Female athlete on bike with words "Cyclist Psychology"

The Psychology of The Long-Distance Cyclist




Long-distance cycling has many upsides. It helps you stay fit and active, and it keeps chronic diseases at bay. While we all know how long-distance cycling supports our physical health, we often forget that the sport also poses many advantages to our mental wellbeing. So this article will look at the psychological
benefits of long-distance cycling and how you can make the most of your ride.


Boosting self-esteem 


Cycling boosts self-esteem, especially when you follow your progress. In sticking to a training program, you slowly observe how you're able to cycle faster and for longer periods of time. The improvement in performance is a big boost to your self-esteem, and helps you enjoy a sense of achievement that's hard to get anywhere else. Moreover, long-distance cycling inevitably changes your physical appearance,
making you more toned. This also has a positive affect on how you view yourself.


Building confidence


Long-distance cycling is about confidence. Most accidents happen when cyclists hesitate and aren't confident in their capacity to control their bike. Thus, the sport is a great way to build a your trust and self-confidence. What's great is that this confidence spreads out to different aspects of your life.
How do you start building confidence if you’re new to cycling? Building confidence is all about how comfortable you are on your bicycle. Jack H. states that finding the right saddle will help you stay comfortable, and will in turn lead to you becoming a more self-assured rider. Physical cues such as these are little steps you can take to build trust in yourself as a cyclist.




Charles Graham-Dixon found that long-distance cycling helped manage his anxiety, OCD, and depression. Out of all the mental benefits that cycling brings, one of the most useful for him is its inherent mindfulness. Cycling helps us engage our mind and body to focus purely on our physical present. When we are riding, negative and troubling thoughts fade away, allowing us to see what we should truly value.

Acceptance and learning

There are days when long-distance cycling won’t go your way. Maybe you didn’t hit the personal best you wanted to achieve, or the race results didn’t go as planned. But these experiences are part of the process, and they help with your mental wellbeing as well. Learning how to accept and reflect on what happened during a ride is essential. It allows you to listen to your mind and body when you need to, and improve on what you can. These opportunities help you become a better rider in the long run.

The substantial advantages that cycling provides is being recognized by experts across the world. They are now finding more and more backing that proves the psychological benefits of long distance cycling. Bike Biz reported on a survey by Cycleplan that found that 75% of cyclists found an improvement in mental health since getting on the saddle, and 8% said it helped with their depression and anxiety. This type of research is leading to what Maryville University cites is an increasing demand for professionals who understand the connection between psychology and its effect on mental health. These professionals can help cyclists, and non-cyclists, see how the sport relates to psychology in a positive manner. And with an increasing number of specialists recognizing how cycling can benefit our mental wellbeing, you might well get recommended a cross-country bike ride on your next doctor’s visit. 

While long distance cycling has always been seen as a mental challenge, now we can also see it in a new light. It is an effective and healthy way to improve your mindset and help you to progress both mentally and physically.

Exclusively written for BISADDLE.Com
By: Harper Elsie

Back to blog