Five secret worries almost every cyclist has

With some practice and preparation, worry no more

Sure it may look like the rider who just floated by you doesn't have a care in the world, but chances are they too are rattled by some situations when cycling. Almost every cyclist has a few scenarios that make them cautious or uptight. The good news is you're not alone and there are solutions to help dial down the anxiety. All of these tips and tricks can be used for both road and mountain riding, so get out there and stop worrying!

1. Getting dropped

Riding in a group has a bounty of benefits, getting dropped isn't one of them
Riding in a group has a bounty of benefits, getting dropped isn't one of them

Getting dropped on a group ride and not knowing the route or being the slow person holding up the pack is a common fear. It helps to remember that every cyclist was a beginner at some point. Plus, it’s not a big deal to get dropped as long as you have a plan. Your plan could consist of just finishing the current ride or turning around, or going a completely different way. What is a big deal is that by joining a faster group ride you’re trying to improve and that’s what counts.

2. Crashing

Crashes are somewhat inevitable, luckily most of them you can laugh about afterwards
Crashes are somewhat inevitable, luckily most of them you can laugh about afterwards

Sorry for being Captain Obvious here, but no one likes crashing. Luckily there are ways to help avoid unpleasant get offs. First, make sure your equipment is in proper working order: replace worn-out parts, adjust brakes and gearing, and be realistic with the intended life cycle of products. Next, gain skills. This can be done by riding with people better than you or through dedicated coaching clinics. Lastly, practice. Find a safe area and work on your balance, handling and other technical moves. The learning curve is much less steep in a soft, grassy field than on the road. 

3. Unfixable mechanical 

Stay up on your bike's maintenance and practice common mechanical fixes at home so it's smooth sailing out in the real world
Stay up on your bike's maintenance and practice common mechanical fixes at home so it's smooth sailing out in the real world

While bikes tend to be pretty simple machines and generally give plenty of advanced warning before breaking, being mechanical beasts things do happen. The best way to avoid a roadside repair is to check over your bike and gear regularly. Replace or adjust parts as needed, especially worn-out tires. It also helps to familiarize yourself with basic repair know how, such as changing a flat tire, fixing a chain or making minor adjustments safely while in the comfort of your own home. 

4. Traffic

Taking proper precautions can make riding with traffic less intimidating
Taking proper precautions can make riding with traffic less intimidating

While this is hugely dependent on where you live, one of the most cited reasons people give for not riding or commuting is fear of traffic. Riding defensively, anticipating what drivers might do and obeying traffic laws take a big chunk of the risk away. Adding front and rear lights (even in the daytime) and wearing bright, reflective clothes and gear also helps. Finding alternative routes is also an option and in my opinion one of the biggest reasons to give commuting and urban riding a go. 

5. Wet roads

Riding in the rain takes a bit more skill and technique, but these are relatively simple things any cyclist can master
Riding in the rain takes a bit more skill and technique, but these are relatively simple things any cyclist can master

When the weather makes riding conditions less than ideal, it’s natural to get apprehensive. There are a couple tricks though that can help. First off, drop a couple PSI out of those rock hard tires. With less pressure there’s more tire on the road for more traction. Next up, rethink your braking. Grabbing more rear brake and less of the front will lessen the chance of your front tire slipping. Lastly, try to keep you weight centered on the bike so both of your tires have the best opportunity to gain traction. 

Russell Eich

Tech Writer
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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