By The Chainlink Staff
It's no secret that bikes are not only fun, but a great way to stay in shape too. So it's understandable that professional athletes are starting turn to cycling as a means to help maintain top conditioning during their careers, and to stay active after retirement.
Recently, a growing number of past and present NFL players have begun to use cycling as a way to train. A recent Wall Street Journal article entitled "The Rise of the NFL Cycling Nerd" describes growing ranks of NFL players who not only enjoy cycling, but are also avid fans of professional bicycle racing. And as an workout, football players look to cycling because it's much easier on the body than, for example, a high-impact activity like running.
One such athlete is Bo Jackson. We Chicagoans mainly remember him for his stint on the White Sox, as well as those ubiquitous "Bo Knows" ads for Nike. Prior to suffering a devastating hip injury, he was pretty much unstoppable on a gridiron and a baseball diamond...as this excerpt from 247sports.com illustrates:
Jackson is remembered as one of the greatest athletes in history, as he is the only player to take part in both the MLB’s All-Star Game and the NFL’s Pro Bowl. He also left Auburn with a plethora of records, as he remains the Tigers’ all-time leader in rushing yardage (4,303) and yards per game (113.2).
Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 1985 after running for 1,786 yards and 17 touchdowns in 11 games. His 162.4 rushing yards per game that season stands as the Tigers’ single-season record and ranks third in SEC history behind Georgia’s Herschel Walker (171.9 average in 1981) and LSU’s Leonard Fournette (162.8 this past season).
With his playing days behind him, Jackson continues to live in the Chicago area with his family, and rides his bike whenever his busy schedule allows.
Jackson loves cycling so much, in fact, he created a charity ride in his home state of Alabama. Called "Bo Bikes Bama", the annual event takes place in the town of Auburn on April 30. Originally conceived as a ride to raise awareness of the impact of tornado victims in Alabama, the event has steadily grown in popularity and continues to help the people of Alabama through the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund.
We at The Chainlink think it would be great that high-profile athletes are recognizing the benefits of cycling. We also think it would be cool if Jackson became involved in some local Chicago rides too. In our view, it'd be wonderful to have a local celebrity and celebrated professional athlete like Bo Jackson in the Chicago area as a cycling advocate. His passion for the sport and philanthropy would be the perfect combination.