Is cycling the answer to men's loneliness epidemic?

Too many men have too few friends, and it’s having disastrous effects on our mental health. Rob Kemp breaks the taboo on friendlessness and explores how to forge new connections through cycling

image of lonely male cyclist next to image of two cyclists happy together
(Image credit: Michael Driver for Cycling Weekly)

With 15% of men saying they have no close friends, mental health charities are concerned that loneliness is becoming an ever bigger threat to male life expectancy. But could cycling groups, clubs and connections prove to be the salvation for a nation of lonely males?

Asif Haque joined a cycling group after suffering health problems in 2021. “Expectations in the early stages were low,” admits Haque, 45, a school teacher from South Woodford, London. “We were middle-aged to older men, all from different backgrounds, and none of us conformed to the cycling stereotypes. But we learned from riding together to make it a positive experience and become friends.” Haque is one of a growing number of people for whom cycling has opened the doors to finding new friends and expanding social circles at a time when men especially are in need of help.

Josie perry
Josephine Perry

Dr Josephine Perry is a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist. She integrates expertise in sport psychology and communications to support athletes, stage performers and business leaders to develop the approaches, mental skills and strategies which will help them achieve their ambitions. Josephine has written five books including Performing Under Pressure, The 10 Pillars of Success and I Can: The Teenage Athlete’s Guide to Mental Fitness

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