Bryan Scott’s Buffalo Bills teammates have been giving him the gears this season over his chosen mode of transportation to practice.
But the 29-year-old veteran safety, who lets the good-natured ribbing slide off his back, is sure to have the last laugh.
Since August, Scott has been leaving his Cadillac Escalade parked at his nearby home and riding his bicycle to the team’s practice facility in Orchard Park, N.Y.
“It isn’t a long ride at all in the morning,” he says in a phone interview, noting the eight-kilometre round trip takes him 20 minutes total. “You get the blood moving a little bit.”
“It was kind of my training this offseason,” he adds. “I was hitting the road and getting in anywhere from 100-120 miles (160-195 km) a week.”
The second-round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2003 admits it’s an “unorthodox” form of training by NFL standards.
But he insists it has boosted his fitness, most notably his endurance.
“That’s the biggest thing is it builds that cardio,” explains the Pennsylvania native who lives in Atlanta during the offseason. “In football, you play the game in spurts – six- to eight-second spurts. Cycling, you can just build up that cardio base.”
With an improved cardio foundation, Scott says, his recovery time is that much faster.
Prior to the season, his new hobby helped him shed about 15 pounds from his six-foot-two frame – he now weighs about 215.
Plus, cycling, as opposed to a high-impact cardio activity such as running, is much easier on the joints – namely the knees and ankles.
“The body has felt really great and there’s not so much wear and tear,” he says.
Scott’s devotion to pedaling all started one fateful day this past June, when he dropped by a bike store in Georgia.
Scott, who has no cycling background, was just looking for a bike rack for his mountain bike that he could mount in his garage.
“I had maybe ridden my mountain bike just a few times over the last six, seven years,” he recalls. “When I walked into the store, I picked up one of those road bikes and it was so light and then I just started thinking, ‘Man, what if I do something a little different this offseason?’”
Scott slept on the idea, then went back to the store the next day and bought the bike.
“And the next few days, I bought all of the gear, the get-up, the shoes and the clip-in pedals, and I was hitting the road,” he adds.
The next thing he knew, he was riding to and from practice.
Much to the amusement of his teammates, Scott rides right through the doors and directly into the locker room, parking next to his stall.
“They’ve had good laughs about it. Some chuckle and say, ‘What, are you trying to be the next Lance Armstrong?’” he says, noting he saves plenty of gas when he’s not driving his Escalade. “Some guys did say I was spearheading the going-green initiative.”
Scott, in his eighth NFL season, recently bought a bicycle roller and plans to cycle indoors once winter settles in.
Besides his cycling regimen and roughly four weekly practices of up to three hours each, Scott also lifts weights two to three times a week throughout the season.
He’ll be in Toronto on Nov. 7 when the Bills play the Chicago Bears at Rogers Centre.
Motorists might want to keep an eye out for a hulking figure on a road bike.
“I’ve noticed there are a lot of bikes that ride throughout Toronto,” he says, “so I think it would be cool to take a bike up there and explore the Toronto roads.”
Take some music along for the ride. “I have some wireless speakers on my bike so I connect my iPod...I have over 20,000 songs on the iPod, all types – jazz, rock, R and B, hip-hop. I just hit shuffle and let it go.”
Cary Castagna is a certified personal trainer through Can-Fit-Pro. Visit the Keeping Fit blog here.
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