Those who read my columns and listen to my show are well aware of my love for cycling. Personally I’ve biked more than 5,000 miles over the last 18 calendar months and at one point I had a stretch where I rode my bike for 105 consecutive days (living in the desert where it rains maybe twice a year greatly helped keep my streak in tact).
Obviously not everyone can cycle at my level or volume (or even want to for that matter) but I didn’t turn the turn the corner on my fitness goals until I bought my bike with the sole intention of high volume cycling.
Something else I’ve noticed out on the roads and trails is that I seldom see black men on their bikes if any at all. The truth is, our superior physical genetics allows us to get more out of riding than most any other race out there. If you’re a black man who needs to lean out, lose weight, or get into shape, cycling is one the best ways to get there and I’ve got 3 reasons why:
#1 – Cardiovascular stamina & heart health
On it’s face, this might seem obvious right? The more you run, ride your bike, swim or perform any other aerobic exercise, the stronger your heart and lungs become which, in turn, increases your cardiovascular stamina which is also great for the health of your heart. Pretty standard as most people in and out of the fitness community know and understand these both very clearly.
But there are other things that having a strong heart and lungs can benefit a man. For one, having great cardiovascular stamina helps you to to lift heavier weights. After I started riding my bike regularly, I found that my max deadlift, bench press, and overhead press all substantially increased. The more I was able to get into my lungs the more weight I was able to put on the barbell. This was an unexpected benefit I noticed about a month after I started riding daily.
Having good cardiovascular stamina also helps you to perform daily tasks and not get tired. We all see people out there who get winded from walking up a few stairs or carrying something from one place to another. There’s no reason for a man to be gasping for breath after bringing a few bags of groceries inside. Cycling daily will eliminate that fatigue.
Another area having a strong heart and lungs is in the bedroom. A man who has superior cardiovascular stamina can fuck harder and longer than men who do not. This also helps your “sensitivity stamina”…that is, having a strong heart also increases the time it takes you to blow your load. No, it’s not going to turn a one minute man into a porn star who can fuck for 3 straight hours. But personally, I usually last anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes before I blow my first load (give or take…and depending on the situation, the girl, how long it’s been since I got laid etc.). But before I started riding regularly, I was in the 7 to 10 minute range.
So even though aerobic activity benefits a man’s heart and lungs there are plenty of real world benefits as well.
#2 – It’s much easier on your joints
Although I’m 40 years old and in the best shape of my life, my body’s beginning to show signs of breaking down. I have a bad left shoulder (AC joint injury from years ago), arthritis in my right elbow, and a bad right knee. Nothing alarming as this is a natural part of life as we get older.
Because of my age and joint issues, high impact cardio like running is off limits. I recently tried running on the treadmill for 15 minutes and Father Time reminded me the next morning that even though I look great, my knees and hips are every bit of 40 years of age! I’m a lean 227 lbs. but knees and ankles don’t care. 227lbs with every stride feels the same regardless of the runner’s body composition.
Riding my bike allows me to get my cardio in without further damaging my knees or straining my hips, achilles heel, and ankles. Other low impact aerobic activities like swimming and the elliptical machine are also good for saving the joints in your lower extremities.
The motion of cycling also helps keep your knees lubricated. The more you move your knees in this way, the more flexible they stay and the less likely they are to stiffen up. Saving your joints is imperative to men of all ages for many reasons. Riding a bike will drastically increase the time you can use them and decrease the likelihood of knee and/or hip replacement later in life.
#3 – It keeps you lean
There are plenty of gym bros out there who can bench 300, squat 550, and deadlift 500. While it’s great to be strong, it’s even better to look strong too. Don’t get me wrong here. Any man who can lift those weights doesn’t look like a weakling by any stretch of the imagination, but leaning out would give him a much more appealing physique to both himself and women. What good is being strong if you don’t look like it?
Cycling takes care of this issue and when done consistently keeps the fat away from your heard-earned muscle. Plus, the less fat you have on your frame, the more flexible you become. It also increases your range of motion giving you more leverage when performing compound lifts like the bench press and deadlift.
Riding your bike also helps to mitigate any deviations you may have in your clean diet. If you pig out at Outback, laying down double digit miles will help keep those calories from sticking to your frame. The pictures of those big mileage days I put at the beginning of this column are all days after I went off the reservation with regards to my daily diet.
You can never out train a bad diet but biking certainly helps keep your weight in check when trying to stay lean.
There’s no need to run out and spend $1000 on a bike. That’s ridiculous. By the same token, getting a $99 bike from Walmart isn’t gonna cut it either if you’re looking to ride every day.
The bike below cost me $250 at Target (twice unfortunately) and has held up nicely despite the mileage I put on it. Yes, there’s a lot of maintenance involved (as is the case with anything you use that frequently) but so long as you take care of your bike, it should serve you well for thousands of miles.
Biking isn’t something black men don’t normally do but if you give it a try, you’ll find it to be a great alternative to the typical gym options that keep you stationary.