Cycling is probably the toughest, most furious, most poetic, romantic, and brutal sport in the world. Here are the top 10 badass cycling quotes.

To be a cyclist is to be a student of pain. At cycling’s core lies pain. If you never confront pain, you’re missing the essence of the sport.

Scott Martin, the American cyclist (See Notes 1)

To be a cyclist is to be a student of pain… at cycling’s core lies pain, hard and bitter as the pit inside a juicy peach. It doesn’t matter if you’re sprinting for an Olympic medal, a town sign, a trailhead, or the rest stop with the homemade brownies. If you never confront pain, you’re missing the essence of the sport. Without pain, there’s no adversity. Without adversity, no challenge. Without challenge, no improvement. No improvement, no sense of accomplishment and no deep-down joy. Might as well be playing Tiddly-Winks.

Scott Martin, the American cyclist

When my legs hurt, I say “Shut up legs! Do what I tell you to do!”

Jens Voigt, former pro cyclist
Jens Voigt borrows a kid's bike during the Tour de France 2010
Jens Voigt is one of the most badass cyclists. Once he even borrowed a kid’s bike to finish a stage after he crashed his own bike during the Tour de France 2010.

Cycling for everyone has more defeat than victory, even for the great Eddy Merckx who won over 400 races, more pain than wellness, more effort than glory, but all of that combined makes cycling so fascinating. The public wants to see the hell before heaven: the suffering before the win. You need to stay dedicated to your dream. A real cyclist is a person who after a bad race on Sunday wakes up on Monday and is ready to go out on the bike to train to get better.

Rubens Bertogliati, former pro cyclist

Cycling isn’t a game, it’s a sport. Tough, hard and unpitying, and it requires great sacrifices. One plays football, or tennis, or hockey. One doesn’t play at cycling.

Jean de Gribaldy, cyclist. Sean Kelly’s directeur sportif.

Embrace your sweat. It is your essence and your emancipation.

Kristin Armstrong, former professional road bicycle racer and three-time Olympic gold medalist

You can’t win without suffering. Whether it’s in the mountains or in a time trial you have to spare no effort. You may feel drained at the finish, but the joy of winning helps you forget everything.

Bernard Hinault, 5-time winner of the Tour de France
Top 10 badass cycling quotes: Bernard Hinault
The last French winner of the Tour de France (1985), Bernard Hinault (born 14 November 1954) is one of only seven cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours (others are Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, and Chris Froome), and one of two cyclists to have won each more than once (the other being Alberto Contador). He won the Tour de France five times – in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985.

Crashing is part of cycling as crying is part of love.

Johan Museeuw, former pro cyclist

Racing was a kind of game and it hurt sometimes, but when I attacked it hurt others a lot more.

Bernard Hinault

When a bike racer says he feels great, he does not actually feel great. In fact, you feel like hell – you’re suffering, your heart is jumping out of your chest, your leg muscles are screaming, flashes of pain are moving around your body like so many strings of Christmas lights. What it means is that while you feel like crap, you also know the guys around you feel even crappier, and you can tell through their subtle expressions, the telltale signs, that they’re going to crack before you do. Your pain, in that situation, feels meaningful. It can even feel great.

Tyler Hamilton, former pro cyclist

It never gets easier. You just go faster.

Greg LeMond, former World Champion and 3-times Tour de France winner
Greg LeMond
Greg LeMond


1. Scott Martin

Jeffrey Scott Martin joined the Marine Corps after graduating high school and served three tours of duty in Iraq as a staff sergeant. He acquired two traumatic brain injuries in two separate incidents where his Humvee rolled over an improvised explosive device.

He was awarded a Purple Heart after the first explosion, but it was the second explosion that resulted in more serious injuries for him – he even temporarily lost his ability to read and walk.

He started cycling in 2011, and it didn’t take long for him to become one of the best riders in the country. In 2013, he won three national titles and set the American Record in the 4-kilometers track pursuit. His Paralympic journey started with the inaugural Warrior Games where he won the title of Ultimate Champion, the highest individual honor

Martin has four dogs and a cat.

2. Featured image: Fiorenzo Magni during the 1956 Giro d’Italia

In the 1956 Giro d’Italia, Fiorenzo Magni crashed during stage 12 and broke his left clavicle. The Giro was only at the halfway point with a total of 23 stages. Magni refused hospital treatment and continued the race with his shoulder bound with an elastic bandage. The picture shows the Italian rider during stage 13 holding a piece of rubber inner tube (attached to his handlebar stem) between his teeth for extra leverage.

Due to problems with handling the bike while injured, on stage 16, Magni fell again on a descent. He was unable to use his left arm, and he could only effectively break and steer with his right hand.

The unbelievable fact is: Magni finished the 1956 Giro in 2nd place only 3 minutes and 27 seconds behind Luxembourg’s Charly Gaul.

This image has been rated as “the most iconic image of the Giro d’Italia history“.


M. Özgür Nevres

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