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Help My Friend Rebuild His Roadriding Confidence(12 posts)

Help My Friend Rebuild His Roadriding ConfidenceFez
Oct 21, 2003 10:10 AM
A buddy crashed recently while riding on the road solo. The pavement was smooth, but one part of the lane was about 1.5 inches higher than the other.

The best way to describe it was as if a giant sheet of 1.5 inch tall plywood was on the road and my friend's front tire rubbed against the edge for a few feet, but his tire wouldn't go over it, so he fell. Luckily he was wearing a full sleeve jersey, so no road rash, just a shredded jersey and a bruise. He would have been in serious pain if he had a sleeveless jersey.

Even though the 1.5 inch edge was completely perpendicular to the road, he didn't see it because it wasn't obvious until his tire came into contact with the edge.

The problem is, now he is afraid of all breaks in the pavement and he has lost confidence in his ability to go over most irregularities or breaks in the pavement, fearing his wheel will get caught in a long parallel rut and he will go down again.

I tried explaining to him that a 1.5 inch perpendicular drop in the pavement is huge and it was just bad luck and that he didn't need to worry over smaller ruts.

Any tips on how he can regain confidence? Is there some rule of thumb on what the sidewall of a 23mm road tire can and cannot overome? Would stickier rubber sidewall on the tire have helped? He had a tan sidewall that was kind of fibrous (not rubbery), but he since replaced them with Pro Races, which have rubber sidewalls all around.
The universal answer: ride, ride, ride . . .ms
Oct 21, 2003 10:25 AM
The only way to regain confidence is to ride.

I had a solo fall on July 3 on a slick, descent. I may have hit a rock, but then I may have just lost control. I was not as lucky as your friend -- I had a broken shoulder and severe road rash on my thigh/butt (someone here once used the term "shorts ripping crash" -- I now shudder every time I think about that term).

I wanted to get back on the bike as soon as possible (and I tried long before it really was possible). But, I confess that I was apprehensive on the descents after my fall. I still have not ridden as fast as I did when I fell (44.8 mph according to my computer). But, everytime that I go out on the roads, I feel better on the descents. I now have made it a point to do the descent on which I fell whenever my ride goes in that direction. My advice is to get back on the bike and ride. Your friend should take it easy at first, and then try to build up to where he was before the fall. This is not an equipment issue (unless your friend wants to get training wheels). This is a psychological issue. The only way that your friend will regain confidence is to ride and realize that his fall was a fluke, not something that will happen on every ride.
Glad to hear you're OKFez
Oct 21, 2003 10:45 AM
My friend's problem is that he feels the fear of parallel grooves at 15+ mph, which is pretty much the speed we ride all the time.

He used to have confidence his tire could clear any long thin parallel ruts grooves in the pavement, especially by going over them at an angle. Now he just thinks he'll get caught straight in and the sidewall will just rub against the groove/rut and he will fall again.

Do full rubber sidewall tires have an advantage over those tan ones that look more fibrous? Maybe switch to wider tires like a 25C?
Time will do the job...PatC
Oct 21, 2003 10:28 AM
I crashed recently too and fell face down on the road,in a bad enough crash that caused me some(too much !!)pain (had a few stitches at the hospital and my front teeth were badly shaken !). That was probably because of a very uneven ground, due to some repair work. Well, I still feel uneasy when riding on bad roads but it's been getting better and better for the last weeks, mainly because the pain has disappeared and no longer reminds me of what crashing feels like.
So I figure your friend will soon get over his fears. And as some friends have pointed out to me takes crashing to become a true cyclist !!
Time will do the job...Fez
Oct 21, 2003 10:37 AM
You wrote:

"it takes crashing to become a true cyclist"

Hopefully this occurs before one buys a new bike.
How crashes before you are a true cyclist?ms
Oct 21, 2003 11:17 AM
When I took horse riding lessons in college, the instructor said that you had to fall three times before you were a rider. I was thrown/fell twice and decided that I was not going to go for my third fall. (The instuctor also told me that I did not have a "good seat.") I now have crashed twice on my bike, once about two years ago when another rider crashed into me and I bruised my ribs and the fall I described above. Even though my injuries were worse from my bike crashes than my horse falls, I will take a bike crash any day over a horse fall -- at least you can't be crushed by the bike, I was almost crushed by a rearing, then bolting horse on one of my horse falls. But, as I approach my 45th birthday, I also realize that my bones and muscles are not as resilient as they were a quarter century ago. Thus, I would like to know how many more times I have to crash before I am a true cyclist.

BTW: I took the brunt of the crash in both of my bike crashes -- I flatted both tires in the first crash, no other damage to the bike; the only damage from my second crash was that I needed new handle bar tape (the scraping across the road that ripped my shorts also ripped the tape).
Oct 21, 2003 11:31 AM
So, congrats! You are a cyclist. What's the old saying: there are two types of who has crashed and one who hasn't..yet.

I've been thrown by a horse too. All things considered, I'll take a bike wreck anyday.
Good for me, then !PatC
Oct 21, 2003 11:52 AM
Since that was my third bike crash ! Anyhow I have made up my mind I will not fall again...I too have realized that ageing and falling don't go togeher very well !!
Well, I do hope that the saying 'Everything comes in three' won't prove right for you, as it has for me...But I must say that I can be pretty inattentive at times and this is why two of my crashes occured.
But, if you manage to concentrate on your riding (which you do, I'm sure..), no doubt your two crashes have already made a true cyclist out of you ! Congratulations, then !
Oct 21, 2003 11:34 AM bike was new ! But it came out totally unhurt !!
Call a WHAM..Mbulance! get up, clip on and ride. (nm)c722061
Oct 21, 2003 11:29 AM
rollers, MTB and new pedalscyclopathic
Oct 21, 2003 11:54 AM
in resent month I had 2 similar cases. One going in wet over 45deg angled rails, and another riding into corner on loose leaves on MUT. In both cases I was able to unclip both legs and save from falling and sliding on side.

Here a few pointers: doing rollers will help to build balance. Riding MTB (or road bike) over small obstacles (curbs, rails, cracks etc) will help to build reflexes and confidence. Key is to lift and carry over front tire, and if screwed up, unclip and control crash. And easy to get out pedals (Speedplay, Bebob) save unclip time good luck.
Oct 21, 2003 6:17 PM
Crashes come with riding, if you ride long enough, sooner or later you will go down. I rode for 30 some odd years with no major crashes then blew out a front tire while descending and ended up in the hospital for 7 days.

I have a lot of gravel on the roads I ride. A lot of people in the foothills have gravel driveways and it gets spit out onto the road. I have to watch the road in front of me all the time (that's what caused the crash). But sometimes I let my guard down and run over a piece of sharp gravel and I end up with a flat.

During this time of the the sun is in a different place and I switch out my riding lenses to amber or clear. A lot of stuff is in the shade and dark riding glasses make it hard to see.

Your friend just needs to get back on his bike and ride. I almost stopped riding and a friend bugged me until I got back on my bike. After the first 30 minutes I was hooked again.

The problem with riding with someone else is some people tend to chat, then concentrate on where they are going.

Just tell you freind that he had a stroke of bad luck. We all take little tumbles, he did not do anything wrong, just at the wrong place at the wrong time (fate).

He also might consider riding with 25mm tires.