28 September 2009

Cycling and mental health article: Can you contribute?

I've been commissioned to write a magazine article on the mental health benefits of cycling. We all know that cycling makes you feel better (when you're not being cut up by a minicab, like last night) - but this will attempt to explain why. I'll be talking to various medical experts.

As part of the article, it would be good to have some personal experiences of how cycling has helped people. We all know about straightforward mood-lifting, for example - we all get down sometimes, especially if you're a Hull City supporter like me.

But I'd also like to hear from anyone with experiences of how cycling might have helped them cope with genuine depression - or not.

You can email me at

or, if you want to remain anonymous, simply leave a comment after this blog post. You don't have to register or give any details.

Obviously I won't give real names or any other identifying details in the article (unless you want me to).


  1. I've no personal experience of this, fortunately. It's slightly outside your remit, but Common Wheel is a charity in Glasgow that uses bike repair to aid rehabilitation of people who have a mental illness. They also sell fine reconditioned bikes

  2. Rob - an issue very dear to my heart! I'll drop you a (non-anonymous - nonymous?) email this evening.


  3. Everyday I take a ride in my Bike.
    I get out of my job and go in open spaces, without walls with sun , wind and colors.
    I feel I am Live.
    And nothing more.

  4. I suffered from varying degrees of undiagnosed depression for some years and I am convinced that my daily commute (10m RT) made a big difference to enabling me to get through the days. It all came to a head last year and I spent a while as an out-patient at a hospital in central London. I think the most helpful thing about it was probably that it was 10 miles away from home. There is lots of evidence linking exercise to the management of depression. For me, cycling in traffic is quite meditative in that requires enough concentration to keep you locked into the present moment which is an important tool for coping with feelings of depression.

  5. Hi - there are two (of five) ways to improve mental health that have been well known for a long time -

    - exercise, I assume because it improves fitness, physical and mental health are linked so if you feel active and healthy it will help your mental health

    - thinking about something 'external' to put things in perspective. An example for me is the lovely sunrises that I have seen while cycling to work along the coast this Spring

    And for the other three there is a good explanation on the NHS web site under 'Live Well'. Basic message is that no exercise, and relying on the car for all journeys has a serious affect on health .... so why isn't active travel like walking and cycling taken seriously ?