Cycling as a Form of Recovery Post-Injury or Illness


New Member
Hi everyone,

I'm writing an article on the low-impact benefits of cycling after injury or illness.

In 2017 I underwent open-heart surgery, and cycling was a major part of my recovery, both physically and mentally.

I wondered if anyone might have any quotes or stories about how it has helped them in recovery in the past.



Legendary Member
I suffered a heart attack in 2014 and to my surprise it took me five months to be able to return to cycling. The medical staff did though put my rapid general recovery down to my overall fitness.

January 2019 I had subarachnoid haemorrhage which required 10.5 hours of brain surgery. Post op the surgeon would not give my wife a prognosis other than "let's see if he wakes up."

My survival and rapid recovery in particular, I recovered in four months when most take 18, was put down to my overall fitness. The medical staff described my recovery as "remarkable."

In early May '19 I was told to limit cycling to 20 minutes. Well it takes me 20 minutes to get ready!! I was distraught and found myself sinking in to depression. I recall one wet Thursday sitting in a chair staring out of the window at the rain. I was there all day, as far as I was concerned life was finished. A friend took me in hand, urged me to talk more with the medical staff. Eventually I met the senior neuro nurse for Lancashire. She was extraordinary, understood all I had to say and simply said "Ride if you wish but listen to your body. Mental health is equally important to physical health and you clearly understand your body."

I've been in the form of my life since autumn 2019. Cycling probably saved my life at the time of the trauma and has restored me to full health both physically and mentally.
I was knocked off my bike riding home from work in Feb 2018 and suffered a broken neck and fractured skull. No surgery required but I was wearing a pretty stout shoulder and neck brace for initially 2-3 months, which eventually stretched out to 3-4 months and finally came off at around 4.5 months. They seemed like the longest months of my life as I couldn't cycle or work. My spine specialist kept telling me to be patient to ensure the best recovery whenever I asked when could I get back out on my bikes. In the end we compromised and he agreed I could exercise on some rollers I had borrowed providing I kept in the straight ahead position staring at the ground in front of my wheel with the brace on 'And for goodness sake don't fall off!' :laugh:

Training and roller sessions etc just aren't me at all, but they kept me sane during those months, allowing me to work out some frustration and energy while at least maintaining a small amount of my previous fitness. I reckon that specialist was a clever guy because I am still convinced he kept me in that collar longer than strictly necessary because he knew as soon as it came off I was going to go nuts.....

He was right. Within days of taking the collar off I went out on a hilly 50 miler via The Snake, Strines and Woodhead. Then in the next couple of weeks I was kayaking and diving into the docks at Salford Quays, abseiling down Peel Tower and even rode the Wales Velo long route. I cycled to work the day I returned (I had no choice as it happens because the DVLA hadn't finished clearing me to drive) and everyone was asking how could I do that when cycle commuting had nearly killed me, but it was all I wanted to do

It took many, many months to get close to my previous fitness but I'm convinced that my physical condition prior to the accident and the cycling afterwards helped me avoid more serious injuries and helped me heal well and get back to physical and mental good health.
There are still some physical side effects and occasionally certain cycling situations can unsettle me or awaken memories of the accident and aftermath but on the whole, getting back to being physically active has been a big help.


Flouncing Nobber
Im probably not the best person to ask. One heart attack, 2 x elbow reconstruction operations, and 1 x shoulder operation, and I ignored all advice. I love cycling, it's who I am, and on each occasion as soon as I could cock a leg over the saddle and push downards on the pedals I was back on the bike.

It didn't kill me, so I can only presume it made me stronger.
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