The mental roller-coaster of cycling

Discussion in 'General Cycling Discussions' started by johnnyb47, 7 Jan 2019.

  1. mudsticks

    mudsticks Über Member

    This for me too.

    Pace of riding is such a personal thing - some days i dawdle along stopping every mile or two to take a picture - others I charge on through with the bit between my teeth - gobbling up the km.

    It would drive me nuts to go cycling with me, i don't want to impose that on others nor feel hurried, nor held back at other times - selfish I know

    Its the ultimate freedom, and indulgence to go at the pace you please, but also head off in a different direction altogether when the whim takes.

    I go backpacking with a very few selected others - but walking is walking to a greater or lesser extent - so long as every one has a similar level of fitness, and technical level of capability over rough ground then its all good.

    But cycling styles are too variable again - I'd rather go by, and please myself ..

    ( oh and i sing as well - very badly)
  2. BrumJim

    BrumJim Poster

    I think it is a mistake to believe that cycling will solve your problems. If you are suffering a chaotic personal life, the contributory factors will still be there, as will the emotional fall-out, regardless of how much or little you cycle. And hence the causes of those problems in every day life will percolate through to your cycling.

    So is cycling a waste of time? In my opinion, no. This is why:
    1) Endorphins rush. OK, it is just another addiction, but one where the drug is cheap, and isn't sold by some dodgy bloke or corporation, desperate to keep you addicted. You feel good. Enjoy it.
    2) Cycling gives you time. Time out from your problems, time to think through your issues, time to contemplate a new path.
    3) Cycling can be done either as part of a social group or on your own. If cycling solo results in chasing KOMs, PBs or just your own shadow, try riding with groups, forcing you to ride to someone else's pace, to chat about other issues and take you mind off your chaotic personal life, or, if you are feeling open, to talk about what you are going through at the moment, either just to share, or to get some independent insight to either ignore or take on board. On the other hand, if you are an introvert, go out on your own, as it can give you time on your own without anyone else distracting you.
    4) Even if your problems remain, you are a fitter and stronger person to deal with them. Or just a fitter and stronger person, which you should be proud of.

    Personally I find myself chasing minor targets with much less passion after I have done an epic ride, whether a 100 mile Sportive or Audax, or a 50 mile evening ride. I know I will always look to ride further and faster, but there is a limit as to what my body can do. So I allow myself to have some targets, but don't forget the social rides, or just going out with a friend. Explore those lanes that you have always seen, but never gone down. Stop at that Café or pub you have always gone past, but never gone in, or just climb that hill and enjoy that home-made flapjack from yesterday.
  3. Tigerbiten

    Tigerbiten Veteran

    If you think that's bad then try it on a recumbent trike.
    I climb hills at MTB speed, on the flat I'm roughly city bike speed and downhill I'll give road bikes a good run for their money.
    So while on a ride I probably average slow road bike speeds over the whole ride, what I think as normal speeds for me go from around 2.4 mph climbing a 25% hill up to +40 mph if I'm having "fun" on a 10% downhill run.
    By the way my gear range is 9.6"-178", so at 40 mph I've only just shifted into top gear ............ :laugh:

    As for the mental part of cycling ..........
    One of my hardest days while on tour was the day after I'd finished my first LEJoG.
    I'd got to JoG feeling fine the day before.
    So I had finished that 'leg' of the tour and now needed to turn south and cycle home.
    Could I get any energy in my legs, I was struggling up hills that the day before I would have flown up.
    The next day I was fine again.
    I remember it because it was just one very hard day in the middle of a tour where the brain thought "I've finished and don't want to go on".
    Now when I finish a 'leg' on tour, I try and take a day off to let the brain reset for the next 'leg' ......... ^_^
  4. Unfortunately it's one of the main things we learn at school, so it's amost a given that we'll have problems in life.
  5. Milzy

    Milzy Veteran

    Some people just love to watch numbers & destroy themselves though. They like to see how good they can physiologically become.
    Different strokes for different folks.
  6. Jim. By problems. If you mean stress. Then it is a medically accepted fact that exercise helps reduce stress.

    It may not take away the problems that cause stress. But it helps you deal with it better.

    In my case, to such a degree that I have eradicated the cause.
  7. BrumJim

    BrumJim Poster

    Yes, agree. Just trying to work out how cycling addresses the link between problems and stress. If cycling is just the sticking plaster, then it will only be a temporary fix. If cycling can help you address either the problems, or the mechanism of this causing the stress, then go for it.

    Glad to hear that you have eradicated the cause. The causes of my stress at the moment are outside my control, so can't be eradicated. Just glad I have my bike to take out my frustrations.
    johnnyb47 and mudsticks like this.
  8. mudsticks

    mudsticks Über Member

    i know - its taken me some time to unlearn this way of 'measuring things' to validate ones worth, or any value in life.

    Funnily enough i was quite 'successful' in the conventional sense at school - and also even now on a 'numbers' and other metrics basis in my work.

    But various circumstances forced me to recalibrate - what is and isn't important - beyond enough to support oneself - numbers - in the bank for example have very low value on the mudsticks scale of 'Stuff i give much of a f*kk about' :smile:
  9. 12boy

    12boy Über Member

    Casper WY USA
    I rarely ride over 20 miles a day and rarely miss a day, although in the winter I can ride for 10 miles and be comfortably tired. It is mildly interesting to see what my average speed or my distance was but that is mainly to check my impressions of whether or this or that change to which of my bikes is working out.
    Having done this for most of my working life I don't see this as a sport but rather a way of life that incorporates a daily ride as a combination of exercise and meditation. At the end of my career I belonged to a management association which met several times a year and became aware my colleagues were highly stressed. Me, not so much. An hour or more in the beginning and end of the day on the bike grounded me in the present, so whatever issues at home or work might be troubling were set aside for those periods. On days when the weather was nice I would get lost in the joy of riding and when it wasn't, the attention spent on avoiding accidents and dealing with the snow, rain, wind or extreme heat shut out the job completely. There is also the pleasure of being outside and enjoying it in conditions most people would find unpleasant.
    For 20 years or more I only had just one bike I rode. About 10 years ago I began acquiring other bikes which were more specialized in purpose, a mountain bike for worse surfaces, a track bike for the fun of riding fixed, a Brompton because it was a hoot to ride, and so forth. I also began buying bikes at garage sales etc, on the cheap, refurbishing them, and passing them on to friends and family. I found this to be nearly as pleasant a diversion as riding and gradually collected pretty much all the tools I need to do most jobs.
    This is why I think of riding as being Bike Medicine, and if I can't ride for a few days I get cranky. Bicycles have been very, very good to me.
  10. SpokeyDokey

    SpokeyDokey 20% through Decade 7. Yikes! Moderator

    I rather like reading these thoughtful threads. :thumbsup:
    Milzy, DCBassman and johnnyb47 like this.
  11. biggs682

    biggs682 Smile a mile bike provider

    Agree re taking time to stop and look around you , it's amazing what you ride past so instead of just blasting past why not stop and look or even just slow down and do same .
    I normally ride with my garmin on my bars just for recording the miles and checking how long i have been out for , i dont worry about my speed etc etc . The other day i jumped on a bike with no garmin mount so put the garmin in the pocket and boy did it feel strange not looking at it every so often .
  12. LeetleGreyCells

    LeetleGreyCells Reinvented for 2019 - Formerly RealLeeHimself

    I use an app on my phone for measuring distance, speed, etc. I start it running before I hop on the bike, and put it in my pocket. It gets taken out of my pocket at the end of the ride to stop the app. The only time I check my distance is when I think I’ve got to the end of a half century challenge ride just to ensure I’ve done the distance (you’d be amazed how many times you think you’re done to find out you’re half a mile short).

    Cycling for me helps my state of mind and mood. Sometimes my wife orders me to go out on my bike for a couple of hours because I always come back in such a good mood (she usually does this before we go to any kind of event or family get-together as I’m not keen on crowds and hate one-upmanship). Cycling always helps significantly lower my stress levels too.
    DCBassman, johnnyb47 and Phaeton like this.
  13. pjd57

    pjd57 Über Member

    I enjoy seeing my miles and routes on Strava. Time doesn't bother me, except for planning what time I will arrive at a given destination.

    Motivation isn't a problem. I don't work any more so I'm not dreading another day of clock watching.

    Riding alone is good but I enjoy going on longer runs with a mate every few weeks.
    That has to be based on his days off so I let him choose day/ time and routes.

    I do go on easy going social rides but struggle at times with the social side of it when it becomes too chatty.
    Milzy, Pat "5mph" and johnnyb47 like this.
  14. YukonBoy

    YukonBoy Extra solar

    Ultima Thule
    The bit about the bike commute between home and work and back is spot on. The commute acts as buffer where the stress of work falls away or indeed the stress of home. Riding along winter with that little pool of light in the lanes is very meditative.

    For me too, cycling is just a part of my everyday life. If I fail to finish any events I enter then that is ok. It was a challenge I set myself, disappointing if you do not manage it, but not a big mental issue. Cycling is one of most stress free things I do.

    Allow time in your cycling for rides where there are no numbers, no comparisons, no posting on social media. Rides for yourself that no one else needs to know about other than your family just so they know you will be out for a couple of hours etc.
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