The worst kind of crash is the one leaving us with the very question; how did this happen?
Nothing invokes more fear and trepidation about getting back on the bike than not understanding why we crashed in the first place. If we don’t know the reason for the crash, how are we to ensure it doesn’t happen again?
As a result of a crash, one of two scenarios typically happen:
1. We stop riding in situations that are similar to which were present when we crashed. For example, if we crashed while descending, we stop choosing routes that have significant descents. If we crashed on a group ride, we may avoid riding with friends and teammates.
2. We muster up the strength to get back on the bike and convince ourselves that it won’t happen again and simply hope for the best.
Either of these two choices has negative ramifications. If we choose to alter the type of riding we do to avoid the possibility of crashing; we allow fear and uncertainty to rob us of our passion. Secondly, if we jump right back onto the bike without a full understanding what caused the crash, we are asking for trouble and may end up with a short lived cycling hobby as the potential for injury is high.
So what is the solution to safe and confident riding?
Check the ego at the door
Understand that just because we’ve ridden bikes from a very early age, that doesn’t mean that we were taught the key fundamentals of safe riding. We often hear, “I’ve been riding all sorts of bikes my whole life. I know what I’m doing.” While that is most often the case, how many were taught these key safety components
- Utilizing proper vision
- Understanding energy/weight dynamics
- Understanding and establishing the true apex on different types of turns
- Using reference points to your advantage
- How counter steering plays a role in cornering a bike
- How to protect yourself during a group ride
- Most of us were not taught any of these essential skills that are the essential ingredients to safe riding.
Invest in yourself and make the commitment
You’ve spent thousands of dollars on an amazing bicycle and have the best gear to match. You have committed to the sport of cycling and hope to continue for a lifetime. Recognize that you may further enjoy cycling with the additional competence, confidence, and safety that learning bike skills provides.
Understand that learning skills is just that, it’s a learning process and it takes time. Everyone starts at a different skill level and progresses at different rates. It’s just like using your phone to find and drive somewhere. Know where you are starting, where you are going and how to get there.
In summary, these two elements are necessary to become a safer, and a more competent bike rider. You must be open to the idea that there is more to this thing that simply doing what you have always done. Albert Einstein said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results”.
We love teaching bike handling skills at Athleticamps. We have built a proven method that has a long history of helping riders become safer, confident, and subsequently more effective on the bike.
Ride safe, ride strong
The Athleticamps coaching team