Is Riding Your Bike Just as Good as Therapy?

So I sit here thinking, do I get more out of bike riding than I do seeing my therapist?

Anyhow, when I do see my therapist, I feel that I get alot of things worked out and even feel good about myself after the session. Heck I’ve even made progress in my own life due to therapy. However, I can’t help but think of all those times that I felt the most stressed or burdened by life and how getting on my bicycle help alleviate that pain.


Maybe its the fresh air, or the endorphins, but I usually come back from my ride, happier, calm and over all at peace. During my rides, I like to think. I think about life, my job, my goals and I even pray.

But I am curious to know what people think, could riding a bike be just as good as seeing your therapist?

happy rider

* If you currently see a therapist or psychologist or take meds for stuff, keep doing what you’re doing. This was more of my thoughts, not dictating what you should do. *

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11 thoughts on “Is Riding Your Bike Just as Good as Therapy?”

  1. JohnW says:

    My bike IS my therapist…

  2. jj says:

    Funny you should bring up this topic. I had this discussion with someone not long ago. My riding partner Bruce, used to ride with his therapist. He said the therapist was nuts on a bike, but he rode for his own therapy. It was his way of maintaing balance in life.

    I think that since cycling demands physical and mental committment, it forces me to see myself from a different perspective. On the bike, I seem to think about my life in a more objective, almost third person, less selfish way. Riding a bike keeps me ‘human’, and in touch with all that implies.

    In a car, I have more power at my fingertips than is humanly possible, and seem to think in a more selfish, instant gratification way.

    I like myself much better on a bike. And liking yourself, is good therapy… ask any therapist.

  3. RL Policar says:

    Good stuff JJ,

    I know what you mean by having power and the need for instant gratifcation in a car. I figure, if I was driving around hungry, I could just pull up to any fast food and get what I want.

    But on a bike, you’re more conscience of what type of food goes into your body since the food you eat is basically the fuel for your ride.

    Now that think about it, the 3rd person view of life does occur when you’re on your bike….

  4. Moe says:

    My wife notices that when I don’t ride my bike as much I am much grumpier. I also have a form of reactive Arthritis, my body notices when I don’t ride as often, I stiffen up pretty bad. My bike is both my psychological AND physical therapist.

  5. Paul says:

    Funny reading this, I’ve told my shrink (bipolar he says) how much I love to ride my bike (5 to 40 miles a day). He say drugs, I say no, bike. How I judge what is better for me is how I feel and how the people I work with or am around see me with or with out drugs. Now I have to do 20 miles for what 5 use to do every day, rain, wind or shine.

    The other day, I went to get gas for my lawn mower.
    I was the only one at the pumps. I told the lady I was going to fill it up. She look from pump to pump atleast 3 times before she saw the gas can on the back of my bike.
    The look on her face made it hard not to crack a smile.

  6. William West says:


    This is fascinating since I usually cycle to my therapist. I find cycling also profoundly spiritual and am planning a cycling retreat. Cycling defintiely aids my well being and helps me sort stuff out in my mind rather like meditation or Yoga. But I still need my therapist at present. Maybe it is about speaking and relating also. Cycling also seems very creative for me and I often write after I ccyle on my blog –

    Best, William

  7. Hi I was so happy to read your article and responses. I my self am a therapist and a mountain bike rider. I cherish the value of riding and relished that some times it is better then a therapeutic process.
    I am involved in a project that provides group counseling on bikes for therapist and relies that it has great implications on the therapists and on my self
    Thanks again

  8. Caleb says:

    When I get pissed I just hop on my bike and take a long ride down the trail by my house.

  9. grant says:

    You raise a very interesting point. Most doctors recommend exercise for depression and recent studies I have read say 30 min of cardio a day is as effective as meds for mild/moderate depression. Not to mention, meds will often cause weight gain and other unpleasant side effects; but talk with your doctor before making changes.

    Biking-as a form of transportation has changed my outlook on life for the better. I sleep well, I eat without counting calories and feel at peace when riding. I am not sure what it is about the bicycle that makes me feel this way but it is certainly working.

    It really is hard to feel depressed when riding a bicycle. 50 and feeling great! Try it and see if it works for you. (give it about a month for your muscles to condition and lungs adapt)

  10. sonia says:

    When my husband left I found myself as single parent of three. I didn’t know how I was gonna make it. the pressure of the family saying why don’t you get a better job etc. your kid need this with all that plus my daughter dealing with the pain of losing her dad, losing a grand father and lastly a grand mother, within the time span of 2 and a half years, she started wetting the bed. both of us started going to therapy. then they got us on medication.I felt a little better at first but then the meds made me feel worse plus I was gaining weight. I gotr a bike to start going back and forth to work, I love the speed.I noticed that a month later I was just riding my bike even on my time off. It made me feel a whole lot better.I got my daughter a bike and like me she loves to ride. we got off meds and keed riding. It’s been 3 years now and my kids and I are Super healthy. I’m a librarian and very active. I would say biking has been my therapy.

  11. Estrox says:

    What more could I say. All the commends here are saying the truth.
    I left riding my bicycle for quite a while because the group I use to ride with was hard to find time. After a a while, you have got use of not riding anymore. Times are not good and I am quite depressed. My sleep becomes very restless. My problem kept on circulating, round and round, round and round in my head endlessly, like a restless caged wild animal trying to get out of confinement. Until, I remembered my cleaned and shining bicycle at the garage. I was so down that I just grabbed my bike and soon I was riding into the nice sweet air of the morning smiling to the birds and to everybody I met. Back at home, although my breathing were hard, I realize that the wild animal in the cage has escaped!
    I told myself, this is definitely one the best therapy around.

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