What is an aquabike?

Aquabike is a trimmed down triathlon, offering a competitive multisport solution for non-runners, says triathlete Elise Metcalf.

What is an aquabike?

If the term ‘aquabike’ conjures up the image of a bicycle skimming across the water on floats, it’s likely that you, like many, are less familiar with this triathlon spinoff. Aquabike events comprise of two of the triathlon disciplines: starting with the swim (usually open water), followed by the bike, while removing the running element altogether.


What are the origins of  the aquabike?

Originating in the United States, aquabike races were introduced to allow athletes with chronic running knee problems to continue competing. It is the ideal non-impact format for individuals who can’t or don’t want to do the running section of a triathlon, allowing them to tackle a competitive endurance challenge with their feet barely needing to touch the ground.

Although triathlon and duathlon races still feature more frequently in seasonal fixtures, aquabike is steadily building in prominence with races for both seasoned and amateur athletes.

What is the race format for an aquabike?

Having only been accredited by Triathlon England in the past year, the event is relatively new to the scene and there is no specific race distance or set racing norm. Currently, common formats include Olympic distance of 1.5km swim and 40km bike; half-Ironman distance of 1.9km swim and 90km bike ; and Ironman distance of 3.8km swim and 180km bike.

Tempted by this swimming and cycling duo? Take a look at our training pages, covering both disciplines, as well as tips on nutrition and injury prevention to get you started.

Elise Metcalf is an amateur triathlete with an avid interest in exercise, nutrition and performance. 


Top image by Sergio Souza from Unsplash