With the Olympic Games taking place over the summer, the spotlight on competitive cycling has increased ten-fold, with all disciplines of the sport being watched by people from all over the world. However, the sport’s prominence had already received a huge shot in the arm over the last 17 months or so as a prime exercise. For many, it was a debate between taking up cycling or running for fitness, with Healthline detailing that cycling’s better for building muscle. It’s not just jumping on a bike and hitting the trails or the roads that have picked up in popularity of late, though. Home fitness has been a major talking point, leading many to uncover the cardiovascular benefits of utilizing a stationary bike.
Still, we’re now in a time when we can enjoy cycling indoors, outdoors, on the TV by watching major events or even the virtual cycling tracked on SoCalCycling.com. So, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many athletes have also caught the cycling bug – even more so than just within their professional training regimes. What may catch some readers off guard is the fact that so many of these cyclists are professional football players. The power and speed-driven sport perhaps doesn’t lend itself naturally to huge cycling sessions, but these NFL stars are certainly finding it beneficial to their respective games.
An immortal man’s elixir?
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If there were just one professional athlete who could be pointed to as the epitome of an ageless wonder, most Americans would point to future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. Having just been minted as a seven-time Super Bowl champion, the now-44-year-old shot-caller continues to defy logic in the hard-hitting NFL, with his enduring peak being largely down to his fitness regime. As posted above, Brady is of the private Yellowstone Club, getting into the sport of mountain biking for fitness and adventure around Big Sky, Montana. While he was with the New England Patriots, Brady managed to get several of his teammates into cycling for their fitness, too, with Bicycling.com listing his former teammates Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola as taking up the sport back on February 1, 2018.
Cycling is an excellent cardiovascular workout and helps to enhance lower-body strength, so it makes sense that it’s a part of the QB’s training regime. His commitment to fitness continues to hold him and his team among the best in the league. On August 2, Pro Football Focus graded his team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as the favorites to win the Super Bowl, with a 15 percent probability. While the team wins games, not just Brady, his influence is certainly noticeable, and, as of August 3, Betway places Brady among the favorites to claim the regular-season MVP award, sitting at +1400. Well-known for his endurance, it’s all but assured that Brady will pile onto his 4,633 passing yards and 40 touchdowns from 16 games last season this year, seeking to add a second championship in only his second year with the Bucs.
SoCal’s NFL Cyclists Reap Fitness Benefits
One of the finest places to cycle in southern California is around Los Angeles and, this year, the 20th Anniversary Bicycle Film Festival brought a virtual tour to the City of Angels. So, it makes sense that resident athletes of the hometown teams would make the most of the opportunity. The culture of cycling is certainly present for the Los Angeles Rams, spearheaded by the youngest head coach in the history of the NFL, Sean McVay. Still only 35 years old, Rams Guru reports that he pedals to work each day, bike commuting alongside his coaching staff. As the Rams head coach, McVay has had four winning seasons but is tipped to greatly improve in the 10-6, .625 win percentage of last season.
Over the summer, the Rams were ranked as the fourth-most improved team. One such player who’ll be hoping to be a part of the improving team is Taylor Rapp. Drafted 61st overall in the 2019 NFL Entry Draft, the 6’0’’ safety made ten starts in his rookie season, but could only add another five in 2020 due to injury and demotion. Still, he’s well-known for his dedication to fitness, as detailed by The Rams Wire on May 25, 2020, having embarked on an 18-hour, 10,000-calorie-burning marathon that included 103 miles of cycling, hiking, running, swimming, and another 22 miles on his bike.
While these are the most prominent and local NFL stars to take to the bike, several others also reap the benefits of cycling around. Players like JuJu Smith-Schuster are famed for cycling to and from training, especially when he was a rookie, as is Teddy Bridgewater for his epic 70-plus mile rides posted to his social media accounts. Perhaps more NFL stars should saddle up to improve even further in their sport.