You Deserve To Be Out There

09
Sep
2011

One of the most popular fears I’ve seen from cyclists is the fear of riding out on busy roads.  I’ve seen tweets, received e-mails, and had people mention this following our Cycling 360 podcast on Fear.  It’s a valid concern and unfortunately it is something that keeps some people from riding their bikes.

So what’s the answer?  How do we convince people to get out there and ride their bicycles with no fear of traffic and what it might do to them? Here is the quick reply I often tell people when asked about this fear:

Be confident and smart, Own your space, and Remember that you DESERVE to be out there.

This may be simple advice, but I feel if you remember these three things when heading out for your ride….it will help you get over your fear.  Along with this advice, I am also now working very closely with the Please BE KIND to Cyclists organization here in Austin, Texas….and we’re doing our best to make the roads safer for all of us.  With a mission statement like the one below, you know I just had to get involved with this fantastic organization:

Our mission is to contribute to a global social change and create stronger and healthier communities.  We provide educational resources to both automobile drivers and cyclists so they can learn to coexist and share the road safely and with respect.

So what’s holding you back?  If you have more questions on the fear of riding, or the fear of riding in traffic please send them in to us and we’ll do all we can to help get you out on the road.

Enjoy Your Ride

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12 Responses to “ You Deserve To Be Out There ”

  1. Justin Moore on May 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Cyclists DO deserve to be out there. History tells us that it was cyclists that advocated for the first paved roads (that is, before cars even existed!) so yes, you do need to ride with confidence on the road because history and the legal system says you can. Unfortunately, many riders are not taught that their best position on the road is actually IN THE LANE. Why? Legally, in Texas, if the lane is less than 14 feet wide the law says “It’s not shareable”. But more importantly, being in the middle of a narrow lane makes you much more conspicuous. Drivers have a better chance to a) detect something ahead of them and b) recognize that it is a cyclist ahead. In thousands of miles of riding, taking the lane has proven to me that this is so much less about evil motorists trying to run us all over and so much more about cyclists that need to take command of the road, give drivers plenty of time to see them and when it is safe to do so yield a little of that space to help motorists safely pass. I love being a League Cycling Instructor because my students leave the class completely changed…they leave feeling empowered and confident about their ability to ride their bikes in traffic. Sadly, we struggle to fill these classes because most cyclists don’t understand why they’re need “bicycle riding education”…they know how to balance on their bikes…they have hundreds or thousands of miles…they know better! Yet…these are the cyclists far over to the right side of the lane, hugging the curb with no escape route…and actually plastering a big virtual sign on their backs that says “PLEASE SQUEEZE BY ME” to motorists.

    *** long sigh ***

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on May 31, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Great comments, Justin. Thanks for putting this up and thanks also for your work as a League Cycling Instructor. Still hope to meet up with you for a ride one of these days.

  2. iamnotacyclist on October 27, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I definitely feel that I deserve to be there. What I am afraid of are the people who disagree and are driving a machine able to kill me, or those who don’t pay enough attention.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on October 27, 2011 at 11:42 am

      Good point.  It’s too bad all of our cities couldn’t provide roads that are just for cycling….that would be heaven wouldn’t it?  Yeah, unfortunately we can’t control how people drive or how much attention they are going to give us……they need to know that we deserve to be out there as well.

  3. Clive Chapman on September 10, 2011 at 8:14 am

    This is something I never understand. Ok, I’m no country Bumpkin, I was born and bred right in the middle of England’s second City. That of Birmingham where as a kid I was always pedalling amongst traffic. So I guess you could say I’ve always been used to it. But the roads are as safe or as dangerous as your own head makes it. Stay confident, own your lane and do everyone’s thinking for them.

    That obviously can’t legislate for the one off looney doing something totally unpredictable, but that’s the same in every walk of life and activity.

    My view is don’t be a victim, keep your wits about and just get out there. The more of us the better!

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on September 10, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      You share some good points, Clive.  I like what you said about doing “everyone’s thinking for them”.  Good advice.

  4. Anonymous on September 9, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Coincidence! My post today blasting biking myths in general, and definitely the safety one. http://bit.ly/oywbsv

    Good job working to make streets safer for everyone!

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on September 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      Sweet….nice post.  Thanks for letting me know about it.  We’re all in this together.

  5. Gena Mazzeo on September 9, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Absolutely, we deserve to be out there. But after a crash involving a car, I find myself being very timid on my bike.  I’m moving slower, I’m lsss aggressive when it comes to dealing with other cyclists on the trail, and I still haven’t returned to riding with traffic (more than a month later).  In addition to conquering the fear of your first road ride, I’d love to hear tips how to conquer the fear of returning to the road and getting over this timidity that I am afraid is going to cause another crash.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on September 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      Hi Gena, thanks for sharing your feelings.  There are a lot of great tips in the Cycling 360 podcast that I provided the link to in this post.  Be sure to have a listen and see which tips can help you out.  Probably the best tip for you would be to slowly progress towards getting back on the road.  Start off somewhere you feel safe and then slowly start moving into more traffic and busier roads for short periods of time.  Be patient with yourself and build your confidence back up.

      Let me know if there’s anything else we can do to help you out.

  6. Tim Starry on September 9, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Although I’m not a huge fan of the LAB, most of their bicycle education is pretty good. Check out riding tips.

    http://www.bikeleague.org/resources/better/index.php

    #5 is contentious. Decide for yourself.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on September 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      Their points are very similar to the Cyclist VIP program put out by Please BE KIND to Cyclists.

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