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Giving up cycling?

velo73velo73 Posts: 12
edited December 2018 in Road general
I write this as a genuine question.
I hope in the responses, if any?, people will not mock or cristisise others.
This is a very serious topic. In my opinion.

Would you give up cycling?
Is there something that makes you think is it worth it?
I mean it could be from bad car drivers, to society, to depression, to family, cost, to other reasons.

I am not asking for people to explain their reasons, but simply to maybe give a little advice in what some may seem a touchy subject,

To make myself vulnerable. I will say my reason is down to depression, anxiety, & watching someone I care about greatly suffer from being homeless. It prioritises certain things in life.

I love cycling but I have too many close calls on the road, & I wonder if it’s worth it anymore.
But maybe getting other people’s views will help.


  • If you're not enjoying it have a break. If you don't miss it and don't feel the need to get on a bike again then what's the big deal. You only really have a problem if you wish to do something but are unable to do it.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,029
    I've managed to give up the 'car', so I can't actually see me depriving myself of my means of fairly rapid utilitarian transportation.
    Hope you work this through.
  • figbatfigbat Posts: 680
    Why not try MTB or CX?
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  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,970
    Personally, cycling has helped with my depression and anxiety. It's sometimes the only time I feel happy.

    But you have to do what's right for you. I have sympathy for you and your situation with your friend - how you deal with that is your call. Again, I'm more use to people when I'm having regular therapy (riding my bike)...

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  • de_sistide_sisti Posts: 1,205
    velo73 wrote:
    I write this as a genuine question.
    I will say my reason is down to depression, anxiety, & watching someone I care about greatly suffer from being homeless.
    Why not let the homeless person live with you? Then you'll have one less thing to worry about.
  • defeverdefever Posts: 171
    Hey velo73,

    We appreciate your bravery in speaking out your current state of mind. It’s not easy to speak out these things, even on virtual platform.

    I often feel down from cycling (99% of my cycling is commuting) due to dangers imposed by other road users and poor infrastructure where I live. But from time to time, I get nice rides in the sun or when there’s hardly any traffic and I can simply enjoy the ride (my state of mind also affects this). Those moments are definitely worthwhile and uplifting enough forget all the negativity in life and make me want to ride again. I hope you can relate to those moments.

    As others have said; you don’t have to quit cycling completely.
    Have a break. You can always pick it up later if you feel you want to.

    Try another form of cycling other than road cycling (mountain biking? Zwift? Track? Or even cycle holiday?!).

    Depending on where you end up in England, you might find that road cycling is affluent in the locality (or not). You might find plenty of country lanes where hardly any cars pass through (or not). You might even find a good cycling infrastructure away from motorised vehicle and pedestrians (or not).

    You won’t know until you explore the area. Perhaps you could join a local club to see how you get on (and make new friends along the way).

    Or perhaps you might find a new hobby that will get you hooked.

    It’s probably not easy for you at the moment to see the opportunities and possibility of new, exciting, positive, gratifying experiences to have when you move back in England, but it’s not all doom and gloom here (well, I won’t dare say B…..).

    What’s life without some challenges and hardship? C’est la vie, mon nami.

    Good luck with your decision and also to your special someone in need of help.
  • debelidebeli Posts: 583
    We each respond to stress and difficulty in our own way. My reality could be your bullshit. Nonetheless....

    I am now past the dp, but some years ago I hit a dreadful (metaphorical) brick wall that really blew the wheels off me.

    I had always ridden and had always goofed around with bikes. Not in a Mamil way, but in a way that came to signify Mamil behaviour. My wife did not (and still does not) love bicycles, but two of our three kids did and do. They are all adults now, but the detritus of a cycling family is everywhere in the house, garage and workshop.

    So.... Hitting the brick wall: When it happened I was utterly lost and confused. One of the ways it manifested was that I had used for years a favourite climb of about 20 fairly intense minutes to clear my head and stay happy. I carried on with that route after my 'collapse', but I found that more often than not I simply stopped pedalling half way up and either felt utterly low or simply burst into inexplicable tears. It seems somehow slightly silly now, but at the time it was real.

    I rode less and less. I started to associate cycling with a tendency to become morose and sometimes to weep. All very unhelpful.

    I didn't stop goofing around with bikes and building them up and repairing them for friends and family, but the joy of riding had gone. I think I may have been where the OP is... Up to a point. I do not have and have never had a feeling of being exposed to danger from traffic when riding. But the overwhelming impulse not to ride any more is quite familiar to me.

    So, OP, this is my counsel: Stop. Stop for now. If you want, then keep working on bikes, keep fixing them for self, friends and family. Keep following races in the papers and on TV if that is your thing (it is mine). Don't give yourself a hard time about riding or not riding. Keep the bike(s) and keep it/them in good condition.

    It is very, very likely that you will again want to ride. Maybe in a year, maybe five years, maybe next week.

    I wish you well. The human brain is a strange device. Be patient. Don't sell the cycling equipment. Go with the flow.
  • singletonsingleton Posts: 2,032
    I gave up windsurfing when my children were born as it took up too much time.
    I gave up my motorcycle as it was expensive and getting too dangerous.
    I don't comment by bike - but there are risks in everything so I try to minimise them but accept that I can't remove them entirely.
    Exercise helps with my mental outlook and stress levels - if not cycling then I'd find something else.
    If you want to get off the roads, why not try MTB or CX as a change?
  • I bought a new board and sail for the arrival of my first. I am hoping more kit means I have more options when I can go out!
  • Having re-discovered recreational/fitness-improving cycling just under two years ago, there's no way I could imagine being without it now, especially when I get out of suburbia and into the South Downs countryside. It has helped me cope with depression and SAD far better than I have got by for years, not to mention I'm now easily the fittest I've been since over 20 years ago.

    I'm not long back from my first ride in the South Downs in ~4 weeks, due to getting flu last month, it was great just to get out there for ~2.5 hours in the sunshine and not give two hoots about chasing PBs up the hills... It beats the daily ~1 hour turbo sessions I did Tues-Fri hands down, but they were all I could manage midweek, because I felt so fatigued and the weather was so overcast.
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
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  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    Yes, if it meant my child going without something as a result of my participation in my hobby. Yes, if illness or injury made it no longer enjoyable. Yes, if like during my days of racing motorcycles, I found myself surrounded by nothing but cockwombles, which ultimately made me give that up.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    If you stop riding it wont help that friend who is homeless. There are close calls when you drive. There are close calls in all spheres of life. The benefits of pedalling greatly out weight the risks. the risks are not huge. That coming from someone who had another spill on diesel this morning. Yes it smarted but I got up and carried on.

    what you tell yourself determines how you respond to challanges. Also you cant look after someone lese unless you take care of yourself. Cycling is a good way of taking care of yourself. -wheel building and other stuff.
  • If you stop riding it wont help that friend who is homeless. There are close calls when you drive. There are close calls in all spheres of life. The benefits of pedalling greatly out weight the risks. the risks are not huge. That coming from someone who had another spill on diesel this morning. Yes it smarted but I got up and carried on.

    what you tell yourself determines how you respond to challanges. Also you cant look after someone lese unless you take care of yourself. Cycling is a good way of taking care of yourself.
    There are many ways to take care of yourself. If you aren't enjoying cycling, try something else. Walking, jogging, yoga, kayaking, whatever floats your boat. The salient thing I think is for you to figure out whether cycling the cause of not enjoying cycling or a symptom of depression. Best of luck.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    I did not say it the only way of taking care of yourself. If your not enjoying cycling because traffic is putting you off then life it self is going to be difficult. I would suggest addressing that whether the OP continues pedaling or not. -wheel building and other stuff.
  • Having experienced it, cycling has been excellent for helping with depression and anxiety, wouldn't dream of giving up cycling because of either
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Not to the level of the OP - but I'll often think "Why the hell am I doing this" - usually when doing a harder ride - be that a TT or longer club ride/sportive. It's usually around the time when I think what else I could be doing with my time - with a young child at home, that's quite a long list!
    Then I think about selling the bike that isn't making me happy - I could live without a TT bike, or second road bike - but why? I've already paid for them, and selling them won't return much (if any) money - and actually, all I need to do is think about what I'm doing it for- my fitness and being a (I hope) good role model for my son.

    I do frequently commute by bike - when it's convenient to do so - I get a few close calls, but not that many. It is a concern, but then people have less chance of winning the lottery, yet still do that ...

    I like to have a variety, so do different rides on different terrains - it's nice to mix it up and not always look at Strava segments (I've accepted I'm not going to get PBs every week on my commute).

    Give up cycling? No, I can't see myself doing that - but perhaps I might tone it down a bit - if I find something else to do with my time - or more likely - when my son demands more of my time - but hopefully, that'll be cycling! ;)
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 7,312
    The only thing about saying just take a break is have younfallen out of love with cycling or are you suffering a more general low level depression which saps your motivation to do anything?

    I mean giving up cycling because you really don't have time now you are into say dog training or bell ringing or a million other activities is fine but if it's just because you really don't seem to have the drive to cycle or do anything else these days then taking away your regular exercise may make things worse.

    Of course cycling can get addictive especially at the competitive level and many have been sucked into taking it more and more seriously until eventually it becomes an unpaid chore rather than something they are looking forwards to. As others have said it may simply be a case of trying out a different type of cycling or riding with a different bunch of people.
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  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,542
    edited November 2018
    I cycle partly for the benefit of my mental health, having lost two jobs in the last ten years due to anxiety, depression, stress type illnesses. I now have a job where I can commute by bike for the first time in 15 years, but I quickly got tired of the same 11 miles each way, so needed to make sure I mixed it up on my days off. I do tend to lose interest in following the same routine.
    About four weeks ago I got knocked off my bike by car. First time in 20 years of cycling on roads. I've hurt various bits, but my right thumb is preventing me from cycling as I'm in pain every time I use the brake and gear levers.
    THe thing is, I just want to ride. I might find that i'm more cautious when back on the road, or I might not, but I'm desperate to find out. I'm still looking at Black Friday sales in case there's a dream bike (I'm always dreaming of the next bike), I'm always having to stop myself buyng stuff.
    Meantime I'm running a lot as I've learned that it's really essential to my mental health that I get out of the house and get active.

    I'd add to all the advice above saying make a change, but keep active and don't do anything drastic (such as clearing out your bikes) when you're in a low mood or depressed.
  • velo73velo73 Posts: 12
    thanks for all the replies

    I appreciate it
  • I think deep down, Velo, you need to ask yourself how you expect your life and circumstances to improve if you do give it up. If the perceived benefits outweigh the downsides then take time off, then if you aren't experiencing as many benefits as you thought, get back in the saddle. If the instances of near misses are putting you off, then you can always get the endorphin rush some other way - running, swimming (outdoors is great when you can) etc can always be done either in groups or on your own, whichever helps the most.

    Hopefully in today's more open attitude to mental health, you will be able to just talk to someone about it - a professional if needs be. We can offer all the advice we feel we can, but at the end of the day there is no substitute for talking it through face to face.

    Whatever you decide to do, good luck with it, and I hope you can work through it.
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 806
    As others have said, maybe try a different activity. I broke my scapula back in August (two days before driving the family to Italy for summer holidays :roll: ) and it messed me up. I'm lucky in that I live very close to the South Downs, so can ride mountain bike or road bike. I started walking before work in the mornings, I was used to getting up early to get a ride in, but I could get a 20-30 minute walk in before work almost without having to get up early. You can wear "normal" clothes, there's no faffing about charging lights or garmin, no wheeling the bike out of the shed to find there's a flat tyre or something needs tweaking, you just get up, get dressed and you are out the door.

    I've now got back into running, and am enjoying that phase where every time I go out for a run, I improve. Whether it is running for longer, or managing to run up a climb that I had to walk last time. There are plenty of running events locally, some I used to do 10-12 years ago, and I'm thinking of entering them to keep the motivation up.

    This has hit the amount of time I ride negatively in terms of fitness; I used to be the guy that could go further or fastest in my group, but now I struggle to keep up. But I am enjoying cycling more, looking for different routes, different challenges.
    I have a plan for a ride in the summer next year which would be the biggest ride I have ever done. I am hoping I can keep the running going to do these events and mix in enough riding to train up for this, but I am aware I may have to compromise one to do the other.
  • trek_dantrek_dan Posts: 1,366
    Other than commuting currently on a hiatus until chest/asthma issues get resolved. Have been fairly close to selling all my bikes and using funds to take up another hobby but I think I would it regret if I eventually get better as all of my bikes I have built myself and mean a lot to me.
    Actually quite looking forward to getting back on the bike eventually, where as I was getting a little bored with the routine before.
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    A tendency to negativity and nihilism can be a feature of clinical depression. Might be worth a visit to the GP?
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • johngtijohngti Posts: 1,853
    I'm in a similar state at the moment (not got a homeless friend though!). Stress in work and all sorts of other reasons have caused a degree of depression, bike club difficulties (mostly about me being too unfit and slow because work etc as above) haven't helped me to get out and enjoy riding as a stress relief. So I've decided to remove myself from the cycling side of things in the short term in order to try to get some control elsewhere to make myself feel better about everything. It's been tempting to just jack it all in and sell everything but I think I've persuaded myself not to do that. I'll get out on the bike on my own as much as I can without beating myself up if I don't manage it and see how it goes.

    To the OP - try to not be too fatalistic. Think of a way of getting control of some aspect of your life. Cycling will still be there when you're feeling better. Most importantly, you're not the only one.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Like many of the previous posters I've found cycling to be excellent help in coping with depression. It's just about the only time I feel I'm actually in control of things. I can't imagine me ever giving up cycling as long as I'm physically able.

    But I only cycle for leisure / stress relief; I don't have the hassle of commuting in all weathers and needing to get somewhere for a particular time. Could you avoid the traffic / commute and just choose quiet country lanes for leisure rides?
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    I dont think I could ever give up cycling as a whole as I do find I miss it when I cant ride the bike for a while and its a great benefit to my mental health and well being.

    though saying that I have to compartmentalise bits of it so that the bad bits dont impact the whole, as for whatever reason my cyclo commute is a pretty rotten experience most days,I dont know if its just the route, which I cant vary too much without going stupidly far out of my way, or the kind of people that follow the same route, its one of those everyone is in a hurry to be somewhere kind of routes, full of trucks/buses/cars etc and they never give you a moments peace on a bike, and it can be quite stressful feeling you are putting yourself in near harms way every day, I mean today I was twice close passed with barely an inch or two to spare & I could easily have been sat in A&E instead tonight

    but then my weekend rides are totally different, they are fun, relaxing usually nice quiet roads,beautiful countryside, the occasional idiot you encounter, but its a complete change and they far outweigh the bad stuff. I did go through a period where I found I wasnt enjoying those types of rides either because I was forcing myself to ride all the time, and to ride longer distances I maybe wasnt prepared for well enough, and then Id feel guilty about not doing it, or not completing certain mileages, so I just took a step back and allowed myself the room not to commit totally to it and ride when I wanted to, and that brought the enjoyment back.

    so no I couldnt give cycling up I dont think, but there are definitely times I wonder why am I doing it
  • This is a great summary. I've faced the possibility of not cycling because of the injury that the avatar is from. At the time the only alternative I could think of was running, which I am now physically incapable of.

    It turns out that cycling caused pain for about 18 months until after more surgery.

    What I did learn during that period is that I would need *something* even if it was not cycling. And for my mental health it would have to be both beautiful and cathartic, and capable of inducing exhaustion. So I looked at rowing with a modified footplate, kayaking and walking with ibuprofen. For me, had I needed to, something on water would have been the best option.

    So cycling isn't the only option by any means, but there seems to be a general consensus that some form of outdoor activity is good for mental health. So if the OP is struggling with that, try a change by all means but look at alternatives, because nothing at all is no alternative.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,029
    Just a few extra thoughts.
    Granted that cycling is fairly confrontational in that we are sharing roadspace with users who dont really want cyclists there.
    So in that regard and if I was to give up cycling to avoid such situations, I would be taking up running again.
    Running has quite a few advantages.
    Unlikely to be in confrontation as is very likely in cycling.
    Other pastimes can also be pricey to get into kit wise.

    So,it is cheap, easy to do
    If you also do Parkrun, it is also highly motivational regardless of your time.

    Combine it with indoor cycling to keep you on 2 wheels, it is a neat packaged solution.

    I cant keep up with the club runs at the moment, too many young guns driving up every hill they see, so I'm out at 6 30 Sunday to get my fix of cycling at a time when I can relax on the road as compared to a normal stressed out commute.

    Having a target also helps... I dropped under 180lbs this morning for a long time and my knee pain has abated and set a PB for my 5km.
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 8,970
    At the minute, cycling is the only thing keeping me sane and the black dog at arms length.

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  • navrig2navrig2 Posts: 1,665
    It's very easy for us to simply post don't do it but if all you can or want to do is sit and vegetate because you are not in the right head place it's very hard to get that motivation.

    I had a spell of depression (work and family related) and before I realised it was depression I would just not get up for group/social rides. I wouldn't train mid week and generally the fitness got worse and worse. It was a downward spiral to a very unhappy place. In some respects that was my saving grace as, eventually, I went to the doctor, got some meds, someone to speak to, took time off work and started walking.

    The dog was at her fittest at the end of that 6 week break from work. 6 months later when I came off the meds I was feeling better.

    I still have ups and downs where I can send out a don't wait for me before a ride and stay in bed. I know that getting out will lift the temporary gloom but it is so hard to take that first step sometimes.

    The upside is I discovered that I wasn't the only one who uses cycling to clear the headspace and cash in on the endorphins and dopamine kick. It now gets talked about and we try to support each other.

    Advice - for what it is worth:

    Just take the first step, it will feel like hell for a while but it should eventually offer some relief.

    Use the warm up miles and the coffee stops to talk to your mates.

    Talk to your family.

    Be a little selfish and take the time you need to feel better. The family would rather have less time with someone who is genuinely smiling than all day with someone feeling censored and grumpy (that was me).
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