Hi, I'm new here and also named Debbie! I've been riding off and on for 3 years. I rode with my husband & son exclusively at first as they are both very experienced. That helped me feel more comfortable & taught me how to signal, etc. But I also took a short class offered through our local cycling club. It was a League of American Bicyclist course and if you go to their website you can find resources in your area. The class went over the basic rules of the road, basics about the bike itself & how to maintain the bike, and then some actual practice on the bike. It really helped me get over some of my fear. BUT, I still won't ride in high traffic areas and I go back routes to avoid certain roads (and hills...ha,ha!).
Pounds lost: 9.0
Fitness Minutes: (760) Posts: 2 2/20/13 12:17 A
Hello everyone, my name is Debbie. I've been riding seriously just over 1yr. I started on my stationary bike in Dec 2011, just 2 months after my knee replacement. So I signed up for the MS Tour de Farms ride in June 2012 to set a goal. I rode 70 miles in 2 days. Yeah!! This kept me going and I found bike paths around my neighborhood in Hoffman Estates, IL. Before I new it I was on my way to riding 60 miles a week. The roads are tuff but I really love my local trails. I take my bike to the trails and I can't ride too. Much safer!! But even trails can be rough. Ride defensively and stay alert. I've had cars, cell phones and Ipods get in the way, but still love the ride. This years goal, 100 miles in 2 days in the MS ride. Let me know if you'd like to join our team. It was the best feeling ever!
Fitness Minutes: (58,425) Posts: 9,373 2/17/13 12:25 P
Agreeing with all the advice here. The people I know who've been badly injured while riding were riding on sidewalks. Drivers don't expect you or understand how fast you are moving.
I try to do as much of my riding on 4-lane roads or roads with a center turn lane as possible, and then I take my lane. I'm allowed by law, and it's much safer when you don't encourage cars to "sneak" past you. I also try to avoid riding at rush hour, particularly in the evening, because drivers are crabby and tired.
I think that it's not a bad idea to ride in the green belt while you are getting more comfortable with basic riding and turning and speed, but don't let it become a crutch that keeps you from riding on the road.
current weight: 249.4
Fitness Minutes: (14,117) Posts: 2,178 2/16/13 5:36 P
I just started riding "for real" last spring, but acclimated more easily than I thought I would. I had a tiny mirror that clipped on to the stem of my glasses, but now use a side mirror that is mounted on my left handlebar. It's indispensable, in my opinion. I can see who's approaching without having to turn my head and lose balance.
I used to ride on sidewalks when I first started, but realized a few things: first, that I was only riding on the sidewalks to "hide" in a sense, because I didn't want others to really notice me (the same way we all feel like everyone's watching us work out at the gym, when really nobody is paying attention); and second, that I'm a vehicle, not a pedestrian. A vehicle should not be on the sidewalk. Plus, I live in a very rural area where sidewalks are almost non-existent.
I respect the cars when there's traffic, but I also don't hesitate to use my right-of-way. It's the same as any vehicle: when you seem unsure, you're introducing the unpredictable into the mix, and that's what accidents are made of...no different than if a car were driving too slow or unsteady for conditions instead of speeding.
I make sure I signal clearly, and I try whenever possible to make eye contact with drivers so I know they've seen me and are aware of what I'm going to do. If a car is on a side road and waits for me to pass by, I always give a smile and nod to show that I appreciate the fact that they waited for me as they would any other vehicle.
Drivers get frustrated with cyclists who don't obey traffic rules (and they have every right to be). I always stop for traffic lights and stop signs, even when I can "make it through" before it's too late. And I ride with traffic, not against it. Walk against, ride with.
I don't have any bike parks or specific riding areas near me, but if you do, take advantage of it until you're more comfortable. Or toss your bike in the back of the car and drive it to a place where you know it's more rider-friendly.
As with anything, you'll get more comfortable with more exposure. :)
I ride defensively, and I know from thankfully VICARIOUS experience that when cars and bikes share the road and the car does something stupid, it's the bike that pays and pays dearly. That said, I know when I have the right of way, and I take it. I take the whole lane even when I'm slow if the lane isn't wide enough for a car to pass me safely. But I had to ride with an experienced friend for some miles before I got comfortable. Y'know how when you first learn to drive a car, it takes so much brainpower to remember to signal the turn and watch the speed and keep an eye on the signs and let out the clutch properly... you're not as safe then because you have to think so hard just to do the basic mechanics. But after a year or two, you signal and clutch and see the signs without realizing you're doing it and then your focused attention is on all the stuff that could go wrong. I'd say ride the off road trail until the bike is second nature, and then add traffic to the mix.
Either way, don't stop riding - more people die from lack of cardio training than from bike accidents.
Edited by: GREBJACK at: 2/14/2013 (18:47)
He drew a circle that shut me out-- Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout. But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in! -Edwin Markham
4 Days until: Shenandoah backpacking weekend
Fitness Minutes: (61,084) Posts: 560 2/14/13 4:49 P
SKIRNIR..I always ride with some sort of rear view mirror (either on my bike or on my helmet) even if I'm only going on a bike trail. It's so much safer to be able to see what is coming up from behind. I hope you find a mirror you like soon. Having a rear view mirror is as important to me while biking as it is to me while driving a car. Once you get used to a mirror you like, I think you will feel the same way.
Kay from Tennessee
October Minutes: 141
Fitness Minutes: (61,084) Posts: 560 2/14/13 9:52 A
I am eagerly waiting to see what responses you receive. I have been biking a bit for a year, but mainly only non-busy roads and sidewalks. But the town I have moved to has a bit less sidewalks and is a bit more of a pain to use those sidewalks as driveways sometimes don't have ramps at the curb. IE to cross the gas station driveway, I have to go down the curb and then back up the curb, which is a bit of a pain and I wonder if I should just get used to riding on roads more. But I do need advice, on should I get a side view mirror? How do I get to where I can bike with cars safely? Especially as this new city is a very hilly one and my leg muscles and asthma does not allow me to bike up a hill with any speed at all.
3/31/12 Trailbreaker half marathon 13.1 miles in 3 hours 13 minutes 4/20/13 Neighborhood Watch 5K 39:17.6 10/5/13 5K Grace Pet Fest 38:47.6 12/1/13 Secret City Half Marathon around 3 hours and 4 minutes 4/19/14 Butterflies for Hope 5K for Lupus 39:23.8 (I hurt my back a few days before, and though it was my first official 5K with some jogging, my back hurt, so was very slow.) 2/7/15 Hearts & Soles 5K, San Jose 34:50 (Recovering from a cold and wet day.)
current weight: 6.8 over
Fitness Minutes: (13,152) Posts: 947 2/14/13 7:31 A
Kinda like sea legs but with more fear. So as I said in my last post I am new to cycling and I do like it I am just afraid. Afraid of falling, getting hit by a car, turning, the hills in the tunnels on the canal, going too fast.
My brain just doesn't want to let me ride in peace. It's all new to me. I feel like I need one of those bumper stickers on my back that say "Student Driver".
I went riding last night and I was fine on the canal minus the tunnels part. I am sure that the seasoned riders were like why is that chick so slowwwwww. lol It was rush hour so riding down my street freaked me out cuz the cars were so close!
I am not usually a fear based person but this is kicking my butt! Any suggestions on how to get over this fear?
We have something here in Scottsdale, AZ called the Green Belt. Perhaps I will try that. No cars.
I don't want to give up. It's all new. I will overcome this!!!
Becky Sue "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." -Edmund Hillary http://bscooks.blogspot.com/ Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see Hebrews 11:1
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