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How many of you were into sport / excercise before cycling?(29 posts)

How many of you were into sport / excercise before cycling?GileyD
Feb 6, 2003 5:19 AM
The following recent quote from LoneFrontRanger (hope you don't mind LFR!) prompted me to ask a question I've had on my mind for a while..

"I started out riding a bicycle some fifteen years ago from an entirely non-athletic background. I was one of those clumsy kids who is horrible at ball-and-stick sports."

I can totally relate to that (Ok, I'm male, but that sums up my background). As a kid I was crap at (and hence hated) all sports at school. My co-ordination wasn't great and I didn't have a lot of confidence. At my school (in the UK) we played football (soccer), rugby union, and cricket. Cricket was cool ‘cos when our side was batting and we were hanging about waiting for our brief tenure in front of the stumps my equally non-sporting mates and I would take turns zipping each other up in the kit bag and seeing how far we could throw each other! Footy and rugby were horrendous though – on the rare occasions I had possession of the ball, as soon as some huge meathead from the other team started bearing down on me I'd pass the ball their way and get the hell outta there. I figured this was simple self-preservation but needless to say it didn't make me popular with my team mates!!

PE (Physical Education) lessons were the same, if I could skive off I would. When two captains were appointed for team games they would take turns choosing members for their teams. The last two left to be picked were always the same – me and The Fat Kid (every class has one!). At the age of 14 I actually made an effort in a sporting event for the first time ever – the school's annual cross country running race. With no training at all I came about 30th out of 150 kids and figured maybe this was actually enjoyable and something I could be good at.

The I turned 15, discovered the myriad pleasures of booze, cigarettes, girls, and motorbikes, and my brief dabble with sport or exercise was over. Spent the next 15-odd years partying bigtime, serious alcohol and nicotine consumption, can't say I have too many regrets though, I sure had a lot of fun!!!

In my late 20's I noticed a lot of people riding the then-new MTBs and thought it looked like fun. Bought a cheap one, loved it, bought a better one..need I go on..??

Now 10 years on I have 5 bikes (3 MTB, 2 road) and ride as often as I can. In the last 10 years I don't think I have gone longer than 3 weeks without riding a bike of some description. For all that time no other sport or hobby has ever appealed to me (ok, I still ride motorbikes on warm sunny days, and I swim 2 or 3 times a week simply ‘cos it's convenient). If I hadn't got hooked on cycling I'm sure I'd be really overweight, probably still smoke, and extremely unfit.

I am just SO glad I got into bikes, I can't imagine life without riding (sounds corny I know, but true nonetheless).

Any of you guys got a similar background...?
re: How many of you were into sport / excercise before cycling?PEDDLEFOOT
Feb 6, 2003 5:42 AM
After the usual Little League as a kid I ran cross country for awhile in highschool.I've always ridden but never consistantly .As I grew older I stayed with running and worked out consitantly with cycling as a cross training activity.After about 18 years of running and racing I finally decided to give up the running due to constant nagging injuries and overall soreness.That was 3 years ago and I've been riding ever since.I now have 3 bikes.2 road(steel and AL) and a steel Trek 900 hybrid.Thats my story and I'm sticking to it.
re: How many of you were into sport / excercise before cycling?Raven1911
Feb 6, 2003 6:48 AM
I have been athletic my whole life. Started playing soccer at age 4 until 18, every year. Switched to tennis when I was a teenager and even won the citrus belt league in tennis for the high school. Lettered both in tennis and soccer. I have always been athletic. Finally got into MTB riding for a couple years then tried road biking and lately started racing. I am the kind of person that really gets into what he is doing and does it very thoroughly. Just my personality. I love cycling right now and love the competition of racing.

re: How many of you were into sport / excercise before cycling?Klein_man
Feb 6, 2003 6:51 AM
In grade school I was into football, basketball, and track. Then in high school I did four years of CC and track with three years of basketball. College was 5 years (red-shirt 1 season each) of CC and track. Finally ended up breaking my foot at mile 3 of the 5 mile CC race my senior year (two weeks prior to the conference meet) and still finished 18th out of 160 people. Missed my last year of track eligibilty due to an internship. Since that point (four years ago) I do limited running but a lot of biking (easier on the body...until you crash). I ride equal amount on the road and off.
Yes and No.......bent_spoke
Feb 6, 2003 7:11 AM
As a kid I played baseball, football & a little basketball. My highlight was scoring 3 TDs in a peewee football game, but then everyone got bigger, faster, stronger & I stayed pretty average. I did some cycling in college, to school & work, doing 125-150 miles/week. Moved to CT for Grad school & started smoking, drinking & lost interest in the bike (also hillier than NJ).

In giving up smoking, I found that I couldn't run out the driveway without running out of breath (heck I could do this all day as a kid, what's wrong?). I got into running & racing...did 5-10Ks, 10 marathons & came to my senses, althouhg I still run our Turkey Day 5miler. I've completed 25 in a row which I'm happy with (best finish 240 out of about 8000, ntb).

Two years ago, I got back to cycling & a new ride with all the great new technology. Now, I'm mainlyly a cyclist & enjoying the heck out of it.
Very much sojtolleson
Feb 6, 2003 7:43 AM
I was an avid hiker and backpacker, and a regular runner and average rock climber.

When my mom got diagnosed with MS in 1991, there was an MS150 three weeks away. Sooo, I borrowed a friend's mountain bike with platform pedals, put on my sneakers and rode it.

Ahem. My general fitness had made me overconfident. Riding a mt bike 150 miles over 2 days in sneakers makes you hurt in ALL the wrong places. wrist/elbows/neck/knees. It nearly killed me.

So I went out and bought the right kind of bike and the right kind of gear. As they say, the rest is history.
was into it beforeColnagoFE
Feb 6, 2003 7:47 AM
started off with football, baseball and the like in jr high. after my freshman year in hs i ditched everything for cross country and track. eventually i ditched that for beer drinking and the easy life. in my late 20s i decided i was sufficiently bloated and out of shape so I tried to start running again. I also was a smoker by this time. Running was too tough on my out of shape body so I got out my old Panasonic MTB and started riding it regularly. first having to force myself, but eventually starting to like it. i began commuting to work on a regular basis and about this time my wife and i decided to have a kid. i finally gave up smoking for good as it was getting in the way of my cycling and about a year after the baby came started hauling him around in the burley trailer. soon it was time to buy a decent road bike and as they say the rest is history...been riding regularly ever since, have become a certified spin instructor, a ACE certified personal trainer, raced some, and have kept in good shape in general.
Feb 6, 2003 7:59 AM
Let's see:

cycled at age 5, going everywhere on bikes
sprinter (never beaten until high school)

Jr high and high school:
track (1/4 and 1/2 mile)
cross country

track (400 m)
bike racing

piddled around for 10 years:
flag football
weight training

last 7 years:
mountain biking
road racing
ultra racing

I hated "ball" sportsTig
Feb 6, 2003 8:21 AM
I've always liked water and snow skiing, as well as surfing. I never liked the standard American sports. Cycling has always been a part of my life since I started at 5.

Like most kids, riding bikes was the center of playing since 5 years old. In jr. high, riding was the main transportation mode (Schwinn Sierra Classic 10-speed with chromed fork). Cars in high school put bikes out of commission, but BMX caught my attention for the next few years. Skateboarding and freestyle BMX (before it got big) was fun during college. MTB's came along and pulled me back into riding even deeper. A Cannondale in '87 completed the transition into a full on rider. I haven't strayed much since.
reminds meDougSloan
Feb 6, 2003 8:25 AM
forgot about baseball as a kid
My little league batting average was sub 50! LOL -nmTig
Feb 6, 2003 8:38 AM
hopefully you walked a lot :-) nmDougSloan
Feb 6, 2003 9:27 AM
My history in a nutshellbrider
Feb 6, 2003 8:29 AM
My first love was basketball -- idolize Pistol Pete Maravich.

Played Bball and ran track in jr high -- 440/880 combo (this was before metric distances were used).

Did the same in high school for two years, but moved to the 200/400 combo in track. After riding the bench my sophomre year, I decided to try cross country instead of basketball. My endurance jones was started there. Continued to run through high school, getting into prgressively longer distances. Rode a bike occasionally (mainly as back-up transportation).

In college, I started getting overuse injuries from running. Doctor told me to get in the pool for rehab. Guys in the pool told me to get a bike. I got into triathlon then. Did well, eventually to the point where I had to make the decision to go pro or to give up my pro aspirations and keep my day job. I decided to stay with the job (more stable income).

After a couple years, I tried some road racing, and loved it. Two years later I was fully and completely road riding and racing about 60+ events a year.
Bad football player in high school, distance runner 15 yearsSilverback
Feb 6, 2003 8:31 AM
I played ball in high school because I was a big guy and it was pretty much expected, but I didn't like it and wasn't any good. In my mid-20s I started jogging for fitness, and became a decent recreational distance runner. In my early 40s my knees started hurting, so I got more serious about cycling, which I'd done casually for awhile. Twelve years and several thousand dollars later, I guess I'm a bicyclist. The cool thing is that I'm still improving--I'd peaked and started downhill as a runner.
I was never a bad athlete, but I was REALLY never a motivatedbill
Feb 6, 2003 8:32 AM
athlete. I dabbled in neighborhood stuff, did well in summer-league swimming, wrestled in junior high, cross-country for a season in HS (what a disaster THAT was), intramurals in college (I loved lacrosse), intermittent running thereafter, but I never really focussed on doing well in any of them. Exploited what modicum of natural ability I had, and the rest, particularly after about age 15, was mostly chasing girls and playing guitar.
Then I started to get forty and fat. As I saw myself develop breasts and back fat, I got disgusted and I said, I can't let this happen. Plus my dad has had heart disease, and my mom high blood pressure, and I had two little kids, and we get one life, and one body, and my wife looks GREAT, and let's find something I like.
And now I love my bike. Gonna race this year, dadgummit (second season of racing, hopefully with a little bit of this focus paying off). I have waxed my share of twenty-somethings, and been waxed by fifty-somethings. So, I'm just doing the best I can and having fun.
I was in diapers before I was into cycling. nmKen of Fresno
Feb 6, 2003 8:37 AM
Last guy picked . . .ms
Feb 6, 2003 9:17 AM
I was the guy who was picked last in PE class. I am very nearsighted and playing ball sports with thick glasses just didn't work. I was the typical high school/college nerd. I probably burned more calories carrying books than anything else. I did some running in my early and mid-20s, but then I got married, had kids, worked too hard, etc. I was not in bad shape (walked a lot, did yard work, etc), but I did not exert myself too much. I tried golf several times, but it just didn't do anything for me. I hit 40, realized that I had gained about a pound per year since I hit 25 and decided I should become more active. I rode my uncle's bike occasionally when I was a teenager and thought that buying a bike would be a good way to do an activty with my kids. I bought a hybrid. Then my kids didn't want to ride too much but I became hooked. After a summer on the hybrid, I bought a road bike and the rest is history (3,000+ miles in 2001 and just 4,750 in 2002). I am not a very strong or fast rider, but I have discovered that I have great endurance and I get a great deal of satisfaction from riding. I am working on my strength and speed -- this year I am becoming more focused on my training. Neither my family nor my friends can believe what I am doing. But, the concensus seems to be that my trying to become a cyclist is much better than what others have done in response to mid-life crises.
Cross Country and Trackfunknuggets
Feb 6, 2003 9:41 AM
Funny, how previous track and CC athletes turn to cycling and that few people ever begin with cycling as their primary sport. However, I guess there are few cycling clubs when you are so young. How many grams does a training wheel weigh anyway?

I first turned to cycling as a cross training activity when nursing a stress fracture during my senior year in HS. I ran Cross Country and track (800M, 1600M and 3200M) and basically logged too many miles on the pavement and started getting some overuse injuries, tendonitis, stress fractures, chrodromalatia... so cycling I did and got hooked. I turned down a few scholarships to run at various small colleges and went to a school where myself and a few other cyclists started the cycling team and even got partially funded by the university as a club sport.

Nonetheless, the bug got me and I have been cycling on and off ever since. I still run from time to time, but like bike SO much more. One thing still bugs me is that dogs on rides or runs suck. Ive been bitten while running, and had several run ins with them on the bike... one included T-Boning a Collie going 42mph.

Feb 6, 2003 10:01 AM
I totally love sport of every kind. I'm yet to find one I don't like although perhaps I could count golf there - if I counted golf as a real sport! ;) I rowed seriously for 7 years, mostly at university, and have played football (soccer) since I could walk - still am and am currently nursing the wounds from last nights game! But I'm into running, tennis, badminton, climbing, swimming, skiing, hiking and try to do them all as much as I can - which for most isn't a lot. When I was rowing I pretty much just rowed! Twice a day, every day, for 7 years! Now it's mainly soccer and cycling, which I've really only taken up seriously in the last year although I've always done a bit.

I used to know a lot of rowers, who were great rowers (international level) who were useless at every other sport, just as you describe. I am destined to be a jack of all trades and never a master of one, when it comes to sport!
Let's see...Mel Erickson
Feb 6, 2003 10:19 AM
It all started with (drum roll please).......GOLF! Can you believe it? I was 7 and my grandfather gave all his kids family memberships to the local golf course. I lived about two blocks away from the 4th tee and my uncle lived on the 3rd tee. I would get up at 6am, throw my bag over my shoulder and start playing. One day I played 123 holes, pretty dark at the end. It wasn't until I was 14 that I found out there was such a thing as greens fees!

My childhood and high school years were taken up by the usual suspects (for a town of 1,000 in rural northern Wisconsin) basketball, football, hunting, fishing, more golf.

College brought booze and women into the mix (thankfully, no smoking), along with ping pong (got pretty good, too), foosball (is that a sport?), backpacking, cross country skiing and bicycling (oh, and more golf). Had a buddy I met in college who was in the service in Germany. He got the cycling bug there and passed it on to me. I started collecting and haven't gotten rid of a single bike I've had since college (30 years and 9 bikes later).

Originally I was into touring, 2-5 day trips. Survived being rear ended and my back turned to hamburger on the gravel shoulder (still got that bike, my single speed). Got into running, too, and several triathlons that didn't include swimming, never good at that (ironic because both my kids are great swimmers, guess I overcompensated). Did some road racing, mostly citizen.

Eventually things started to wear out. Around 40 I developed a herniated disk. Golf's gone. Running did a number on my knees and back. Gone too. Backpacking gone for the same reasons. Carpal tunnel did in foosball. Cold did in cross country skiing (not until after 15 consecutive Birkebeiners and numerous other marathon and shorter races) and deer hunting. Who plays ping pong anymore? Football and basketball with a bad back, you've got to be kidding! That leaves cycling, including mountain biking starting in the early 90's, bird hunting and fly fishing.

I still do an occasional citizen road race and the Chequamagon Fat Tire 40 MTB race. My main rides are a Giant XTC FS MTB, a Santana tandem and a Softride Solo for the road. Life is good.
social as much as sport relatedlonefrontranger
Feb 6, 2003 10:29 AM
I was your typical outsider anyway. Not only did I suck at team sports, I hated the cliques that infested them. I was your typical mid-80s post-punk goth weirdo. Think of the Ally Sheedy character from the movie "Breakfast Club", except I was too well-nourished to pull off the intriguing cadaver thing she had going.

I ran cross-country and sucked at that, too. All the freaks in my tiny rural school were on the XC squad. All the "in crowd" ran track. I was happy because I'd found a group that didn't care what I wore and who seemed happy to have me around. I ran 3 years of phenomenally mediocre XC so that our squad would have enough girls to qualify our 2x State champ (she was a true prodigy and went to China in '86 for some kind of invitational runners' camp). You had to have at least 4 Varsity runners on a squad to qualify a runner for State. I was an anti-preppie anarchist who earned a varsity letter for never running faster than 30:00 in a 5k, how funny is that?

I picked up skateboarding right about the time I graduated HS. Did that for a while, mostly for the interesting boys I met, then got into the bike crowd by a twist of fate. I kept running for fitness after HS but when I blew up a knee, my Dr. recommended cycling as therapy. One of my skater friends had a stoner blues musician buddy who knew a couple of brothers named Harrellson. They all rode bikes and lived down my way. After some introductions, these guys were happy to ride their fancy Italian racing bikes over to my place a couple times a month to tool around with me out in the country. They weren't interested in riding fast, just roaming around, looking at scenery and finding a nice spot to light one up every so often. Woody rode with us very infrequently as his time was taken up elsewhere, but it was brother who triggered my lifetime affection for Colnagos. He had a lipstick red 'nag with glorious chromed lugwork and Nuovo Record that was a real eye-popper. I tagged along on my wreck of a Fuji Absolute with stem shifters and cheater brakes, getting grease all over my baggy cotton sweatpants, but they were always kind to me. I learned a lot and owe a lot to the mentoring these guys did. Gary, the blues musician, was the one who got me my bartending job so I could ride all day. He later helped me buy my first real racing bike without gutting my entire bank account (Giant Cadex), made sure it fit properly, then recommended me for a spot on the DCC/Huffy race team after I'd burned myself out ultra racing.
;-) nmJS Haiku Shop
Feb 6, 2003 11:07 AM
re: How many of you were into sport / excercise before cycling?koala
Feb 6, 2003 10:50 AM
Satellite level pro tennis...Probably worse than breaking into pro cycling.
Feb 6, 2003 11:17 AM
I never truly excelled at any of these, but:

I rode my bike a lot when I was a kid and then went almost 20 years barely riding once I got my drivers license.

4 yrs. Cross Country and Track in high school, with 15 years of off and on (sometimes WAY off) road distance running after that

A smattering of other sports from time to time on teams with friends (softball, volleyball, indoor soccer).

no 'sport', just running..dotkaye
Feb 6, 2003 11:42 AM
completely useless at the 'normal' sports, the bat/ball thing, cricket, rugby, football, field hockey, etc. Played field hockey for a while in high school because we got to practice with the girls' teams.. hehe. Started running in high school for an ultramarathon relay (610km, 10 runners, we averaged 4:05 min/km) to raise money for our sister school in the townships - long complicated story to do with apartheid. Found out I wasn't useless at running, in fact I could aspire to mediocrity.. whoopee! More to the point, I enjoyed it. Kept running for many years with an occasional diversion into swimming when the knees broke down. Finally quit competition after a combination of malaria and neuromas made it just too painful/tiring to do the training. Found myself swimming and running every week anyway, figured that it couldn't be that hard to start cycling too, and do triathlons. Big surprise, running doesn't translate into cycling, notatall.. and you can't get anywhere in a tri with a slow bike leg. Now I have three bikes and a large and growing assortment of wheels.
re: How many of you were into sport / excercise before cycling?tarwheel
Feb 6, 2003 1:26 PM
I was never very good at any sports that required coordination and athletic ability, but loved to play basketball touch football with my neighborhood friends. When I was a kid, people didn't drive as much and we all had bicycles that we rode everywhere. I didn't have a car in college, and rode my bike almost exclusively everywhere I went, but rarely just to ride like I do now. I also did a lot of backpacking in high school and college, and that's when I realized my athletic strength -- endurance. I started running my last year in college and really enjoyed it, eventually competing in distance events and a few marathons. Had to stop running about age 35 due to foot injuries, and unfortunately didn't pick up the slack with cycling. After about 10 years of being lazy (although I continued to walk, hike and swim), I started cycling again. I ride now more than ever, and it's the only sport I've found where I haven't developed injuries. I've ridden more miles and improved my speed and endurance over the past 3 years than I even thought possible.
re: How many of you were into sport / excercise before cycling?hatchetman
Feb 6, 2003 2:26 PM
I was always into sports in high school. I played football and some basketball. I also got into racquetball for years. These days I coach football and wrestling at the high school level, so I've stayed very active in sports. Several years ago I had a fiance dump me so to get my mind off of it I joined Ride the Rockies, and I've been hooked ever since. It's something I wish I'd have gotten into much earlier. I'll be able to do it until I'm 80 if I can, unlike sports like football. I also wrestle freestyle in the spring, which like cycling you can do for years, plus it gets me in shape for cycling. Cycling is an awesome sport, and I hope more and more people get into it.
Cyclist first, then other sports, but always cycling.MrDan
Feb 6, 2003 4:25 PM
My bike took me a loooong way from home when I was pretty young. If my parents only knew.... I was doing 20 miles on a "bannana bike". Then came baseball, football, and basketball. I was always a pretty good player, but never "fit" with the typical "mindset" in these sports. I was the "weird" guy that had an expensive bike, and rode it everywhere... I cycled for fun/fitness until marriage. Turns out the cycling has been a more "durable" investment in all manner. I wish I hadn't given it up for so long/or at all. Got back into it this past summer, and cannot wait for the spring thaw here in central mass. Will be doing a couple sprint triatahlons and TT's this season.
Depends when you start counting cycling.djg
Feb 7, 2003 8:17 AM
I guess I got my first bike when I was 6. Nothing much but running around pretending to be batman before that. But I didn't take up racing until halfway through college, after a bunch of other competitive sports. I was a regional caliber tennis player--played 1 year of college tennis. Also did some soccer and a little ski racing when I was younger (defninitely nothing special at the ski racing).