Not confident about cycling again

Accy cyclist

Legendary Member
I haven't been on my bike since i was knocked off 12 days ago. I keep making excuses like i haven't got a new helmet yet or my knee wont be right yet to put pressure on,but the real reason is fear of it happening again. I keep thinking about that moment when boy racer didn't give a toss about me and cut right across my path as i approached him. I imagine how it would've affected my wife and daughter if i'd have been killed or brain damaged because of him. I imagine that i died that evening and that i'm now 6ft under while boy racer drives around like a looney as before, awaiting his court case charged with driving without due care and attention. All thoughts are going through my mind! When the sun is shining it's bad for me as i see the fair weather cyclists out there and think to myself you've been out on days when your water bottle has frozen over,or your fingers were that numb with the cold you couldn't put the key in the door when you got home. I've earned the right to cycle in the sun as much as anyone yet i can't do it! How will i go on when i see that impatient driver revving thinking " can i make it before he passes" when turning right across my path,or the idiot up my backside trying their damnedest to overtake me because they have to get to those traffic lights before me! Have any of you been in a similar situation and how did you cope? Do you know of anyone who's been knocked off and never ridden again?
I'm getting by with using my old exercise bike in the backyard/garden on warm days. It's nowhere the same as the thrill of road riding but at least i can relax and not have that fear of being hit again. I'm also going "powerwalking",something i've always done in between bike rides. I'm trying to maintain my level of fitness for if/when i get back in the saddle. How long it'll take i don't know though!
 

Katherine

Guru
Moderator
Location
Manchester
Can you join a group ride? Or find a quiet route with less hazards?
Hope you get out soon. Good luck.
 
OP
Accy cyclist

Accy cyclist

Legendary Member
Can you join a group ride? Or find a quiet route with less hazards?
Hope you get out soon. Good luck.
I'm thinking about riding around the Tesco car park after 4 o clock today when they close. I've done laps on there before as it's one of the few flat places to ride around here. However i've been on there before and had some idiot flying up to the cashpoint machine! I'm just sick of cars being driven without a care for those around!:sad:
There are a few cyclists around here who ride in a small group but they set off early morning and go for miles and miles,which isn't my thing.
 

summerdays

Cycling in the sun
Location
Bristol
Could you put your bike in the back of the car and take it to a longish off road trail? So that you could find the enjoyment first and then work your way back to the roads. I've not had any major incidents, but even minor ones have left me avoiding a particular junction for quite some time.
 

Dave the Smeghead

Über Member
I would suggest finding disused railway lines that have been converted to cycle / walkways or try cycling along the tow path of a canal. Basically get back into riding but away from traffic.
There is an app called Cyclestreets in which you can plan routes away from traffic - could be of use to you.
Sorry you had to meet the idiot driving the car. I know it doesn't feel like it but there are far more careful and considerate drivers out there. If there wasn't there would be total carnage every day, with every cyclist and pedestrian being mown down with abandon. Think of the number of miles you have ridden without meeting t*sser boy racer d*ckheads.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
I went through similar a year ago when I was knocked off and injured. I did get back on the bike ASAP (probably did too much too soon) as I had a place for the London Surrey 100 five months later. I did have to pull out but carried on cycling until the next injury intervened as is the case with me!

I'm still not 100% happy cycling, especially in the dark so the longer days are a godsend for me. I do cycle in the dark, it being dark wasn't a factor in the accident, but I do feel more vulnerable (I never much liked riding in the dark anyhow due to not being able to see potholes soon enough to avoid). I am also more shouty at cars getting too close which was how I was knocked off, probably aren't that close but a level of hyper vigilance coupled with crap female spatial awareness probably don't help!

It was an extremely stressful time as I had just started a new job. I had 6 sessions of counselling, you might find similar is helpful for you, just to talk through what happened. Long wait on the NHS but talk to your GP, get a private referral perhaps. If pursuing a legal case, talk to the solicitor and see if you can get this organised and paid for that way :smile:

Perhaps try the ctc for a group ride? http://www.ctc.org.uk/local-groups/blackburn-and-district-ctc
Or find a cycle buddy, or just a mate to ride with?

I think others have suggested off road cycling, might be a good plan, do something different away from cars.

I'm also not a fan, but you could get a helmet cam which might give you some confidence about at least having evidence should something happen

To keep fitness, you get a turbo trainer or go swimming, although it and walking use different muscles to cycling of course

Good luck, it does get better, you may just need some help and strategies along the way :smile:
 

annedonnelly

Girl from the North Country
It's not surprising you're nervous about going out again. Anyone with any sense would be!
Don't beat yourself up though - if you don't fancy riding do something else instead. Maybe a walk while the weather is nice.

Like others have said try to get off the roads while you build your confidence up. I always find it much less stressful on a cycle path - even when there are kids & dogs to watch out for. On the road I spend half my time glaring at any driver that looks like he/she might get too close. And I've not had a major accident like you have!
 

adamhearn

Über Member
Sounds to me like it's your first accident ever [whatever mode of transport]? From personal experience, just count your fingers and toes and get on with the next day; the fear will subside.

From your post confidence in cycling is not what you're lacking but rather confidence in being on the road. Try to face the challenge rather than ride on tracks, try some less populated roads. Perhaps revisit the scene of the accident to determine how it could have played out differently. I'm not suggesting you were in the wrong at all; rather being faced with the same scenario is there anything you could have done differently to lessen the impact (physically/mentally). It's tough to suggest but a vulnerable road user should probably consider ever other road user a danger.
 

buggi

Bird Saviour
Location
Solihull
I think the only thing that will do it is actually getting back on the road I'm afraid. No amount of riding around a car park or riding off road is going to fix that mental block, and the longer you leave it, the worse it's gonna get. And its also recognising that it's normal to feel like this.

Have you got a couple of mates that will come out with you and flank you until your confidence has improved.

When I broke my collar bone i put off going out for two weeks after the all clear. I was terrified of coming off but I had a London Paris cycle ride to do so had no choice (in fact, if i hadn't had that charity ride I'm not sure i would have got back on). I got back on the bike the day I left for the trip. Having to ride non stop for 4 days and having people to talk to, to take my mind off the fear, helped me get over it. By the end of the first day, i wasn't even thinking about it.

By contrast i fell off 2 years ago, didn't get back on for a month and, when i did, i did it alone. I was over thinking every maneouvre and corner. If i hit a pebble, or there was a bit of a breeze, I'd nearly cry and it took me a whole 3 months before i felt like i was getting my confidence back.

So although I've never been knocked off, going on experiences where I've fell off and injured myself, i would say the best remedy is a day out riding with friends, because the chat and the banter takes your mind off your fear and helps with the heading process
 

Colin_P

Veteran
I suffer from a very serious health issue and sometimes it is very difficult to get up out of the chair and get out there cycling.

I have suffered from a series of Sudden Cardiac Arrests (SCA), whereby I collapse suddenly without warning. I effectively drop dead. I was very lucky to have survived the first one but now I have an Implanted Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) in my chest, a fancy pacemaker that can and has shocked me back to life. It has saved my life three times now.

The consequence of having an SCA whilst out on the bike messes with your mind like nothing else and plays havoc with your confidence.

I've found that time is the best healer after an event but still, at times, suffer terribly from anxiety and low level panic. As others have said, the best thing to do is to get out there and confront your fear and suggestions of getting off road are brilliant. I do most of my cycling now off road on a hybrid bike on tracks and paths and only do the roads to get to the off road. Sometimes I do still take out the roadbike but only when I'm feeling particularly confident. I much prefer being off road though these days.

My advice is to let time do the healing initially as it is still quite recent but then get out there and do as you are intending, car park or off road.

Once your confidence has been badly knocked it takes a lot to get it back but it will come. It is good you have been open about this and please know that you are not alone!
 

Pat "5mph"

A kilogrammicaly challenged woman
Moderator
Location
Glasgow
As said above, @Accy cyclist, confidence will slowly return.
Starting on traffic free paths is good, the time will come when you want to ride someplace with no segregated facilities.
You will say to yourself " sod this, why limit my freedom of going anywhere I want to??"
Then you will ride the roads again, maybe a bit more cautious, but you will get back to riding them.
Riding in traffic is always a bit scary imo, one can't know the behavior of other road user for certain.
 

Tin Pot

Guru
Accy

Probably not what you want to hear, but I was taken out by a head on collision and didn't get on the bike again for ten years :smile:

I decided to do it again because I wanted to do a triathlon. Ride only in non-commuter traffic, straight roads with as few junctions as possible, daylight only, good weather.

Eg minimise risk.

My rules now are based on my family responsibilities, if I commute it's only once per week, and only in good conditions, avoiding Monday as it seems to be nutter day.

Having scraped myself down the pavement two weeks ago, I'll admit I'm having doubts about clipping in again but I've substituted a few rides on boris bikes and trail rides so I should be out on my old training route soon.

:smile:
 

Bazzer

Setting the controls for the heart of the sun.
Don't rush into it. I have been there as well.
I got back on my bike as soon as I physically could get my leg over the saddle, which in my case was about a week after I was hit, but it was only to prove to myself I could do it. Even though it was only a half mile or so through a housing estate, mentally it was a very uncomfortable ride and the ride aggravated some my hip injuries. Consequently my bike got parked up for about three or four months..
When I felt more confident to get back on my bike, I used quieter roads to begin with , but it was still challenging as I moved on to busier roads. It was getting out with one of my daughters which helped me, but I was on massive alert with her. I had the twin evils of parental protection and fighting my accident demons.
When you feel up to getting back on your bike, see if there are one or more riders who can act as your "wingmen" and choose your roads to build up your confidence.
 
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