Reply To: Shreditation: Mountain biking and mental health


I have loved biking ever since that first moment when I rode faster than Dad could run and I was on my own two wheels.  Growing up we destroyed bikes through unrelenting use.  My parents always made sure we each had a bike to ride, but typically just bought them at garage sales or auctions, since we were so hard on them.

I bought a mountain bike when I was 16 and used it for 20 years.  I rode like crazy for the first several years, but got busy with life and discovered that my back and knees didn’t like biking so much anymore.  I still rode now and then, but not as much as I wished too.  Last year while riding in Toronto I broke a shifter and decided it was time to retire the bike and find something new.  A month later I bought a Rocky Mountain Fusion 29″, made sure this one fit me.  I instantly started back into riding and fell in love with biking all over again.  My endurance is not great, but I was getting better.  Then I crashed.  Broke a few ribs and torn some stuff in my shoulder.  I haven’t ridden in almost 12 weeks.  Ribs have healed quite well, but the pain in my shoulder is not fun.  I want to try riding again, see if my shoulder is ok with the riding position or not.

While riding, I felt mentally clear.  The outside world disappeared, it was just me, my bike, and nature.  By the end of a ride I would be physically spent, but mentally recharged.

Using a cycling computer with a heart rate monitor added to the feel good aspect.  I am not a “fit” person, according to whatever standards are out there.  I have a physically demanding job that will leave me spent at the end of the day.  I grew up working on the family farm and have always loved being able to do heavy lifting, drive tractors, wrangle animals, fix equipment, etc.  But to the world I still look completely out of shape, despite being much stronger than your average female.  My ride stats show that yes, I can sustain an elevated heart rate for an extended period of time.  My cardio is not all that bad.  And I was able to pedal my “excessive” weight up that hill.  The numbers don’t lie, I can do that!

Since crashing, I have not felt that feel good feeling and I dearly miss it.  I had no idea how much I was loving it, until it went away.  All the feel good has gone away and been replaced with pain.  At least the stabbing pain from my ribs has subsided.  If the weather is ok this weekend, I want to go for a test ride on the road.  I still don’t know if the bike is 100%.

As a side part:  I only listen to music when riding on the road (country back roads, little traffic, miles of visibility).  On the trail I listen to nature.  Music is a huge part of my life, but I don’t miss it when I can listen to my surroundings.