of them look pretty cool.
Advantage: Cyclists


We get planter fasciitis, runners knee, shin splints or toenail loss. They get broken collarbones, wrists and other bones or road rash. The risk cyclists take is real.
Advantage: Runners


Runners wave to each other. Or at the very least we nod to one another. Cyclist hurtle along at 30 miles an hour trying not to crash. They need to concentrate.
Advantage: Runners


Cyclist have nifty beverage holders on their bikes. They can even drink while riding more elegantly than a runner can hydrate on-the-go. We either carry bottles in our hands or have this silly belt that you clip bottles onto.
Advantage: Cyclists


Cyclists have helmets and aero bars—and tons of other equipment we can’t even begin to name. We have hats, watches and compression sleeves. I’m calling this one a draw. I really like compression sleeves.
Advantage: Runners

Motor Vehicle Hatred

Drivers consider runners a nuisance. Drivers hate cyclists with a passion. I mean they hate them. More road rage is directed at cyclists. This is absolutely ridiculous because cyclists and runners both deserve a piece of the road too.
Advantage: Runners

Total tally—Cyclists: 3; Runners: 4!

I’m only skimming the surface here because there is much more to both sports. Some day I would like to be a triathlete. I envy cyclists—I really do. But right now, my thing is running, and I love to poke a little fun at cyclists from time to time. But one thing that I’ve learned, never tell a cyclist that “the bike does half the work.” If you do, they will hate you as much as drivers hate them.

RELATED: What Triathlete Miranda Carfrae Can’t Run Without

Recent Stories