Though my participatory experience with running ended, for the most part, in grade school, my observational experience continues to this day,
Working with customers who are, or were, runners is quite a frequent occurrence.
Runners have something special in common with bike riders, they understand the character building, soul enriching joy of intense exertion, bordering on and sometimes fully encamped in the territory of pain. I’m not referring to masochistic, damaging pain, but the pain of amplified fatigue that begs you to stop.
I’m not so sure about running (I mean this literally due to my inexperience and figuratively due to my doubt that it could be possible), but bike riding, especially at low intensity and agreeable terrain, can be an enjoyable pain-free activity.
But here’s something that a lot of runners don’t seem to realize:
Intensity of effort and duration (distance) can be pushed with biking, well into the fatigue/pain challenge zone, just like running.
For me one of the joys of biking is that I can push and challenge myself, endure the pain of exhaustive effort, then at almost any time, without stopping forward progress, back-off my effort, even to the point of coasting. The ironic joy of intense effort and the obvious joy of coasting (the most practical flight-like experience available to non-birds) all rolled (pun alert) into one joyous activity.
I have spoken with many runners and it is all too clear to me that there are very few long term runners that don’t have to give up the activity due to damage directly caused by the activity. And many of them require joint replacement surgery, which ain’t cheap.
Even if the major medical costs are absorbed by insurance it’s still a cost. A cost that’s passed to other insurance buyers and to society. If I were socialist leaning I’d demand free bikes to non runners out of “fairness”. Why should runners benefit disproportionately from their injurious activity? Think of how many $5000 bikes I could be given rather than a joint replacement or 2.. or more…
If I led a utopian society I’d demand running be outlawed and free bikes be given to all.
But instead I’m more of a libertarian. I’m not gonna tell you what to do and I’d appreciate if you didn’t tell me what to do, but I have a suggestion:
Yes, bikes are expensive, especially if you consider them a toy, but what if you think of them as a non-evasive joint replacement substitute?
Rather than running and wearing out body parts, why not ride and wear-out bike parts?
In the long run (pun alert again) you’ll spend way less, even if you buy the nice stuff, AND your body will still be able to run if ever you have the need.