Blog: The Society of Sloths: How mountain biking keeps me mentally fit

Our student Mental Fitness Ambassadors have launched The Society of Sloths (SOS) as a way of engaging and informing students across the school about strategies and tips to maintain positive mental health. 

The society has now launched a series of blogs, focusing on different aspects of its work. Here, student Kai O’Donnell (4FOX), explores the importance of physical activity and hobbies. 


I learned to ride a bike when I was four and I always loved riding my bike around my apartment complex with my friends in Hong Kong. Last year, my enthusiasm for biking grew exponentially, as I got a new bike and found a group to start mountain biking with.

My reason to start riding was never to do with my mental health or even exercise, but later, I found positive effects to it. When I’m stressed, I would usually go for a ride, which will always help get my mind of anything bothering me, be it school or anything else.

I find biking has helped to manage my mental health and it seems most mountain bikers agree. Earlier this year, Cycling UK published Rides of Way, a survey which found that 91% of 11,500 mountain bikers think the pursuit is an essential part of maintaining mental fitness.

I am quite close with the group I ride with, which contributes to the positive benefits, as we talk as we ride. It helps me clear my mind and focus on what I love.

After a while, I noticed that it also had positive physical effects, as I became fitter and it became easier to ride for longer, at least on the cross-country routes, when I’m not going downhill.

I love mountain biking, but I also love what it does for me.