9 things professional cyclists do differently to amateur riders

Posted on: January 11th, 2019

Aside from the enormous physiological differences that exist between the world’s top cyclists and the rest of us, professional cyclists do a number of things both on and off the bike that sets them apart. Struggling on when you have been very smashed up in a crash is just one…


9 things professional cyclists do differently


They always wear their team’s kit

professional cyclists

Granted they’re bound to the strict conditions stipulated in their contracts but you will never, ever see a professional rider not wearing his current team’s kit while he’s out training.

Jobs are hard to come by in this industry. And no one would be foolish enough to jeopardise a life of sacrifice for something as silly as not wearing the items issued to them.

Afterall, the kit advertisea the products and services of the sponsors who pay their salaries.


They eat less on and off the bike

Eating is definitely cheating when it comes to training and pro riders are known to have as little as an energy bar or gel and a 500ml bottle of water on a four-hour ride.

Off the bike, professionals count their calories and often weigh their food. In their language, weight is time and time is a higher GC placing.


They never train too early in the morning

professional cyclists

You gotta be kidding. They are their own bosses, they choose their own hours. Those hours are generally between 10am and 4pm.

They have one massive advantage over mere mortals in that they are no rushing back to work or go to college.

Even those riders with children can slack on a lot of child care in credibly arguing that it cuts into their training or recovery time.

(Not that we would ever do that – Ed)


They eat very, very well

Cyclists in the sport’s top tier get paid extremely well. And when not training look after themselves very well, be it with fancy cars, nice houses or just a high quality of life.

Riders can probably rattle of the names of the best restaurants in their adopted city, even though they must watch what they eat.

They’re probably on first name terms with the owner and chef too. Having to watch what they eat doesn’t mean they can enjoy nice foods.

And because late nights and alcohol are to be avoided like the plague, for many eating out is their social life.


They ride very tightly together

professional cyclists

Their dexterity and control are impeccable, honed from thousands of hours racing in tightly packed bunches.

So it’s no surprise to see them shoulder to shoulder training two abreast, knuckles almost touching.


They train a lot harder than you

An easy day in cycling speak could still be 100km. Riders will often do up to two hours or more on ‘rest days’ during the Tour de France.

Riders train every day, rack upwards of 30 hours in the saddle in a hard training week and around half that for an easy week.

And they train no matter what; rain, hail or shine they’ll be riding.

Aside from training, most things they do in life are designed to make them stronger, recover better or to somehow advantage their condition.


They can descend faster than you could dream of

professional cyclists

They’ll descend a mountain faster than you…without pedaling.

Part of this is fearlessness, another part is having a better bike.

But the biggest part is that they’re able to pick the fastest lines through the corners from experience.


They can handle their bikes incredibly well

A professional rider in a group of amateurs stands out like a sore thumb because he has the handling skills of a surgeon.

He’ll barely touch the brakes for a 6-hour ride, can pick his way through city traffic better than anyone.

And when it comes to wheelies, skids and general showing off, he’ll shame you.


They often battle on after really extreme crashes

professional cyclists

You’d literally have to shoot most of them to get them to pack a stage race.

The most successful riders will suffer through awful ailments and injuries to stay in a race.

And even team workers will suffer massively to ensure they hang in and do the job for the team they earmarked for them.