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Thread: New to Riding, confidence issues
30th May 2012 #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
New to Riding, confidence issues
Firstly, after reading for a few weeks, the forums seem excellent and I hope you can help me!
So, my dad recently gave me his old road frame, and having not really learnt to ride a bike before (had a bad accident that really put me off until now, I'm 18...) we decided to do it up and I've been inspired by the road racing I have seen so much of! I have now learnt to ride, and I love the short rides I go on the quiet roads nearby, as well as the culture! But, I feel I am cheating myself by just going on piddly little rides (less than 10km). My question to you is: how can I build confidence to ride on proper roads, I see people do it so easily, but the thought of doing it myself scares the life out of me... I hope you can help, cause it would save a bomb on bus fares as well!
Thanks in advance,
30th May 2012 #2
Do more on the quite roads first - you'll then gain confidence in riding. Then venture out a bit - the main thing is not to sit in the gutter. If cars 'have' to move out to pass, they'll usually give you plenty of room. Stay in the gutter and they'll squeeze past. And you'll get punctures!
30th May 2012 #3
Welcome to the forum and welcome to cycling. I wouldn't worry about being a late starter - my kid brother was 16 when he learnt to ride a bike and was winning races within a year. Never too late to learn.
As for confidence, it comes with time. As Martin says, keep riding on the quiet roads to get the hang of handling the bike. When you venture onto busier roads just be aware of what's going on around you. Unfortunately there are a lot of motorists who don't like having to share the road with cyclists so you have to assume it's up to you to keep safe. I returned to cycling last year after a gap of over 20 years and I was very nervous in traffic at first but you soon get used to it. Stick with it and you'll be fine.
Also, if it's an old bike you've got it may have toe clips on the pedals. Personally I would remove them for the first couple of weeks until you're more confident on the bike as it's one less thing to worry about. Persevere and before long you'll be going clipless and clocking up the miles!
Good luck with it.
30th May 2012 #4
- Join Date
- Jul 2004
Where are you based? I am sure someone on here will be local to you and can recommend some good roads to build your confidence on (and maybe offer an accompanied ride to help build up your confidence a bit - I do it occasionally and enjoy the different riding style)
31st May 2012 #5
There is nothing like experience to build up your confidence so like the others the answer is to just get out there and practice on quiet roads to start with, there's not shame in that I make a bee line for quiet lanes simply because they are more pleasant. If you want to graduate to commuting on busy roads then get used to them at less busy times then build up, in the end it actually becomes a thrill riding in, and beating, motorised traffic. To expand a bit on the other themes, ride a metre out from the curb at all times and command your piece of the road, don't be scared to ride in the middle of the lane if the conditions on the side of the road are dangerous like with potholes and loose gravel. Be aware of what is going on around you and and acknowledge the presence of traffic but contrary to popular misconceptions amongst some - most motorist are not out to kill you and are actually very tolerant of cyclists, but they will appreciate you making bold statements of your intention and confident moves rather than dithering. There are many minor aspects to safe riding that are too numerous to go into here and you will pick up these up with experience but one that I think is most important is when riding down a road with lots of obstructions like parked cars, don't swerve in and out once you passed one obstruction, if there is another in a short distance, stay out and make cars stay behind you or they will only overtake and cut you up when they have to slow at the next obstruction. Riding with another confident cyclist is useful and you may find that there is a club near you that has friendly family orientated group rides rather than the racing chain gangs that don't tolerate novices too well. Above all get out and enjoy, take care but it really isn't as bad out there as some people make out.It's not your destination that counts, it is the glory of the ride. (apologies to Edward Monkton)
31st May 2012 #6
dont worry about small distances - your endurance and ability will come - just get out there and ride...but overall ride to how you feel safe and comfortable, dont risk a scare or do too much too soon.
31st May 2012 #7
- Join Date
- Jul 2004
- Flying through your bedroom window at night time
Just dont go on the Motorway to get the traffic experience at the deep end.. Stick to your normal roads and then as you get better and wiser then go upgrade and get on busier roads.
Tha hardest part is getting used to HGV going past you at 70 mph on a dual carriageway. But that day will come - just stick with it.NOT loggin in every and each visit now.
Going to have to BITE someone soon.
31st May 2012 #8
A forum member here named JohnG once said to me (when i was fretting over different aerobic vs anaerobic vs base training methods of maximising my riding) that it doesn't matter what i did on the bike, provided i do lots of it.
I'd say that would be good advice for us both.
31st May 2012 #9
+1 to all above, Oli, and welcome to the forum.
I tend to ride in the lane about where the near side wheel would be of a car and find most motorists are OK but the odd A-hole is out there. The best piece of advice I have had on riding style was from this forum and it was to own your piece of the road. To this end as stated above don't be afraid to move to the centre of the lane if you need to and it's safe to do so (not as a car is passing, for example) or if you're travelling at the same speed as the traffic to avoid being squeezed out. Whilst riding on the quieter roads, practice clear hand signals, being aware of any traffic (listen & look for traffic before manouvering) and making a decisive move, not a swerve, when safe to do so and in plenty of time. If you're riding near the centre of the road while approaching a right hand junction and clearly indicating right, everyone knows what you're intentions are and will act accordingly.
Good luck with it and don't be afraid to ask any questions - we're always happy to help; just remember that all advice will be given in good faith but is always subjective relative to a persons past experience, location and personal preferences. Take a look at some previous threads on tyre selection and you'll see what I mean.
1st June 2012 #10
- Join Date
- May 2012
I recently got my road bike, for cycling to work - I got pretty badly injured about 5 years ago when hit by a car ( who then drove off ) and I haven't really ridden since. I found the 'wobbly' and 'jerky' side of the bike compared to a MTB actually kind of helped. I knew I was a bit more unstable, which pushed me further out onto the road.
I think (and again, I'm new to this) if you're at the side of the road, almost in the gutter, drivers think they can overtake you, even if there's no space. By being further out in the road, you might annoy one or two hot-heads, but at the end of the day it means people have to wait for a safe time to overtake (and tend to give you more space too)
Another way I built up my confidence was finding quiet roads / cycle paths that I knew wouldn't be too busy, so that I could feel more comfortable on the bike, and know what my capabilities were etc. Maybe this is something to try?