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Cyclings effect on your mental wellbeing?

Old 12-01-08, 09:46 PM
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pathdoc
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Cyclings effect on your mental wellbeing?

I got back into cycling about 3 years ago. I found myself out of shape, unhappy and with no direction in my professional life. I started riding on the weekends and became addicted to all things cycling. Built several nice bikes over the course of the 3 years. I became more focused in all areas of my life. I went back to graduate school with the help of my company and finished my MS in healthcare management. My professional life has caught on fire. I have a second company attempting to lure me away from my current employer. I've also finally got at least one of my children interested in riding and I'm working on my other daughter. Currently I'm having a tandem built so my 10 year old can stoke behind me while we pull my 7 year along on her Burley trailer bike.
I started commuting to work about 4 months ago. I can't help but attribute much of my recent success to a positive attitude which relates to cycling. I actually look forward to getting on the bike and heading to work. At work several people approach me each day and ask about cycling or my morning commute.
I've even become spiritually more centered and my family and I are back in church.

Anyone else feel that cycling has somehow transformed them? I know I have a can do attitude unlike any other time in my life. I feel like I'm gloating but trust me I'm not. Somehow cycling has changed me.
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Old 12-01-08, 09:50 PM
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I cycle for mental health.

Everything else is just gravy.
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Old 12-01-08, 10:00 PM
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Wow, and I thought I was crazy for cycling so much

Seriously, congrats. Sounds like it has been a positive influence in your life. I know from a physical aspect it's been fantastic for me.

-Roger
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Old 12-01-08, 10:00 PM
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I know what you mean. Cycling has kinda made me tougher and gentler at the same time--if that makes sense.

But it sounds like you've made positive steps on your own to improve your attitude and behavior. I bet your family is real happy with the changes also.

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Old 12-01-08, 10:07 PM
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Cycling does wonders. I only been riding for 3 months and I notice I lost weight, my conditioning improved, and confidence has soared. With my limited time after school and work I never had time to work out. Plus, working out in the gym is so damn boring. I got into it for a year or so but its so damn boring doing repetitive exercises. At least by riding a bike, you get to see places and destinations and be productive at the same time. I do errands like as going to the bank, light groceries, starbucks run, just about anywhere locally.

By commuting to school by bike my workout is already integrated into my day. The only negative side affects is I cannot stop thinking about riding. My gf and my mom already stated that I am obssessed with my bike. It's not much but I love my bike more than my car.

When riding a bike I feel like I am free. Its just me and the road, nothing else matters at that particular point in time. Even though I crashed twice and had some bruises and scrapes it hasn't phased me from riding. So many benefits that I am sure all of you already know. I am just glad I found the love of cycling again.

A 08 Trek 7.3 or 99 Nissan Maxima w/mods? Call me crazy but I would choose my bike if I HAD only one choice. The feeling I have in a car is that I am trapped and caged. I feel so damn hot without the wind and air blowing in my face. Here is to the greatest invention of mankind, the internet and the bicycle!
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Old 12-01-08, 10:29 PM
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I've been at it for six months now. Yes, it has been wonderful. On the days I haven't commuted by bike, I've looked forward to a late afternoon or evening (and sometimes, a night) ride all day at work. I've even built up a second bike (a fixed conversion) that has become my shrink. It has most certainly changed my life.

Now it's cold and icy and crappy outside, and I really can't ride (without building up a winter ice bike). And I'm a living grouch. I came home after work today and bloodied a knuckle pounding the heavy bag in my basement (I just couldn't wait long enough to put on the gloves). I want to ride so badly, but conditions just won't allow it. AND IT'S P*SSING ME OFF!!!

Help...
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Old 12-01-08, 10:41 PM
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Wilsonnnnnnnnnnnnn!

Seriously, great stuff. We just can't let the big drug makers find out about it or they will bottle it and charge us for it.
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Old 12-01-08, 10:46 PM
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excersize releases endorphins that make you happy . couple that with feeling better and looking better and your outlook on life is bound to turn positive
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Old 12-01-08, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by shelato12771 View Post
I've been at it for six months now. Yes, it has been wonderful. On the days I haven't commuted by bike, I've looked forward to a late afternoon or evening (and sometimes, a night) ride all day at work. I've even built up a second bike (a fixed conversion) that has become my shrink. It has most certainly changed my life.

Now it's cold and icy and crappy outside, and I really can't ride (without building up a winter ice bike). And I'm a living grouch. I came home after work today and bloodied a knuckle pounding the heavy bag in my basement (I just couldn't wait long enough to put on the gloves). I want to ride so badly, but conditions just won't allow it. AND IT'S P*SSING ME OFF!!!

Help...
You don't need a special bike to ride in winter. It really isn't very difficult and lots of us do it. In a lot of ways, winter riding is the best riding. Seriously!

Next time the roads are clear, just go for a ride. It really won't kill you. In fact, from the way you sound, it would probably do you a lot of good. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
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Old 12-01-08, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by pathdoc View Post
I can't help but attribute much of my recent success to a positive attitude which relates to cycling.
And I can't help but positively agree with you. My only sadness is that it took you so long.

I became a serious cyclist at 15. Just made 50 last April. Been car free nearly 20 years and car light most of my life. I don't want to pirate this thread with all of the details of how cycling - directly and indirectly - has enhanced my life in all facets. Let me just say that I view cycling as my religion (no disrespect to anyone's Faith).

Congrats! Many happy miles to you.
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Old 12-01-08, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
I know what you mean. Cycling has kinda made me tougher and gentler at the same time--if that makes sense.
+1 It absolutely makes sense. I'm the compassionate road warrior.
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Old 12-02-08, 08:40 AM
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With bike commuting, every day you set yourself a goal which is difficult to achieve and yet, through hard work and determination, you do achieve it and gain all the satisfaction that comes from that. Twice!

If you're like a lot of us, you're sedentary all day long and would remain so if not for your bike. We are not made to be this way. We are meant to live in a cycle of exertion and rest, of work and recovery, and riding our bikes allows us to return to this.

Besides: it's good for your mental and emotional health because it's good for your health!
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Old 12-02-08, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by shelato12771 View Post
Now it's cold and icy and crappy outside, and I really can't ride (without building up a winter ice bike). [...] Help...
Huh? What's this "winter ice bike" you talk about? All you need for starters is warm clothing and MAYBE studded tyres (I'm assuming you already have fenders and lights). Maybe not even those, depending on how harsh your "winter" is.

--J
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Old 12-02-08, 09:04 AM
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Both my wife and I have noticed a change in my attitude/personality whenever I ride. I'm happier, more upbeat, and energetic on days that I ride. As many of you may know, I was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and among the symptoms are fatigue and, in some cases, depression. Bicycling helps both my physical and mental health. Endorphins rock.
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Old 12-02-08, 09:11 AM
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I find myself slipping mentally when I don't ride for a day or two, but then I get back on and it's an instant..."Oh yea this is why I do this"

I have found the almost perfect route going home and I can't wait each day to ride home. Now If I could just do the same for the ride in
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Old 12-02-08, 09:42 AM
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I've been commuting since Sept, and I definitely feel calmer, more relaxed at work. Also, I think I'm happier overall , despite the shorter days this time of year. Commuting home in the dark is a blast!
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Old 12-02-08, 09:54 AM
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Count me in with a +1 or an "Amen". I am a cycling addict also. I have started to build winter bikes before, but never really needed them. give a winter commute a shot its a rush in its own right.
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Old 12-02-08, 10:02 AM
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As long as you don't take it too far and spend countless hours reading and posting on Internet Cycling forums.

Oh...
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Old 12-02-08, 10:07 AM
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or browsing online sites for clothes and equipment.

I suppose cycling helps make me a pseudo well adjusted member of society. Otherwise, I am insanely cranky and very unproductive.
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Old 12-02-08, 10:49 AM
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In some ways its like dope, I need a recorder to take down everything I think of while riding that is gone when I finally reach my destination.
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Old 12-02-08, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
As long as you don't take it too far and spend countless hours reading and posting on Internet Cycling forums.

Oh...
Doh!
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Old 12-02-08, 01:39 PM
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Yeah, I think the cycling has so many positives. Lately, I've been thinking that the whole sensory experience of riding is also a benefit... being able to smell and see and feel in ways that a car insulates you from.

The best thinking-while-cycling story: I had a song appear in my brain while I was riding. So I ended up stopping by a roadside and recording it into my cellphone's audio app so I wouldn't forget it.
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Old 12-02-08, 01:42 PM
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Cycling is akin to flying for me.

It's really freeing -- mostly mentally but also it has huge physical benefits, of course.

It's both necessary and fantastic at the same time.
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Old 12-02-08, 01:44 PM
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Some people turn to drugs and alcohol for escapism. I turn to cycling, hiking, and trail running.

I'm a law school student. Things are stressful for me. But when I am out there on my bike pumping hard, and turning the scenery into a blur, it's just the bike and me. It's like my own little world. No matter what else is going on in my life, I can hum tunes to myself, think about the things I want and be completely care free.

Some of my other classmates have turned to drinking as a way to de-stress. It's actually a rampant problem in many law schools. But me? My escape is either hiking my favorite mountain, or riding a country road.
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Old 12-02-08, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by pathdoc View Post
Anyone else feel that cycling has somehow transformed them? I know I have a can do attitude unlike any other time in my life. I feel like I'm gloating but trust me I'm not. Somehow cycling has changed me.

Getting into LD cycling was the motivation I needed to quit smoking. Previously I've stopped and started back up again, but this time it stuck. (The proof being my moment of angry weakness at work when I mooched a smoke off a co-worker to go 'calm my nerves' and tossed it after the first drag because it wasn't pleasant any more.)

If only the same were true with cycling curing my addiction to pizza, doughnuts and Cheetos...
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