It’s All About the Mind: The Psychology of Cycling

It’s All About the Mind: The Psychology of Cycling

(Visit: Jim Taylor, Ph.D., internationally recognized for his work in the psychology of performance in sport and business, looks at the concept of prime cycling. Learn how to define your cycling goals and get motivated to achieve those goals using techniques to measure your confidence, intensity and focus.
Series: “UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine presents Mini Medical School for the Public” [8/2013] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 25323]


August 8, 2013 / 44 Comments / by / in
  • Wow, got a lot out of this discussion. Will definitely follow this website!

  • This seems to be a very "American" way to approach the topic of what role the brain plays in cycling performance. I'm not making a comment on whether it's good or bad. But I don't understand the use of his metaphors. "Cashing Cheques (Checks) " or having a big "toolbox" it was really hard to watch this. 

  • Very good video and confirms many things I have confronted and worked with in my cycling. Thank you .

  • To develop  as a cyclist you have to ride and ride and then ride some more . Keep on packing on as many miles as you can. That is the prime directive. A well developed set of legs and lungs will get you in the game. THE GRIND. You have to accept the fact that training and racing is a grind. The winner is the one who is willing to grind out more training miles than the next guy. Coppi- "Ride your bike. ride your bike. ride your bike".Contrary to what this guy says -confidence is NOT a skill-it is a state of being.

  • Sorry not a Brit either. Is SAS some type of military unit? I know Navy Seals from movies? I wasn't making a comment whether this kind of thinking is good or bad. The whole talk struck me as nonsense but a  lot of people in the comment section seem to have the opinion that this was really helpful and inspiring. I just don't understand why.

    I was in Denmark a few years ago for the World Championships. They had an american doing the race commentary over the loud speaker and he was using similar if not the exact same colourful metaphors. I didn't understand them then and I think a lot of the Europeans were confused. We simply don't think like this.

  • "Confidence is a talent you can develop" one of many great points he develops. Everything here applies to all of life.

  • "this is my cycle, there are many like it but this one is mine, my cycle is my best friend,,, it is my life I must master it as I master my life, with out me my cycle is Useless without my cycle, I am useless , "- a fitting plagiarism from full metal jacket, its just bike riding ! lol

  • so when do we start talking about cycling??

  • I ride a bit differently. I'm not interested in racing or winning or anything like that. The whole "winning is everything" mindset generates a great deal of needless pain, and suffering and disappointments. Everything becomes a challenge, something to beat, something to win against. But this whole mindset is based on negativity, on comparing ourselves to others, beating others, being better than etc. For example – beating the hill, overcoming it, fighting your way up the hill. But you're not fighting the hill, it's not your enemy. The hill's been there a long time. Actually it's pretty much indifferent to your desires.
    Instead of seeing the hill as an obstacle, something to beat, I see the hill as a friend. We're in this together. I even ask the hill for help. It's got plenty of energy locked up in itself, plenty to spare. I ask it for strength, for energy. And it works.
    You have a choice, you can make the hill an enemy, in which case riding up it is hard. Or you can make the hill your friend, in which case it's easy to get up.
    It's always a choice.
    I never get upset when I'm riding into a strong wind, either. I become friends with the wind. It's doing it's own thing. It has other priorities. It's not there to mess me up. I just ask the wind for energy, it's got plenty to spare. And it always gives me what I need.

  • that aliasing shirt @,@

  • Thanks for the information.I currently ride about three times a week.I often go out not feeling too good and suffer from lower back pain so i have an extra thing to worry about.I also often ask myself if i'm overdoing it due to working 6 days a week in a pretty physical job where i use my quads constantly for 3 and a half hours.My legs feel drained even before i ride but i have to push myself – i suppose i can take pride in this.

  • I even got divorced willingly so I could ride my bike more and moved to Colorado so I could have mountains next to me to climb them daily, I am either crazy or just a cycling freak  but I can not be happy without doing it. 

  • Very interesting article on the psychology side of cycling 

  • this is wrong…just work hard and the results will be there when you least expect it , to many variables! Is better not to know much. All this you know for nature, just be smarter and use the pain you take on the legs in your brain too. 

  • I enjoyed this, into week 5 of broken clavicle and scapula recovery.  Fear part resonates.

  • brilliant talk. thank you.

  • CHAMPION…….the ability to perform under pressure

  • I strive on pain. I start riding better 30-50 miles into the ride. There's that period or time when I hurt and feel weak and then I keep pushing and putting myself in more pain and I love it. My body starts working more and I feel more fresh then at the beginning of the ride. There's a hill, I attack it. Small  bridge ramp or an actual climb, but I must drop everyone or at least keep up with the best. If I come back from a century at hard pace and there's a guy flying by me, I get on the drops, switch up the gear and catch up and at least try to stick with him, when I recover I take a turn up front. My potential unlocks when things get hard. I love the pain

  • Interesting in the old days, Merckx peaked year round. What happened to the sport?

  • This guy is full of bearing grease -very slick.

  • Physical discomfort -vs-suffering. Riding up the Pyrennes IS suffering.

  • So far I had this guy Newman -who went up in smoke. Now I have Cleary flapping his gums. Another one who does'nt know what he's talking about. Anybody else?

  • AAcheivemet in cycling requires : GRIT , ENDURANCE and DTERMINATION. 

  • So – Paul Cleary managed to make a big case for  scientific principles of cycling training but failed to mention any. He simply threw out some names of some  programs by some noted trainers . Swell . Cleary -along with this quack speaker -are not true cyclists. 

  • Seriously, just by a car, why bother with the pain.

  • The point that Jim makes between 40:15 and 40:56 during the Q & A session is absolutely spot on, and is something that, as an avid cyclist from Colorado, I have believed in for a long time. Despite being a little skeptical during the entire video, after that comment, I  can trust that Jim is a  REAL cyclist. The point is that – there is only so much that technology and can tell you about your performance and only so much that you can trust. Ultimately, you need to just listen to your  breathing… your legs, your heart and your mind… listen to your deep inner soul and psyche…  that will always be the best monitor of performance, and will always be the essence of cycling performance and is precisely why we all love this sport.  Great video Jim. Much Thanks, – Greg

  • oh, fck, a whole lecture?

  • Motivation , inspiring , and direction .. a big ten four ! ! !

  • An amazing video. I'll be revisiting this again in the future. Thanks!

  • A++++ research and advice. Thanks!

  • Very good and helpful presentation. Thank you very much.

  • The psychology of cycling. Sell your car and get around on your bike. Cycle for pleasure and you will get fit quick enough. You don't have to beat anyone just ride alongside to chat. Dump tour style racing and start using race circuits for competition.

  • Excellent, common sense, straight talking and clued up guy who doesn't patronise his audience. Refreshing!

  • "…Unless you are the very best, there's always someone faster than you…"  pretty sure he sniped and paraphrased that one from Yogi Barra.  I didn't think I would watch the whole thing, but it was a very engaging and accessible talk, thanks Dr. Taylor.

  • Sell the car and get on the bike.  My motivation is the money saved by riding.  That alone is pure riding fuel

  • terrible. cycling is fantastic. but up till 34 min at least… ashamed to share a field with a presentation as non-lit based as this. especially after the fuel presentation. there's plenty literature on psych and performance.

    loving the presentation skills tho

  • Are athletes tested against amphetamines, Ritalin, etc ? I heard some sports don't even ban cocaine !!!
    If focus and psychology is really that important, these products should be tested !

  • I'd like to ride with him just to find out if he rides as fast as he talks. Seriously.

  • 20:30 best story heard in cycling which combines CENTER OF GRAVITY ever!!

  • Medicine of Cycling? WTF? That's not a Board Certified specialty.. I'm calling a BS card..

  • wear a proper shirt.

  • Finally, a psychologist to respect the insight and experience(s) of. Good lecture, sir.

  • 1:08 "fuck… wrong lecture"

  • had to listen and not watch because of the Moiré on that shirt! ARGH!

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