Squashing the voice in your head that tries to rob you of “the good feels”

Conquering Destructo Brain, one pedal stroke at a time.

Conquering Destructo Brain, one pedal stroke at a time. Photo: Cam Day.

Well, I had been off of the bike about two weeks until yesterday. In a word: skateboards.

Yep. I decided to start skateboarding, and the toll it took on my body was one I just couldn’t pay. So, I found myself unable to do much of anything while I healed up.

This hiatus from moving about gave me way more time than I would have liked to ruminate on the state of my brain when I don’t get to ride.

Somehow, regardless of the state of my able-bodiness, my brain does what I think all of our brains do: it turns into Destructo Brain. This is the state of mind whereupon, even though you KNOW you’ll feel better for exercising and getting out there, you brain tells you

“Aww.. c’mon. don’t get up early to ride! you’ll feel better if you sleep in!”


“Psht… you just worked a super long day! Don’t worry about pedalling around! Just go home, have a beer and some cookies, and relax!”

It’s a sneaky little jerk of a brain, and I have never figured out why it remains so consistent and persistent in its effort to destroy our good intentions and our “good feels” so to speak.

The reality is, that regardless of if we go do a little or a lot, we inevitably feel better for it. Yet, somehow, this lesson has never really stuck where Destructo Brain is concerned. It’s a constant battle to win the war over that sneaky little voice telling us to lay low, and to not exert any unnecessary energy or effort towards our own well-being.

This time of year, it becomes particularly difficult to win the war against that little voice: the days are darker, the busy holiday season is upon us and we feel like hibernating. These are the days when getting out at all is a victory to celebrate.

Don’t beat yourself up when Destructo Brain DOES win (or when you legitimately have things you need to do, and can’t get out to ride) … instead, celebrate your victories – small or large – over that nasty little voice in your head.

A quick spin to clear out the fuzziness and let in some fresh air will (as you already know) do you a world of good, and you should be proud of doing it. You’ll be the victor over your own mind. That’s a battle worth winning, for certain.


​Fat Tire Tuesday columnist Sarah Hansing has been slinging wrenches as a pro bike mechanic for 15 years (with the exception of a one year stint working for Trek Bicycles in Wisconsin.) Epicenter Cycling scooped her up as their lead mechanic and the shop’s crew plans to ​keep her forever. Sarah loves riding singlet​rack, wrenching on bikes, and hanging out with her jerk-face but adorable cat Harlan. (Who is a jerk.)