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The Restorative Joy of Cycling

The Restorative Joy of Cycling

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The Usual “Exercise Is Good for You” Science

Cycling is vigorous exercise, and buckets of research have found a strong correlation between improved mental health and exercise. Granted, we don’t know for sure that it’s causal.

But it kind of stands to reason: Cycling gets your heart pumping, which improves blood- and oxygen f...

Cycling Improves Mental Health

There aren’t a ton of studies specifically probing whether cycling improves mental health. But there are a few suggestive findings: This study found 

You See the World Vividly and Up Close

Most people find that when they go for a walk, they absorb the street scene better than when they race by in a car. Obviously! But cycling is, for me, the perfect sensual midpoint between the two. You get the visual banquet of walking, but because you’re going faster you get a bigger, longer feas...

You Feel Like You’ve Got Superpowers

Exercise always feels nice, of course, whether it’s playing a game of pickup football or going for a run. But when you cycle for a practical purpose — i.e. for transportation, to get from point A to point B — there’s an additional thrill. It gives you a radical sense of self-reliance. Travelling ...

It Removes Stress and Uncertainty from Urban Travel

In New York, if you’re taking a car or the subway, you’re always slightly nervous that something will screw up and you’ll be late. I mean, maybe you’ll be lucky? But then when you least expect it, wham: You run into a thick knot of traffic or an implacably mysterious subway delay — and n...

The Bottom Line

Cycling is clearly useful for lifting one’s mood if you’re otherwise healthy, and merely facing normal funks and malaise. If you’re living with clinical depression it’s a different problem altogether, requiring careful medical attention. Cycling’s wonderful, but it is not a substitute for treatme...

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