Do You Sometimes Get Scared When Riding - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
View Poll Results: After years of sportbike riding, do you STILL get scared at times??
I am always scared while riding 26 13.61%
I only get scared when I am tired and "out of focus" 61 31.94%
I am scared when I am on an unfamiliar road 76 39.79%
I never get scared on any road or under any circumstances 28 14.66%
Voters: 191. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-03-2002, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 278
Question Do You Sometimes Get Scared When Riding

I have been riding sportbikes for about 2 years now, and I have a quick question.... Does anyone still get scared at times while riding?

While riding, I sometimes start to panic if I "think" too much. Ya know, the "what if's" that pass through your head from time to time. i.e. "What if my tire blows, hell, I AM doing 100mph", "What if I pass out from the heat, will my bike drift into oncoming traffic", "what if I DIE while riding this damn thing?"

It does not happen often (mostly in heavy traffiic), but I sometimes find these thoughts passing through my head. I then start to panic, and pull over as soon as I am able to. Has anyone else experienced this? If so, how do you overcome your "fears". I think me having thoughts like this has kept me from doing "stupid and crazy" things, but it affects my "riding confidence" at times.

I know "fear" keeps you alert and focused, but it really sucks when you are riding with a group, and you fall behind because of these fears.

PLEASE DONT' LAUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just want to know if this is common among sportbike riders, or do I NEED MEDICATION FOR PANIC ATTACKS???
LoveMyR6 is offline  
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post #2 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-03-2002, 03:16 AM
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 623
I've had days when I'm going for a ride and I do get a little bit jumpy and asking myself questions like "I wonder if I'll have an accident today?" and "What if I don't come back from this ride?". Just feeling generally nervous about the ride ... Those are days when it's just best to turn around and go home - you shouldn't go riding with that attitude IMO.

I've also had a few scares when riding - close calls and the like ... but so long as I dont' have too many, I'm not bothered
Blackbird is offline  
post #3 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-03-2002, 03:34 AM
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 254
A small amount of subliminal fear is a good thing. It produces "respect" for the machine. However, conscious and present fear without specific cause is not. That can lead to panic and cloud your judgement. It's normal to experience a little fear for a few seconds when you get into a corner a little fast, or something in your peripheral vision sems to be a potential immediate hazard, etc. that keeps you on your toes and reacting. A big part of racing motorcycles is controlling fear. If you allow fear to take over your thought process, you make bad decisions at bad times....back wheel locks...fear turns to momentary panic....suddenly release rear brake (decision borne of panic)..highside. Or, overcook a corner....fear turns to panic...instead of pushing down on the bars more, you nail the brakes while leaned over (decision borne of panic)...lowside. You get the picture.

Also, that constant fear will cause you to develop bad riding habits that are difficult to break, such as keeping a "death-grip" on the handlebars. You HAVE to be relaxed when riding...fear keeps you from relaxing.

Fear also will take much of the pleasure out of riding. Fear is a natural emotion and a very necessary one for the survival of any species, including humans. The trick is learning to control it.

I don't know that I would recommend medication for it, escpecially when riding. That may end up just being a situation where you trade one judgement compromising thing for another.

Rather, I think I would sit down with myself, a pencil and a piece of paper and write down specifically what it is that scares me. If it's things like using the brakes while turning, or my ability to panic stop or some other motorcycle control related thing, then I would go to a parking lot or deserted road somewhere and practice those things until they were second nature (while consciously making myself relax). If it's things like equipment failure that scared me, then I would do some research on the particular offending "parts" and try to figure out what the real failure rate is. For instance, if it's tire failure, find out what the failure rate for that model is...hard numbers might not be available to you, but you can post in the forums and see how many people have heard of or had that model fail. Then compare that number to the number of them that were manufactured... You may not get any meaningful data that way, but you will start to put it into perspective in your mind by purposefully looking at it. That's called confronting your fears. Then you can further calm those fears by doing a careful "pre-flight" before you ride each time and making sure that everything is in good condition and tight and working properly.
GaBandit12 is offline  
post #4 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-03-2002, 03:46 AM
Join Date: Nov 1999
Posts: 2,517
Re: Do You Sometimes Get Scared When Riding

Originally posted by LoveMyR6
[B]While riding, I sometimes start to panic if I "think" too much. Ya know, the "what if's" that pass through your head from time to time.
I know just how you feel. I have to force myself to relax in the twisties. The best way I've found to do this is to think about the feel of the ground under the bike...It sounds weird, but when I think about that feeling, its such a secure solid feeling coming up through the bike that my confidence stays intact better.

Traffic is my daily bread, no real fear there, just grave apprehension

I voted for 'unknown roads' ~ I hate new twisties and blind corners!
HondaNut! is offline  
post #5 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-03-2002, 03:57 AM
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Great post Gabandit!
Blackbird is offline  
post #6 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-03-2002, 04:25 AM
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 322
I wouldn't say I ride scared as such, but I always have a sense of apprehension. I'm always mindful of the fact that motorcycles are more dangerous than cars, and my decision to ride may lead me to an early grave.
I always get spooked by stories of motorcycle fatalities, and on my local ride there are a few crosses beside the road and a couple of busted helmets resting on sticks.
Its a sobering reminder.
BobbyDazzler is offline  
post #7 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-03-2002, 04:29 AM
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 199
Way to go GaBandit..

What a thoughtful and intelligent response. All of us at some time have had to deal with thoughts like these, riding or otherwise.

To add to your post, I'd suggest a little "mental inventory" before riding, to be sure there isn't anything bothering me, which could cause me to not give my full concentration to riding the bike, and in turn, exaceberating the "fear reminders" into all out worry.

Without a doubt, other "stuff" in your world can cause you to have more intense feelings, fear being one of them, while doing activities seemingly not related to whatever is thats worrying you.

So, in my own case, I sometimes find I become a more nervous rider when I let other crap in my life work its way into my head while I ride. I never used to relate the two, but in my case, they are totally related. It's kinda like riding when you're really mad. Not a good idea for most of us... (unless you don't have to contend with a lot of traffic, like us urbanites do...)

If work or life has me all torqued out, I let the bike sit until I am ready to give it the attention it needs.

Great post, People.
ChicagoBuck is offline  
post #8 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-03-2002, 05:27 AM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 576
If things other than riding get into my head it can really distract me. Most of the time my head gets cleared when I ride, but there are still times when more is going on than there should be. If I am tired, or my head has too much in it I don't get on my bike.
jj2f1 is offline  
post #9 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-03-2002, 05:46 AM
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 463
One thing you might do is try to separate the "reasonable" from the "unreasonable" fears. Then try to respect the reasonable ones (change the circumstances) and investigate and adjust the unreasonable ones (change your perspective).

Reasonable fears (say you find yourself doing 110mph through traffic) are telling you to change the situation... slow down. That's just healthy.

Unreasonable fears (say you find yourself reacting uncontrolably to somewhat risky but generally "safe" situations) are a whole different ball game. These are the subject of tons of studies and theories. I (personally) think they are just telling us there is a difference between what our conscious mind knows, and our subconscious mind believes.

For instance, I don't like heights... period. I can walk comfortably on an eight inch girder, a foot off the ground. Hell, I might even dance on it. Move that girder several stories up, though, and I don't care for it at all.

Same with deep dark water like the ocean. I could let myself get to a panic situation there because my subconscious thinks there's things down there that will get me (Jaws). But, if I can get in, and get down near the bottom with some visability, I chill out and actually can get real comfortable. For me, visibility seems to be a key factor. Also, though, is the unreasonable fear of getting eaten. That, I deal with by just imagining a big shark eating me in a couple of bites and asking myself, WTF.... dead is dead and everybody dies, right? Then I quit making a big deal about it.

With your situation with bikes, I'd try to discover specifically what causes the reaction. Is it traffic... speed... catastrophic mechanical failure (front tire blow out)... death? To deal with fear, you usually need to name it and face it.

Good luck.
Joss is offline  
post #10 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-03-2002, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 426
Originally posted by Joss
Also, though, is the unreasonable fear of getting eaten. That, I deal with by just imagining a big shark eating me in a couple of bites and asking myself, WTF.... dead is dead and everybody dies, right? Then I quit making a big deal about it.

Not alot of people suffer from fear of being eaten....

limegreen6R is offline  
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