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RIDER’S HIGH: Experiencing an euphoric blissful feeling from Cycling

According to the urban dictionary rider’s high is a euphoric feeling experienced by cycle riders as they start to feel good along with the pumping adrenaline caused by an exciting or extremely fun ride by themself or with other riders, the pure feeling of freedom that is shared between them and their cycle as they take on the open road. If you have completed a long ride and felt like keep going on for a few miles, you may have experienced ‘the rider’s high’. This short term surge of hormones relaxes the muscle tissues and eases pain. But everyone who rides won’t get this feeling of bliss, in this write up let’s examine what is and what causes this feeling of euphoria.


Riding release a flood of endorphins into your blood. Endorphins are often called “feel-good” chemicals because they produce feelings of happiness and pleasure. Also, they act as pain relievers, helps you to ride longer distances. For a long time, scientists believed endorphins caused the rider’s high. It makes sense -they do have a lot of beneficial effects. But recently, research has revealed that endorphins may not have much to do with it after all. Instead, new research points to another type of molecule: endocannabinoids.

These molecules act on your endocannabinoid system. This is the same system that’s affected by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active compound in cannabis. Like endorphins, exercise releases endocannabinoids into the bloodstream. If you feel euphoric or deeply relaxed after a ride, these molecules may responsible for that euphoria.

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endocannabinoid molecules are small enough to cross the blood-brain barrier, and they act on receptors in our endocannabinoid system. This is the same system that’s activated by THC, the most active compound in cannabis. A type of endocannabinoid called anandamide is found at high levels in the blood of people who’ve recently completed a ride. Some research suggests anandamide may trigger a rider’s high. This results in short-term psychoactive effects like:

  • reduced anxiety
  • feeling of calmness
  • euphoria

However, research that studies how the brain and body respond to endocannabinoids after a ride is quite limited.


Riders high is not an assured one, it’s more like a blessing. Not everyone who pedals won’t have this bliss of euphoria. However, other benefits are sure for riding.

  • Increased memory and focusing
  • weight loss or maintenance
  • better response to insulin
  • powered up the immune system
  • increased flexibility and mobility
  • reduced risk of depression
  • reduced risk of anxiety

A rider’s high is a short-lasting feeling of euphoria or bliss that occurs after a ride. Not everyone who rides or exercises will experience a runner’s high but those that do may find themselves exercising to chase that exquisite feeling. However, it remains vague why some people experience a rider’s high and some do not. It’s also not clear what you can do to make a rider’s high happen. But even without feeling this euphoric state, exercise like riding is a healthy choice for most people. And that’s one hell of a feel-good reason.

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