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Cycing, evidence of mental illness?

Jul 23, 2009
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In talking with the cyclists I ride with, I have noticed that most admit to some form of personality disorder when asked. The most common disorder seems to be an addictive personality, with obsessive-compulsive coming in a close second. Any ideas why?
 
Jun 9, 2009
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Endorphines released by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus during intense physical activity are opioid polypeptide compounds. In other words, the 'high' experienced during intense cycling is similar to the high derived by consuming other opioids, like heroin. The opioids naturally produced by the body during exercise have similar addictive properties to heroin.

Thus, people with addictive personalities naturally gravitate towards endurance sports. Given that even a beginning cyclist can sustain activity on the bike for several hours (as opposed to runners and swimmers who rarely train for hours on end until they reach an elite level), cycling is a natural choice for the born addict.

The explanation for the appeal of cycling to obsessive/compulsive individuals is pretty clear. O/C people tend to perform routine and repetitive tasks overtly throughout their lives. What is more repetitive and routine than pedaling?
 
Oct 27, 2009
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CentralCaliBike said:
In talking with the cyclists I ride with, I have noticed that most admit to some form of personality disorder when asked. The most common disorder seems to be an addictive personality, with obsessive-compulsive coming in a close second. Any ideas why?

Sounds like normal cyclist to me.
If you think of it and you're ready to admit it to yourself your bit like that too.
 
Jul 16, 2009
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true we are all feckin weirdos

but rather an imbalanced individual and a go with the herd football player.

cyclist got no one to blame- no stand alone excuses. makes us mentally strong and a bit...................weird.

love it
 
Jul 14, 2009
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Nine out of the ten voices in my head are telling me you guys don't know what you are talking about. The other one is telling me to get a coffee and get to work.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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CentralCaliBike said:
In talking with the cyclists I ride with, I have noticed that most admit to some form of personality disorder when asked. The most common disorder seems to be an addictive personality, with obsessive-compulsive coming in a close second. Any ideas why?

People sit on a very uncomfortable bike for hours exhausting themselves for no good reason.
Sane people don't do that. ;p
 
Jul 6, 2009
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i would say the more hardcore racer or ultra endurance riders all to some degree have a screw loose. in fact some of the best strongest riders i know are the craziest. i know im no beacon of mental health myself lol. there seems to be a high percentage of drug/alcohol use and other mental issues with cyclists. seriously some of the posters on here for example are utterly delusional.
 
Jul 23, 2009
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printf said:
Sounds like normal cyclist to me.
If you think of it and you're ready to admit it to yourself your bit like that too.

Unlike the those I ride with I can control how much I ride - in fact I can quit any time I want, as demonstrated at least four times last week:D
 
Oct 27, 2009
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CentralCaliBike said:
Unlike the those I ride with I can control how much I ride - in fact I can quit any time I want, as demonstrated at least four times last week:D
:D
Your illness is only the beginning. Then you are still able to influence Mileage.
 
Jul 2, 2009
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I stopped racing

ride for enjoyment, just happy to be breathing

and tend do get drawn into the mania once in awhile, occasional group rides


gotta scoot now to go ride two or so hours :eek:
 
Jun 19, 2009
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tubularglue said:
I stopped racing

ride for enjoyment, just happy to be breathing

and tend do get drawn into the mania once in awhile, occasional group rides


gotta scoot now to go ride two or so hours :eek:

Similar, but opposite. I race so I'm motivated to train which keeps me breathing, eating what I want and enjoying the beer thread without guilt. Vicious cycle...
 
CentralCaliBike said:
In talking with the cyclists I ride with, I have noticed that most admit to some form of personality disorder when asked. The most common disorder seems to be an addictive personality, with obsessive-compulsive coming in a close second. Any ideas why?

Given the nature of the relationship (compared to say a co-worker, boss or family or neighbor), some secret that one may feel unsafe sharing with those groups would probably lead to a lack of inhibition in the group ride casual relationship.

So in my opinion, they are no different, you just have a sample of people who suddenly feel safe admitting to something they would be less inclined to elsewhere.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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CentralCaliBike said:
In talking with the cyclists I ride with, I have noticed that most admit to some form of personality disorder when asked. The most common disorder seems to be an addictive personality, with obsessive-compulsive coming in a close second. Any ideas why?

Sounds normal to me.
 
You should probably find a different group ride. :D

The people I ride with are definitely guilty of being ruthless Type A personality Sociopaths with a side helping of extreme masochism, but aside from that are quite normal.
 
Jul 23, 2009
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BikeCentric said:
You should probably find a different group ride. :D

The people I ride with are definitely guilty of being ruthless Type A personality Sociopaths with a side helping of extreme masochism, but aside from that are quite normal.

I guess that speaks to the non-cycling friends you keep.
 
CentralCaliBike said:
I guess that speaks to the non-cycling friends you keep.

Yeah, the random people who show up to the races I do and the hard group rides I do must somehow correlate to the group of people that I handpick for my own circle of friends off the bike (whom you know nothing about)?

I guess you answered your own question about mental illness and cycling: it's you, not the other riders.
 
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CentralCaliBike said:
+ 1 to at least one of your comments.

its a double edged sword.. ive been suffering from anxiety for the last 8 months.. collapsed at work for no reason, rushed to hospital, all the chest/heart/etc tests.. hospital found nothing, and eventually it was put down to a stress induced panic attack..

at the moment cycling is one thing i really do enjoy, im virtually back to my old self, but it is constantly there, but cycling is the one time i can actually feel completely myself (although strenous cycling brings its own problems, breathing associated with breathlessness, leaves your brain thinking, am i just knackered, or is this a panic attack...) - i will note on the whole i enjoy lots of other things two, but being on the bike is my release (im on a good run.. 17 days, only 2 anxiety problems, im on the road to being normal again.. lol, as an example.. milan san remo, i could barely watch the last 2k, my stress levels where so high, i was practically having a panic attack.. now i managed to watch the whole of the liverpool man utd game on sunday with no anxiety..well.. maybe a little bit.. ;)) but the bike is definately my release and the best medicine for me..

then there is the other side of the sword.. im in the early days still but much of the therapy points to basically, i have tried to do too much in life, tried to work too hard, achieve too much, strived for perfection and its basically worn me out.. that singleminded determination, also brings with it a certain amount of self centred ness, etc..

when i was young, all afternoon i thought about getting home and getting on the bike.. i would practically run inthe house, run up the stairs, get changed, and be out on the bike, doing maybe 30miles a night, maybe 40 miles a night, club runs on sundays, occasional racing..

it is part of having an addictive personality, it is also a sign of some forms of, not issues, but i enjoyed the sense of being alone, being in charge on the bike.. it can be a very solitary sport.. and many cyclists can have social issues, things like that...

im ok really.. just having a bit of a rough time, but its interesting talking to my therapist fellow, that this addictiveness as a young adult, he thought was relevant to my current problems.. but also that the bicyle at the moment is my saviour..

It was really interesting reading joe papps blogg a few weeks ago about how VdB's death effected him.. both similar ages, both had their problems with drugs etc.. but i also look at a lot of cylists, and their mental state and wonder if i had been anywhere near half decent if i would have coped with it, or more importantly, would i have coped without it...

i think there is definately something in the pysche that makes a man want to punish himself physically, rider hundreds of miles a week, thousands of miles a year, often by themselves..

there is also definately, something in cycling for those suffering from anxiety, or depression, or other non physical illnesses...

its also why i forget capital letters, and my spelling is crap.. im actually fairly intelligent, iq in the 140's, exams galore, but concentration at the moment has gone to pot.. typing is enough of a task.. spelling and grammar.. frankly i will worry about that when i am myself again..
 
Jul 23, 2009
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BikeCentric said:
Yeah, the random people who show up to the races I do and the hard group rides I do must somehow correlate to the group of people that I handpick for my own circle of friends off the bike (whom you know nothing about)?

I guess you answered your own question about mental illness and cycling: it's you, not the other riders.

Look like you might not have understood my poor attempt at humor
 
CentralCaliBike said:
Look like you might not have understood my poor attempt at humor

I clearly did not. I took your comment as you accusing me of handpicking ruthless Type A Sociopaths for friends and I did not take kindly to that suggestion, because it can be easily construed as an insult to both myself and my friends.

Futherthermore, people can and do behave differently while on the bike in a competitive environment and off the bike in a real-world situation. As a matter of fact I would argue that it's a necessity for success in cycling to behave differently on the bike than one would in a polite social setting.

This can be extended to many if not most other sports. For example, did you ever play American football? You would get arrested for doing off the field just about anything that is required of you on the football field. And if you want to have success in that sport you must find the ability to be a very nasty person on the field. On the contrary, being a very nasty person off the field is not often helpful for success in life in general. But that is a whole other philosophical argument.
 
Jun 20, 2009
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Yes my addiction to cycling is not "normal" and it is an addiction. I get a high from racing XC or riding but have never used illegal drugs and don't smoke or drink. I feel like my psychosis/addictions are generally healthy mentally and physically (if I could stop taking risks and crashing). It is a huge stress relief to ride but people say "you're crazy" when they learn about what I do. You have to be somewhat "crazed" to race and train like we do.

WE are wierd....the guys I ride with have strange names: The Hamster, Hot Rod, The Face, and Piglet.