Home > Feature

5 Reasons triathlon is better than cycling

Don't get us wrong - we love to bike, but we still know that our sport is so much better

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Yes, we know that there are more than a few cyclists who are going to guffaw at the title of this story – but remember, it is not titled “5 reasons triathletes are better bike handlers than cyclists.” We give – many of our brethren are in desperate need of some bike handling skills, and we’re going to keep working on that, we promise. But we do want to ensure that all those triathletes who left their tri bikes in their basements for most of 2020, spending the spring, summer and fall riding their road bikes – remember exactly why they love to swim, bike and run. Triathlon is just better. Here’s why:

The fittest athlete wins

Cycling champions are completely dependent on their team. The fittest guy on most teams ends up being a domestique, tasked to get the team leader to the finish line in the best position to win. Sure, that team leader has to be good, but they’re often great sprinters who can hit a thousand watts or more for a few seconds to power away to a big win. Without being able to sit in the draft of a super-fit, aerobic powerhouse, they would be lost.

In triathlon, that super-fit, aerobic powerhouse takes the day. Maybe not quite as exciting, but a lot fairer!

Now, before you try to say “what about draft-legal racing,” let me remind you that those events still include a swim and a run. And, if you’ve ever watched the Brownlees or Flora Duffy race, they follow a super-hard swim with a bike ride where they push anyone around them to their limits, then, more than often, outrun everybody. Once again proving that … the fittest athlete wins.

Our bikes are way cooler … and faster

Greg Lemond’s famous Tour de France win in 1989? Thanks to tri bars. Aero road bikes? All following developments from the tri-bike industry. Face it, almost since the start of the sport triathletes have been leading the way in terms of cycling innovation. Even just the riding position – you can ride down the road like a parachute, or cut through the wind like a knife. We’ll take the cut through the wind option, thanks!

Related: 7 Reasons Triathlon is better than running

We’ve got way more training options (and variety in our training)

Can’t bear the thought of jumping on your bike? Not a problem – let’s focus on a swim or a run workout today. Don’t get us wrong – we love riding our bikes, but we also like the variety that comes with being able to swim and run, too. Triathlon also promotes a more all-around fitness routine.

Even more toys

We know how much cyclists love their training toys. Power meters, light bikes, flashy wheels … we’re with you – we love it all, too. But can you imagine getting to covet all that cool stuff for two other sports? Wetsuits, GPS watches  … for those who believe in the adage that “he or she who dies with the most toys wins,” triathlon is nirvana.

Way fewer crashes

Even with my earlier admission that many triathletes need to work on their bike handling skills, have you ever met a serious cyclist who hasn’t experienced a major crash at some point in their careers? It’s both the nature of the game and a harsh reality. With draft zones being expanded at many events, triathletes really have to work hard to take each other out during a race. And, if you’ve spent much time with them during training, they rarely ride close enough to each other to cause any issues there, either!