A survey commissioned by BikeRadar, together with charity partner CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), has revealed that 87 per cent of cyclists have used riding to boost their mental health during the coronavirus lockdown.
Over a third of those polled (35 per cent) admitted to struggling with mental health issues since lockdown began, with 38 per cent saying their mental health has deteriorated overall.
However, nearly nine in ten of respondents to our survey agreed that cycling has a positive impact on their mental health, with most heading out on to open roads, tracks and trails to boost their mood.
On top of that, 91 per cent of BikeRadar users would recommend cycling to friends and family as a way to improve or manage mental health.
The cyclists polled are also taking positive steps in addressing mental health worries with more than 60 per cent confiding in friends and family about their mental health and 27 per cent seeking help from a GP or a health practitioner.
The survey has also shown that some cycling habits have already changed, with almost half of those that still cycle (46 per cent) saying that they have created, or are looking to create, an indoor set up at home.
Twenty-nine per cent also expect to continue cycling indoors in some capacity after lockdown ends.
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, more than half (57 per cent) of those polled are looking forward to an epic ride, with the Peak District emerging as the top destination.
However, it’s not just beautiful roads on the minds of cyclists – many of the responses expressed a wish to simply get back to the daily commute and to cycle with friends.
BikeRadar’s take | Rob Spedding, content director
It’s certainly no surprise that during these unprecedented and uncertain times many people across the UK feel that their mental health has deteriorated. Cyclists are, of course, not immune to this.
What seems clear from our survey, though, is that exercise and, in particular, riding a bike has proven to be a great help to many people as we’ve come to terms with life under lockdown – over 87 per cent of our readers tell us that riding a bike during lockdown has helped boost or maintain good mental health.
At a time when the government is actively encouraging more of us to ride to help ease pressure on public transport, it’s also clear that our readers believe that people who don’t already ride should be getting on their bikes to ease the pressure on themselves.
Over 90 per cent say they’d recommend cycling to their family and friends as a way to improve or maintain positive mental health.
So, the message is simple – go for a ride!
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against suicide, offering life saving services, provoking national conversation and bringing people together to empower everyone to reject living miserably and stand together against suicide.
On average, 125 people in the UK take their own lives every week, with 75 per cent of all suicide in the UK being male. It is also the biggest killer of men under the age of 45.
CALM runs a free and anonymous helpline and webchat service from 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year. On average CALM takes 12,000 calls and web chats every month and, in 2019, directly prevented 588 suicides.
Just £8 funds one potentially life-saving call to the CALM helpline. Donate today via our JustGiving page.
For more information on CALM services, visit thecalmzone.net.