Element26

Feeling pressured out riding

24 posts in this topic

So basically I'm 33, recently got back into trials only had the bike a couple of weeks. So far I've only been riding it in the back garden and managed to pick myself up a couple of pallets to play on. Tonight after the rest of the household had gone sleep I decided to take a trip into town with my bike. This is when the anxiety kicked in, the spot I had planned on riding had a few kids/teens hanging round that area and in the end I never even tried having a go on that spot. I know it shouldn't bother me really if I'm doing something I enjoy, but being back at a beginner level has really knocked my confidence and even stopping me from riding in front of people. So annoyed with myself right now. 

Anyone ever had similar problems, or any advice how to overcome this? 

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The other day I was out working on side hopping. I went up to rear and couldn't get the balance so I put the front back down. Some guy walking by stopped to tell me how cool that was. People are easy to impress, you are your toughest critic.

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I've been riding 14 years and still have the same issue.
I tend to just analyse when people are at certain places and plan which spots I go to based on when it is I'm riding.
I don't have kids so it's easier for me in that respect (by 'household', I'm assuming you do - apologies if not), but I tend to go riding in the early mornings these days. My partner is a nurse, and the busses suck on Sundays, so I'll typically take her to work at about 07:00 and go straight to the first spot from dropping her off. Even the city centres are practically ghost towns then.

If it's something you struggle with, like quite a few trials riders it seems, I would advise picking your battles. It's enough of a headgame already without battling your nature.
Just ride other spots, and go to those ones when you are comfortable with it. I personally find the issue mostly goes away if I'm riding with other riders. Something about being with other people doing the same has an internal validation and makes it seem more of 'a thing' than a thirty-year-old dicking around and falling off a kids' bike. You may or may not find the same.

People are a mixed bag. Some are really nice about it, others just walk past grumbling and laugh when you fall. I find it best to avoid them, unless I'm riding with company.
If you live in/around a city, I'd definitely recommend exploring the suburbs rather than the city centre whilst you're struggling with self confidence. Usually a bunch of hidden gems, so long as you keep yourself open to riding a bit of everything!

Edited by aener

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+1 for "Riding for ages, still get that" - also 33, also not super confident or at the level I used to be.

I find that some days I hate riding in front of or near people, but other days I don't really find it's that big an issue and can block them out.  On days where I feel a bit more averse to being around people, as Flipp said I just tend to work around that and find somewhere else to go.  Most places will have some random little bits and pieces to play on, so just keep an eye out and you'll probably stumble upon something.  Can appreciate if you're tight on time then it won't necessarily offer you the best bang for your buck as going to a known spot will, but you never know what you might find.  It's also more productive than sitting at a spot but not doing anything due to not liking the situation there.

I do a bit of bouldering, and often get the same thing in climbing centres as well.  When I'm trying something hard and can barely string two moves together because I haven't got the right sequence, sometimes having anyone else nearby is a real problem and I find it hard to even get on the wall.  Other days it just doesn't seem to phase me.  The only thing I've really found that helps me get through it is just to keep reminding myself that people generally don't care.  Everyone's wrapped up in what they're doing for the most part, especially if they're just walking through a town centre for example, and they're just not that interested in what anyone else might be doing.

If it's a group of kids being dicks then they'll probably be a bit more inclined to say something, but just feel it out when you're there.  If you have a move in mind you want to try, just give it a go - even if it's the worse case scenario and you mess it up and someone says something to you, you can just cruise out of there and go somewhere else.  The 'risk' side of it is pretty minimal, but it's easy to build it up in your head.  As before, everyone's in their own little bubble for the most part, so seeing a random stranger send a sidehop to chainstay won't be a lasting memory for them.

I totally get that it's hard to keep that in mind and act on it (I fail to do it myself often enough), but ultimately it is all just in your head at the end of the day.  Just read the situation (e.g. if there's some old people walking past, they'll have a tendency to be a bit sour about you riding, so probably worth waiting until they've gone) and go from there.

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This is definitely one of the bigger reasons that I don’t ride anymore. Hope you find a way around it for yourself. 

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I also get this to a point, I'll ride spots with people there if I'm doing stuff I know I can do but if I'm trying new things with a high failure rate I do get self conscious if there's people around. 

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I'm also in the beginner stages at 41 and find it hard to ride with others about , I suffer with anxiety and depression anyway and people looking on will not help , I'm looking for places to ride/ practice with nobody about as I don't have room at home for any except trackstands.

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As another person who suffers from this, being 36 and very much relearning as not properly riding in about 10+ years. Being super visible and falling off a lot, I try to block out the noise - which in some cases on an evening with a drunk audience passing by can be difficult.

I am finding each time getting into a headspace where I am focused on what I am doing on the bike rather than all around it, sometimes music helped as well.

Failing that, as already suggested - working out which spots and when is best to ride them is always my fallback.

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Thanks everyone. Just been to my local skatepark with my 3 year old son, have to say I felt completely different. Could be because it's in an area where it's acceptable to jump on and off things. I didn't even seem to mind when people were watching on. As many of you have said maybe I just need to find the right places to ride 

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Edited by marg26

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It really didn't bother me when I was younger in fact I didn't tend to notice them there. Just shows how subconscious you get as you get older. Think it's just what people think when they see an adult on what they see as a kids bike 

Edited by Element26
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I think most people have hit the nail on the head for me - tend to be OK if it is stuff I feel confident on and tend to avoid high failure rate stuff in front of people - Mostly when I think about it because I don't like smashing about and making a load of noise and looking like I am damaging things at 31. I actually don't mind so much the failing because I guess in my head most people think it looks hard - I also have been riding on and off for 15 odd years and i think where I have battled large lay offs from the bike a couple of time in my 20's nearly used to the regaining my abilities period. Actually only just coming out of one now!!

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Read all the comments above and genuinely I don’t get why everyone is being so self conscious. Especially coming from people who are so good at trials!

After all, trials is an extreme sport and is street based most of the time. It’s all about challenging yourself and crashing is part of the whole thing. Having said an “extreme sport” makes me think of other examples like bmx, skate boarding, snowboarding, parkour etc etc.. and in all those videos I’ve seen there are people absolutely smashing themselves a lot worse than we do in trials. And that’s only because none of those sports are easy. If anyone laughs at that it only shows how much of a knob they are. Next time someone’s being cheeky just hand them your bike and say “do you want to try?”

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8 minutes ago, DYAKOV said:

Read all the comments above and genuinely I don’t get why everyone is being so self conscious. Especially coming from people who are so good at trials!

After all, trials is an extreme sport and is street based most of the time. It’s all about challenging yourself and crashing is part of the whole thing. Having said an “extreme sport” makes me think of other examples like bmx, skate boarding, snowboarding, parkour etc etc.. and in all those videos I’ve seen there are people absolutely smashing themselves a lot worse than we do in trials. And that’s only because none of those sports are easy. If anyone laughs at that it only shows how much of a knob they are. Next time someone’s being cheeky just hand them your bike and say “do you want to try?”

Just because you obviously have no problem with this doesn't mean others don't or shouldn't feel this way. In the same way people suffer with depression. Just because you don't understand it, doesn't mean it doesn't happen 

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13 hours ago, DYAKOV said:

Read all the comments above and genuinely I don’t get why everyone is being so self conscious. Especially coming from people who are so good at trials!

After all, trials is an extreme sport and is street based most of the time. It’s all about challenging yourself and crashing is part of the whole thing. Having said an “extreme sport” makes me think of other examples like bmx, skate boarding, snowboarding, parkour etc etc.. and in all those videos I’ve seen there are people absolutely smashing themselves a lot worse than we do in trials. And that’s only because none of those sports are easy. If anyone laughs at that it only shows how much of a knob they are. Next time someone’s being cheeky just hand them your bike and say “do you want to try?”

It isn’t specifically around trials - I am relatively introverted as a person so would rather fall into the back ground than be centre of attention with strangers (pretty chatty with anyone I know!) Someone jumping about on a bike is bound to grab some attention and lots of people just don’t enjoy being watched in most scenarios. I’d expect most authors don’t want someone reading over their shoulder as they write their first draft of a book...

Edited by Matt24.

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1 hour ago, Element26 said:

Just because you obviously have no problem with this doesn't mean others don't or shouldn't feel this way. In the same way people suffer with depression. Just because you don't understand it, doesn't mean it doesn't happen 

 

1 hour ago, Matt24. said:

It isn’t specifically around trials - I am relatively introverted as a person so would rather fall into the back ground than be centre of attention with strangers (pretty chatty with anyone I know!) Someone jumping about on a bike is bound to grab some attention and lots of people just don’t enjoy being watched in most scenarios. I’d expect most authors don’t want someone reading over their shoulder as they write there first draft of a book...

Guys guys, you’re taking this wrong. I’m not arguing that you don’t have the right to be introverted or shy or not wanting to be centre of attention.. all I’m saying is that there is nothing shameful in falling off the bike and if anybody’s laughing at you it means that they’re morons. I don’t particularly like strangers standing to the side and watching me whilst riding. But you just need to find a way of avoiding making yourself feel self conscious. You either wait for people to walk past or if they engage in a chat and ask you to “do some stunts for them” (I hate that cos it makes me feel like a clown) just sit on the bike and say you’re having a break until they leave. If you’re based in the city there’s always going to be people passing by and you need to learn to deal with them. Leaving your favourite spot won’t solve the problem and it shouldn’t be that way. 

Peace :)

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Edited by marg26

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11 hours ago, DYAKOV said:

all I’m saying is that there is nothing shameful in falling off the bike and if anybody’s laughing at you it means that they’re morons

We know that. It's just a fundamental difference in mindset.
Some people have the innate self-confidence to be comfortable within themselves and know other people are wrong so they can just carry on with it (which sounds like you), and others lack it so even though they know it, they can't feel self-justified (which is us). Both have their benefits and drawbacks.

The matter is somewhat complicated by just being out riding we're already doing something we shouldn't be (in legal terms).

Edited by aener

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I find I care less about what anyone might think with age.  I'm almost 30 now.  I'm not as good as I was half my life ago, but truth be told, most people are impressed by the simplest moves, so I find having folks around gives me a good energetic boost to be honest.

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Well I've now had a few rides out in to town. I've been going out late evening when it tends to be reasonably quiet. Have to say Its been great, I'm purely just able to concentrate on my riding and not really noticing when the odd person goes past. 

I'm quickly realising now though that the only thing holding me back is my own ability. But I'm enjoying riding my bike so I suppose thats the most important thing. 

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Keep it up.. winter has its pro’s when it comes to going un noticed in the dark. The only problem is a few of my favourite spots don’t have lighting which makes the winter rides a bit repetitive in the local town...

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This thread struck a chord with me, but not in the right way. I know this is going to be my first post on here other than a for sale, but here goes.

Who cares!

We ride trials, the least popular form of cycling ever invented (yes I know its bigger on that side of the Atlantic), non of us will ever live up to the standard set by Danny (or the many greats that came before that I grew up on), but to me at its heart trials is about you doing your thing. Go out and fail over and over again, it is the most basic prerequisite for this silly sport. If others laugh offer them a go on your bike. It takes forever to get good at this stuff and you have to earn it. I actually love having a few spectacular crashes in front of folks, gets the conversations going. Lots of times I will do a pretty big move in front of people and in todays world no one looks up from their phone and doesn't even hear stupid loud brakes with their ear things in, but let me tell you when you explode on the ground in front of someone they might talk to you a little.

I know Ali has done a good job talking about mental health and there is more to think about, but I find the opposite as I age, closing on 40 I couldn't care less what some teen on some new app I have never heard of thinks of my riding, I'm out there for me and thats it. Blocking out distractions and focusing are a big part of trials, get after it. If your concern is your ability, guess what, not riding or riding sheepishly sure isn't going to help.

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Thanks, I’m cured. 

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The 3 blokes in a white van where very articulate and polite when I slid off a gap the other day whilst they waited at a set of lights and proceeded to scream “you f***ing tw*t” repeatedly for the next 2 minutes until the lights changed. This is not what I care about and I think sometimes the point is being missed above. I don’t enjoy an audience whether I’m very skilled at something or completely unskilled. I’d just rather be on my own doing it Or with friends than with spectators. I’ve been doing it long enough not to let it stop me or care but doesn’t mean I can’t prefer to do it in a quiet place.. :-)

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