Page 1 of 2

No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 22 Jun 2012, 10:03pm
by dgp1957
Hi Folks, Im a 54 year old unfit bloke from Greenock, Scotland. I have just got hold of a bike mainly for getting around th town on, apart from the not fit part I am having trouble with cycling with traffic, I dont have any confidence at all, are there any courses etc locally that I could attend that might help?

Re: No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 23 Jun 2012, 7:36am
by Michael R
Is there a cyclists' map produced by the council. If so that will show quieter routes.

Also look for quiet routes yourself and then gradually build up from there. confidence comes with experience

Keep at it

Re: No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 23 Jun 2012, 7:42am
by Malaconotus
I just had a search for Bikeability courses for adults in Scotland, but it doesn't seem to be as well resourced or developed as in England. I can't see any schemes or instructors local to you listed online, but you can register interest here... http://www.cyclingscotland.org/our-proj ... g-courses/

Re: No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 23 Jun 2012, 10:08am
by Si
If you can't find an instructor then you might benefit from reading Franklin's Cycle Craft: http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/

Also, if there is a touring/leisure cycling club in your area then doing some group rides might help to improve your confidence and get you some advice from those who've a little more experience.

Re: No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 23 Jun 2012, 6:13pm
by AlanD
Hello dgp1957,
Don't worry, the confidence will increase. You might think from reading this forum that every motorist is a murderous scally that is out to get you. Well that's not the case . The strange paradox is that if you can overcome your natural inclination to cower in the gutter by behaving more confident and pretending that you know what you're doing by claiming the space around you; then motorists do actually start showing some respect and it really does get safer & more enjoyable for you. They don't really want to run you down, looks bad on the insurance claim form.
All the best, Alan

Re: No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 23 Jun 2012, 7:03pm
by alanesq
I agree, if you ride close to the gutter it is startling the difference it makes to how close the cars pass you !
I think it is because if you are close to the side they think they can just squeeze through, if you are further out they have to slow down and overtake rather than just force through?

Re: No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 23 Jun 2012, 8:36pm
by DougieB
I briefly was a motorbike instructor, and one of the main confidence barriers when in traffic was not having intuitive bike handling skills. there's a definite step up in confidence when the rider no longer needs to think about how to handle the bike when under pressure. not sure if this applies (only you will know), but wobbly slow-speed riding, not being able to stop quickly without almost falling off, etc, etc, are all pointers to not being comfortable with basic bike handling.

I don't think you get road skills training (bike handling, rather than traffic handling), but, especially in Scotland, there are lots of off-road handling 'skills courses'. I don't know Greenock (I'm from Edinburgh), but you might want to call the mtb guys at Innerleithen and maybe ask for recommendations for skills courses further West.

cheers

Re: No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 23 Jun 2012, 9:31pm
by rualexander
Some training available in Glasgow from these guys : http://www.thebikestation.org.uk/cycle- ... g-glasgow/

Re: No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 23 Jun 2012, 10:28pm
by DougieB
I've been in the bike station in edinburgh a few times, and they are very helpful.

Re: No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 24 Jun 2012, 5:18pm
by hashtag
I've found that being in 'primary' position i.e. in the centre of the lane forces drivers to see you and slow down rather and barge their way past

i also find that chopping the bars down so they are really narrow helps both mentally and physically

Re: No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 29 Jun 2012, 7:10pm
by gentlegreen
For context, do you have experience as another sort of road user - e.g. car or motorcycle ?

Re: No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 24 Jul 2012, 5:28pm
by dgp1957
Hi guys sorry for being so long in replying, things have been hectic for the last w while, I am a car driver and over my driving years have driven vans, truck, buses and along time ago motorcycles. I think that it is definitely my confidence, ie not fit lol. Im hoping things will pick up very soon.

Re: No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 24 Jul 2012, 7:40pm
by Geriatrix
dgp1957 wrote:I think that it is definitely my confidence, ie not fit lol. Im hoping things will pick up very soon.

I was only a few years younger than you when I started and I had similar reservations. I'm now hooked.
A few things to expect at the start.
Your saddle will bruise you in the beginning. Don't let the soreness stop you, your bum doesn't take long to adapt. Padded shorts help.
Your legs will burn from the continuous exercise but you will learn quickly to pace yourself and that too fades with fitness.
Don't bite off more than you can chew in the beginning because you will become discouraged. I don't know what weight you are carrying but I wouldn't plan any single stretch of more than five miles (that's what I started with). Less of you are overweight or have some serious hills to deal with.
It's important to push though that first week because it gets easier from then.

I have done three cycle tours of Scotland and you have astonishingly beautiful countryside for cycling. Get on your bike. You won't regret it.

No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 24 Jul 2012, 8:00pm
by Mark1978
alanesq wrote:I agree, if you ride close to the gutter it is startling the difference it makes to how close the cars pass you !
I think it is because if you are close to the side they think they can just squeeze through, if you are further out they have to slow down and overtake rather than just force through?


I found that riding further out allows you to move slightly to the left at the moment the car passes you giving more clearance than the driver intended.

Probably more of a reassurance to me than making any real difference.

Re: No confidence riding in traffic

Posted: 24 Jul 2012, 10:38pm
by [XAP]Bob
Mark1978 wrote:
alanesq wrote:I agree, if you ride close to the gutter it is startling the difference it makes to how close the cars pass you !
I think it is because if you are close to the side they think they can just squeeze through, if you are further out they have to slow down and overtake rather than just force through?


I found that riding further out allows you to move slightly to the left at the moment the car passes you giving more clearance than the driver intended.

Probably more of a reassurance to me than making any real difference.

Beware the lemming overtaker.

I frequently do the opposite, giving myself more space on the left to discourage the lemmings. Lemmings tend to get closer and closer. :(