We all need a little extra help from time to time. During 2020/2021, that need has been all the more obvious as we struggle to adjust to our new normal.
Throughout these unusual times, the ability to find balance, and a way to cope with all the changes has become even more important.
Cycling is for many people, a way to find either balance, or just headspace when they need it. Whether riding for a challenge, for company or simply to explore the countryside, it is well know that exercise in general is pretty good for mental health.
Throughout my cycling journey I have caught up with other cyclists who have shared their mental health stories, as well as sharing some of my own.
In addition, I’ve spent some time considering my own physical health as I reach what I hope to be a mid point in my life. Despite trying my best to follow a healthy lifestyle, I’m still finding that I have health issues that need to to be addressed from time to time. My cycling journey is my way of taking it all in my stride rather than dwelling on the inevitable aging process. I discuss some of those issues in my blogs, and try to provide straightforward information to help guide others who might also suffer similar conditions. I also seek to demonstrate that an unwanted health diagnosis doesn’t mean that your world will implode, and that you can still find pleasure in your ride, even if you need to make adjustments.
I hope you enjoy these posts, and feel free to comment, or get in touch if you want to share your own journey of how cycling helps you with your mental & physical health. I’d love to feature some, and you can remain anonymous if you wish.
Pre-Diabetes – my personal science experiment (wk 2)
There is clearly much more to this insulin resistance (ie pre-diabetes) than just what we eat. As well as the obvious and much talked about ‘obesity’ factor, there are also correlations between exercise and insulin sensitivity, and sleep, whether it’s sleep quality or quantity. My sleep quality is a bit erratic, so that might be a contributing factor to peculiar results.
Pre-diabetes – the hidden peril in your body
Are you someone who has a fairly healthy diet for most of the time, with a few digressions along the way. That bit of cake on a bike café ride, or that glass of wine with dinner, a handful of jelly babies on a run, or that wonderful dessert on a celebration meal, they can’t hurt right?
Mental Health – The missing piece
Let me tell you about mental health issues. I’m not talking about the kind of issues that are visible, or the kind of issues that cause alarm with your friends and family. Like many disabilities a lot of mental health issues can be invisible. Millions of people suffer daily with what seem to them to be relatively minor mental health issues. Issues that cause them problems with relationships. Issues that cause them anxiety. Issues that don’t allow them to appreciate their own self-worth. Issues that in isolation don’t really appear anything to be concerned about….
Why do I blog?
A good friend of mine & seriously talented mountain biker decided today that she wanted to start a blog. Among I’m sure many other reasons, she said she was inspired by my blog. Ironically, shortly before all this Covid stuff she also inspired me, which is how we became friends. Her passion for riding and competing in mountain biking stoked an old love of mine for being off the beaten track.
Why is Pride such a difficult emotion?
For anyone who grew up in the catholic faith, you will be aware of the 7 deadly sins. Pride takes top spot in the list, and so may be considered to be a bad thing – the No 1 podium position of the deadliest of sins!! I never really understood this….
LEJOGLE 2020 – Mental health stories from the road (part 2)
In part 2 of my blog on mental health stories, I am reminded that even though cycling can be the most socially distanced of sports, there is something about it which can also bring people together. My Lejogle journey somehow did just that. I started the ride with just a few friends, family and audaxers having any real interest in my journey. But by the end hundreds, possible thousands were watching my ‘dot’ and encouraging me to the finish, regardless of whether I had passed my target time or not. They were fastinated with my struggle through the weather, through sleep deprivation, and the inevitable pain in the butt that I developed early on.
LEJOGLE 2020 – Mental health stories from the road (part 1)
I decided to ride LEJOGLE for Solent Mind, the South Coast’s branch of national charity Mind. And I’m so glad I did. This whole journey has been both eye opening and humbling for me. I’m someone who has been relatively lucky. Although I’ve had periods in my life, even recently, when I’ve felt down, or… Continue Reading →
LEJOGLE 2020 – The Emptiness
It’s a common feeling when you’ve been preparing for so long for something so big. The crash that comes after the event. It comes regardless of whether you were triumphant, or things didn’t go to plan. The success of the event is just a volume button really to the emptiness that is invariably felt once the euphoria (or disappointment) wears off.
The night ride – A calmness for the soul
It’s been a funny 7 days. A week that’s been very up and down…. There’s something magical about riding into the night. I’ve often said that I adore night riding. In fact it’s the perfect time of day to ride solo. The magic of the night doesn’t require company
2020 – A life out of balance
2020 is an odd one. “Happy New Decade – this one’s going to count!” I for one certainly had big plans. I had plans for starting up a business that would see me happily working through to retirement, I was writing a book, and I had big biking dreams. Yep – 2020 was the year that it was all going to start happening.
An update to my ‘final’ PBP story
A few weeks ago I shared my story about why I simply HAD to complete PBP. Its a scary fact that IBD is on the rise in the western world, and so more and more of us are likely to be affected with this debilitating illness.
Sport & Mental Health Benefits – it’s not a myth
There is significant evidence that there is a link between physical activity and improved mental health and wellbeing. The Royal College of Psychiatrists recognise exercise as a treatment for a wide range of mental health conditions. I believe it’s no accident that mental health charities benefit so well from charity runs and cycle rides. Running and cycling are so inclusive, and participants come in all shapes, sizes and abilities. In these worlds there genuinely is something for everyone.
The final chapter in my PBP journey
The post that follows is not anything like I thought I would write about it, but I think it’s important. It’s very personal to me, and I’ve rarely discussed it, but I think that many others out there may be able to relate, and so this story will be told. I want to explain why it was so important to me to complete it, ideally within time, but even out of time if necessary. The reason is not what you would expect.
A very honest interview with Victoria Pendleton
She is now patron of a charity called The Wave Project, that uses surfing as therapy for young people suffering from mental health issues, or from disadvantaged backgrounds. She’s back to being an adrenaline junkie, and is in a much better place for now Grab a cuppa, and take time for a read.