7 Ways to Conquer Your Cycling Fears

March 08, 2021

7 Ways to Conquer Your Cycling Fears

No matter if you're an experienced cyclist or a novice, you'll likely have to face fears, worries, or anxieties of some kind at some point. For many people, these tend to just come with the territory. For others, there are specific issues that prevent the cyclist from having full confidence in the seat.

The good news is you don't have to let it get you down. Here, we'll go into the more common cycling fears and how to conquer them. Whether it's city cycling, tackling steep inclines, or racing, there's something for every type of cyclist here. You'll find that some methods can even work for more than one problem, so you can try different things to find what works best for you.

1. Doing It Wrong

Cycling can be a bit intimidating, especially for newcomers. This fear of doing it wrong is typical for any beginner, and it isn't even exclusive to cycling. 

The beginning of starting any new activity usually comes with some anxiety or fear. Especially for cycling, there is a real possibility of injury that you must consider.

Fortunately, you can reduce or eliminate most of the serious risk that comes with cycling. By working on your abilities and knowing what you're doing on a bike, you can avoid most of the potential harm here.

As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect, and cycling is no exception. Beyond that, you don't even need to aim for perfection. Merely putting in the time and effort to hone your skills and gain experience will go a long way towards alleviating all kinds of fears, doubts, and insecurities.

One of the best pieces of advice for any beginning cyclist is finding someone to lend a helping hand. It's much easier to grow and develop with a mentor to show you the ropes and provide support. 

You can hire a coach, or if you have any friends or family with cycling experience, they can fill this role. A good partner will give you tips, areas to work on, and make starting more fun as well.

2. Crashing on Downhills 

Developing your skill will make it easier to deal with the most common fears associated with cycling, such as the fear of crashing and fear of rapid descent. Both of these usually tie into the fear of injury, so by sharpening your abilities, you'll become more confident and less likely to injure yourself by making a mistake. 

The main idea here is to not rush into things. Don't start immediately on huge hills with steep, extended descents. Instead, it would be best if you slowly work your way up to more difficult places to ride. 

Also, make sure you have the proper equipment. A bicycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by 60%, so just by having this gear, you're safer in case of an unwanted crash. 

With steady progression, you'll be able to safely build your skills over time and eventually be able to take on serious hills and other challenges. Just remember that nothing happens overnight. You'll need to focus on discipline and make sure to get in plenty of practice. 

3. Getting Lost on the Trails

Along with developing your skill, you should also know what you're getting into when cycling. One of the most critical areas where you need to prepare is when cycling on trails. For that, you need to develop a plan.

Developing a plan involves a few different aspects, one of which is analyzing the course, trail, or path you're going to be riding. Looking for information online can be a good way to get a sense of what to expect. 

It's also a good idea to look at the area on Google Maps or check it out in person ahead of time to get a feel for the place. You can observe what the terrain is like and note any hills or other obstacles you may encounter. By avoiding unpleasant surprises, you can avoid a lot of stress and unnecessary concern.

On the day of the ride, pack your cycling bag with a map of the area, a compass, emergency nutrition supplies, and a bike repair toolkit. That way, if anything does happen, you have the tools to figure out where you are and return to safety.

Also, never go on a ride without telling a responsible party about your itinerary. You need to inform this person about where you'll be and when. In the worst-case scenario, these people can alert the necessary authorities about where you intended to ride.

By developing a thought-out plan and doing the necessary prep work, you'll be more comfortable cycling for long distances and feeling confident of where you are. You'll have a better chance of achieving your immediate and long-term goals. 

4. Riding in Traffic

Everyone's needs will differ here. For example, city cycling in many places is becoming safer thanks to the addition of bike lanes in cities nationwide. However, not all motorists are conscientious about cyclists.

As a cyclist, you are responsible for knowing how to make the correct hand signals in traffic. Besides that, you simply need to practice awareness.

Safety should also be your top priority, so make sure the bicycle and helmet are top quality. Additionally, think about lights and reflectors if you're cycling at night or in the early morning. 

5. Not Achieving Specific Goals

Some cyclists start riding for a specific goal, such as weight loss. For those who struggle with a fear of failure, feelings of inadequacy, or trouble staying motivated, taking things step-by-step may be all it takes to reach your full potential.

Having a long-term goal can be a great way to stay motivated, and it also allows you to track your progress more closely. Come up with some milestones you'd like to reach and by when. From there, plan backward methodically so that you can break down the steps to achieve your ultimate goal. Backward design is an excellent way to encourage yourself because it provides tangible measures to achieve your accomplishments. 

Apart from cycling goals, it can also be a big help to develop long-term plans and goals. Take some time to think about what you want to achieve within a specific timeframe, what you hope to accomplish, and what you want to get out of it. 

If you are looking to try cycling for weight loss, for example, think about what other methods are necessary to reach your health goals. You might look at your nutritional plan, other fitness activities, etc.

6. Running Out of Steam

Some of us are competitive, and once we start, we want to be the best. If you've gotten into cycling and feel fired up and want to conquer specific trails or races, we're right there with you. But for some riders, that motivation also may come with a healthy dose of fear about running out of steam right when it counts.

A big part of practical training is focusing on your pacing. It may seem obvious, but a common problem comes from starting too fast or going too hard on inclines. 

It takes discipline and some preparation, but figuring out your correct pacing is essential to delivering a solid performance. The last thing you want to do is burn out on a big hill or before you even get close to your finishing point.

7. Coming in Last

If you're training for a race, you're in it to win it. Doing so requires training appropriately. 

Get an idea of what the course is like and adjust your practice to suit the conditions you'll be facing. This pre-race research will determine whether you need to be focusing on hills or straightaways, distance, incline, and other challenges. 

Also, set yourself up with the right equipment. It will grant you more confidence and a more enjoyable experience. For some cyclists, these factors can go a long way towards overcoming any fears or doubts.

Finally, as with the previous tips, make sure you have a specific goal in mind, know when you'd like to accomplish it, and plan how to reach that goal with smaller, actionable steps. Whether it's completing an uphill climb in a set timeframe or going a specific distance in a set period, you can do it. And you may even come out ahead of the rest. 

Conclusion

We all have doubts, fears, and worries, but overcoming them is what leads to long-term happiness and fulfillment. There are certainly some challenges that come with cycling, but conquering them doesn't have to be such a tricky thing. Conquering your fears is an outstanding achievement in itself and makes cycling a fun and rewarding experience. 

With these tips, you can defeat all sorts of cycling fears. Whether you're a novice trying to achieve weight loss or a pro training for the big day, you can achieve whatever goals you have in mind. Just prepare and train, and you'll find that confidence and readiness will quash those fears. 

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