The science of suffering

As a cyclist, do you have to suffer more than your rivals to win? And how ‘tough’ are bike riders compared to the average man or woman? Louise Mahé searches for the answers

Cyclists are known for being made of tough stuff. Riders endure burning legs and searing lungs on a regular basis. Pro rider Jens Voigt famously coined the phrase “shut up legs”, which is a good insight into a rider’s mind as they continue to push through the pain barrier.

Despite leg muscles burning with lactic acid build-up, cyclists constantly carry on. Many believe it’s the rider that is willing to suffer more than everyone else who is the eventual winner of the most epic and challenging races.

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan the Editor of Cycling Weekly website. An NCTJ qualified traditional journalist by trade, Michelle began her career working for local newspapers. She's worked within the cycling industry since 2012, and joined the Cycling Weekly team in 2017, having previously been Editor at Total Women's Cycling. Prior to welcoming her daughter in 2022, Michelle raced on the road, track, and in time trials, and still rides as much as she can - albeit a fair proportion indoors, for now.