There’s more to life than bike racing … There are cars and motorcycles too! That’s right, I’m a motorsports fan. When I’m laid out on the couch after a tough ride, I love the high-octane action of Formula 1, MotoGP, and Supercross.
Like pro cyclists, top motorsports athletes need to be physically fit and mentally strong. Many enjoy using the bike to train and even relax a bit. It’s always fun when your heroes enjoy the same hobbies you do, so here are some of my favorite racers who also love cycling.
Fernando Alonso - Formula 1
Fernando has been my favorite driver since I started watching F1. He’s 40 now but still fast and savvy enough to go wheel-to-wheel with the world’s best. Within the F1 paddock, he’s probably the biggest cycling fan. For years there have been rumors of him starting his own pro road team but it has never materialized.
What he rides: MMR
Marc Marquez - MotoGP
Marc toppled many of my MotoGP heros on his way to becoming the most dominant motorcycle racer of the last decade. His level of speed and daring are awe-inspiring, and like many GP legends, he hones his superhuman skills by riding dirt. That includes mountain biking! He and his brother recently partnered with Mondraker and ride custom F-Podium RRs.
What he rides: Mondraker
Daniel Ricciardo - Formula 1
Fan’s of Netflix's “Drive to Survive” may have spied the "Honey Badger" hitting some janky dirt jumps in his backyard. Danny Ric isn’t just wild on track and during interviews, he likes to get wild on his mountain bike too. He’s known to boost jumps and send wall rides on a Stumpjumper EVO or Trance SX.
The Espargaro brothers - MotoGP
I rarely think of Aleix and Pol separately. They’re both hard workers, who proved themselves to score factory rides. Plus, they put in plenty of miles on the bike during the off-season and summer break. Aleix is the more bike-obsessed of the two, and Alberto Contador has even joked that he could become a pro cyclist next season.
Jimmie Johnson - NASCAR, IndyCar
Jimmie wasn’t the first NASCAR driver to get into cycling, but he’s converted other drivers (he got Dale Earnheart Jr. on a bike!) and has become an amazing advocate for the sport. Since retiring from NASCAR, Jimmie stays fit by doing a bit of everything: road, triathlon, mountain biking, oh, and some IndyCar too.
What he rides: Trek
Valtteri Bottas - Formula 1
When you’re the teammate of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, the pressure and criticism you receive can be crushing. Luckily Valtteri has a bit of that classic Finnish stoicism, plus a few bikes he can ride to blow off some steam. Speaking of “steam,” he managed to finish fifth in his category at the SBT GRVL race earlier this month.
What he rides: Canyon
Jamie Chadwick - Extreme E, W Series
Jamie may become the next female driver to break into the F1 grid. She’s part of the Williams Driver Academy, the same program that developed Lance Stroll and Nicolas Latifi, and she won the inaugural W Series championship in 2019. She’s undoubtedly fast, so I have high hopes. Plus, she rides a SuperSix Evo, my current favorite road bike.
What she rides: Cannondale
Justin Barcia - Supercross/Motocross
Nearly all Motocross and Supercross riders spend lots of time on the bicycle to build endurance for tough races. Justin “Bam Bam” Barcia may not be the most popular (I’d pick Eli Tomac if he'd just post a picture of a bike!) thanks to his, uh, aggressive style, but maybe he’ll mellow out now that he has a Diverge to discover the meditative joys of riding gravel.
What he rides: Specialized
Laia Sanz - Dakar rally
If you don’t know Laia, she’s a trials and Dakar legend with 13 Women's Trial world championships. She probably knows how to handle a bike better than any man on this list and those magical trials skills transfer pretty easily over to the bicycle. When she’s not riding crazy lines she can be seen shredding on the mountain bike to stay fit.
JR Hildebrand - IndyCar
JR is an IndyCar driver and Boulder local who rides many of the same trails I do. He’s way faster than me in a car, but maybe, just maybe, if I catch him on a bad day, I can drop him on a gnarly descent. Maybe I’m dreaming, but I’d be able to tell everyone I beat an IndyCar driver.
What he rides: Yeti
Bonus: Ken Block - Hoonigan, Gymkhana
Ken is best known for his tire-smoking Gymkhana videos. While he is a decent rally racer, his impact on car culture through Hoonigan will be why he’s remembered. He loves downhill mountain biking and has been tight with Specialized for years, receiving some wild custom paint jobs.
What he rides: Specialized
There are plenty more that belong on this list but I just couldn’t fit them all. Who did I miss? Let me know in the comments!