We know that learning a new skill can be pretty overwhelming at times, especially if you’re beginning to cycle on the road. As a person on a bike, you have to share the road and cycle paths with other users such as pedestrians and drivers, just as drivers share the road with others. The responsibility to look out for one another can’t solely be placed at the foot of drivers, people on bikes need to be mindful of people in cars as well.
Whether someone is learning to drive a car or ride a bicycle, it’s essential to be mindful of vulnerable road and cycle-path users, especially children. If you’re wondering what it means to be ‘mindful’ in the real world, here are a few ways to be thinking of other road users: create extra space when passing someone on a bike. This helps to keep bike lanes clear while encouraging others to keep more distance. Check your car mirrors for people on bikes before you open your door, or set off from a parked position. And similarly, when cycling, always make room for cars to pass, but only when there is enough space to do so!
If navigating traffic or cycling outdoors gives you any cause for concern, here are some brilliant tips for finding your confidence and building on it;
It may sound obvious, but being aware of your breathing while riding your bike goes a long way to building confidence. When you’re nervous, your body will instinctively tense up, and your breathing will alter. Some people may experience rapid breathing, while others may find themselves holding a breath! The important thing is to remember to take regular deep breaths. The next time you’re feeling a little frustrated when stuck behind a bike, breathe for 10 seconds, this will chill you out and highly likely the bike will have already gone!
You may be waiting for the traffic lights to change, or you’ve come to a stall on your trip; whether you’re the driver or on a bike, being patient on the road is not only safe but smart.
Studies have shown that drivers lose <1mph average speed when behind a person on a bike on the road, which is nothing! Being patient and courteous won’t slow you down… that much!
Creating space for people to get around on the roads is essential for remaining safe, especially if you spot vulnerable people. Allow enough space for safe passing and remember to thank anyone who lets you pass or make a manoeuvre, after all, manners cost nothing!
A smile between two people creates a friendly social connection, and it helps us feel good, and feel confident! So, don’t forget to be courteous while sharing the road, it’s exactly the same!
With a positive mental attitude and these top tips for building confidence on the bike, you’ll be navigating your way around town in no time. Cycle anywhere in your own time, at your own pace with confidence and enjoyment.
If you are a nervous bike rider, or you would like more information on how to improve your road-awareness and confidence on the bike, The Bicycle Society offers membership packages which give you the tools and expertise to strengthen your bond with cycling. Let this be the first step in getting out on your bike in 2021.