How to Beat Your Cycling Fears

Cyclist scared by a shadow monster.

Fear of crashing

Why are you scared?

According to Professor Tsaousides, fear is ‘part instinct, part learned, part taught but also part imagined’. And fear of crashing definitely falls into that latter category. Because your brain is so finely tuned to ensure its survival, it can dream up dangerous outcomes to imagined events. These then have the potential to create fears even though the threat isn’t real. It’s what Tsaousides calls ‘anticipatory anxiety’.

What’s the solution?

Keeping calm is key, it allows you to rationally assess a situation or obstacle and work out whether you can tackle it safely. If you’re out on the bike and start losing the plot, simply stop and take stock. Centering is a simple but effective tool used by sports psychologists that can help you do this. The ‘center’ refers to a relaxed yet focused state of mind that you can create for yourself through a number of methods, such as closing your eyes and breathing deeply, repeating a word or affirmation, or simply slowly counting to 10.

Performing such an exercise allows you to reset yourself mentally. If you’re still unsure, you can always dismount and walk the obstacle first, whether it be a hill or a junction, examining it in your own time without the pressure of riding it. After all, the most powerful weapon against fear is having the right information as it gives you a greater sense of control.

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