Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

fear of falling

Notices
Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

fear of falling

Old 12-04-10, 11:24 PM
  #1  
mtalinm
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
mtalinm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Westwood MA (just south of Boston)
Posts: 2,215

Bikes: 2009 Trek Soho

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
fear of falling

ever since crashing a couple months back, I find myself slowing way down for corners and riding my (back) brakes down big hills.

it sucks because of course part of the fun of cycling is going fast. but I've developed this somewhat irrational fear of falling.

any tips on getting over the anxiety?
mtalinm is offline  
Old 12-04-10, 11:30 PM
  #2  
Creatre
These Guys Eat Oreos
 
Creatre's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Superior, CO
Posts: 3,432

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
There is an old quote, "Courage is not the lack of fear but the ability to face it." It is all mental. Remind yourself the fun and benefits of cycling instead of dwelling on the fear. You are capable of anything if you just focus yourself on it.
Creatre is offline  
Old 12-04-10, 11:43 PM
  #3  
frpax
Steel is real, baby!
 
frpax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 2,530

Bikes: 1984 Pinarello, 1988 Bianchi Trofeo, 1989 Specialized Allez, 1989 Specialized Hard Rock

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Sometimes it takes a while to get the old confidence back. Start braking less and less and deeper into turns 'til you get it back.
frpax is offline  
Old 12-04-10, 11:45 PM
  #4  
Velo Vol 
VFL For Life
 
Velo Vol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 41,945

Bikes: Velo Volmobile

Mentioned: 733 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19063 Post(s)
Liked 886 Times in 613 Posts
Lower your center of gravity.
__________________
Originally Posted by Velo Vol View Post
People here don't get it.
Velo Vol is offline  
Old 12-04-10, 11:45 PM
  #5  
Forza
Con forza e velocitŕ
 
Forza's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Newcastle, WA
Posts: 690

Bikes: Spesh S-Works - Tarmac SL4, Spesh S-Works Venge, BMC Team Machine SLR01, Spesh Allez - FrankenForza

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Check out my sig...
Forza is offline  
Old 12-04-10, 11:49 PM
  #6  
gregf83 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 9,168
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1158 Post(s)
Liked 267 Times in 162 Posts
Time.
gregf83 is offline  
Old 12-04-10, 11:53 PM
  #7  
eippo1
I like beans
 
eippo1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Meffa, MA
Posts: 3,353

Bikes: Tarmac Pro, Bianchi Zurigo, Raleigh Gran Sport, Fuji Del Rey, Ironman Centurion

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Brake before you get to the turns. A thing to help you with confidence is to do some turning drills and thing like putting bottles on the ground and picking them up while riding by. I think Friel's book has some decent drills.
eippo1 is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 12:24 AM
  #8  
Blackdays
Boom.
 
Blackdays's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Pittsburgh -> Cleveland -> San Francisco
Posts: 2,523
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Being afraid of falling is only going to increase your chance of crashing.
Blackdays is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 12:57 AM
  #9  
7bmwm3gtr
Senior Member
 
7bmwm3gtr's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Daly City, California
Posts: 858

Bikes: Trek 2.1, CAAD10

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Because a fear is just a classical conditioning, eventually the stimuli will reach the point of extinction.
7bmwm3gtr is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 12:59 AM
  #10  
brianappleby
Senior Member?
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Denver
Posts: 1,976

Bikes: orbea onix, Cervelo SLC, Specialzed Allez, Cervelo P3 Alu

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by eippo1 View Post
Brake before you get to the turns. A thing to help you with confidence is to do some turning drills and thing like putting bottles on the ground and picking them up while riding by. I think Friel's book has some decent drills.
wtf does picking up bottles have to do with cornering?
brianappleby is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 01:00 AM
  #11  
brianappleby
Senior Member?
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Denver
Posts: 1,976

Bikes: orbea onix, Cervelo SLC, Specialzed Allez, Cervelo P3 Alu

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Velo Vol View Post
Lower your center of gravity.
Lower like on the ground? I think that's what got the OP in trouble in the first place.
brianappleby is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 01:41 AM
  #12  
rydaddy
Type 1 Racer
 
rydaddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Davis, CA
Posts: 2,579

Bikes: A dozen or so.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Blackdays View Post
Being afraid of falling is only going to increase your chance of crashing.
Yup. It's all in the head.
rydaddy is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 03:38 AM
  #13  
Rowan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 16,757
Mentioned: 125 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1442 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 27 Posts
Originally Posted by Velo Vol View Post
Lower your center of gravity.
WHAT????

I came off a bike while on the way to work on a slippery corner (diesel and rain). I dislocated my right shoulder. I was well into randonneuring back then and did a 300 only 10 days later. I was cautious about downhills from then. Then three months or so later I did a 1000k and some of the steep downhills were wet. Boy, was I ultra slow down them.

Five or six years later, I am still a bit leery about fast downhills.

I suppose it all depends on how much pain you suffered. FWIW, the fear is not irrational.
Rowan is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 05:40 AM
  #14  
vantassell
Banned.
 
vantassell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: SLC, UT
Posts: 832
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by eippo1 View Post
A thing to help you with confidence is to do some turning drills and thing like putting bottles on the ground and picking them up while riding by.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster.
vantassell is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 06:14 AM
  #15  
v70cat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,685

Bikes: S5 VWD & SL-7 S works Red.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Maybe a new set of performance tires will help.

Just give it some time and you will get your confidence back.

I still have fear of falling when climbing and being clipped in and I have not fallen in a long time.
v70cat is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 08:06 AM
  #16  
Dave Kirk 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Bozeman MT
Posts: 201

Bikes: Kirk

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 1 Post
I have a slightly different take on this - I think the best way to reduce fear is to increase confidence and I don't think confidence is the same as guts or bravado. Instead I think the best way to increase confidence is to increase skill.

Many riders discount the skill needed to ride a bike well. We've all seen the guy who looks so centered and balanced on the bike. Thus guy has little trouble with going fast or with avoiding a pile up in the group and this isn't luck but instead it's a combination of skills that he has learned - bike handling, timing, reading of the way the group moves down the road, reading the way traffic moves..........etc. And we've also seen the opposite - the guy who is always in the area when **** happens. The guy who gets caught in the pile up, the one who gets the flat on the shoulder or the one who runs wide on the downhill corner and has to lockup the brakes to avoid going off. This is not bad luck most of the time but its lack of skill.

If you were to find a safe area and practice various skills on a routine basis your overall skill level will go up and your worry level will go down. Since you are having fears of going too fast on descents I would practice counter-steering techniques. If you counter-steer properly you will be in a better and more balanced position when going fast around corners and it will not require that you take more risks. IMO you can go faster by improving skills without being more brave.

I think many folks treat bikes as exercise machines that happen to move. The best riders are not only fit but they have the skill to pilot the bike in all kinds of conditions and these skills need to be developed and built over time.

I hope that helps.

Dave
Dave Kirk is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 08:22 AM
  #17  
big john
Senior Member
 
big john's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In the foothills of Los Angeles County
Posts: 16,810
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2971 Post(s)
Liked 2,306 Times in 1,265 Posts
Time in the saddle will help restore your confidence but you have to decide on your limits. How far do you want to push it? If you're not in a race what is the benefit of hanging your ass out there? We all have to find our own comfort zone and balance the risks and benefits. If you crash your brains out while doing something that is supposed to be fun that seems a little counterproductive.
Discretion is the better part of valor, or something like that.
big john is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 08:32 AM
  #18  
Kabloink
Senior Member
 
Kabloink's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 605
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I think you gained the knowledge that at certain times being conservative in your speeds is a smarter approach than blindly going full tilt. Something that many newer riders have yet to grasp as they try to imitate professional racers.
Kabloink is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 09:00 AM
  #19  
jgjulio
Senior Member
 
jgjulio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 424

Bikes: 2020 Veego 750, 2011 Specialized Roubaix Elite, 08 Trek 7200, Very Old Schwinn Cruiser

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Baby steps + time
jgjulio is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 09:35 AM
  #20  
surgeonstone
Senior Member
 
surgeonstone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: South Bend IN
Posts: 11,212

Bikes: 1976 FRESCHI, 2004 Crumpton.

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 918 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Time.
And more time. Think of it this way- if you had no fear you would be an idiot. You have had a bad experience and your mind is taking appropriate precautions, your skill and experience has increased and with that your confidence will follow.
surgeonstone is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 09:37 AM
  #21  
Doohickie 
You gonna eat that?
 
Doohickie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Fort Worth, Texas Church of Hopeful Uncertainty
Posts: 14,714

Bikes: 1966 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist, 1973 Schwinn Varsity, 1983 Raleigh Marathon, 1994 Nishiki Sport XRS

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 152 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 27 Posts
Maybe you were taking undue risks when you fell and this is your subconscious telling you to back off.
__________________
I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.


Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
Doohickie is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 09:40 AM
  #22  
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 31,954

Bikes: 2010 Catrike Expedition, 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1021 Post(s)
Liked 526 Times in 266 Posts
I ride slow on corners.
I ride slow on straight roads.
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"

10 Wheels is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 10:05 AM
  #23  
Drakonchik
Senior Member
 
Drakonchik's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 740
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Take martial arts like judo or aikido.

Or take take up skateboarding on half pipes or ramps.
Drakonchik is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 10:07 AM
  #24  
palesaint
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Los Alamos, NM
Posts: 901

Bikes: 2008 fetish illustre

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Time is the correct answer. Also for me though is that I have to have complete faith in my bike to really fly down hills. This means eliminating any and all weird sounds or feels (creaks, loose headset, out of true wheel etc) and having the best tires and brakes on that I can afford. It goes a long way to be able to trust your bike not to cause problems.

Being nervous tends to make the upper body be too rigid. Try to loosen up and you might get a less of an uncomfortable feeling.
palesaint is offline  
Old 12-05-10, 10:40 AM
  #25  
Velo Vol 
VFL For Life
 
Velo Vol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 41,945

Bikes: Velo Volmobile

Mentioned: 733 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19063 Post(s)
Liked 886 Times in 613 Posts
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
WHAT????
You heard me.
__________________
Originally Posted by Velo Vol View Post
People here don't get it.
Velo Vol is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.