Fear Makes Crashing Worse – Seriously

Getting over a crash—whether it happened in a race scenario or a leisurely spin around town, at high speed or low—isn’t always easy or quick. Even the idea of crashing can spook us.

For that reason, creating a lasting change in your mindset and establishing an effective way to deal with a fear of crashing takes time. The following steps can help you overcome these fears and regain a sense of empowerment in the saddle.

Get a tune-up. (For you and your bike.)

After an accident (or even if you’re scared of the possibility), take your bike to the shop; making sure it’s in optimal shape can help boost your confidence while you ride.

This step isn’t only about ensuring that your bike is in working order; it’s about checking up on your psychological state, too. People have a range of responses following an accident, so take some time to consider the nature of your fears and if talking to someone—friends, a support group, a therapist—might be in store.

Evaluate your handling skills.

Losing control after a sharp curve in the road or flipping your bike when you hit a bump can be mentally scarring, because the accident may have been all on you. Instead of blaming yourself, though, analyze the problem so you can fix it. If you crashed because you didn’t know the proper way to attack a turn, for instance, reading up on proper cornering techniques can make you more prepared next time.

Get comfortable on—and around—your bike.

In extreme cases, some cyclists develop such a fear of crashing that even the mere thought of their bike can cause anxiety. If that’s the case with you, give yourself a break and take it slowly. Instead, take a more gradual approach. Think about your bike and if you feel nervous, actively try to relax until you feel the tension leave your body. Look at your bike and focus on staying relaxed. Next, walk by and touch your bike occasionally, trying to stay at-ease. Finally, once those steps feel comfortable, sit on your bike and try to keep calm. These are important steps to work through, because it’s important to avoid feeling tense.

Free Your Mind.

Even though crashing is likely to happen to you if you ride long enough, try to keep a clear mind while you’re on the bike in spite of this, and only deal with anxieties as they pop up. Keeping mental distance between you and other cyclists can help you stay focused – and that helps you become alert when you need to be. Otherwise, don’t fret over your entire ride.