Is cycling is addictive?

kratos34

Warming-Up
Jun 4, 2012
36
1
0
Sagamihara City
#1
Hi,

I started road cycling about a year ago, from mostly mtb and mama-chari experience.
I used to commute daily to work around 25km one way, even on rains and chilly winter.
This year my company was merged with a larger one and we moved to a new office much farther so I gave up my daily commute.
To compensate for my lack of pedaling activity, I made it a point to go out at least 2x on weekdays on the Yamato-Fujisawa cycling route and one special on Saturdays, sometimes on Sundays too. I do it very early morning like 5:00-7:00am just be on time for my trains to work.
These days, it sometimes rains so I feel bad when I cannot go out on my early ride. It seems like my body always wants the pain from pedaling. That if I didn't do it, it's all over my mind throughout the day and the day after.
Do you guys have this feeling of incompleteness when you are not able to cycle?
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#4
Time magazine did an article on the addiction of endurance sports, very interesting and the chemicals your body releases after intesive workouts iss more addicctive than heroin.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
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Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#7
Time magazine did an article on the addiction of endurance sports, very interesting and the chemicals your body releases after intesive workouts iss more addicctive than heroin.
"More addictive than heroin" is a bit of an exaggeration and Time magazine is not exactly the most authoritative of medical journals ;)

It's true however that heroin and morphine act on the same receptors as beta-endorphins, which the body releases to control pain. Whether it's "runner's high" or the buzzed feeling you get when eating really spicy food, that's your opioid receptors in action!

There's more to it than endorphins though. Exercise also raises levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which acts as an anti-depressant. That's why exercise is thought to be helpful for fighting depression.

Exercise is not addictive in the proper medical sense, which includes criteria such as clearly defined withdrawal symptoms, a need to increase dosage and an inability to control usage despite negative consequences. But like with anything that is fun (including friends, sex, TV, cannabis) you can become (psychologically) dependent on it, which is not quite the same.
 
Apr 26, 2011
19
1
13
Tokyo
#8
such as clearly defined withdrawal symptoms, a need to increase dosage and an inability to control usage despite negative consequences
Following words come to my mind:
- restlessness, inability to focus on work, increasingly excessive monitoring of weather forecasts
- need to experience faster, longer or steeper rides in order to achieve similar satisfaction
- urge to purchase latest, faster or lighter equipment despite resulting financial or marital consequences
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,445
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Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#9
Following words come to my mind:
- restlessness, inability to focus on work, increasingly excessive monitoring of weather forecasts
That does not count in the same category as delirium tremens with alcohol (which can be life threatening), or flu-like "cold turkey" symptoms with heroin.

- need to experience faster, longer or steeper rides in order to achieve similar satisfaction
Cycling 18 hours a day when I can is still enough for me ;) And I'll never exceed 24 hours a day!

- urge to purchase latest, faster or lighter equipment despite resulting financial or marital consequences
Ah, but you forget:

While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#10
"More addictive than heroin" is a bit of an exaggeration and Time magazine is not exactly the most authoritative of medical journals ;)

It's true however that heroin and morphine act on the same receptors as beta-endorphins, which the body releases to control pain. Whether it's "runner's high" or the buzzed feeling you get when eating really spicy food, that's your opioid receptors in action!

There's more to it than endorphins though. Exercise also raises levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which acts as an anti-depressant. That's why exercise is thought to be helpful for fighting depression.

Exercise is not addictive in the proper medical sense, which includes criteria such as clearly defined withdrawal symptoms, a need to increase dosage and an inability to control usage despite negative consequences. But like with anything that is fun (including friends, sex, TV, cannabis) you can become (psychologically) dependent on it, which is not quite the same.
I would disagree with you Joe and many doctors in the sports medicine profession would also disagree with you.

Just scan the forums - even this page here people are talking about lows when they can't ride and im sure that they have also felt aggression or stress durring prolonged periods away from the sport.

Im sure everyone here has foundd themselves just walking in to a bike shop they walk past without even thinking about it - compulsive purchasing??? Yep scan the forums.

But as they say, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem so Joe stand up and say the words.... "my name is Joe and I'm addicted to cycling." its ok we all understand.
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,181
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68
Kochi
#11
But as they say, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem so Joe stand up and say the words.... "my name is Joe and I'm addicted to cycling." its ok we all understand.
Would that be the 12 pedal strokes program? ;)

Actually Joe, I`m with FarEast on this.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#12
They say its a long road to recovery, but what I really want to know is what the elevation gain is and where to find the STRAVA segment for the KOM!
 
Dec 17, 2011
267
8
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kanazawa
#13
increasingly excessive monitoring of weather forecasts
The rest of the post was also brilliant but, god damn, :eek: I had JUST finished checking this weekend's weather forecast when I read this... and was cursing because of the projected rain..

Begrudgingly, ...."I am Marios and I'm addicted to cycling"...
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
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#14
People think of addictiveness or dependence forming primarily as qualities of substances or activities, but they tend to ignore the human factor: there are addictive personalties as much as there are addictive substances. If whatever you are using or doing fills a void or compensates for a perceived deficiency then it can be very difficult to control. It doesn't work the same for everyone. Don't blame the bike. Don't blame the substance. Look at the guy in the mirror and what he values or fears.

I have my weaknesses too, but I'm probably more of an online "addict" than a cycling addict (still only own a single bike and no current plans to buy another).
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
0
0
#15
Haha, like the way this thread is going.

I think the main difference between bikes as an addiction, and mind / state altering substances is that bikes tend to encourage discipline, not destroy it.

I can definitely see a few co-dependent relationships around the place though...
 
Dec 31, 2009
906
87
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Matsumoto
#16
Another interesting aspect touched on in the book "A Dog In A Hat" by Author Joe Parkin. His experiences written in the book outlined cyclist being into racing just to do drugs. Here are some quotes from the book.

"We had some Dutch riders who seemed to be more interested in shooting amphetamines than any sort of racing"

"Nevels had turned pro in 1983 and, despite what seemed to be a reasonable amount of natural talent, had resigned himself to jabbing his arms with needles several times before each race. There is a line crossed when a rider is no longer injecting amphetamines so that he can race but racing so that he can inject amphetamines."

I strive on the fact that everything I do off the bike effects making me a better athlete on the bike. Every bite of food, every liquid I consume, it all is a stepping stone towards getting up the hill faster. In some ways I see the relation of taking amphetamines to drinking coffee or even a sports gels while riding. It is taking a stimulant to enhance performance. That is a difficult subject, but if you contemplate it, it is is similar. Is it really fair that another person ingests caffeine (white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug) before a race? Where do we draw the line? I know there is a faint line drawn by WADA (caffeine was removed from the Prohibited List in 2004. Its use in sport is not prohibited, it is apart of the monitoring program regarding substances which are not on the Prohibited List, but which WADA wishes to monitor in order to detect patterns of misuse in sport.) I am interested to hear what your thoughts are on caffeine, gels and other such substances in competition. Is it fair? Is it healthy? If a drug that is not prohibited from competitive cycling or on the WADA list is it OK to take, I mean its not on the list, right? I think about these things because I would like to introduce competitive cycling to my children. I know many will say "its only coffee" or "just a gel" but would you consider giving a Jr racer these things during competition? If so, isn't this a gateway to drug use if they do continue in the sport?
What do you think?
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
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0
#17
I think you answer your own questions in your post.

My take on what you have said; yeah, it is all a grey area with lines drawn due to effectiveness.

I still reckon a 'boring' and 'ultimate' version of every sporting event should be offered, once that mouse manages to grow more than a 5mm liver, and we can farm them.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#19
Again many of you are focusing on an addiction being negative:

the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

Joe, no offence intended but I wouldn't put you in the same boat as many of the guys here who really push their limits when out on the bike.

Hitting max heart rates, pushing their physical boundaries and thus getting massive doses of adrenaline, endorphins and other feel good chemicals in to our systems over the course of a ride.

This riders/Runners/Lifters/Swimmers high is what becomes addictive - not only that but when you match it up with a regular training pattern or commute then a habit starts to form and then the dependency to keep going out of fear of losing form.

Again there are many addictions that are positive and do not involve substance abuse.

Chuck,

Your post is interesting but at the very extreme of what is being discussed here.

Caffeine has always been a sore spot with the WADA and urban legend has it that it was dropped from the banned substance list after one of the testers made the board take a urine test after a meeting - they all failed due to the coffee they had been drinking in the meeting. (True or not I don't know but funny)

In regards to gels or other on bike supplements to keep going - then is nothing to actually prevent you from making your own, many Japanese riders buy that strange traditional Japanese gel made from beans and actually pack a bigger and more complex energy boost than most other brand names on the shelf. Many products are for convenience and you can get just as much energy out of a large banana than you can say a shotz, want your caffeine dose? Have some Japanese tea or a bar of black chocolate - Want to drop the PH level of your blood, eat raisins.

Again I see where you are coming from on this - but don't be folled by a lot of the nonsense on the packaging - there is a reason why the humble banana and kiwi fruit are still king and queen of energy fuel.
 

kratos34

Warming-Up
Jun 4, 2012
36
1
0
Sagamihara City
#20
Following words come to my mind:
- restlessness, inability to focus on work, increasingly excessive monitoring of weather forecasts
- need to experience faster, longer or steeper rides in order to achieve similar satisfaction
- urge to purchase latest, faster or lighter equipment despite resulting financial or marital consequences
Hahaha! This made up my day!!!
My wife was also laughing very hard when I read it to her aloud...:warau: