9 reasons why it would be awesome to be a pro cyclist

Posted on: February 8th, 2019

You might suffer and the paid ranks are hard to break into, but professional cycling has to be the coolest sport on the planet.


9 reasons why it’d be awesome to be a pro cyclist


1) It keeps you young

First and foremost cycling is good for us, no matter what level you’re at. At the professional level, you just do the same thing; only harder and for longer and you’re better at it.

Riding the bike lowers stress levels, decreases the risk of developing preventable conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes and it will strip the fat right off you.

You don’t need to be clocking up endless hours in the saddle either – research has shown that half an hour of exercise a day can dramatically improve your quality of life.

That’s about the time it takes most, on average, to commute to and from work. So if you’re doing it for a living, you’ll be permanently in mint condition.


2) You get paid for this lark

Yep, and some pros get pretty well paid too, depending on their personal ranking and where their team is in the grand scheme of things.

WorldTour squads like Team Sky are among the best in the world and can afford to pay their riders massive salaries.

Team Sky reportedly has 10 riders who earn  €1,000,000 or more. And even in other teams some riders are on €500,000 a year or more; even some of those who are not world beaters.

And if you’re a team leader or capable of winning big races, the salaries head north of €1 million for all WorldTour teams.

The likes of Peter Sagan and Chris Froome will receive a salary of about €4-€5 million.

Lower down the ranks, the ProContinental teams pay less and most Continental level teams don’t pay at all.

But if you manage to become a permanent fixture on the ProConti or WorldTour scene, there are significant financial rewards to be had.


3) It’s a great way to see the world

Most of us will never visit a fraction of the countries professional riders do.

And though they don’t exactly get time to pull out the sun lounger and hit the beach, they do race in some pretty wicked places.

Australia, Argentina, Oman, Qatar, France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Japan, Malaysia, Norway…

Sounds okay to us.


4) It’s an all-expenses paid lifestyle

From their respective teams, pro riders will probably get a top-end race bike or two, a training bike or two, a time-trial bike, the best wheels, the best groupset, helmets, kit, clothing, nutrition and whatever other accessories they require.

When they have an ache, the masseuse is straight in. When there’s any sign of illness the doctor is summoned.

When something happens to their bike – like it gets dirty – there are mechanics to take care of all of that.

Flights are covered and all hotels as well as pre and post-race meals.

So if you’re being paid well and you’re on the road a lot; the money will come in while you’re not spending much.

It’s a handy scenario if you hope to save enough not to have to get a proper job when you hang up your wheels.


5) You can eat more than the average punter

Pros burn so many calories out training and racing that it’s often hard to replace them.

That’s why they eat chocolate bars and sugary things while on the bike to stay topped up.

Weight is key and you have to watch what you eat. But pro riders are well looked after on the road, many with chefs travelling with their teams.

And if you like eating, as most of us do, that vice can be accommodated within reason in pro cycling.


6) It’s character building

Every pro will have days where they probably wish they were doing anything else but riding their bikes.

Be it getting sick prior to a big race, crashing out of a major event or getting dropped on the flat; they’ll have many more bad days than good, for the most part.

But these bad days are exactly why many pros go on to have successful careers afterwards; all of the bad experiences build resolve.

And you will be sure to savour the good days when they come if you’ve suffered long and hard on the road to success.


7) Camaraderie unlike most other sports

You rarely see punch-ups in bike races. You rarely see fans rioting or days where the stage has been cancelled due to unruly behaviour.

Even at the highest level in the sport, riders from rival teams will often train with each other.

And though they’ll try to kill each other (not literally) in races, hostilities usually cease when they all cross the line.

The moment where Simon Clarke (Orica GreenEdge) offered up his wheel to Richie Porte (Team Sky) at the Giro d’Italia a few years ago was a case in point.

It’s one of the few sports where you spend so much of the year on the road living with you team mates.

So deep friendships that last a lifetime generally develop within what is, for the most part, a friendly sport.


8) You’re not restricted by age

The careers of those playing contact sports are often ended before the athletes are ready to stop; injuries often the main reason.

In sports like rugby, soccer and GAA the combination of heavy knocks week after week takes a huge toll on players’ bodies.

The same cannot be said for cycling, with many of the top riders in the world staying competitive well into their 30s.

And the age profile seems to be getting higher; with many pros not hitting their stride until their mid to late 20s and continuing to race at a high level close to 40 years old, and in some cases beyond that milestone.


9) You can live anywhere

With good wages and little expenses, pro riders can live pretty much anywhere they want, within reason.

Spain, the south of France and the Amalfi coast in Italy are popular haunts in Europe, while Adelaide and California are home to many more of the world’s best.

So when you see them all suffering like dogs on Alpe d’Huez at the Tour or grovelling in the gutter at the spring classics, don’t have too much sympathy for them…