Thanks to GP and Team Leapfrog rider Dr Mark Dziobon for this piece, something a bit different and one to think about!
Why some of us still cycle.
Welcome to team leapfrog and thank you for taking time to read the website!
My interest in cycling goes back nearly all of my life. In that time I’ve had many ‘off the bike’ years and quite a few ‘on the bike’ years. I have found the ‘on’ years to be the most rewarding personally. Over the years I’ve met some pretty astonishing characters, from National Champions to those that just pedal for fun. I have noted some cyclists are very giving of their time but most are not. This has caused much reflection and got me thinking about what kind of person gives up so much time doing something which is often painful?
Cycle racing is very competitive and the amount of time needed to prepare starts from several months before. So does the cyclist have any characteristics which mark them out as different?
What is clear amongst endurance sportsmen and women is that on the whole they enjoy more extroversion and neuroticism than the background population. Just reflect for a moment as to how you feel when you cannot get out on your bike, due to unforeseen circumstances? Yes frustrated and unable to relax?? Why is this? One point about cycling is that it requires concentration, this ensures that the cyclist can’t ruminate about the past ( a function of depression ) or worry about the future ( a function of anxiety).
It is clear that cycling reduces both low mood and anxiety.
Self Regulated Learning theorists describe those that are not striving for mastery of a subject to lose motivation easily. The losers won’t train with those that make them work harder or make them employ different strategies. Instead performance goal orientated ( as opposed to mastery goal orientated ) persons will often blame poor performance on something or someone else. This classically leads to a negative feedback loop whereby the individual subconsciously tells themselves that training harder is not where the answer lay. How often have you heard, ‘I’ve got a virus’ or in the case of the French ‘our wheels are not round enough’?
Finally studies into social media such as Facebook demonstrate some startling similarities between the over user group and the previously mentioned personality dimension of neuroticism-it’s fascinating to suggest that just like cycling where a rider might get his neuroticism temporarily fixed by a ride others might also use Facebook in exactly the same way. Do those that used to cycle eventually turn to Facebook to alleviate negative emotions such as anxiety, anger or depression?
Is club racing going to succumb to a new sport of Facebook Overuse Syndrome?