Cycling is a great activity for anyone to undertake to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors. It is also a fantastic way to travel since it does not require any fuel or public transportation.
However, many people are afraid of cycling for one reason or another. In this article, we will cover some unique ways that allow anyone to overcome their bike riding fears and start enjoying the benefits of cycling.
List Of Common Fears & Ways To Overcome Them
1) Hit by a Car or Traffic
The number one fear of cyclists is being hit by a car, which happens more frequently than you think.
Many cyclists are killed every year because they run red lights or do not follow proper safety procedures when riding on the road.
The best way to avoid this is to make sure you are visible to drivers at all times (wearing bright colors or reflective clothing can always help), and obey traffic laws.
However keep in mind that most car accidents with cyclists happen when they are on the streets, and one should never assume that the cars will stop at a red light.
2) Losing Balance and Falling
The second biggest fear that people have with cycling is hitting a pothole and falling over. In India especially, there are some really bad roads. Furthermore, there are no bike lanes so one has to go out into the traffic.
In order to avoid this, make sure your tires are properly inflated to the air pressure recommended by the bike’s manufacturer.
Also, avoid potholes and uneven surfaces as much as possible because these cause one to lose their balance.
If you do find yourself falling, make sure to stay calm and keep your hands on the handle bars until you regain control (if you are not injured).
Then, pull over to the side of the road and check your bike for any damage.
If there are any problems, you should have them fixed by a professional.
The best way to avoid this is by wearing proper safety equipment, such as a hard shell helmet, elbow pads/knee pads, gloves, and knee braces. You should also make sure your cycle is in good shape and properly maintained.
It is also important to keep your eyes on the road at all times, as distractions such as cell phones can cause accidents.
3) Steep or Wet Descents
The third fear that people have is steep descents. These can be very dangerous if you are not used to them, since the bike will pick up speed and it quickly becomes hard to control.
During rainy season , many descents get covered in small puddles or even turn into rivers for sometime. Water can also cause the road to become slippery, which makes it hard for you to control your bike.
The best way to conquer this fear is by practicing on a less steep descent or even walking your bike down part of the slope (preferrably when no cars are around).
4) Taking Corners or Turns
Well, this fear is pretty self-explanatory. Make sure to use proper safety gear and control your bicycle when you are navigating sharp corners or turns on the road.
Keep a check on your speed to make sure you do not lose control of the bicycle.
Just like when riding down steep descents, you should practice this on a less dangerous road or while there is less traffic.
Another best way to do this is by going on a few training rides with an experienced rider.
5) Night Riding
This fear is not as common, but it can still be very dangerous for new cyclists.
It is important to wear reflective clothing and have proper bicycle lights when riding your bike at night (and make sure you take off the headphones while cycling to hear properly).
Keep in mind that it is also much harder to see your surroundings at night, especially when you are on busy roads with little or no street lights.
If possible, avoid riding in darkness or wait until after sunrise if this is a problem.
6) Just Starting Out
Another fear that new cyclists have is they are too afraid to even start riding.
This is completely normal, especially since it takes time to get used to cycling. However you should know that this fear will only grow if left unchecked, and will prevent you from ever enjoying cycling.
This can be due to not having the right equipment or not knowing how to ride a bike. The best way to conquer this fear is by finding an instructor who can teach you all of the basics and give you a boost of confidence. Also, get the right cycle for women or men.
7) Getting Lost
The seventh fear that most people have is getting lost on their bikes.
People who go on wildlife rides or trails are especially susceptible to this anxiety.
The best way to avoid this is by carrying a map on you at all times (if possible) and knowing how to use it.
The best solution for this problem is to make sure you know where your local bike shops are and as mentioned above always have a map with you, even if you are just going for a short ride.
8) Not reaching Personal goals
The eighth fear that people have is not reaching their personal cycling goals.
This can be due to a lack of motivation or lack of knowledge on how to achieve the goals.
Some people just want to lose weight and that is their goal, while for someone it might be to compete in a race.
The best way to have motivation is by setting goals and keeping track of your progress.
It is difficult to achieve one’s objective since it demands that one stays dedicated in the face of whatever comes one’s way.
The best solution for this is to find someone who can help you set up a plan and reach your goals, whether it is building endurance or learning new skills.
When you are cycling, there can be many fears that can come up and prevent you from enjoying your ride.
These include steep descents during rainy season, taking corners or turns too sharply, night riding on busy roads without street lights, just starting out as a cyclist with no experience or knowledge of how to cycle safely and not getting lost.
The best way to conquer these overwhelming biking anxieties is by practicing the skills necessary in less dangerous environments until they become second-nature.
If self-practice becomes too difficult due to lack of confidence or motivation then find an instructor who can help build up those skills so that, eventually conquering these fears will not seem like such a daunting task.
I hope these unique ways to conquer your cycling fears help you become a better cyclist.
Also Read: More Cycling and Outdoor Articles