Pilot Life: working 7 on 7 off and staying fit

Good afternoon,

I am a masters athlete, who is a pilot, which is a great job, but has the downfall of having to travel away from home.

I am a retired military pilot, and that was actually easier to maintain a consistent training plan. We had our own jets to move us around the world so I would always throw a trainer and bike on the pallet and was able to train on the road.

The new job is a 7 on (away from home) 7 Off (at the house). No chance of taking the bike on the aircraft I will be operating.

How would you handle this type of lifestyle to maintain a competitive cycling hobby? I love to race and race to win; Criterium State Champion in AZ and TN as well as on the track. A little depressing to think of a life as pack fodder. Anyone living this lifestyle and staying competitive ?

Best regards,

Hi @Cdaless,

That is a challenge! And not an easy one to address.

I worked with an athletes who was a sky marshal and was traveling four days per week. He had two ways of handling it. One of his flights was to Germany and he stored a bike there to ride. His other flight was to Australia and he had a deal with a shop there to rent a bike each time.

I don’t know if your flights are always to the same places, but if they are, I’d suggest one of those two approaches. It worked well for him.


Thanks For taking the time to get back with me. Most of the time the flights are on demand, so the location is always changing,…as in mid flight sometimes. We do tend to stay in hotels with descent gym equipment, so I will probably try the traveling with my pedals shoes and a tape measure to set up the stationary bike. Thanks for your thoughts on the matter, I will work something out and let you know how it goes.

Best regards

I feel your pain, Daless. Pilot life doesn’t mix well with much, bike racing included. While I haven’t worked a netjets type 7/7 schedule before, I’ve given quit a bit of thought to how I could make it work without completely giving up training & racing.

My suggestion would be to periodize your training schedule with 3 weeks of training followed by one week of recovery. That way you can have the first and third week at home and the second week of training & your recovery week on the road and only have to worry about training a week per month on the road.

Do you run at all? Running shoes fit in a suitcase significantly easier than a bike :smiley: Running fitness translates pretty decently to the bike, just don’t injure yourself running.

I have a friend who has a similar schedule. He brings an iPad & vector pedals (and an Allen wrench/pedal wrench) along and swaps them out on gym bikes so he can run Zwift at the hotel gym. The PowerTap PowerCal (bluetooth version) is another option that will at least get your avatar moving on the screen. These options might be less than ideal for getting a quality interval session in, but better than nothing.

If you’re a member of the Rapha Cycling Club they used to rent out nice (ultegra or dura ace equipped) road bikes for fairly cheap… but they don’t have a ton of locations. Renting from a shop nearby may be an option as well, but probably a lot of messing around.

That’s all I’ve got for ideas at the moment. If nothing else, there are tons of pilot jobs out there now, one of them has to work with training, right?

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