Traffic makes me tense up

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Art, Apr 15, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Art

    Art Guest

    I started riding a bike late in life, age 49. Here it is 3 years later, and I still have a problem
    tensing up in traffic. I can ride just fine on a no or low traffic road - good cadence and
    relaxed. But when I ride on a road with maybe a 3-4 foot shoulder and high speed traffic, I
    sometimes tense up to the point that my legs barely want to turn the pedals. Any advice on how to
    overcome this problem?

    Art
     
    Tags:


  2. >From: "Art"

    >I started riding a bike late in life, age 49. Here it is 3 years later, and I still have a problem
    >tensing up in traffic. I can ride just fine on a no or low traffic road - good cadence and
    >relaxed. But when I ride on a road with maybe a 3-4 foot shoulder and high speed traffic, I
    >sometimes tense up to the point that my legs barely want to turn the pedals. Any advice on how to
    >overcome this problem?
    >
    >Art
    >

    Do you use a rear view mirror? I've found that I simply cannot ride in traffic without one.

    George F. Johnson A veteran for peace
     
  3. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    "Art" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I started riding a bike late in life, age 49. Here it is 3 years later, and I still have a problem
    > tensing up in traffic. I can ride just fine on a no or low traffic road - good cadence and
    > relaxed. But when I ride on a road with maybe a 3-4 foot shoulder and high speed traffic, I
    > sometimes tense up to the point that my legs barely want to turn the pedals. Any advice on how to
    > overcome this problem?
    >
    > Art
    >
    What are you worrying about? Basically, if the idiot in the car is going to miss you, you can't do
    anything about it. If they're going to hit you, you still can't do anything about it. There's no
    sense in worrying about something YOU have no control over.

    Worry about the things YOU can control, not what someone else may or may not
    do.

    Concentrate on making the legs go 'round in circles, riding a straight line, and anything else that
    you can think of that YOU are doing, eventually, I'd guess that you stop worrying about what the
    cars are doing.

    I've found that if you turn your head slightly, it make the wind noise go down so you can hear the
    cars better. Try that until you figure out something else that works for you.

    Mike
     
  4. "Art" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > I started riding a bike late in life, age 49. Here it is 3 years later, and I still have a problem
    > tensing up in traffic.

    Most cyclists worry about traffic when they start out, but the fear normally goes if you cycle
    regularly.

    Remember that you are probably far less at risk from overtaking traffic compared with traffic
    joining the road at junctions. I seem to remember reading that only 5% of accidents are caused by
    overtaking traffic, and that 5% is probably largely made up of inexperienced cyclists & children who
    swerve into passing traffic without looking and giving clear signals.
     
  5. Ron Hardin

    Ron Hardin Guest

    Art wrote:
    >
    > I started riding a bike late in life, age 49. Here it is 3 years later, and I still have a problem
    > tensing up in traffic. I can ride just fine on a no or low traffic road - good cadence and
    > relaxed. But when I ride on a road with maybe a 3-4 foot shoulder and high speed traffic, I
    > sometimes tense up to the point that my legs barely want to turn the pedals. Any advice on how to
    > overcome this problem?
    >
    > Art

    Take up TV.
    --
    Ron Hardin [email protected]

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
     
  6. Ron Hardin wrote:
    > Art wrote:
    >
    [nervous in traffic -- what to do?]

    >
    > Take up TV.

    Transcendental Vehicularization?

    Scott
     
  7. S. Anderson

    S. Anderson Guest

    "Art" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I started riding a bike late in life, age 49. Here it is 3 years later, and I still have a problem
    > tensing up in traffic. I can ride just fine on a no or low traffic road - good cadence and
    > relaxed. But when I ride on a road with maybe a 3-4 foot shoulder and high speed traffic, I
    > sometimes tense up to the point that my legs barely want to turn the pedals. Any advice on how to
    > overcome this problem?
    >
    > Art
    >
    >

    I'm very fortunate. I have a great trail system that goes for miles about a mile from my front door
    and I can get there taking only residential streets. I don't know if you're riding to get somewhere
    or just riding, but I'd suggest trying to trail or off-road trail riding, MTB style. I was 16 or so
    when Jocelyn Lovell (silver medalist in the olympics I believe..) got run over by a dump-truck about
    20km from my home. I was already bored of road riding and racing junior and needed a break. Switched
    to mountain bike and never looked back. I rarely ride my road bike now and almost never on the road.
    Some locales have better road rides than Southern Ontario, but we have great off-road places to ride
    and good paved trails so I don't even bother.

    Cheers,

    Scott..
     
  8. "Art" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I started riding a bike late in life, age 49. Here it is 3 years later, and I still have a problem
    > tensing up in traffic. I can ride just fine on a no or low traffic road - good cadence and
    > relaxed. But when I ride on a road with maybe a 3-4 foot shoulder and high speed traffic, I
    > sometimes tense up to the point that my legs barely want to turn the pedals. Any advice on how to
    > overcome this problem?

    Do what I do:

    Be immortal.

    But then, I'm a young lad. I'm that naturally. *grin*

    It's a question of why you're riding...if you're riding primarily for recreation, then you'll shy
    away from high traffic. A worrying number of recreational riders I see drive to somewhere quiet and
    then start riding...

    I got on my bike because I wanted to get around town; getting around town meant tangling with
    traffic. All or nothing--a bit of shock therapy, but there you have it.

    Very few motorists aim directly for cyclists; they don't want the trouble. You might get honked
    at--don't let it bug you. Your road, your rights. If you keep a good line and ride predictably,
    you'll be fine.

    Heavy traffic is tough. keep riding.

    -Luigi
     
  9. "Luigi de Guzman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > It's a question of why you're riding...if you're riding primarily for recreation, then you'll shy
    > away from high traffic.

    My favourite route has quite a lot of traffic which is usually doing about 40-50mph on average, and
    I find that I often get a certain amount of help from the slipstream effect, especially when the
    traffic slows to just above the speed I am doing. If I get a big truck or bus pass me there is a
    noticable drop in wind resistance for a good 10 seconds and I can notch up a gear for the same
    effort. Also the routes with more traffic generally seem to have a much better road surface, and if
    it's a route you ride regularly you get to know exactly where those annoying bits of road damage,
    and drain covers lie so you can avoid them well in advance.
     
  10. Fritz M

    Fritz M Guest

  11. On Tue, 15 Apr 2003 17:13:59 -0400 in rec.bicycles.misc, "S. Anderson"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    > I have a great trail system that goes for miles about a mile from my front door and I can get
    > there taking only residential streets. I don't know if you're riding to get somewhere or just
    > riding, but I'd suggest trying to trail or off-road trail riding, MTB style.

    No, bikes belong on roads, and the OP needs to learn how to get over his fear and become an
    effective cyclist in traffic.
     
  12. >"Art" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:<[email protected]>...
    >> I started riding a bike late in life, age 49. Here it is 3 years later, and I still have a
    >> problem tensing up in traffic.

    In article <[email protected]>, Luigi de Guzman
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    >I got on my bike because I wanted to get around town; getting around town meant tangling with
    >traffic. All or nothing--a bit of shock therapy, but there you have it.

    In fact, that might be one good approach: start riding around more urban areas--not with fast
    traffic, necessarily, but with dense enough traffic that you're forced into frequent practice with
    maneuvers like negotiating lane changes. (If you haven't had to do this before, John Allen explains
    it well: http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/index.htm.) After you get to the point where you feel
    comfortable dealing with cars in more complicated (if perhaps slower) traffic, maybe you'll also
    start to feel comfortable with traffic on rural roads.

    But who knows. Probably the best thing is just to keep doing what you're doing, relax, and be
    patient....

    --Bruce F.
     
  13. Adrian Boliston wrote:
    >
    > I seem to remember reading that only 5% of accidents are caused by overtaking traffic, and that
    > 5% is probably largely made up of inexperienced cyclists & children who swerve into passing
    > traffic without looking and giving clear signals.

    ... and people who ride at night without lights or even reflectors.

    --
    Frank Krygowski [email protected]
     
  14. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >I started riding a bike late in life, age 49. Here it is 3 years later, and I
    still have a problem tensing up in traffic.
    >I can ride just fine on a no or low traffic road - good cadence and relaxed.
    But when I ride on a road with
    >maybe a 3-4 foot shoulder and high speed traffic, I sometimes tense up to the
    point that my legs barely want to turn the pedals. Any advice on how to overcome
    >this problem?
    >
    >Art

    This sounds like you are very uncomfortable riding around other vehicles. Besides riding more and
    riding with other cyclists who are comfortable riding along with traffic, I think an Effective
    Cycling class, (apparently called BikeEd now) might help.

    This would help you learn the techniques that allow cyclists to ride comfortably in heavy traffic
    situations.

    There is no doubt that it is a good idea to be as alert as possible when riding in heavy traffic,
    this is true no matter what sort of vehicle one is operating.

    What part of the country are you riding in? Attitudes and skills of other road users seems to vary
    significantly across the country.

    Jon Isaacs
     
  15. On Tue, 15 Apr 2003, Art wrote:

    > I started riding a bike late in life, age 49. Here it is 3 years later, and I still have a problem
    > tensing up in traffic. I can ride just fine on a no or low traffic road - good cadence and
    > relaxed. But when I ride on a road with maybe a 3-4 foot shoulder and high speed traffic, I
    > sometimes tense up to the point that my legs barely want to turn the pedals. Any advice on how to
    > overcome this problem?
    >
    > Art

    Art,

    Other posters have given you good advice. I would add that one thing to remember is that, our spleen
    here in the rec.bike world aside, the overwhelming majority of drivers are decent folks who are
    doing the same thing you're doing: trying to get to where they're going. They don't want to hit you.
    They're not seething with rage at you. Make yourself visible, stay aware, follow basic effective /
    vehicular cycling principles, and you'll be fine.

    Trent
     
  16. >They're not seething with rage at you. Make yourself visible, stay aware, follow basic effective /
    >vehicular cycling principles, and you'll be fine.

    Oh, I agree. Occasionally you'll get a driver who's seething with rage, but isn't personal. The
    worst that can happen is that they'll kill you on the road like a bug, but that's what life
    insurance is for.

    Why worry about it, all you can do is stick to your training and experience and do it by the book.
    That doesn't mean lack of flexibility and awareness, those are in the book too.

    The more you ride the more relaxed and aware you will become, all it takes is time. Learning to
    distinguish between significant and insignificant threats is a big part of this that Forester only
    alludes to, in city traffic the taxi and the tourist are big time risks whereas the bus is larger
    but more predictable.

    My biggest challenge has been in learning how to read non-signalling car and pedestrian behavior,
    after a time you will gain an appreciation of the dynamic such that you will know with absolute
    certainty what they are going to do. Subliminal awareness of intent.

    Keep riding, eventually experience will overcome trepidation and you won't feel uncomfortable.

    There is a danger zone here where confidence overcomes experience that is well known on motorcycles.
    It is the same on bicycles. This is the zone where most of the big mistakes happen. You've mastered
    the machine and the environment, or so you think. But you haven't, yet.

    Be aware of this, it is very important. Keep on doing it by the book until you are well after the
    initial comfort zone. You will have to consciously master your natural tendency to rewrite the book.

    Remember, there are old pilots and bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.

    Control, awareness and discipline will see you through.

    Hope that helped.

    --

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------
    __________306.350.357.38>>[email protected]__________
     
  17. Tanya Quinn

    Tanya Quinn Guest

    "Art" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I started riding a bike late in life, age 49. Here it is 3 years later, and I still have a problem
    > tensing up in traffic. I can ride just fine on a no or low traffic road - good cadence and
    > relaxed. But when I ride on a road with maybe a 3-4 foot shoulder and high speed traffic, I
    > sometimes tense up to the point that my legs barely want to turn the pedals. Any advice on how to
    > overcome this problem?

    Hi Art, The only thing I can really suggest is practice - you say its 3 years later, have to ridden
    frequently in traffic the whole time, or does the tensing scare you back to the low traffic roads?
    Also it probably would help to do some group rides with some cyclists that are more experienced and
    comfortable riding in traffic, that way you can be in the middle of the pack, and you can also mimic
    what they do, for negotiating turns etc.

    I found that when I started out riding in traffic I would be terrified and would find I would have
    several close calls on each ride. There will always be idiot drivers, and there will be the chance
    of getting killed while riding by said idiot despite being an experienced cyclist (not much
    different though than the odds of getting killed while driving safely or walking safely as a
    pedestrian). However you have to be assertive enough in traffic to stay safe in traffic. When I
    started I would ride too close to the curb, and cars would try passing in narrow lanes without
    enough room etc. and I would have to watch for cars to merge out again and avoid curb obstacles. If
    the lane isn't wide enough for cars to pass you with a reasonable clearance then take the lane, so
    its obvious to the car that a lane change is necessary to pass. If the shoulder is a few feet wide
    then there should not be chances of close sideswiping.

    I also find its nicer to ride on busy but slow traffic (due to congestion) streets than arterials,
    that way there is less speed differential between you and the passing traffic. Also I find it helps
    to tell yourself in your mind that you are traffic and to think like you are in a car and you are
    one of them. Its much easier than feeling you're in a sea of cars that can squash you. Be sure that
    you're visible when riding by asserting space, proper lighting at night, etc.

    Tanya
     
  18. Bernie

    Bernie Guest

    "J. Bruce Fields" wrote:

    > >"Art" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > >news:<[email protected]>...
    > >> I started riding a bike late in life, age 49. Here it is 3 years later, and I still have a
    > >> problem tensing up in traffic.
    >
    > In article <[email protected]>, Luigi de Guzman
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >I got on my bike because I wanted to get around town; getting around town meant tangling with
    > >traffic. All or nothing--a bit of shock therapy, but there you have it.
    >
    > In fact, that might be one good approach: start riding around more urban areas--not with fast
    > traffic, necessarily, but with dense enough traffic that you're forced into frequent practice with
    > maneuvers like negotiating lane changes. (If you haven't had to do this before, John Allen
    > explains it well: http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/index.htm.) After you get to the point
    > where you feel comfortable dealing with cars in more complicated (if perhaps slower) traffic,
    > maybe you'll also start to feel comfortable with traffic on rural roads.
    >
    > But who knows. Probably the best thing is just to keep doing what you're doing, relax, and be
    > patient....
    >
    > --Bruce F.

    I was thinking the same thing. Experience in heavy city "downtown" traffic, where a bike is faster
    than cars much of the time. One tends to start grooving thru traffic. Definitely a skills and
    confidence builder. Of course, you've got to be at a level where you feel confident enough to do
    some manouevers (sp)??

    Bernie
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...