Anxiety on roads

Elviscossie

New Member
Hello

My fiancé is a keen cyclist, and has happily done a number of sportives, including the Struggle and all three days of the Dragon Ride (max distance) twice each in the three years we've been together.

He used to cycle from work to my place before we moved in together, and called it a short ride at around 2 hours. He loves his bikes and he even drew me into a love of cycling, though I have no stamina for it.

This year has been the first that he's not done sportives, as we've got a lot on, meeting the family, planning a wedding and we're buying a house.

He's expressed anxiety about riding and can't seem to make himself get back in the saddle. He's worried about traffic, which isn't something he's ever worried about before and he's not had an accident to account for it. He's frustrated by not being able to ride, though I think it's more a mental roadblock than anything as he's still able to amaze me when he's on the turbo.

Has anyone got suggestions for what he can do to get back on the road and curb the anxiety? Or what I can do to encourage him to get back into it?

It's a sport he loves and I don't want him to lose his passion for something to dear to him.
 
Hi, ironic, am just getting back to cycling after a long break myself,
and had similar thoughts, mine were centered around safety,
third night out a van crawls across the road in front of me at the largest
and brightly lit junction I know, the driver did it for badness, all the other traffic
sat still, they clearly saw what this guy was up to, we’ll let me tell you this man
has inspired me to keep on cycling, I hope I meet him every night, because he
Is going to look dam foolish on camera as he stands in court.
I hope your man does not give in to any such anxiety, it will only eat at him unless
he gives it a try.
Almost forgot, I got lifted out of it on a car bonnet over thirty years ago on the same
road the nut with van and I share, in the exact same spot he is being stupid on,
it didn’t put me off.
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
I'm guessing you live and ride somewhere urban or suburban where there's lots of traffic? If so it's not unreasonable to worry about cycling as driving standards are getting worse and traffic density increasing. The answer is to load bikes in the car and go riding in the country. Almost every edition of every cycling magazine will have an article on country rides and all will mention the surprisingly empty roads. Look on it as a challenge to outwit the driving public by choosing places and times to ride - a suburban area during commuting time is obviously 10/10 for driver idiocy whereas a rural area on a summer evening 1/10. Actually a town or city early on a summer morning can also be quiet and a pleasant ride if you can avoid the potholes.

I would also guess that your fiancé is beginning to feel less willing to accept risk as commitment to you and the future grows. Good on him.

How does he cope with the boredom of the turbo? Mrs Gti laughs that I've owned three turbos, neglected them and sold the first two. The third is a smart turbo and that might get sold as well as I only bought it after breaking my collar bone, which is now healed.

Back to the country rides, a small investment in some 1:50,000 scale OS maps would be a good start; you can get a view of an area, the topography is clear to see and the map will show places of interest to visit. An OS map fits in a jersey pocket and carrying the map gives you the possibility of shortening or modifying your country ride as you wish. Map reading is also a fun challenge, which is easy to learn. Disagreements under duress will test both of your characters and might even help you to deepen your relationship... either that or break it!

A map is so much better for planning and modifying a route than the high-tech option of blindly following a pre-loaded route on a GPS and learning nothing about the area. It can certainly help if one or both of you are interested in something special like canals or old churches or riverside pubs.
 
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alicat

Legendary Member
Location
Staffs
I would also guess that your fiancé is beginning to feel less willing to accept risk as commitment to you and the future grows. Good on him.
I suspect that this is the key. If you can be sure that you will never, ever even subconsciously try to persuade him not to ride even after a serious accident involving a vehicle or a tree (mountain biking can be dangerous too) and you can let him know that, I think he might get back to his love of cycling.

Buying a tandem as a wedding present would be a good, practical way for him to get back into it.
 
I've found this kind of humorous in a way but I lived by the base of the mountains for 20 years. I would see cyclists traveling east and west. Which I thought was not very smart as heading west into the sun with high traffic areas was dangerous imo seeing most did not have any lights and wore dark clothing.

There were times I myself was driving the speedlimit of 45 MPH (I'm one of the careful drivers) while others are doing 60 plus. Yeah stupid drivers but I never thought it was a good idea to place myself in their path. But I would at times see a large hedge on the side of the road and many times could not see a cyclist riding in the bike lane of that stretch. Several other sections of that road as well.

I myself ride north and south out of the sun's direction. Much more visible to vehicular traffic. Of course a cyclist has to do a little climbing to ride north and south. Imo, a better workout. But I have asked a few cyclists why they don't ride north and south as well. The response is, I don't want to have to climb. It's only a 3-4% rise.

IMO, I'd rather do a little climbing and place my self in a safer position than have an easier ride while riding in a sun blinded driver's path.

Maybe your fiance has to find safe roads and directions to travel for peace of mind.

Also I will add, there are some roads that are heavy traffic at high speeds and no bike lane. I see a several cyclists riding these streets and wonder why they don't ride the next street over. Speed limits half the speed, much wider roads. I have asked a couple of local cyclists and their response is that they would have to ride a block out of their way. Seems worth it to me staying out of high speed traffic and having a bike lane to ride in.

As well, the response, it's my right to ride on this road!!

Yeah, I understand that but when it comes to a lower chance of getting hit by a speeding car, I will exercise my right on the next street over that will inconvenience me by 2 minutes. Matter of fact, making that part of my usual route does not inconvenience me at all and I feel safer.

Maybe your fiance needs to map out some safe routes for himself. I have traveled as far as 30 miles from home in high traffic areas riding back roads and seen some new and interesting things along the way.
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
I don't blame him. Given up road riding after too many drivers smashing me up, including very nearly being permanently in a wheel chair. I've got 3 nice road bikes hung up. I'm not anxious or anything, but I am not going through what I did just under 4 years ago again. Absolutely horrendous for me and my family. Realising you may never walk again, and your teenage kids not wanting to see you in hospital as a complete wreck. No thanks, I'll stick to tearing around up and down mountains on my MTB - far safer, believe you me.
 

Moodyman

Guru
Just ride. The anxiety will wane with miles.

My confidence went after I had several incidents in a short period. A high speed fall (on ice), a couple violent wobbles (shimmy) and the death of friend in a collision with a car whilst cycling.
 

mudsticks

Obviously an Aubergine
Hello

My fiancé is a keen cyclist, and has happily done a number of sportives, including the Struggle and all three days of the Dragon Ride (max distance) twice each in the three years we've been together.

He used to cycle from work to my place before we moved in together, and called it a short ride at around 2 hours. He loves his bikes and he even drew me into a love of cycling, though I have no stamina for it.

This year has been the first that he's not done sportives, as we've got a lot on, meeting the family, planning a wedding and we're buying a house.

He's expressed anxiety about riding and can't seem to make himself get back in the saddle. He's worried about traffic, which isn't something he's ever worried about before and he's not had an accident to account for it. He's frustrated by not being able to ride, though I think it's more a mental roadblock than anything as he's still able to amaze me when he's on the turbo.

Has anyone got suggestions for what he can do to get back on the road and curb the anxiety? Or what I can do to encourage him to get back into it?

It's a sport he loves and I don't want him to lose his passion for something to dear to him.
It may be that general anxiety about all these significant life events, is getting projected onto cycling too.

Anxiety is infectious, it can go about attaching itself to all sorts of things once it's present.

Totally reasonable to be cautious in traffic, that often doesn't seem to care.

But we need to assert our right to be safely on the roads somehow.

Could you go out riding together more often, or with friends, or in an organised group as others have suggested?

Like you say you don't want him to lose his love of cycling, maybe doing it with others could reinspire him, and give him a chance to talk through these anxieties.
 

tom73

Veteran
Location
Yorkshire
1st good on you for picking up and it and understanding it's something he loves and you don't want him to lose it.

Plenty of great advise already given. Which is all worth a go for sure you both have a lot on at the moment so it's not a surprise he's not feeling the love at the moment.

Talk to him make sure he knows it's ok for him to get some time out on the bike and you don't mind. You don't want him to feel he can't have time out away from stuff. Find some rides you can both do together and have some quality time away from the all the other stuff. Just the 2 of you, great views, and a good old ride out in the middle of nowhere.

Find a great real pub , plan a route, drive out park up and cycle out to it enjoy the food , company then cycle back to the car.

Something a bit different that may give him some focus and really show you want him to keep riding. Is you mention your wedding how about finding a way to build cycling into it?
 

mudsticks

Obviously an Aubergine
1st good on you for picking up and it and understanding it's something he loves and you don't want him to lose it.

Plenty of great advise already given. Which is all worth a go for sure you both have a lot on at the moment so it's not a surprise he's not feeling the love at the moment.

Talk to him make sure he knows it's ok for him to get some time out on the bike and you don't mind. You don't want him to feel he can't have time out away from stuff. Find some rides you can both do together and have some quality time away from the all the other stuff. Just the 2 of you, great views, and a good old ride out in the middle of nowhere.

Find a great real pub , plan a route, drive out park up and cycle out to it enjoy the food , company then cycle back to the car.

Something a bit different that may give him some focus and really show you want him to keep riding. Is you mention your wedding how about finding a way to build cycling into it?
How about try a bit of reverse psychology even - just mention that you really fancy a bike ride - and that you're nipping out for a spin , on an afternoon you both happen to be free.

He's very welcome to come too, but there's no pressure if he doesn't feel like it :bicycle:
 

rogerzilla

Legendary Member
There are roads I'd happily ride on 20 years ago that I wouldn't use now. The likes of Top Gear have legitimised aggressive driving, and at a £300 fine and a slap on the wrist, the main disincentive to killing a cyclist is the scratch on the car.

It's a question of risk management - choose your routes and don't give drivers room or time to hit you.
 

I like Skol

Hold my beer and watch this....
Seems like a lot of what I was going to suggest has already been covered. Try group or club riding as riding with others is sometimes a necessary distraction from the pressures of the road environment.

Forum informal rides are also a good way to get out on the roads in s.all groups. Check the rides section to see if there are any rides coming up in your area.

He's a lucky bloke to have a caring and supportive partner like you, I hope he appreciates it and between you you manage to resolve this.
 
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