Is Biking Therapy a Thing in Treatment for Addiction?


You know what they say about learning to ride a bike- you never forget how. You’ll hear that sentiment all the time- it’s like riding a bike!- typically when you’re expressing some sort of anxiety about doing an activity you haven’t done in sometime. Addiction and alcoholism is sort of like riding a bike. After a while, the daily habits and routines of addiction become routine. There isn’t any learning left to do, it’s just the knowledgeable repetition of movements and decisions until they aren’t decisions anymore. When you’re riding a bike, you aren’t actively deciding to push through the pedals every single time or decide to balance. These small actions and behaviors become so normalized there is no need to actively make the decision anymore.

There’s a metaphor for recovery from drug and alcohol addiction here. Recovery, during the treatment phase, is like learning to ride a bike. Men and women are in treatment and are afraid of falling, scratching their knees, and getting hurt. They’re afraid of failing, of never being able to figure out how to stay sober, and they’re afraid of embarrassing themselves in front of other people. At times, people in treatment for recovery from drug and alcohol addiction might get discouraged, believe they can’t do it, and try to stop. Yet the promise of riding the bike, that is the promise of learning how to stay sober, is a golden one. Freedom, being able to go wherever you please with the skill set you gain, the confidence in knowing you accomplished it, the idea of how good it will feel when you aren’t ‘learning’ to ride a bike anymore but when you are just riding, free from worry- free. Sobriety from drugs and alcohol is freedom, like riding a bike. It takes time to learn, it takes time to make it routine, but once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. Only you can choose to pretend you don’t know how to ride a bike anymore, but the knowledge will always be there.

Bike therapy is pretty therapeutic. Some clients learn to ride a bike for the first time. Other clients can’t remember the last time they were on a bike. Everyone starts to ride the bike and experiences life in a new way.


Lakehouse Recovery’s prime location on the beautiful and serene Lake Sherwood in Westlake Village gives us plenty of opportunities to ride our bikes- literally and metaphorically. We use biking as a fun activity to help show clients what they are capable of in their recovery- the primary thing being having fun without drugs and alcohol. For information on our residential treatment programs and 12 month aftercare, call us today: 877.762.3707


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