Why do some riders never improve?
This article will focus on fear, and I feel its the main reason that people don't improve. We are all afraid of crashing and getting hurt. It's something we've all experienced at one point in time while cycling. Fear has the ability to hold us back and keep us from pushing our own limits. A quick example of this would be the fear of riding over a narrow wooden bridge. The bike is more than capable of doing the action, but the rider is afraid to perform it. Whenever we are afraid to do something we create a mental road block for ourselves, and any time we encounter this fear on a ride that roadblock is going to show its evil head.
So, how do we get over our fears? Well, just like every fear in life we need to embrace it. The best thing about cycling is that we can start very small and by starting small we can make progress in building confidence. Every good rider out there has confidence in their ability. Confidence allows us to ride with less worry, and with less focus on the negative that may creep in to our minds while in the saddle. I obviously can't go over every scenario in this article but I'll give you the general idea and you can take it from there. As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns and I'll gladly be willing to help. Let's return to our example of riding over a narrow wooden bridge. The fear in this situation is that we will fall off the bridge and down into the molten lava, or alligator pit. Here's step number one to get over this fear, and it's a place I send everyone to do skill work. Go to an empty parking lot and practice riding the white lines. The goal behind this is to learn where your bike is while you're riding it. This probably sounds strange doesn't it? Of course you know where your bike is, it's underneath you. Yes, it is, but the object is to learn where your bike is in relationship to your body. I'm talking about how you control the bike, how you correctly steer the bike, and how everything you do from pedaling to braking is going to have an effect on the bike and how it moves. Practice this over and over and build you confidence and your skill set. When you can repeat the action over and over you are forming a skill that will carry with you and from there you can progress it. This is extremely important because you may do something out of luck the first time, it's when you can do it again and again that you're becoming a better rider. There is no deadline to improve so don't force it. I love helping people to conquer their fears, and I get to do it at least a few times a month. Practice, progress at your own pace, and never give up.