We all have our own reasons for getting on the bike. Whether you started cycling many years ago, or recently jumped back on your bike - you might be training hard for an event, race or working to get to certain weight for example. But I think we can all become a little bit guilty of getting too hung up on the numbers, figures and stats of cycling - do you agree?. While the physical benefits of cycling are highly documented - this might not be the same for the mental benefits. That’s why this month we have been running a survey to find out ‘How Does Cycling Make You Feel?’ all based around cyclists mental health.
We cannot thank the 250 cyclists enough who have contributed your stories to this survey. We have never felt more motivated to get out on our bikes after reading them - and we hope you feel the same way after reading this piece. We will share some key stories from the survey, keeping all cyclists anonymous of course.
How do you feel after going for a ride?
- 11.42% of the cyclists said they feel better physically after going for a ride.
- 7.31% said they feel better mentally after going for a ride.
- 79% of cyclists said they feel better both mentally and physically after going for a ride.
- 2.28% of cyclists said they feel tired or exhausted after a ride.
Please select all that apply to you when thinking about the following sentence..."Cycling helps me...."
- 74% felt the ‘mood boost’ feeling after cycling.
- 61% feel better about themselves and feel more confident.
- 52% feel calmer and more mindful after cycling.
- 45% feel like they have reduced any anxiety.
- 31% said they feel better for socialising with friends (group cycling).
CYCLIST STORIES WITH MENTAL HEALTH
We also gave the cyclists a chance to tell us literally anything about their experiences with cycling and mental health. Here we noticed a real theme with cycling for freedom and to 'get away from it all' as well as cycling helping us all keep a clear head.
- 27.4% said cycling gives that feeling of 'Freedom'.
- 24.4% said cycling helps them keep a clear head.
- 22% said cycling stops them feeling low.
- 10.1% said getting time outdoors is the main benefit.
- Unfortunately, 8.9% said 'The roads are unsafe - it doesn't help my mental health'
- 4.2% said the exercise benefits are their main reason for cycling.
- 3% said that cycling helped them get through the lockdowns.
Some really uplifting and inspiring stories were shared by the cyclists - some of the ones that stood out to us where the following:
- "Cycling gives me a sense of freedom, calm and wellbeing"
- "I have long term anxiety and low self esteem, I started to cycle to work in lock down last year. The transition between home and work whilst cycling has been really good for my anxiety. Over the past year I have become much more confident on my bike and in myself, leading to quite significant life changes. It's been amazing. On top of that I have encouraged my friends to come out cycling with me at weekends and it has had positive impacts on them too."
- "Cycling makes me come alive."
- "Life changing. Absolute freedom. Can't live without it."
- "I stopped drinking 32 years ago. I took up cycling. Became an All Ireland champion at 40 ( 3 events ) Cycling saved my life.. And continues to do so."
- "I am a police officer and sometimes jobs stick in my head. I believe cycling helps me switch off and clear my mind."
- "I started cycling 4 1/2 years ago after my partner passed away and I have so much to be happy about with cycling, I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't because of riding and meeting so many new people and making such great friends from it."
CYCLING FOR FUN & FREEDOM
Top takeaway from us? Make your rides more fun - cycling for enjoyment, to socialise, or to get away from it all can help you fall in love with cycling even more and remind you why you first started out.