Veloviews for December 9, 2022 – Am I Really an Athlete?

Picture of Cyclist During a Time Trial by Chris Peeters at

Even though I’ve been a very active amateur bicyclist for many years, I never really considered myself an athlete because I didn’t race competitively. I just quite accidentally found a sport I loved.

From that point forward, though, cycling began to influence my overall lifestyle. I prioritized nutrition, watched my weight, tried to stay fit, and measured my BMI. I rode my bike several times a week and participated in a lot of one-day events.

Later, as I became a stronger rider and my fitness improved, I traveled to places in the United States specifically to bike. I even went to Italy to bike the Giro d’Italia roads.

However, did I see myself as an athlete? The answer was still no. But according to Chris Carmichael, a former pro cyclist and founder and owner of Carmichael Training System (CTS), if you do any of the things I mentioned above, you are definitely an athlete.

What is An Athlete?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines an athlete as someone who is “A competitor or performer in physical exercises or games.” So, if that is the case, then maybe I am an athlete after all. While not a “competitor” in the true sense of what that word alludes to, I do perform “physical exercises.” And in most instances, I always liked to compete against myself.

Chris Carmichael states in his post “Hell Yes, You’re An Athlete,” quite eloquently, I might add, that you’re an athlete “who happens to ride a bicycle. Moreover, you are a person who rides a bicycle and has a family and a career, and an entire life off the bike.”

In other words, I am the type of athlete that doesn’t make a living as a pro competitor but who loves the sport for what it brings to my body and mind.

There are, in fact, many kinds and types of athletes. There are serious athletes who spend all their time training to compete at a professional level. That is how they make their living. In contrast, there are also casual athletes who perform an activity such as running, cycling, or basketball to stay fit, to practice a healthy lifestyle, and to do something fun for their mental as well as physical health.

What Makes an Athlete?

Vector Image of Two Bicyclists from

Earlier in his post, Carmichael says ” Speed, distance, and power output don’t make you an athlete. If you’re getting out there, getting it done, and having fun, you’re an athlete.” And I think that is an important distinction. I ride my bike because I love doing it. Nothing I’ve found compares to that feeling I get from doing a good, sweat-inducing ride. It’s where I also clear my head. But to me, the most important point is that I usually also do have a ton of fun.

Last Thoughts

Athletes come in many shapes and sizes and they practice or “perform” different activities. If fitness, nutrition, health, and more are important to you, and you achieve them by participating in an activity a few times a week, you are an athlete.

As Carmichaels says, though, “of course, you could be a better athlete, which is why we train, recover, fuel up properly, and work with coaches. Improving your performance level strengthens your identity as an athlete – to yourself, regardless of whether it changes how others identify you – and that has a positive impact across other areas of life.”

Do you see yourself as athletic? Do you exercise to stay fit while practicing a healthy lifestyle? Have you always taken part in some kind of sport? Please like, comment, and share if you liked this post.

Have a great weekend everyone! And get out on a ride this weekend and have some fun if you can.

Author: Doug McNamee

Freelance Content Writer, Travel Writer, Editor, and poet.

2 thoughts on “Veloviews for December 9, 2022 – Am I Really an Athlete?”

  1. Hmmm. I’m not sure. I’ve never really considered myself an athlete, or all that athletic! I was a fairly competitive tennis player in my younger days. The “typical” athletic events such as running, track, or field events though? Not a chance. I was woeful. 😂


  2. I’m right there with you. I did sports stuff in high school: golf, baseball, wrestling. But like you, I was far from athletic and did them more to please my dad and make friends, which was mildly successful. I didn’t really partake of anything athletic until I discovered cycling in my 30s. I fell in love with it, but I was never competitive. It always seemed other people were better at it and that feeling, desire, pressure to mix with others just made me feel worse. That said, as I mention in my post, cycling became a major force in my life and influenced it. I’m grateful I found it. At least I found a way to stay fit and do something physically that is fun.


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