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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    54

    Newbie... Riding Anxiety?

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    I just started getting more into cycling, got a beautiful new road bike (Dolce Elite), and have been going for rides every few days, depending on the weather.

    I've been feeling some pre-ride anxiety.. and sometimes this stops me from going out even when it's a gorgeous day. It's like I build it up in my head. Once I'm on the bike, it's fine, I feel wonderful and fabulous. I love my bike, so I know it's not comfort level or anything.. But before getting all set up I kind of dread it, and if I think about it too much, I actually feel kind of panic-y. I'm trying to figure out why.. I guess I'm afraid of getting a flat, or getting hit, or any number of things that could go wrong. I've found some good rural routes, but I still have to cycle through some traffic to get to them.. That stresses me out.

    I love being out there, and riding. I just wish it wasn't such a battle to get myself onto the bike.

    I'm wondering if anyone else goes through this, or if anyone has any advice for me?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,144
    Yes, I have been through this and it comes up once in awhile if I am riding with a group in unfamiliar territory. I don't like the feeling of "not knowing where I am."
    Since I have been riding for 9 years, I know it goes away. Some good deep breathing and visualization of the "good" way you feel when you actually get on the bike will help. It really helped me when I first started. My HR used to go up to 90 just sitting down and putting my bike shoes on, when I first started riding!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
    Posts
    5,645
    make plans to ride with others, then you can't talk yourself out of it as easily. I have these demons too. it's worse after a bit of a layoff. when you start riding regularly, it gets better. For me it's different depending on which bike i am riding!
    I'm used to Cavalletta, so it's easier to ride that bike, the others are more scary.
    I like Bikes - Mimi
    Watercolor Blog

    Davidson Custom Bike - Cavaletta
    Dahon 2009 Sport - Luna
    Old Raleigh Mixte - Mitzi

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    96
    I'm getting back into biking and sometimes feel a bit as you've described, though it's lessening all the time. A couple of suggestions:
    - start with rides you find easy, on roads you're familiar with
    - ride with a friend or a beginner group if you can find one
    - wear a high viz jacket or vest so you know other traffic will see you easily
    - get someone to show you how to change a tube, practise at home until you're confident, and always carry a spare tube and tire levers with you (seatbag is usually the easiest place to put them, then they're there on the bike all the time). Changing a tube really isn't a big deal once you know how.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Limbo
    Posts
    8,783
    Quote Originally Posted by Biciclista View Post
    make plans to ride with others, then you can't talk yourself out of it as easily.
    That works well.I know exactly what you're feeling which is why I haven't gotten many miles in yet this year.
    2008 Trek FX 7.2/Terry Cite X
    2009 Jamis Aurora/Brooks B-68
    2010 Trek FX 7.6 WSD/stock bontrager

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,834
    I had the same problem when I started riding. I'd get nervous before each ride. I read this book, which is not at all cycling related:

    http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Habit.../dp/0743235266

    Tharp's approach to doing anything creative is to make it a routine, like brushing your teeth. This has worked well for me with many things, but especially cycling. On days I'm going to ride, I dress, pump my tires, brush my teeth, and get on the bike. No hesitation allowed. You can come up with a million reasons not to ride if you let yourself. Fear is just one of them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Wine Country California
    Posts
    6
    I always feel guilty in my preparatory period. I go through a sensation of guilt because I know once I start I'm gone for 2 hours. I could be doing so many other things for so many other people... This 2 hours has become my time to clear my head and burn that excess fuel I have stored up on my hips, tummy and thighs.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    715
    I have never been brave enough to ride by myself! I used to panic so much before a ride and DH was so calm and "ho hum"... it really ticked me off! Then he got an idea for us to ride with 2 way radios. We have a little radio that tucks into our back jersey pocket and a little headset. He started talking me through the spots where I was "skeered". If I'm giving up on a hill, he talks me up it. My hearing is really bad, so when we go out without the radios I'm always screaming "What?" to him.

    Anyway, I'm probably a drastic example of anxiety and panic, but I think the general advice to find someone to ride with, someone who you can confide in and who is calm enough to talk you through it, is great.

    I've been riding a little over a year now and no longer panic... but we still use the radios to chat with each other on the rides that are more than an hour or two.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    "I never made "Who's Who"- but sure as hell I made "What's That??..."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    N. California
    Posts
    441
    You're not alone! I was actually a very confident rider (40 miles alone? No problem!) However,about 6 weeks ago, I was struck by a car and I am having some trouble getting back on the bike. I was never afraid before, and now I am. I've gone out once, and, had I been riding with others, would have been dangerous. I was so twitchy it was sad, and every intersection was paralyzing. I was going to try again this weekend, but it got away from me. I'm thinking my next ride will be very low traffic, since that is what I'm struggling with.Hang in there; we'll do it together!
    Be yourself, to the extreme!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,982
    Quote Originally Posted by kiwibug View Post
    It's like I build it up in my head. Once I'm on the bike, it's fine, I feel wonderful and fabulous. I love my bike, so I know it's not comfort level or anything.. But before getting all set up I kind of dread it, and if I think about it too much, I actually feel kind of panic-y. I'm trying to figure out why.. I guess I'm afraid of getting a flat, or getting hit, or any number of things that could go wrong. I've found some good rural routes, but I still have to cycle through some traffic to get to them.. That stresses me out.

    I love being out there, and riding. I just wish it wasn't such a battle to get myself onto the bike.

    I'm wondering if anyone else goes through this, or if anyone has any advice for me?
    Some of the major cities in Ontario do offer cycling skills course which would teach you how to ride in urban traffic, etc. I took the course during my lst yr. of returning back to cycling. Guess that was nearly 17 yrs. ago...

    You might be surprised at the low cost or it may be subsidized. Toronto has been running theirs for years. Ottawa also is another strong cycling advocacy oriented area. Both areas might have their surbaban areas run their own programs by now.

    Since my partner was also involved in local volunteer cycling work in Toronto, via him (with bike maps also) got to know the routes and how to string them together. I started cycling nearly 40% of the time on my own anyway, given our personal schedules didn't mesh all the time and he was living in a different part of town. So had about 5-6 routes that I knew very well (ranging from 16 kms. to 65 kms. each, always with at least 1 hill), where I would do these routes repeatedly with tiny variations, depending how I was feeling on the bike and weather....and just do 1 of these routes or on weekends, string together several in 1 huge loop (latter which would take me nearly the whole day) ) .

    But then I couldn't make up too many excuses (except in wintery snowy days), since I didn't have a car then: the bike became one of my transportation modes.

    Consider doing your ride if at all possible, during quieter roader traffic time of the day.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Northern VT
    Posts
    7

    anxiety

    Thank goodness I am not alone. Worried about traffic, being hit, flats and other things that it almost wasn't worth the ride. Just starting on the road so appreciate all the helpful suggestions. In the woods I am anxious about the moose and bears so I always bring the dogs.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,713
    You're not the only one. I've flat-out told my boyfriend that there's no way (at this point) that he's going to make me ride on the roads. I haven't been on a bike in years. I'm not really worried about flat tires (I figure you really learn how to change those when you need to): I'm worried about the lunatics who drive around here. I know one person who got hit by a car (she was unhurt, apart from some bruises) and I don't think I can handle riding in traffic just yet.

    His response? He laughed.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Edge of Colorado Plateau
    Posts
    702
    I have been a little more affraid of traffic and accidents too. I can change a flat, might take me a while but its doable. The scary car drivers, then all of those people on their cell phones while they are driving.

    Recently, I have taken to the bike trails and routes for my safety. I would rather be safe than sorry. I feel for all of you who have been injured while riding. I do not trust cars while I am riding the bike. It makes it easier for me to deal with.

    Red Rock

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Antonio Heights, CA (Upland)
    Posts
    1,068
    I highly recommend riding with others. You're noticed by cars more if there is more than one of you. If something happens, you can deal with it together. If you're with an experienced cyclist, you should be comforted by the fact that they've been riding a while. They probably know how to change a tire and deal with a lot of things you aren't so sure about. They probably know the area, the good routes, what dangers to avoid or point out to you.

    I ride a couple times a week with a friend and often do club rides on the weekends. I had ridden a little longer than my friend when we started riding together, so I was the "experienced" one, yet I had never changed a tire. Dh had given me a lesson and I had watched him a few times, but never had to change one myself. My friend and have since changed many a tire together. I finally got really good at figuring out how to use the C02 cartridge thingy and she somehow manages to get the back wheel on the bike (the back wheel is much more of a pain than the front)! So it's a team work thing. (I have done the back wheel myself before, too, so I can do it if I have to.)

    Anyway, find a club in your area and hook up with some people.
    GO RIDE YOUR BIKE!!!

    2009 Cannondale Super Six High Modulus / SRAM Red / Selle San Marco Mantra

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    54
    Thought I'd update on my predicament a bit!

    I've gotten out to ride many times more since I posted this, and I'm getting more and more comfortable. I've discovered some really quiet streets, and although I haven't started riding with anyone (I'm only in this city for a few weeks more and then moving for three months - didn't want to pay the membership!), I see many many cyclists on my route! This also means I get passed quite a bit haha. Another thing I did to make myself more comfortable was I got a couple REALLY BRIGHT clothing items.. they're pretty much eyesores, but I figure at least motorists will definitely see me.

    Thanks for all the tips! I really do want to join in on some club rides, but the timing just isn't right this year. I'm hoping maybe next year.

 

 

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