Adding life to my days…
26 May 2021
By Hayley Carmichael
Looking at cycling from a mental wellbeing perspective Matt Roylance from the CWC team talks about why he sees cycling as adding life to his days.
Cycling as a way of life brings its own rewards
Like most people, I started cycling as child with family and friends, and more as a necessity due to living in the countryside where amenities were further spaced out. ‘Burning’ around the streets later led to longer cycle trips with friends, often including overnight stays and greater physical challenges. However by my mid-teens I’d already started to feel the mental wellbeing benefits of cycling, maybe without even realising what it was doing for me.
During this time I would cycle in summer evenings to get a blast of fresh air, giving me a bit of time to enjoy the feeling of flying on two wheels. It also gave a chance to go over things from the day, (sometimes speaking to myself out loud- no-one could hear!), clearing my head by the time I got back. I never really made the connection to cycling and my mental health until I was in my final year of university, when after a year of struggles I started cycling again, which helped steady my ship.
Since then, it’s been my go-to for health, physically and mentally. Over the years I’ve always tried to cycle to work so the endorphins release by the time I arrive, setting me up for the day. But also socially we know it’s a fun activity to do with family and friends. Cycling along the seafront with my young family has become a favourite pastime, especially when combined with ice cream. And I still get together with my old friends from the village every few years to take on a new challenge (the next one is in June along the newly built 350km King Alfred’s Way). I’m also thinking of joining my local cycling club to make new cycling buddies, now lockdown is easing.
In summary, yes the physical benefits of cycling are marvellous. And yes, the social benefits are equally wonderful. But I’ll never forget what riding a bike does for my mental wellbeing.
‘I don’t ride a bike to add days to my life. I ride a bike to add life to my days’ – Anon.