Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Getting Over My Fears For Gears

Photo by SARBPhotography

I have this vivid memory of walking out of a fish and chip shop with my mum when I was six. This was in our mini shopping area, about a cluster of six shops. It was a beautiful sunny day and I had gotten a sausage supper. I was so excited to eat it, right before I was knocked down.
A teenage girl was riding her bike really fast, stupidly so in a small shopping area, she didn't see me and she crashed right into me, just missing my mum. To this day, I still have a dent in the back of my head from where I met the concrete. And to this day, that memory has traumatised me. So much so that I stopped riding my own bike. Now 15 years later, I'm about to tackle that fear...

I live in a small town, it's not hard to get around, but it can be tiring and time consuming if you walk everywhere like I do. And so I decided that I needed a quicker method of transport. 

Buses were out; the costs would add up too much. 
Getting my own car was out too; that costs more than a bus. 

And so I was left with one option: getting a bike. 

The very first thing I did was justify getting a bike to myself because my fear was overriding my common sense if I had enough reason then no amount of fear could stop me.

The second thing I did was look online to see if adult stabilisers existed. Anyone who knows me knows that I have terrible luck and that my clumsiness is at unbelievably high levels. There was no chance I was getting back on a bike without a safety net. 

My gran and I talked about it more and she said that she would get me a bike as an early birthday present, like more than half a year early, but I agreed. Everyone - bar my mum and my boyfriend- I told about my idea was initially sceptical about me needing stabilisers, they laughed it off and said I’d be fine. When my gran and her partner saw me use my bike for the first time in 15 years, though, they believed me. I was so wobbly and unbalanced and very uncoordinated.

I've had my bike now for just over a few weeks now, maybe a month, and I’m still on my stabilisers and I intend to keep them on until I’m overflowing with confidence. Right now, my main goal is to fix my balance, my confidence and the strength in my legs. Without all those things, I won't get far without my stabilisers. I know it. It's a gut feeling. I need the confidence in myself. I need to feel like I have a better sense of balance before I put it to the ultimate test. I need to build the strength so I can go fast and push myself. 

I have a little area where I can cycle around in circles to practice, corners are tough for me honestly, and we have a lot of paths as well that I’ve been practising on. Everyone has marked a difference in my cycling skill, that I’m faster, I’m steadier and I’m more confident in myself and my skills. And you know what? I can see it too!

I’ve had mixed reactions from people when I’ve been out. A few old men on bikes have told me that I’m never going to learn by using stabilisers and that I don’t need them. A guy around my age stopped me and was asking if I was learning, so I told him what happened years ago, and he was really supportive and wished me luck. Then I’ve had kids who have actually pointed and laughed at me.

Yeah, I get it. I’m 20 coming on 21 and I have stabilisers on my bike.

But who cares? I sure as hell don’t. I’m proud of my progress so far. I know where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. As does my family and friends. There’s no shame in it. Shame and fear should never hold us back from doing what we want to do.

You might be thinking what the point of this post was, and I’m getting there, don't worry. My point is, I conquered a fear that I’ve had for 3/4 of my life and it feels good. I still get worried and I still have my moments where I can't keep my balance at all. I still haven't bumped up or down a kerb yet, and I’ll probably keep my stabilisers for a few months yet. But that feeling, of doing something that terrifies you to your very core, and overcoming it slowly, feels amazing.

Okay, there are far scarier things than riding a bike, like bungee jumping, but it's a personal fear, something that had always lurked. We all have them.

This is my challenge to you, if I can do it, then you can do it too. What scares you that you thought you’d never do? If it’s fear holding you back, push it to the side and work through it.

Do something that scares you. You might be surprised.


What scares you? What fear are you going to conquer? Let me know your thoughts down below in the comments and don’t forget to share with your friends!


40 comments:

  1. Good on you for over coming your fear and so be it if you need stabilisers not everyone can ride a bike and they don't know the reason you need them. I do not ride a bike and if I did I to would need stabilisers keep on peddling and hopefully you can do an update post when you no longer need the stabilisers x

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  2. It's a good thing to face our fears, it's apart of our growth as a person so well done you!

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  3. Bravo for facing your fears! Riding a bike is like anything; do it often enough and as many times as you can and you'll soon master it.

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  4. Good for you facing your fears so many years later! You won't regret it!

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  5. Brilliant! Lots of adults refuse to do things where they think they'll look childish, stops them learning new, sometimes essential, skills. Well done.

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  6. Well done for facing your fear...very inspirational post x

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  7. Good on you for giving riding a bike a go. Everyone has to start somewhere xxx

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  8. Oh bless! Well done you for facing your fear! I hope you get the cycling bug and fall in love with it. I bought a bike this year and ended up cycling a 400 mile bikepacking trip (where you take all your camping gear with you on the bike). Epic. Food for thought? ;)

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  9. Well done for doing this. I never learnt to ride a bike as a kid and have hated any time I tried for fear of falling off. I wish I had your drive to learn x

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  10. Well done on overcoming your fear - that's a big step. I love riding a bike but I'm not too comfortable on busy roads yet.

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  11. Good for you for trying to overcome your fear. I hope you get the stabilisers off soon x

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  12. Well done! I only recently started riding again and my first time ever on the road. It's scary!

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  13. Last summer I learnt to ride a bike at adult bike classes.You can check with your local council to see if they offer bike classes.

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  14. Bloomin' well done. It takes a lot of guts to do push ahead with something that is only deemed suitable for a child. You should be fantastically proud of your self and I look forward to the post that says stabiliser free!

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  15. we've all got fears and we just need to take that first step in conquering it. you did an amazing job!

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  16. Well do for giving this a go! I learnt as a child but I've never been a big fan of riding bikes x

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  17. Well done you, being able to ride a bike is a life skill everyone should have the chance to experience.

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  18. I am so proud of you! I completely believe in exposure type therapies and you facing your fears was such a big brave and exposing step! Good for you for tackling the fear! xx

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  19. Well done for trying! I still can't ride a bike. I lost interest quickly too. There are many things that scare me including walking on bridges, wasps and escalators. You did so amazing - I find exposing myself to fears doesn't always work. For instance, bridges it worsens my anxiety so if there are other ways I often do it. However I know I'm just slower on escalators and can't always avoid wasps in summer.

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  20. Well done for overcoming your fears. It's not easy when you become an adult, but you did it!

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  21. I don't think it's bad you have stabilisers! You're facing your fear by going on the bike, well done!

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  22. Oh wow, its no wonder you have a fear of it! Gosh it would terrify me - good on you for having the courage to tackle bikes again!

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  23. My goodness that must have been awful but it's great to hear you faced it and got back on your bike.

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  24. I never did learn to ride a bike without stabilisers good on you for getting out of your comfort zone and getting back on a bike.

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  25. Good for you!!!! You should be rightly proud of yourself. Ignore people who mock. You will end up being the winner xxx

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  26. Well done you, I hope you are proud of yourself lovely and give the middle finger to those who mock x

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  27. I think you are really brave to be getting back on the saddle again.

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  28. Well done for facing your fears - so brave and inspiring!

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  29. Over coming any fear must be an amazing feeling! Well done

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  30. What a traumatic experience at such a young age, well done for faces your fears hunny!

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  31. I still have a fear of getting on a bike, I broke my front teeth when I fell off my bike when I was younger.
    But well done you for facing your fears. I will one day I hope

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  32. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience, but well done you for getting back on that bike (literally!) x

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  33. Well done for learning! I'm sure you will be ale to conquer your fear.
    I had a massive fear or bikes after I had crash on mine when I was a kid and suffered a serious injury. Than last year I was invited on a bloggers bike tour through Paris and I couldn't say no. So I jumped into it - straight on the crowded streets of Paris, during a parade and through the busiest touristic places. I found that when you have to, you just forget you were scared. You get concentrated on what you need to do and you do it :)

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  34. All fears are legitimate, and the fact yours comes with a reason makes it as real a fear as any others. Well done for getting backing he saddle and eventually when you're ready those stabilisers will comes off. And if they don't who cares? You're still riding around on a bike!

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  35. It's really goof that you faced your fears! I love that you're really pushing yourself too.

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  36. Good on your facing your fears. I have a fear of learning to drive. I'm petrified of thought passing and having to drive by myself!

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  37. Well done for facing your fear and being brave enough to ignore all the people who don't understand. I bet you will soon be riding it without stabilisers. :) x

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  38. Good on you!!!! Love that you're 'facing the fear, and doing it anyway', as the saying goes. I'm sad for the five-year-old-you though, what a traumatic day! Hope that teenage girl was suitably remorseful. xx

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  39. Well done for facing your fears. This is such an inspirational post!

    Eleanor | www.eleaanormay.com

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