Cycling and depression: two years on

In 2011 I wrote about my experiences of depression, how they interacted with changes in the volume and intensity of my cycling, and introduced some academic literature on exercise and mental health. I concluded that although cycling can play a role in moderating negative mood, and possibly even treating depressive illnesses, it can also contribute to depressive symptoms. A recent paper on exercise and mental health provides a detailed overview of the literature in this area (many thanks to Simon Lamb for the tip).

I have had my ups and down over the last few years, but, partly due to a change in my work role, and some growing up from my children, I have maintained a fairly positive outlook. Another thing that has changed is the amount of time I have spent cycling. Throughout 2012 I rode more often and tackled some longer rides, but managed to talk myself out of entering a number of brevets and sportives, and more irritatingly, entered two 200km brevets that I failed to start. Fortunately, I convinced myself that I was capable of completing the long on-road version of the Mills Hills Sportive, which was a breakthrough in my conversion from self-sabotage to gung-ho risk-taker (a brief ride report for Mills Hills Sportive)!

I am currently riding about 120km per week, three times my 2011 average. All of a sudden, having completed three challenging longer rides (including my second 400km, only 10 years after the first), I can see myself completing Super Randonneur series in 2014 and 2015, and even Paris Brest Paris…

The causality here is tangled. Am I riding more, and more confidently, because I am happier, or vice-versa? I think this is the wrong question…

Almost all my riding is solo, but I have had some fun in the hills with some lovely people: thanks Emma and Tiffany, and the riders and organisers of the events I have ridden. My partner in crime @accidentobizaro has been incredibly supportive and encouraging, and when we get the chance, our velodates are always worth waiting for, whether on the track or in the Pennine hills we call home.

Cycle journalism and the social media: anonymity or pseudonymity?

I have enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy Lindsey’s writing, but on social media, I think Benson has it.

Joe Lindsey and Daniel Benson (via nyvelocity) both shared their views today on the relationship between print and online journalism, and between traditional journalism and blogging. I think the latter has the more balanced and constructive analysis. Benson even singles out for praise some examples of interesting non-mainstream internet sources, including @inrng and @cyclismas; Lindsey is pretty down on twitter and blogging, and even implies that we should be suspicious of @inrng purely based on his “anonymity” (@inrng chooses not to publish under his real name in order to separate it from his real work, both might be compromised otherwise: see his about page). I would encourage you to read both posts (and a sample from the excellent and see if you agree with my opinion. However, @inrng is not anonymous, he is pseudonymous, and this is a signal difference.

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