During today’s trip to the office, I passed by hundreds of cars, thousands of pedestrians, two school classes, some people walking their dogs, a handful of morning joggers, and… countless cyclists. There were sporty people on carbon-fibre bikes, bike messengers carrying funny box-like backpacks, hipsters on pink bikes from the sharing service, one classical lady with a front-mounted basket and many more commuters – just like me.
To no surprise, I didn’t find any people rope climbing, yachting, dog sledding, ice skating or shot-putting in the streets of Prague. Since the bicycle was invented some hundred and fifty years ago, cycling became of the most accessible sports you can choose and the reasons for it are quite clear.
There is barely a better proof than comparing cycling to other popular activities. Imagine swimming, for example. You can get fit by getting drenched every other day but the environment seldom changes unless a crazy duck makes up its mind to chase you during the training. You’re completely wet from the very beginning, which is not the case with cycling unless you wear a funny box-like backpack. You may get tired, lost or even bonked on a bike, yet you will never die just because you ran out of energy in the middle of the route like you would were you in the middle of a lake. Moreover, losing your life by getting drowned is not the way you want to say goodbye.
Football, hockey, volleyball or basketball are great sports, though, with millions of fans all over the world watching it almost as devoutly as The Witcher fandom consumed the TV series. Even though cycling is also a sport better to be shared with friends, if there is none of them around, you can still hop on the bike and go out. Yet how do you want to make a pass if you find yourself alone in the middle of a football field? How could you score if no goalie was there to guard the goal?
Running is another story. It is almost as good as cycling as it allows you to explore different parts of the city and landscapes or to only jog around your block if you wish, yet it still has too many disadvantages. While you can sweat your body dry during a climb, once you reach the top, there is no reward for the struggle whatsoever. With no downhill ride ahead, you only need to keep on running but this time with your soles hitting the road harder, which will cause devastating pain in your hips, knees and ankles.
We’re well aware of the fact that running shoes are the only investment needed but we must remind you that showing off on your brand new, sports-car priced bike is something that belongs to cycling as do helmets and pedals. The misfortunate runners can only exhibit their pink headbands or compression socks and that’s quite sad, at least from a snob’s point of view.
And then there is gymnastics. Even though it is a beautiful thing, you can hardly say, “let us go out to enjoy a couple of Arabian double fronts or Handsprings with Somersaults and Twists.” Without constant training in the gym, you may never do even an upswing on the trapeze – that is how demanding the sport is. Unless you get familiar with the basics at the age of five, you missed the boat once for all. Unlike gymnastics, cycling is a sport you can start with no matter the age. You might object that MAMILs (middle-aged man in Lycra) are a funny sight to behold, yet they still can enjoy cycling as soon as you leave them alone.
Similar cons are to be found in any other sport. You could, for example, say, “Let me wait until the river gets frozen so I can ice-skate over it to grab some pizza,” or “I will karate-kick through the crowd to get my lunch,” but you can do both with no effort by riding a bike.
Cycling is not only around to entertain us or take us to an appointment. You can see it at the Olympics, world championships, world cups or grand tours with millions of spectators watching every stage. All of this makes cycling arguably the best sport of all.