29 inspirational cycling quotes

Wise words from bike lovers worldwide

It's amazing what people can come up with while on two wheels. 

Here's a selection of some of the most interesting and insightful quotes on the subjects of bikes and cycling. The first one on our list perhaps says it best, yet we don't even have a name to attribute it to:

“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a bicycle and that’s pretty close.” — Anon

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Quotes from pro cyclists

“As long as I breathe, I attack.” — Bernard Hinault, French cyclist
“As long as I breathe, I attack.” — Bernard Hinault, French cyclist

We start our list with a clutch of quotes from the people who make a living from riding their bikes. Pro cyclists have some sage words on how to deal with the pain and competition of racing… and why you may not need a new set of wheels after all.

“It never gets easier, you just go faster.” — Greg LeMond, US cyclist

“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.” — John Howard, US cyclist

“When my legs hurt, I say: 'Shut up legs! Do what I tell you to do!'” — Jens Voigt, German cyclist

“Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades.” — Eddy Merckx

“It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.” — Heinz Stücke, German long-distance touring cyclist

“Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades.” — Eddy Merckx

“Crashing is part of cycling as crying is part of love." — Johan Museeuw, Belgian cyclist

“As long as I breathe, I attack.” — Bernard Hinault, French cyclist

Quotes from musicians and authors

“When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world.” — John Lennon
“When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world.” — John Lennon

Perhaps more than any other calling, creative types, such as musicians and writers, are drawn to the bicycle. There are some very famous names here and they all take inspiration for their art from the humble pushbike.

“Learn to ride a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.” — Mark Twain, US author and humourist

“Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” — Charles M. Schultz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip

“Bicycles are almost as good as guitars for meeting girls.” — Bob Weir, Grateful Dead singer, songwriter and guitarist

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

“Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the human race.” — H.G. Wells, English author

“As a kid I had a dream — I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bike in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it in my bed.” — John Lennon

“Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.” — James E. Starrs, US book editor

“Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the human race.” — H.G. Wells, English author

“The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community.” — Ann Strong, US writer

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” — Arthur Conan Doyle, British author

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.” — Ernest Hemingway, US author

“The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind.” — William Saroyan, Nobel prize winner

Quotes from scientists and inventors

“Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” — Albert Einstein, genius
“Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” — Albert Einstein, genius

It's not just artists who adore bikes — scientists and engineers love them too. Perhaps it's the fascinating interplay of factors that combine to keep the rider upright, or the fact their design can always be tweaked a little. Eureka!

"Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There's something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym." — Bill Nye, US scientist

If constellations had been named in the 20th century, I suppose we would see bicycles.Professor Carl Sagan, US scientist

“Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” — Albert Einstein, genius

“A bicycle is the finest mode of transport known to man.” — Adam Hart-Davis, English inventor

“Think of bicycles as ridable art that can just about save the world.” — Grant Petersen, bicycle designer

"Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There's something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym." — Bill Nye, US scientist

Quotes from politicians and activists

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” — John F. Kennedy
“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” — John F. Kennedy

It's amazing what a broad church cycling can be — politicians and activists from all sides of the political spectrum can be found in support of the two-wheeled life. Here are some of them:

“Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.” — Helen Keller, US political activist

"When you ride a bike and you get your heart rate up and you’re out, after 30 or 40 minutes your mind tends to expand; it tends to relax.” — [former] US President George W. Bush

“Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity” — Lord Charles Beresford, British MP

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” — John F. Kennedy

“The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world.” — Susan B. Anthony, US women's rights activist

“Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity” — Lord Charles Beresford, British MP

Have we missed a classic? Make sure you add it to the comments at the bottom of this article.

Oli Woodman

Section Editor, UK
With more than 10 years of experience riding mountain bikes, Oli knows the good from the bad when it comes to gear. He's a total bike nerd and loves few things more than fettling with spangly riding bits. Also, he seems to have a talent for crashing hard but emerging unscathed.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Loamy singletrack
  • Current Bikes: Marin Pine Mountain, Pinnacle Dolomite
  • Dream Bike: Honda RN01
  • Beer of Choice: Corona
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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