Did you know that cycling fears aren’t as uncommon as you may think, many people experience some sort of cycling fears in their lifetime. Whether your fear of cycling comes from a past accident, lack of experience or overthinking the process, we know how challenging it can be to overcome this.
The secret to building up your cycling confidence is to establish a good routine before you head out. Practice is key, so start slow, gradually building up your distance and speed, conquering cycling in both quiet and busy areas. Though this does take time, before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to your next bike ride, not dreading it.
We believe in you! And we know that it’s not going to happen overnight, but here are some tips which will help you feel just that bit more comfortable getting back on your bike.
Check your bike before each journey
It’s a good to get into the routine of giving your bike a quick check before you take it out for a ride. This includes tasks such as checking the effectiveness of your brakes, as well as how your bike actually feels when you’re on it. Whilst this seems obvious to you and I, it will help you feel more relaxed and put your cycling fears at ease, if you know that everything is working before you head out.
What do you need to check?
Firstly, you’ll want to check your tyre pressure. Not sure what pressure they need to be? Well, you can find the recommended pressure of your tyres either online, or sometimes you can find it on the tyres themselves.
Secondly, you’ll need to get the brakes a good test. To do this, simply grasp both the brake levers on your handlebars tightly and rock the bike to see if there is any movement. If there is any movement, you’ll have to postpone your ride that day and you’ll need to have your brakes looked at. For your own safety, we do strongly advise not to ride it until this is fixed.
Let’s move back down the bike, next you’ll need to check the chain thoroughly for any rust. If there’s only a small amount of rust, then cleaning and re-lubricating the chain should do the trick. However, if it’s completely covered with rust, or there are large sections of rust, then you’ll need to get it replaced. Your local bike shop should be able to help with this and give you some friendly advice.
Ultimately, as well as the tyre pressure and breaks, you want to be cautious of anything that feels loose, so that goes for the handlebars, peddles, saddle, wheels etc. It’s best to get these checked out before heading out on your next adventure.
Find a cycling group online
Did you know that there are so many cycling groups online and they can be a great way to socialise and build your confidence back up. Chatting to likeminded people can give you that boost you need to overcome your cycling fears.
You might also stumble upon someone who’s been exactly where you are, which can be super reassuring – as they’ll understand exactly how you’re feeling. Even if you don’t feel like venturing out on communal cycling rides just yet, engaging in conversation with other cyclists can provide you the support group that you need.
A lot of the online cycling community are kind and welcoming, so they won’t judge you, if anything they’ll want to help you get back on your feet. You’ll be surprised how many cycling groups there are, and how many there are for different abilities. It won’t be hard to find a group you’ll fit into.
Preplan your ride before you leave
When conquering your cycling fears, it’s a good idea to plan out your rides so that you know exactly where you’re going and what the route will be like. You’ll also want to take a look at the weather conditions before heading out because wind and rain can make a big difference to your ride.
To start off with, you’ll probably want to choose quiet routes which are close by to home, as you’ll be familiar with the area. You can also look into having a “back-up route” which can be a shorter and easier option just in case the fear overcomes you and you cannot carry on with your planned route.
Don’t put yourself down if you need to take another route, this is just a part of the process of growing your confidence and it shouldn’t be seen as a knock back.
It’s easy to get caught up in feeling negative, but growing isn’t linear, so you should just take it at your own pace. As you gain more confidence you can start to go further afield and for a longer duration, but it’s best to start small and work your way up.
Professionals know best – Get your bike checked over
If the thought of tinkering with your bike makes you uneasy, then it’s best to take it to an expert for a once-over. If you explain your fears to them, they can provide you with the reassurance you need to get back on the saddle.
It’ll give you peace of mind if someone qualified looks over it as they know exactly what they are looking for and how to fix any issues.
Sometimes it helps having someone to speak to face to face as you can ask any questions you have about your bike and safety. They are often avid cyclists themselves, so they’ll totally understand where you’re coming from and how you are feeling.
Be proud of your achievements, even if they feel small
You know what, you don’t have to cycle a marathon to feel a sense of achievement. You can be proud of yourself for hopping back on your bike, taking a spin around the block, or even carrying out regular bike TLC.
Once you start recognising these little victories, you’ll feel more comfortable pushing yourself to achieve even more. Before you know it, you’ll be thinking “What was I so worried about?”.
Cycling should be something which you genuinely enjoy again, whether that be for the thrill of going out for a ride, or for the freedom it gives you to get around and do your thing. Make sure to take this at your own pace and make it your own adventure.
Overcoming irrational cycling fears
Have you got a fear which you feel is a bit silly, but you can’t get over it? Like worrying that your whole tire might just come off the bike, or that your handlebars just won’t work properly. Trust me, you’re not alone, and these fears can often actually feel very scary.
Deep down we know these fears are irrational, but that doesn’t make them any less terrifying. The best way to overcome fears like these is to double check the specific part you’re worried about before you head out.
For instance, if you’ve made sure that your handlebars are nice and tight before you start your ride, you’ll feel a lot more reassured and relaxed.
Now, if you feel as though your fears are really intense and hard to manage, it could be worth seeing a healthcare professional. They’ll be able to help you from a medical perspective and help you to get past these fears.
Remember: Some fear is good
While you don’t want to be too afraid to get back on your bike, having a little dose of caution can actually be a good thing. It keeps you on your toes, and you’ll be a lot more aware of what’s going on around you, which can help reduce the chances of having an accident.
Of course, we can’t control unexpected circumstances such as an accident, or incidents with the condition of the road, but if we are alert then we’ll have a much better reaction time if anything does come our way.
You know yourself better than anyone else does, so you’ll know what feels right for you, and the difference between healthy and crippling fear. Remember not to rush this, if there’s a day you don’t feel like cycling, don’t force it.
The key here is to strike a balance between pushing yourself to overcome your fear and allowing your fear to overtake you. It’s all about finding that sweet spot of confidence and anxiety.
Try not to dwell on the possibility of a cycling accident
They aren’t as common as you would think, obviously this depends on your cycling location, frequency, and personal safety. As long as you’re as safe as you can be, and you know that you’ve taken all the necessary precautions, try not to worry about accidents.
Of course, accidents do sometimes happen but in the event of an accident, Cycle Accident Claims are here to help. Remember to follow the procedures following your accident so that they’re able to build a strong solid case to help you.
Our team are here to help you every step of the way during your bicycle accident claim, from medical assistance to getting you the compensation you deserve. We’ll make the process as easy as possible for you, as we understand how scary and stressful these situations can be.