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Biking and anxiety

Old 01-27-21, 01:26 AM
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ropetwitch
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Biking and anxiety

Hi guys,

Foremost, my apology for starting this off-topic thread. I just wanted to release my stress and anxiety.

I envy those families who are able to bond, and stroll to the parks and ride their bikes together. I wanted to unwind with my son and enjoy biking too. But I really wanted to, but I could not because I don't know how. I was not taught and was not able to learn to bike when I was young because of fear and trauma. This stresses me out and it triggers my anxiety. This may sound funny or absurd or unimportant - but to me, it ain't. Seeing those mommies and daddies having a good ride with their kids is such a treasure that I can't give to my son.

What to do? ;
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Old 01-27-21, 07:16 AM
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Find someone to teach you how to ride. Another parent who has taught their kid. Take a Xanax before your lesson. Or just go for a hike.
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Old 01-27-21, 07:50 AM
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Moisture
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Find someone to teach you how to ride. Another parent who has taught their kid. Take a Xanax before your lesson. Or just go for a hike.
I do hope you are joking about taking Xanax.
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Old 01-27-21, 07:52 AM
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First and foremost, don't get stressed. If you are motivated enough to learn how to ride, which I'm sure you are, then you will.

Have someone help you keep your balance and keep practicing. You'll get the hang of it. Soon you'll get to cherish those moments unlike most of us who have already been riding for years and got used to it.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Old 01-27-21, 08:30 AM
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So can you ride and balance on a bike presently? Your post isn't clear on this. (only that you didn't learn when young) Since you've been here 3 years I'm thinking maybe you have at least some cycling ability?
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Old 01-27-21, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
First and foremost, don't get stressed.
- oh man, I'm not sure telling a stressed out person not to stress out helps relieve stress. Maybe something like - "the fear of failure in public is totally normal." - i dunno, i tend not to be a very sympathetic person. When my kids would crash on a bike, I'd ask if they had a bone sticking out. No? OK. Let's try again.

I'm thinking if the thread starter can't balance on a bike yet, then take the "balance bike" approach that little kids are starting with now, instead of training wheels.
Find a local bike shop that might be sympathetic (unlike me! ha!) to remove the crankset and chain and make an adult sized balance bike.
That's how bikes started over 100 years ago..... see number 11.
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Old 01-27-21, 09:02 AM
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mrv You don't even need to go through the trouble of removing the crankset or chain, just the pedals will do. We started the kids off with a balance bike because it was smaller and light, but to transition to a pedal bike, I took the pedals off and kept the seat low enough for them to use the 16" bike as a balance bike. Once they could balance at speed, we put the pedals on and started with "push down hard on your front foot after a little push with your other leg".

ropetwitch I learned late for my generational cohort, at 10. It was only after I got a purple hand-me-down from my older cousin with unreliable training wheels that I even tried. I tried to learn on grass in the yard out of fear of scrapes, but it wasn't until I risked pavement that I was able to start riding. If you insist on learning to pedal and balance at the same time, find a disused parking lot and wear a helmet. Keep your feet on the pedals and hands on the handlebars if you go down and try to absorb the impact with your entire side instead. Trying to ditch the bike entirely during a fall is actually hard. I wouldn't recommend trying to learn on a road frame because your intended posture doesn't jive well with pushing the bike with your legs while in the saddle. Try a cruiser or hybrid first, and make sure the frame is sized so you can lower the saddle enough to plant your feet on the ground. This is likely going to be one size down from your size on those bicycle fitting charts.
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Old 01-31-21, 06:38 PM
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OP, first I think it would be best to address the fear and trauma you say keep/kept you from learning to ride, whatever the cause of it was. (Perhaps you have long ago, but you didn't say in your post.) Once you have found someone to help you work through that, the other suggestions are good, to find a trusted friend or family member who will help you learn. If you can find a secluded place where you won't have to worry about feeling silly about other people possibly watching you, that would be ideal. (Little-frequented area of a park, parking lot behind a business not visible from the street, friend's back or fenced yard, secluded country road, etc.) Preferably somewhere without a lot of bumps, obstructions, and other hazards you may be afraid to run into or fall on.

Probably don't expect this to take only one day. Go in small doses-- 5-15 minutes of practice if that's all you're comfortable with. If uncertain, you might even stop before the point when you feel you "need" to and decide to start again another day; stop when you're still feeling okay about the riding rather than when you're starting to feel stressed out. Make sure the bike you're using fits-- being on something too large for you will be awkward and will not inspire confidence. You might feel more stable at first learning on something that isn't a road bike-- wider tires and heavier frame may feel more stable; wider handlebars and a more-upright position may help you feel more in control?

Wear a helmet. Hell, wear knee and elbow pads if it makes you less afraid of falling (as long as they're not a type that will restrict your movement). Make sure pant legs are rolled up and shoelaces are tucked away so you don't have to worry about your clothing or be afraid of it catching or being distracting.

And depending on how much anxiety you have around riding and just how little experience you have, I wonder if trying out an exercise bike for a while (to get used to pedaling, if that makes you nervous-- sometimes having to think about all the "things" about cycling at once-- balance, pedaling, braking, watching the road, etc.-- can seem to pile on), or if you know someone with a trike who will let you borrow it for a bit (getting used to pedaling and being out on the road, before you have to worry about balancing) might not help.
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Old 02-01-21, 06:03 PM
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Face your fears. It’s only bicycle. The worst case scenario is minor crash. Then get up, you can beat this. Ride, Ride, Ride.. “How do you eat elephant”? One bite at a time. You will become confident over time. Keep Smiling, 😊 you will be similar to those cycling families in no time. Good luck.
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