Back on a bike at long last, but riding scared.

Discussion in 'Women's Cycling' started by diehard, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. diehard

    diehard New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is my first post, and it grieves me to introduce myself in this way to a forum of strong woman riders.

    They say you never forget how to ride a bike, which seems to be true, but what's up with this lack of confidence? I live in bike-friendly Davis, CA and for years rode a racing bike on long, hard weekly rides with the Davis bike club and rode up to 50 miles a day on a San Juan Islands trip. But when I was diagnosed with PD, one of whose symptoms is impaired balance, my trusty bike was the first casualty. I've since come to believe that bike-riding might actually improve my balance. That theory and my guilt and frustration at needlessly contributing to global warming by driving easily bikable distances led me to a 7-speed Electra Townie, chosen after much research for its seated feet-flat-on-the-ground stability. Though I've been riding it, I don't feel the anticipated wind-on-my-face rush. Instead, with the added weight of fenders, rack, and a pair of baskets (stuffed with groceries and a heavy U-lock and chain), I feel like Prometheus each time I struggle get up enough speed to pedal through my wobbly starts. The worst of it is the visceral fear that rises whenever I'm challenged by a volatile snarl of traffice or a sharp turn. It pains me to admit how often I walk the bike at a crosswalk rather than navigate a dicey left turn. Standard advice is just ride, ride, ride, and I do ride, but if anyone can offer other suggestions (other than an adult tricycle) to help me reclaim my lost mojo, I would be grateful.
     
    Tags:


  2. matagi

    matagi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    8,220
    Likes Received:
    144
    Maybe rather than just ride, ride, ride, how about finding a large vacant space (like a carpark, or something) and mapping out an "obstacle course" so you get really familiar and comfortable with turning the bike at different speeds and getting comfortable with slow speed riding - these are the areas where good balance is key. Once you are comfortable and familiar with how you and your bike handle these things, you may find yourself feeling less intimidated out on the road.
     
  3. diehard

    diehard New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, Matagi, for this great suggestion! Our local cemetery is ideal, and I visit my Mom there often. This makes more sense than just riding, riding, riding.
     
  4. rjalex

    rjalex New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2007
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I used to ride a lot, too. Usually about 150 miles per week - many years ago. I'm back to riding after about a 15 year break. I was very disappointed when I first got back on a bike and discovered the back pain it caused me. I just couldn't do it, so I sold my bikes and got me a Catrike Speed. I was lucky to find last year's model on sale. Anyway - I'm riding again and having even more fun than I did in my younger years - imagine, no saddle pain! What made me respond though, is how secure I feel on this cycle - I'm much more cautious at 57 than I was at 40 :) and feel much more stable on this cycle than I was feeling on the bicycle.
     
  5. rjalex

    rjalex New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2007
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh - and by the way, this is NOT your grandmother's tricycle ;)

    Here's the link
     
  6. diehard

    diehard New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi rjalex,

    Thanks very much for your informative post. It sounds as though I may have made a mistake, one I may have to live with. I've seen recumbents on the road, of course, and wondered about them, who chooses them, and why. The first thing that jumped out at me in the picure on the link was the third wheel, which suggests super stability, a crucial criterion with my balance challenges. (My Townie provides flat-feet-on-the-ground stability when stopped, but I'm on my own when in motion.) The second was the price (4 x as much as my loaded Electra Townie!) Finally, I recognized it (maybe not the same brand or model, but a 3-wheeled recumbent) as the one pictured in a story about a Parkinson's rider who rode it on the RAGBRAI, a mass bike ride across Iowa, a ride I'd love to challenge myself with. I did a lot of research (online and in shops) before buying. The only trike anyone suggested was the blown-up kid's version, which I don't feel ready for just yet. I guess it wouldn't hurt to test-ride one and, if I feel as stabile as I think I will, start looking for a used one. I assume you know what kind of recumbents are out there. Are they all $2000 plus, or is the "Cat" the top of the line? Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
     
Loading...
Loading...