'I went to the doctor to talk about it and just burst into tears': What you need to know about depression and cycling

Rates of depression have risen dramatically since the pandemic –and cyclists aren’t immune, as Chris Marshall-Bell finds out

Rates of depression have risen dramatically since the pandemic – and cyclists aren’t immune
(Image credit: Future)

“Depression, for me, is having no energy to do anything, despite wanting to,” says Matt Gibson, a top domestic racer who currently rides for Continental team Saint Piran.

“You feel helpless, worthless, powerless to your own body, and just generally sh*t. You’ll train and try to hit your numbers, but you can’t. You’re lethargic, weak. More than sadness, it’s a feeling of numbness.” The 27-year-old has competed and won bike races around the world, but accompanying most of his accomplishments has been an invisible illness, one affecting 280 million people worldwide.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

A freelance sports journalist and podcaster, you'll mostly find Chris's byline attached to news scoops, profile interviews and long reads across a variety of different publications. He has been writing regularly for Cycling Weekly since 2013. In 2024 he released a seven-part podcast documentary, Ghost in the Machine, about motor doping in cycling.

Previously a ski, hiking and cycling guide in the Canadian Rockies and Spanish Pyrenees, he almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains. He lives in Valencia, Spain.