Steph Davis. Why cycling brings me happiness.

Steph Davis Olympic marathon runner Pearson rider

If you know me already, you’ll know me as a runner, so you are probably wondering why I am here about to tell you about the mental health benefits of cycling. If you don’t know me, my name is Steph (Hi!). Yes, I am a runner. My distance is the marathon and I competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where I was the first Brit home in a very hot and a humid race. An unforgettable experience!

I love running, it has been the sport that I have been the strongest at from a school age where injuries and niggles weren’t a thing that I had experienced. It wasn’t until I started marathon training in 2018 that these started to pop up. This is where cycling comes in.

Steph Davis Olympic marathon Pearson minegoestoeleven

When I am in the full swing of marathon training, I cycle 4-6 hours a week, but when I am injured, this can be up to 12 hours. Cycling is the one constant thing in sporting life. It has supported me through each marathon build as well as throughout bouts of injury. It adds variety to my running training (as well as a host of physical benefits), and it is always there for me when I cannot run.

During my Olympic build I spent two weeks on the bike thrashing out hard efforts and long rides to keep my fitness up whilst I nursed a hamstring injury. My bike feels like my safety blanket and has helped me get through some very low times when I’ve not been able to run.

As I write this, I am currently coming back from a metatarsal stress fracture. Luckily, I have been able to cycle throughout this time and my bike has significantly improved my injury experience! I’ll tell you the reasons why…

Fresh Air!

Nothing quite beats a cycle in the countryside on a sunny day! I always come back from a bike ride feeling excited and fulfilled. Not only does the exercise itself make me feel like I’ve accomplished something, but being in nature, makes me feel more alive, less stressed, and more relaxed.

A Welcome Community.

The running community is something I am very familiar with, but I wasn’t sure if cycling had the same social scene. It certainly does! I was encouraged by friends, who are a higher standard than me, to come along to some group rides. At first I wasn’t sure as I didn’t want to be that person holding everyone up. I am glad I put myself out there because everyone has been so friendly, and I get a real buzz from riding with other people. I enjoy the chat along the way and most importantly the café stop for some cake! Cake will always put a smile on your face!

Another great thing about cycling is that mixed abilities can ride together. Once you learn to draft, you can tuck in behind someone and the drafting benefit helps pull you along! If you don’t have friends that can rope you into joining a group ride then don’t be shy!  Reach out to a cycling club or drop by a local cycling shop who will be able to advise.


Cycling is a great way to see a new place and explore. Most of the time I do the same routes, but when I visit new places, I love searching for routes on Strava and Garmin and just following the map. It is a distraction from everything else and I can switch off from life stresses. I don’t think about what needs to be done at home or what I am having for dinner. I am living in the moment, just me and my bike navigating the roads and taking in the surroundings. It clears my head and removes any tension, which is the best way to set me up for the day ahead or unwind after a tough day.


It is hard to get bored with cycling as there is lots of variety. I can decide what I want to do based on my mood, the weather or how much time I have. I can ride indoors or outdoors, go on or off road, go solo or join a group. I can challenge myself using training apps like Zwift or compare myself (to myself!) on Strava segments. Whatever I choose I always feel good for it. It is a fact - exercise endorphins trigger positive vibes! 

I Feel Limitless!

Running has a higher injury risk due to the impact nature. There is only so much pounding of the payments that your joints and bones can take. With cycling I am in control, I get to choose when to end a ride, not my legs or the clock. I feel confident and limitless, and I can go until my heart is content.

Steph Davis Olympic marathon runner Pearson road bike

I am recovering well from my injury and starting to run again but I have felt a lot happier these past couple of months than I ever envisaged. When I got the injury diagnosis, I was absolutely crushed that I had to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games. This was my first Scottish vest and after competing in Tokyo without my friends and family there to watch, I was so excited to be seeing them in Birmingham by my side.

Things happen in life that we can’t control and once I had accepted this and focused on what I could control, I felt a lot lighter. I put my energy into what I could do, and I found my happy place on the bike.

Pearson will build a dream bike specifically to your size, physiology and type of use, all from the frame upwards.

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