Fear and Cyclingby Leah Barrett - Monday, June 27, 2011
Fear? Yes, fear. Come on, admit it. There have been times when the thought of riding hasn’t always been pleasant. Maybe it’s the fear of the open road, riding in groups, riding again after a crash or taking on a new challenge like riding a Century or climbing mountains. Or, maybe you are new to cycling and it’s all of the above. Whatever the circumstances, fear can be debilitating. This article addresses how to overcome these anxieties.
Step 1: Identify the fear. “I fear that I won’t be able to finish the long ride.” Go deeper. For example, “I’m afraid that I won’t be able to finish the long ride and get stranded.” Or, “I’m afraid that I won’t be able to finish the long ride because I’m not fit enough.” Keep trying to unpeel the layers of anxiety.
Step 2: Accept your fear. You are not the first person and won’t be the last person who has this fear.
Step 3: Take on this task by breaking it down into smaller achievable goals. For example, if your fear is that you won’t be able to finish a long ride and get stranded. Have a back-up plan such as have a friend or family member be “on-call” to come and get you. No more getting stranded. If you are afraid of not being in good enough shape put in a few longer, but manageable, training rides until you are ready.
Step 4: Celebrate your success of accomplishing the goal and overcoming your fear. Just because you rode 40 miles (not 100 miles) in preparation for riding the 100 miles doesn’t mean it wasn’t a success.
Bottom line: with the greatest risk comes the greatest reward. So, go ahead and face those fears (in small, achievable steps) and you’ll reap the bounty.
If you are new to cycling, it’s helpful to connect with someone who is experienced. Again, remember, cycling is not an innate skill. We all had to learn from someone. I fell in love with road riding when I was in college. I did not venture out on my own. I had no idea what I was doing. Instead, I asked a co-worker who I knew was into road riding if she would be interested in introducing me to the sport. She was a great ambassador. She took me to the bike shop, helped me pick out my first bike, got me fit and took me on my first ride and many after that.
Remember the 4 steps to conquering your fears and get out and enjoy the ride!