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Can a person easily lose their fear of cycling on busy roads at 35 yo?

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Can a person easily lose their fear of cycling on busy roads at 35 yo?

Old 03-05-18, 08:16 AM
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Can a person easily lose their fear of cycling on busy roads at 35 yo?

Wanna go touring and my girlfriend has agreed to it, but she mentioned a tandem as shes scared of cycling on busy roads here in SE Asia and hasnt spent much time on a bike. Not too sure about a tandem on dirt roads here so would like to use regular bikes if possible, but am nervous about her cycling.

Anyone have any experience of this?
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Old 03-05-18, 08:22 AM
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A nice big rear-view mirror helps a lot. At least you can see the threats and anticipate.

Get her good lights and reflectors so she feels confident that traffic will see her.
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Old 03-05-18, 09:34 AM
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Easily lose the fear? Probably not.

It's probably better to thing of acclimatization, if you can plan it. Start with rural lanes with virtually no traffic, move to less-used town streets, and work your way up the traffic ladder. Don't push too far, too fast. The plan should be to find just a little more traffic that what you're used to, lather, rinse, and repeat until you're riding most roads.
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Old 03-05-18, 09:50 AM
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In addition to the light, go overboard on reflective stuff including a vest. Makes a big difference to both rider ( they feel safer) and to cars. Hope that helps.

Now on the other end I would strongly suggest you to slowly introduce her into it or you will end up with a tandem, scooter, motorcycle, ect ect in your garage collecting dust.
I speak from experience.....
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Old 03-05-18, 09:51 AM
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I've been riding bikes since I was 4. But I never rode on the streets with traffic (not counting just cruising around my own neighborhoods with little to no traffic) until I was 39, a full year after I started bike commuting to work where I purposely took side roads and back paths to avoid streets.

At first it was absolutely horrifying. By the 3rd or 4th commute once I started riding in the streets I was over it.

It should always be a LITTLE scary. You don't want to be terrified or you'll be too tense and likely to do something stupid. But you want to be a LITTLE nervous because it'll keep your guard up and keep you focused. If you get TOO relaxed when riding in the street you're likely to get distracted and miss approaching danger. You should be just nervous enough to keep you paying attention, but not enough that you can't enjoy the ride.

Anyway...point is...I was 39 when I started riding in the streets. I got over the near paralyzing fear of a car passing me pretty quick. So yes, it can be done at 35.
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Old 03-05-18, 11:14 AM
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Being paralyzed by fear is counter productive. On the other hand, a healthy fear keeps one alert and better able to deal with the unexpected.
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Old 03-05-18, 01:08 PM
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Stuff like that can happen. I know I have been more cautious in the rain while riding then I was in the past after a semi-recent crash which was relatively minor but left me in some pain for a while. Granted that issue was my fault and down to my reckless riding in that moment because I just wanted to get home and I was in the final stretch.

The more you ride, the more confident you can become, you just have to be committed to being a part of traffic and take your lane and not worry so much about folks behind you and just focus on the road ahead. Don't get overconfident and be stupid (especially in the rain) but don't let fear control you.
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Old 03-05-18, 03:37 PM
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Old 03-05-18, 03:42 PM
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A little fear is a good thing. I would suggest a goal to build up the traffic exposure slowly as others have suggested. Never lose respect for what can happen or the awareness that the cyclist loses in every bicycle vs car shunt.
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Old 03-05-18, 04:59 PM
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Put some flashing lights and bright reflective stuff on and get out there. I just did; I'm 68.
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Old 03-05-18, 05:33 PM
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So why not tandem? Just to be the devil's advocate.....

Get a tandem that you can get at least 40s on, you can probably be fine on unpaved roads.
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Old 03-05-18, 06:07 PM
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Fear is normal response danger. I don't think it ever goes away; we just get use to it though acclimation. With experience and confidence, fear may be offset with 'caution' - a very healthy attribute.
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Old 03-05-18, 06:12 PM
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Join some group rides if possible. I know some folks who'd never ride streets alone but enjoy group rides on streets. Otherwise they prefer the multi-use paths that exclude motor vehicles.
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Old 03-05-18, 07:47 PM
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Cheers people,

I should have mentioned that we are in Cambodia so i think her fear of the roads may be perfectly rational rather than irrational. As much as i love the place i think the roads here may even be as wild bonkers as India.

I told her if she can cycle here she can cycle anywhere.

I'm thinking we will just use a crappy old bike and let her ride it around some unused estate for a good while.
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Old 03-05-18, 08:09 PM
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As mentioned, the more practice the better before heading out on tour. Also, riding with a partner that is comfortable on the roads will also likely help.

At least here in the USA, there are a number of very cheap 26" MTB based tandem bicycles. I think some are made by Pacific Cycles or Kent (probably different names by the same manufacturer). They are often $200 to $400 New, and if one pops up used, dirt cheap.
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Old 03-06-18, 08:28 AM
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Yep, if she can ride in Asia, she can ride anywhere!
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Old 03-06-18, 02:53 PM
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You could Move to a place less busy..
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Old 03-06-18, 02:57 PM
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Your fear of riding on busy roads is valid - it's a stupid thing to do. Your body is telling you you're in danger - because, you're in danger. If you haven't worked this out by the time you're 35 then you have little hope.
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