Riding with Fear – How Do You Deal With It?
January 17, 2009 at 1:29 am #15734
Out of curiosity…. did you go down in the parking lot or on the ride to the lot?
Another question I have is which brake did you use the most?January 18, 2009 at 12:08 am #15765
I was in the parking lot when I went down. I grab both brakes to hard but if I remember I think i did alot of front braking.January 18, 2009 at 2:34 am #15767
I was wondering…alot of what us noobs don’t get told is in parking lots the rear brake is better for control. the front brake is a good way to take you down. Higher speeds its the reverse as the Fronts actually apply better stopping force. Good thing to remember when following behind “Johnny teenager” scoping the mall for his future girlfriend. Or…. in my case…. slow crawling your way through stop and go traffic first thing in the morning.January 19, 2009 at 5:25 am #15793
I didn’t notice that. When I was taking my MSF I was told to always use both brakes. But if it helps gives me more control i’m all for it.January 19, 2009 at 6:00 am #15796
MSF uses that to condition you to get into the habit of using both brakes simultaneously and especially at higher speeds. I am not sure if you had the misfortune of a beginner rider in the class dropping a bike , but we did. That’s when the instructor explained what happened, why and a real life situation that would be better for it.
In a parking lot or speeds similar if you turn the handle bars your bike is slightly off balance… you are the counterweight…. touch those front brakes harder then you can adjust instantly for and you will go down…. or come close. Use that rear brake more in that situation and being that it is aimed straight with the frame it will not have that tendency to drag you down. Good illustration is to look at your bike while it is on the side stand…. notice how the weight of the bike shifts when you turn the handle bars from one direction to the other. Without the stand you need to be the counter balance to keep the bike up…. that sudden shift of your weight forward…. bike leaning slightly to the side…. and down you go. Which is also why they emphasize getting the bike up and as straight as possible for emergency stops in a turn.January 19, 2009 at 6:13 pm #15809
This is an interesting discussion. Some very sobering accounts. I am not a rider yet, so I have no stories to tell, but I can talk about another experience I had which was fear-inducing: training to fight. To learn some psychological skills I found a tape set (remember cassettes?) that was called “Gold Metal Workout”, if I remember correctly. The instructor was a man who had earned the silver in Judo in the Olympics. Regardless, the tapes were all about how to deal with fear. He used the analogy of walking across a beam at great height–if this beam were on the ground none of us would have a problem walking over it, but when it is lifted up to a height of 100 meters, then just about everyone would be afraid. How can you focus on the beam and make it across at this height? How do you control your mind? Fortunately, I don’t think riding a motorcycle is quite this dangerous (although it is risky enough) but I think the concepts are analogous. Some fear is natural. I ran across some helpful “hypnosis” CD’s from “The Hyposis Network” which were quite helpful for another situation I dealt with. The Title of one was “Preparing for Uncertainty” by Eric Creenleaf and there is another title called “Managing Stress and Anxiety” by Randy Gilchrist–both are quiet helpful. The link is here: http://www.hypnosisnetwork.com/index.php In terms of managing your fear (your mind) I think both of these are fairly effective. This has been a very helpful discussion.January 19, 2009 at 11:53 pm #15817
So if fear is natural why would you want to hypnotize yourself not to fear it? Myself, I’d rather experience fear and overcome it. Maybe its the military coming out of me.January 20, 2009 at 12:12 am #15819
Maybe I should have used the term “disabling fear”. You are not trying to hypnotize yourself not to fear at all, just to learn ways to react by involving more mental/psychological resources in order to overcome the situation you are in. The idea in part is to be more “objective” and less emotional and react better so that you will be able to take whatever useful action is required. In a sense, it is all about learning how to focus better.January 20, 2009 at 1:12 am #15823
Hmmm….I’m not sure I agree that feeling fear when you get on a bike is a good thing. I have a healthy respect for the dangers involved but I do not feel fear. Fear can lead to mistakes, like falling off the beam at 300ft or braking in mid corner when there is no need. The OP mentioned fear when he was suiting up. That to me is not good and is something he needs to work on removing. Not saying he should become fearless and start wheelie’ing down the interstate but he should not be afraid to get on the bike.January 20, 2009 at 1:17 am #15824
There is definitely a happy medium.
Am I scared of my bike when I get on? No.
Am I scared of getting side swiped by an 18 wheeler? Yes.
Am I scared of taking the L-shape turn? No.
Am I scared of taking that same turn at 60MPH? Yes.
It less of being fearful and more of having the healthy fear that will keep you sharp.
And you are right, complete fear of something will be no good to you — its understanding situational fear and how it can help and keep you safe.January 20, 2009 at 1:49 am #15830
Fear as I know it is irrational and immobilizing. Controls your thoughts, emotions and motor skills.
Caution often mistaken for fear is mindful observation to the possibility of danger but allowing you the freedom of those skills to avoid a consequence.
Ask a person with arachnophobia to hold a tarantula and likely they will come close to complete spastic reactions in emotion, motor and rationalized thoughts. Take that same person and tell them to grab a naked wire in a wall socket and they keep the ability to tell you “heck no!”
You can control both though FEAR in its reality is far more complicated and deep routed to conquer….caution however is more easily dealt with by positive conclusions, but should be remembered to keep the conclusions positive.January 20, 2009 at 2:04 am #15832
I agree, fear is often irrational and disabling. But if you use thoughts about potential “disasters” to motivate yourself to think about how to deal with the situation more rationally, I think it can be helpful. My own personal style is that I like to imagine potential events before they happen so I can think about what the best reaction might be. Training can be very helpful.
I had a friend when I was 16 who was 18 and had been riding motocross since he was 9. He was extremely skilled and had won many races. Unfortunately, he was taking a ride with a friend down a neighborhood street when an old lady darted out from a side street and killed him–the passenger lived. Even when you are an excellent rider, sometimes freak things are going to happen. Even so, my feeling is that it is better to rehearse and prepare. At the same time, you absolutely don’t want to become immobilized because then you will be doing the wrong thing at the wrong time and hate everything during the process. My goal is to develop my skill and enjoy the process.January 20, 2009 at 2:18 am #15834
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
I’ve recited this litany often. And it’s not so much “I must not fear” as “I must not let fear control me”. There’s also the old Boy Scout laws. “A scout is…” trustworthy, loyal, helpful, couteous, kind, cheerful, thrifty, BRAVE, clean, reverent. And being brave isn’t not having fear, it’s doing the right thing IN SPITE of fear.October 3, 2016 at 9:54 am #30424
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