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Retro Grouch 01-21-12 04:32 PM

Performance anxiety
It's been 4 months since I've been on a bike and it will probably be at least 2 more before I attempt another ride. Even so, I'm already beginning to feel anxious just thinking about bicycling again.

After I broke my elbows it took about a year and a half to overcome my anxiety. It seemed like every time that I thought I was putting the anxiety behind me I'd have another set back. I even visited with a psychologist for around 3 or 4 months. Last year I had a serious concussion, another relatively minor concussion and finally the broken hip. The 3 incidents don't have a lot in common other than all happened while riding bicycles. Mrs. Grouch has said she won't ride with me on our Screamer tandem anymore.

Honestly, As much as bicycling has been an important part of my life, I think that I'd rather give it up than struggle with the anxiety that I had following the last crash.

jethro56 01-21-12 04:41 PM

Tadpole Trike?

billydonn 01-21-12 04:42 PM

I'm no psychologist but maybe starting out just spending a little time pedaling on a trainer would help. Hang in there.

Edit: To clarify, I'm suggesting this as a possible transition back to your bike... to get more comfortable.

Dudelsack 01-21-12 04:58 PM

Another vote for the trike.

My son was hit by a car about 18 months ago and he's still road-shy. However, he did great on a few group rides with me. Something about security in numbers.

Kurt Erlenbach 01-21-12 05:19 PM

An unhealthy fear of falling would make cycling not worth the effort. There are other good options. Swimming is a good bit more boring, but superb exercise.

cranky old dude 01-21-12 05:55 PM

I'm trying to look at this from your perspective. If you rule out two wheel cycles you're left with trikes or alternative methods of exercise and enjoying being out doors.

Trikes could simply be a change of your machine as your wife already has a trike. Once trike transporting and storage issues are resolved little else would change.

I assume one thing you would miss if you stopped cycling would be the company of long time cycling friends, so if you chose a different method of exercise such as hiking or swimming or even spin classes would volunteering at your favorite cycling events help you to stay in touch with those long term cycling friends?

You might have a few options here that could put your and your wife's minds at ease without having a major impact on your social life.

Phil85207 01-21-12 11:16 PM

Sorry to hear of you misfortunes. It seems you have had more than your share of grief lately. Things have a way of working out if we keep an open mind about our options. Good luck.

VNA 01-21-12 11:52 PM

Hang in there, restart slowly, just around the block, then around a dozen blocks, go with a group of friends and let them know of your apprehension. Or go on a mountain bike ride with easy trails or bike path--it is more stable and usually slower

I have had similar injuries over the many many years, but one has to get back up and go. I did have a bad concussion once even with my helmet (always)--these injuries can leave lasting scars unfortunately.

Wishing you the very best.

Beverly 01-22-12 09:01 AM

Some good suggestions here, Al.

I've always said when I didn't feel comfortable on the two-wheelers I would be switching to a trike as I love being out there riding. I do GOBA each year and I see several trikes on the ride. They seem to handle the hills nicely and there is no danger of tipping over when the going gets slow up those hills. We have a few trike riders who join us on the park biking program. I've had to chance to try out one of them and really liked it. The lady who owns it also owns the same vehicle I have and it fits perfectly into the back:thumb:

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Banded Krait 01-22-12 09:18 AM


Hang in there, restart slowly, just around the block, then around a dozen blocks, go with a group of friends and let them know of your apprehension. Or go on a mountain bike ride with easy trails or bike path--it is more stable and usually slower.
This is great advice. Modern cognitive science teaches us that the anxiety you are feeling is due to actual neural circuits in your brain. You've got to "desensitize" yourself to these circuits and build "confidence" circuits in their place. The main thing is to get started. Even if you ride just around the block, it's a start, and it will begin the process of building the right neural pathways in your brain. When you come back, reflect upon the success you just had and how good it felt. Gradually increase the distance you ride. Always try to end your ride on a high note. It may take some time, but eventually you will get your confidence back. Good luck!

byte_speed 01-22-12 09:32 AM

I am also recovering from a crash and while I haven 't been off the bike as long as you, it still has been over 2 months. I have a little anxiety about riding again, but I intend to take some short test rides around the neighborhood to regain my confidence.

If you are like me, biking is way too important to give up, no matter that more than one doctor advised against it. Just do it.

Best of wishes.

TomD77 01-22-12 09:44 AM


Originally Posted by Kurt Erlenbach (Post 13749319)
Swimming is a good bit more boring.

Not necessarily---

Artkansas 01-22-12 09:51 AM

I know about the intimidation. In the '70s I was assaulted and robbed of my bike while commuting to school. The next night, commuting to school, while riding my beater bike, I improved my speed 25% on pure paranoia. It was a year before I started to slow down. I over came it by pure endurance. I was not going to be chased off the streets. Such is youth.

It's sounding like a good trike a tadpole or a recumbent trike might be your best option for now. That and start with short trips. But start. It will work itself out.

NOS88 01-22-12 10:18 AM

One of the hallmarks of anxiety is the fear of not knowing the outcome. I'm guessing that you fall into this category, in that, you don't know how it will turn out if you start riding again. I don't mean this to sound harsh, but there's really only one way to find out. While saying this, I would also be the first to acknowledge that you, and only you have the right to choose what level of risk you're willing to accept. You've certainly had enough happen to give you an education in the negative side of things. There are some real nuggets of good advice in some of these posts that might help if you want to ride again. If you decide to take the risk, bravo. If you decide to move on to something else in your life, bravo. Either way you are and have been a winner in my book.

67walkon 01-22-12 05:46 PM

Grouch, you'll be back. I crashed really bad in December, 09. I was in the hospital a total of 16 days because I got a DVT after I was released the first time. I was in a wheelchair for 8 weeks and totally non weight bearing. Technically, my injury was a fractured acetabulum. Non technically, the head of my femur was driven up through my pelvis, resulting in 2 plates and 10 screws in my pelvis. The joint is pretty good, but not anatomical and eventually I will have to have a hip replacement.

At first, I didn't even want to look at my bike. My wife encouraged me and the docs encouraged me. It was about 4 months or so when I built up the nerve to get on the bike. I couldn't even swing my leg over the saddle and had to lay the bike down to get on it. I went 7 or 8 miles, really slow. Now, a bit over 2 years later, I'm fine. I get anxious about big groups because I'm afraid of a crash and I don't like to corner fast, but other than that, its all good.

You'll be fine. Give yourself time.

PaulH 01-22-12 07:21 PM

Cager almost killed me when I was in grad school. KOed, leg clobered. Afterwards, I could neither cycle nor drive for about a month because I couldn't push in the clutch pedal. I had to hobble a mile to class class and back with a cane -- took at least an hour each way. It was a strange experience to mave to move at a third of normal walking pace. Once I was able to cycle again it was such a deliverence -- I could suddenly travel ten times as fast and far. I craved mobility so much it was no problem geting back on the bike. It was good to be able to drive again, but with no parking near my office, being able to cycle was of practical benefit. My advice -- get on the bike. Anxiety is normal, everyone is mortal -- accept it.


harpon 01-23-12 11:22 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Honey, you've Got to slow, got to slow down!

One word JOY! Joy joy joy!

You've got to put the JOY back in it - forget about the Screamer Tandem-

you need to piddle piddle piddle!

Roll it around with no thought of speed. If some young whippersnapper passes you, WHO CARES?
Don't think about the ride- watch the world around you. Don't have a destination or timetable-
roll around when and if it feels good- in light gears and comfortable efforts-
the kinda thing where eventually you may be out for several hours and have a lot of mileage before you even know it ,
because you haven't worn yourself down or injured yourself.

It all started out as fun, remember? Try to make it that again, and good luck.
Memorial Park- Jacksonville Florida

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