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  1. #1
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    I feel like a failure!

    OK, here's my story.

    I used to ride a bike several years ago finding the flat streets mostly in San Francisco which is very hilly. It was stolen a long time ago.

    Recently, I got it into my head to purchase another bike & I was very excited about it. My car had been in the shop too many times.

    I researched, tried a few bikes out, etc. until I bought a Raleigh Venture (small) for a 5'0 woman. I loved it. At least I loved looking at it.

    I admit that even when I rode my bike awhile back, I never felt 100% confident nevertheless I rode it. I lost my balance a few times and fell but nothing major.

    So I bought this bike and was practicing on my street - a wide street/no traffic, and I was making a wide turn (plenty of room), when I don't know what really happened, but the bike tipped and I fell and it hurt, OUCH. But this was after falling 2X before when I suddenly ran into a hill and the momentum speeded me up so much that it scared me a bit and you know the feeling when you might brake too much you feel as if you're going to fly over the handlebars. I didn't, but I more or less lost control of the bike and wound up in a place that if there was traffic, I could have been in trouble. The fall when I was leisurely making a wide turn was the last straw.

    I got very upset because I wondered why i could no long ride a bicycle. I became afraid of it and after 2 days I returned it - in tears. I thought, well maybe I'm just not cut out to be a bike person although i'm a good athlete in many other respects.

    I thought I'd just rent bikes for awhile and practice on the rental bikes. Now this was embarassing. They take you out into the back yard with many other people where people are trying their bikes. So I straddled my bike and I didn't even start to MOVE when the bike tipped over along with me. Everyone was surprised and I said I was alright even tho I wasn't psychologically, scraped a few knees.

    I really don't get it. I WANT to go back to bicyclying but I'm scared to death and feel like I've given up. I've lost all my confidence and I see all these people riding their bicycles so effortlessly as I once did and I get real envious. I don't even know why I fell so much.

    Maybe I need beginner's lessons? Or maybe I should just give up. I'm very torn.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member jack002's Avatar
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    Let me be the first to encourage you to keep going! Sounds like you just need to practice riding more. Ride slow and carefully at first, take 'baby steps' and you'll get it. Once you're really used to riding you'll know instinctively what you can do and what you can't. Might want to have a friend or a shop take a look at this bike, there may be issues with the brakes, shifters, wheels, frame, etc.

    Hang in there, you'll do fine really soon!

    Jack

  3. #3
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    First off, welcome to Bike Forums. There are lots of patient and very helpful people on these boards that can give you advice and tips on becoming a better bike rider. A couple of forums I'd recommend are:

    Advocacy and Safety Forum
    General Cycling Discussion Forum

    Are there any local bike courses available for beginners in your area? If not, no worries ... just start out slowly, and preferably on flat land, until you get used to the feel of the bike. You're developing your confidence more than your actual biking skills. Let us know how your progress goes.

  4. #4
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    I admire your perserverance. Take off the pedals, and lower the saddle so you can push yourself along with youre feet. I cant explain it, but the balance is achieved with the steering. Try it in a large empty space like a school parking lot, where you dont have to worry what you will run into.

  5. #5
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    Trudijane, Welcome to Bike Forums! I see why you are afraid!! I would be too...

    What Andrew said is a good way to start. If you don't know how to take off the pedals, you can just scoot along without pedaling, using your feet to push you along. You control how fast the bike goes and with being able to put your feet down you feel more secure.

    But first, I'd recommend that you take a few days off from riding or even thinking about it. When you are ready, you can take a look at these videos:

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un9vfl6iMTM"]YouTube - Learning to Ride a Bike at Age 50 - Ouch!!![/ame]

    Note on this one she has the seat low. and goes slowly and makes wide turns. This is a good way to start BUT!! She does not have on a helmet!! Please use a helmet when you do this.

    Here is another vid that might help:

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjUopYKMVhA&feature=related"]YouTube - Bicycle Tips & Maintenance : How to Ride a Bicycle[/ame]

    Good luck to you and DONT GIVE UP!!
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  6. #6
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    As recommended in the video, training wheels can be purchased. Another option is an adult tricycle. They come in all sorts of various styles and shapes and materials.

    Don't give up, though! The freedom you get from cycling is amazing.

  7. #7
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    Welcome to BikeForums.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trudijane View Post
    So I straddled my bike and I didn't even start to MOVE when the bike tipped over along with me.
    Are you putting your feet on both pedals before you start moving? Put one foot on a pedal and push yourself off with the other foot. At the same time push down with the foot that's on the pedal to gain a little speed. Then when you are moving put the other foot on the other pedal and pedal normally.
    If you are trying to turn while going too slow you will most likely fall. I've done that. Lean a little in the direction you're turning and take the foot on the side of the turn (left turn=left foot, right turn=right foot) off the pedal in case you need to stop or if you feel like you're going to fall.
    Practice with a cycling friend. Perhaps s/he can see what you are doing and give you some pointers.
    Good luck.
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  8. #8
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    Oh my, don't give up!
    I understand your fears. I pulled my bike out of the garage after many years of not riding. I felt very wobbly on it riding around my home and even came to a point where I rode on the sidewalk as opposed to the road to keep from getting hit. That was almost worse. I made a turn, and it was almost like the front tire was stuck in a rut or something. I didn't fall, but I lost total control of the bike. It scared the heck out of me. I was almost too afraid to ride home and did in fact get off halfway and walk it. Back into the garage it went.
    Years later I suffered a permanent knee injury. Even after surgery I had limited use. It broke my heart because I mourned all the things I wouldn't be able to do (supposedly) again. Biking wasn't a part of my life then, but after some time and a LOT of physical therapy....my PT said if there was one thing I could do on my own to help my knee...it would be to take up cycling. So I purchased a cheapo bike at Walmart. For the most part it stayed in the garage too. But last year I finally took it out, hopped on, and prepared for the worst. I was still scared to death. But as they say-baby steps. Around the block a few times. Threw it in the back of the car and took it to a VERY large cemetery nearby and rode around there, eventually graduated to a bikepath along our VERY lovely Niagara river....and my confidence is back. I absolutely love it and am so glad I gave it another shot. I hope for the same for you.
    It didn't sound like balance was your issue...it sounded like speed. In direct traffic probably wasn't the best place to start after a long absence. In the midst of dozens of other bikers sounds a bit stressful too. Maybe you should try the cemetery angle (if you have one with roads near home). You would have traffic-like roads....without the traffic to worry about. When you feel more confident-try the roads outside the cemetery. From there, you will know what you can handle.
    The best of luck to you. You want to ride, so I know you will : )

  9. #9
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    Hello everyone,
    I read each & every post, & I appreciate them SO much. The incident is still bothering me - I think because mainly I've given up. But not exactly. I had another incident that caused me to feel that maybe it's time to give it up and stop being so hard on myself for feeling this way.

    I was near a rental place recently, and decided to try on some bicycles for size and was thinking about possibly renting one. It was near the park - hardly any traffic. They bring you in the back of the store (with many other people who looked a little nervous themselves) to test them out. Lots of people but plenty of room. All I did was get on the bike and straddle it to see how it felt, and just put on foot on the pedal w/o moving yet. I'm aware that to start, the feeling of pushing off on one foot then get the other foot up to start pedalling and getting up some speed to maintain better balance. So, I hadn't even moved an inch yet, when, I can't really say what happened, but the bike tilted and I fell off the bike - again. I was so embarassed. Everyone came over to ask if I was alright and I minimized it and said I was, but I wasn't both physically and definititely mentally. My other knee took the brunt of this fall (they're both still healing) and I felt again, completely defeated. Perhaps I anticipated falling (anticapatory anxietey) and got on the bike and just fell.

    One person said that if I was attempting a turn slowly, that I'd be more likely to fall. That was probably true and why I fell the first time. I was turning very slowly and toward the end of the turn, the bike just tipped over & fell. I didn't have control of it. But I'm still healing.

    Now, everytime I see a bicyclist which is every second, I stare and feel bad and just don't get what happened to my bicycle skills, what little I did have of them. I so much want to get one and ride one - still and I don't know why I can't get over the idea. Maybe I'll try again in spring?

    I don't want to get training wheels and a tricycle sounds "safe", but I'd feel ridiculous riding around on one. I would definitely need one on one lessons I think until I build up enough confidence. I still have the books I ordered from Amazon about learning about biking and plan to read them in my leisure time.

    Why I fell off a bike when I wasn't even moving, I'll never know! Sigh.
    T.

  10. #10
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    It would be tough to work around the ridiculousness of the training wheels, but old trikes are back in vogue. I did a ride a while ago to our local park and someone had brought their trike loaded with beer. It was perfect. There are also some really cool recumbent style trikes that are stable and look like race cars.



    It sounds like you need a friend to run along side you and help you maintain your balance. If you can get above walking speed, into running speed, it will be much easier to control the bike.

    You may find that training wheels will only make you look silly for a week before you get your balance back, too, if you go that route. They would act like a friend running beside you but without the drawback of actual human interaction.

    Don't give up, though! We have faith you can do it!

  11. #11
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Go visit your Doctor! Sounds more like you are experiencing a physical balance problem. Could be related to ears, or many other reasons.

  12. #12
    Where's that GPS? LostViking's Avatar
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    Def have the inner-ear thing checked. That trik pictured above looks cool - but costly.

    AndrewP mentioned taking the pedals off and just pushing yourself along with both feet just off the ground. That's kind of how I taught myself to ride when I was a kid - it allowed me to concentrate on balance first. Once I felt comfortable, I slowly started putting my feet on the pedals (which I couldn't take off as it was a friend's bike) and just coasting on a slightly downhill gradiant. Once I was comfortable with that, I started pedaling.

    Don't be hard on yourself - might be your fear is contributing to your accidents. Check that inner-ear thing. Good luck!

  13. #13
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trudijane View Post
    OK, here's my story.

    I used to ride a bike several years ago finding the flat streets mostly in San Francisco which is very hilly. It was stolen a long time ago.

    Recently, I got it into my head to purchase another bike & I was very excited about it. My car had been in the shop too many times.

    I researched, tried a few bikes out, etc. until I bought a Raleigh Venture (small) for a 5'0 woman. I loved it. At least I loved looking at it.

    I admit that even when I rode my bike awhile back, I never felt 100% confident nevertheless I rode it. I lost my balance a few times and fell but nothing major.

    So I bought this bike and was practicing on my street - a wide street/no traffic, and I was making a wide turn (plenty of room), when I don't know what really happened, but the bike tipped and I fell and it hurt, OUCH. But this was after falling 2X before when I suddenly ran into a hill and the momentum speeded me up so much that it scared me a bit and you know the feeling when you might brake too much you feel as if you're going to fly over the handlebars. I didn't, but I more or less lost control of the bike and wound up in a place that if there was traffic, I could have been in trouble. The fall when I was leisurely making a wide turn was the last straw.

    I got very upset because I wondered why i could no long ride a bicycle. I became afraid of it and after 2 days I returned it - in tears. I thought, well maybe I'm just not cut out to be a bike person although i'm a good athlete in many other respects.

    I thought I'd just rent bikes for awhile and practice on the rental bikes. Now this was embarassing. They take you out into the back yard with many other people where people are trying their bikes. So I straddled my bike and I didn't even start to MOVE when the bike tipped over along with me. Everyone was surprised and I said I was alright even tho I wasn't psychologically, scraped a few knees.

    I really don't get it. I WANT to go back to bicyclying but I'm scared to death and feel like I've given up. I've lost all my confidence
    and I see all these people riding their bicycles so effortlessly as I once did and I get real envious. I don't even know why I fell so much.

    Maybe I need beginner's lessons? Or maybe I should just give up. I'm very torn.
    Thanks
    .
    First of all, you have to be commended for getting this far. There's not too many people out there who would be willing to learn how to ride a bike as an adult. Takes a lot of courage. I have a feeling you're not the type to give up too easily. Besides, you now have a bunch of people rooting for you and interested in your progress. Regular updates are a must!

    Hopefully I'm not getting too personal here, however, how long has it been since you've ridden a bike well? If it's been a very long time, I can see some fear issues possibly preventing you from success. Have you considered asking a buddy along to help stabilize you for the first while until you get the "feel" for the bike and the motion? Keep in mind that most of us learned how to ride a bike while someone was holding on to it.

    I'm looking forward to some pics of you on your bike someday. Good Luck!!!

    Btw, try posting onto the General Cycling forum. You will get a lot more tips in that forum. You will find people to be very helpful and patient.

  14. #14
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    Please help - This is what I want to do!

    Hi all,

    My story is at the beginning. I had bought a really nice bike that fit me, etc. and after a few falls, that hurt, I became afraid of it and they permitted me to return it because I was afraid to ride it.

    Now, I notice every bikerider on the road and feel SO frustrated. I am not the type to give up, and I want to ride SO much that I want to try again, but in a different way. I really think I should invest in taking some bicycle lessons, one on one with someone who knows what their doing as if I was a child. At the same time, I don't want to buy a whole new bike (Valencia Cyclery was nice enough to let me return it and gave me no problems) but that's not always the case, because the same thing might happen again, and I really don't want to kill myself on a bicycle. It's like becoming an obsession because I know I can do this when I get over my fear of the falls.

    What can I do to get someone to teach me on perhaps a less-expensive used bike (I find that the rental ones are kind of in shabby condition and fit is important to me). There must be a solution to this, but I don't want to risk spending $300 again and then not riding it.

    I'm very serious about this. Thanks so much.
    Trudi

  15. #15
    Senior Member jack002's Avatar
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    One person said that if I was attempting a turn slowly, that I'd be more likely to fall. That was probably true and why I fell the first time. I was turning very slowly and toward the end of the turn, the bike just tipped over & fell. I didn't have control of it. But I'm still healing.
    You're most apt to fall when turning, and not going fast enough, or too fast can be a problem. If you are moving way slower then walking, then thats too slow.
    Why I fell off a bike when I wasn't even moving, I'll never know! Sigh. T.
    Well, theres a good reason, you lost the gyro that holds you up. Did you ever play with a gyroscope as a kid? Ever rev it up and try to turn it? Its hard to do. Thats what holds up a bike. If you slow to almost stopped then you lost the gyro that holds you up. The trick is to keep moving fast enough to have that gyro effect hold you and not so fast that you flying sideways somewhere. If you have an open field or a parking lot to practice in, you can learn how to do it. Try to go straight mostly at first, turn some wide turns slowly and gradually build up confidence to turn more. Myself, I take turns that are only like maybe 8 feet across, (when I turn around on the trail) and it took time to get used to this bike to do it. (Don't think that once anyone can make a sharp turn on one bike they can do it on any bike!)

    I said before, hang in there, you'll get it.

    Others have asked if you have any issues with your balance, you don't do you?

    I wish you lived nearby, I'd go to help you. I think all you need is more confidence. If thats all, then its doable, you just have to try and stick with it and not do too much at once. We have a couple bike clubs here in town that I know would like to help, maybe theres one near you that can? See if there is.

    Jack
    Biking isn't a sport because anybody can do it. I can bike, you can bike. For goodness sakes, my mother can bike! You don't see her on the cover of Sports Illustrated, do you?

  16. #16
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    That 3 wheeler

    You know, that looks really cool AND relaxing. I would guess that if I went out riding on something like that all eyes would be one me! It looks a little bulky though...

    But really, I just want help in regaining my confidence on riding my bike and I don't know what to do first. Now, I don't have a bike. Maybe I should have kept the one I bought, maybe not. Maybe there is a better fit out there for me. I know I would wear knee pads because when I fell, it was my knees that hurt so badly for about a week and my hands to try and stop the fall.

    I'm afraid to buy a nice bike that fits, only to have the same fear and anticapation that I did before. So, where do I start. I wish there was sort of a bike camp where they had a variety of sizes of well-maintained used bikes so that people can learn on. I can't be the only one. I was always considered to be a good athlete also. I minored in phys ed in college! And I used to ride around campus. Now I'm an old lady in my 50's (j/k...I don't feel old) but I guess when you get older your fear of starting things gets worse.

    I don't know...I was trying out a bike in a store that I didn't know about in the City. In that store, I did fine. They just have a big space around the perimeter of the bikes shown and you try your bike out there. I went in circles for about 5 minutes, and didn't fall off.

    Actually, if someone started a business of "bike camps" I bet you that a lot of people would be going and it would be quite successful! Imagine going to a place 1 month during the summer and getting everywhere by bicycle from the beginning as training.

    So, what's should I do first?
    Trudi

  17. #17
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trudijane View Post
    You know, that looks really cool AND relaxing. I would guess that if I went out riding on something like that all eyes would be one me! It looks a little bulky though...

    But really, I just want help in regaining my confidence on riding my bike and I don't know what to do first. Now, I don't have a bike. Maybe I should have kept the one I bought, maybe not. Maybe there is a better fit out there for me. I know I would wear knee pads because when I fell, it was my knees that hurt so badly for about a week and my hands to try and stop the fall.

    I'm afraid to buy a nice bike that fits, only to have the same fear and anticapation that I did before. So, where do I start. I wish there was sort of a bike camp where they had a variety of sizes of well-maintained used bikes so that people can learn on. I can't be the only one. I was always considered to be a good athlete also. I minored in phys ed in college! And I used to ride around campus. Now I'm an old lady in my 50's (j/k...I don't feel old) but I guess when you get older your fear of starting things gets worse.

    I don't know...I was trying out a bike in a store that I didn't know about in the City. In that store, I did fine. They just have a big space around the perimeter of the bikes shown and you try your bike out there. I went in circles for about 5 minutes, and didn't fall off.

    Actually, if someone started a business of "bike camps" I bet you that a lot of people would be going and it would be quite successful! Imagine going to a place 1 month during the summer and getting everywhere by bicycle from the beginning as training.

    So, what's should I do first?
    Trudi
    It sounds like you need a bike co-op. Check to see if there's one in your town. They may be able to set you up with a decent, well-maintained bike and give some good pointers. Congrats on riding in the store! It sounds like some more practice and a little bit of help and you'll get there!

  18. #18
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    Trudi (I hope that's your correct first name???). I have to admit that I did a bit of investigative work. You didn't mention where you're from so it's hard to help find a beginner's course for you. However you did mention that you returned your bike to "Valencia cyclery". That would be in San Francisco right? If that is where you're from, then check out this beginner bike course for adults:

    http://www.rei.com/rei/outdoorschool...ybikehowto.jsp

    The course is run through an REI store. I'm not familiar with it, but if you're from the area you've probably heard of it ... or can look it up. Hope this helps.


    Also, here's a good article on Women's Beginner Bike Classes with a bit of a video demonstration.

    http://googlemapsbikethere.org/2008/...eginner-class/

  19. #19
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    Hi Trudi, don't give up. Are you sure you just don't get very self-conscious in front of strangers? That could be hard to overcome, but if you keep plugging along, you will eventually realise that everyone is not staring at you.

    Welcome to BikeForums!

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  20. #20
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    Alfster & EastHill,

    Alfster, thank you for the additional links. I've bookmarked them and plan to read them when I have a block of time. So now I have several sources, links, bicycle books on all levels and no bicycles. I was going to look at one for sale (used) today but it's raining and I'm feeling VERY lazy.

    Easthill,
    Of course I don't want to be the center of attention at first when practicing, but, the times I was practicing on my own street there was no traffic & no people. Noone was watching me (thank goodness). It hurts but it's embarassing.

    There is this person that I made contact with that knows a lot about bikes and teaching....he said he would be willing to help me not only pick out a bike but provide beginning bicycing lessons/tips. Now I feel that maybe I should not have been so quick to return the bike, but I did not know I'd feel so obsessed or create such a challenge in overcoming my fear of not controlling a bike!

    I feel that if I just relaxed more and put the right shoes on (last times I was wearing clogs that could easily come off my feet); they didn't...but who knows if that was a factor. This is a difficult city to bike ride in (SF) and really all I want to do is take more leisurely drives through the park or places close to pick up a few groceries or when my car is in the shop.

    Someone even got me thinking about getting a motor bike of some sort. But I don't know. I appreciate all your feedback.
    Trudijane

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