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After years of sportbike riding, do you STILL get scared at times??

  • I am always scared while riding

    Votes: 26 13.7%
  • I only get scared when I am tired and "out of focus"

    Votes: 61 32.1%
  • I am scared when I am on an unfamiliar road

    Votes: 76 40.0%
  • I never get scared on any road or under any circumstances

    Votes: 28 14.7%

  • Total voters
    190
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Discussion Starter #1
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?":eek:

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :twofinger I just want to know if this is common among sportbike riders, or do I NEED MEDICATION FOR PANIC ATTACKS??? :twofinger
 

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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 :D
 

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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.
 

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LoveMyR6 said:
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 :D

I voted for 'unknown roads' ~ I hate new twisties and blind corners!
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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Joss said:
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.
LMFAO!!! :D

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

:D :D :D :D
 

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"LMFAO!!!

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

Good point! :D

Land-lubber equivalent: racing a GS500 in D Superstock... with those SV650's. ;)
 

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Agreed. I'm pretty comfortable riding around back roads and through traffic because it keeps me busy and not thinking about wrecking. The only time that stuff feels like it gets in my head is when I'm riding on the highway alone and don't really have to much to process. Then my mind wanders and I can start thinking about all those "what ifs" which is no fun. Just one more reason highway riding sucks IMO. I avoid them best I can
 

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Some top rate Posts on this one.

Especially by GaBandit, ChicagoBuck, & Ducati748Girl. Basically I find it a DELIGHT to be riding, CONCENTRATION is top priority besides it is what keeps me upright & aware of cages, bicyclists, people on feet, etc & riding a bike keeps me BUSY while driving a cage is a bore in life to me & basically something to get me from point A to point B & back again yet inside of me I drive a cage like I ride a m/c with that concentration which is never distracted by others (never carry passengers in my cage or pillion riders on my bikes), thinking of something I must do, or muddling over something.
 

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LoveMyR6 said:
"what if I DIE while riding this damn thing?":eek:
Why would that matter? I mean, if you're dead, who cares where you drift or what you hit...you're DEAD! :confused:

As for me, I voted for "not scared under any circumstances" because it was closest to how I feel. I have always been a confident rider, and the only time I really do get shaken up is when something unexpected happens, i.e. a car in my lane, a deer I have to dodge, etc. Otherwise...I enjoy riding no matter what. :)
 

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Try riding with more gear on, works for me. At least I know there's nothing more that can be done at that point. Kind of let go emotionally at that point like "I've done all I can so let was is to be just happen".

I ride as well as I can and try to always give 100% concentration to the task at hand so your gear is the only thing you can add to maintain some confidence over the things out of our control.

I think you're smart to pull off and straighten your head when it happens, don't ride distracted. Paranoid is healthy, they ARE ALL GOING to try and kill us.
 

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Very nice poll.

When I tell people I ride you should see there faces. People don't understand how it feels to ride a bike if they never have riden before. To me it's like, I sit down and look at birds fly by and the feeling I get is, wow, they look so free, with no worries. That's how I feel when I'm on my bike.
 

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so far, i get scared when

im going wide in a turn and chop off the throttle (boy did i learn not to do that again:eek:)

when im going through a curve and i see gravel or sand on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Joss said:
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.

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, I think you hit the "nail on the head" That is exactly what I did the first time I had a "fear attack". I wrote down the pros and cons of riding, and of course, the pros outnumbered the cons. :twofinger And you are right, dead is dead. But, I had my first son about 18 months ago, and I always think, "is it worth killing MYSELF on a motorcycle and abandoning HIM because I enjoy the ride?"
I think most of my fears are "unreasonable", as you would put it. In addition to constantly practicing my riding techniques, I am also going to start "practicing" mentally. To be honest, I have not done this in the past. I thought just because I could control the bike, lean as if I was purposely trying to fall off, and go so fast that it seemed like I was about to be "cleared for take-off" :twofinger, I guess I thought that made me an "experienced" rider. Boy, do I have a lot to learn. I know guys who have been riding for a few years, and they think they know EVERYTHING. I don't want to be like that. I want to constantly learn something new to improve my riding techniques and experience. But most importantly, I want to be one of the guys who can say, "I have been riding for the past 30 years.":cool:
As I learned in my MSF course, motorcycling is not "safe"- meaning there are ALWAYS risks involved.
Before I posted this poll, I thought I was going to get flamed and ridiculed because I had these fears. But I guess I was wrong. I see this is pretty common among sportbike riders, and I feel so much better. Maybe that fact alone will help me "calm down" a bit.

THANKS GUYS.....KEEP THE REPLIES COMING!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
apexismaximus said:
Try riding with more gear on, works for me. At least I know there's nothing more that can be done at that point. Kind of let go emotionally at that point like "I've done all I can so let was is to be just happen".



Good point Apexismaximus (as most of your replies are good ones:twofinger )
Last summer I rode mostly wearing a helmet, tennis shoes, swimming-trunks, and a tank-top:eek: (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. But I DID NOT know any better. That was before I joined this forum:D )
Since then, I have purchased a Joe Rocket Speedmaster Leather Jacket, Speedmaster gloves, Alpinestars SMX-PLUS boots, and a new Shoei helmet. I even increased the amount of my Medical Insurance Coverage!!! Now, I NEVER ride without my gear. I start to feel naked without it!!
Well, after reading a few new posts about Joe Rocket Gear, I may be better off throwing back on my swimming trunks
:twofinger Is their gear really that bad? My gears seems to be perfect, and I trust it will hold up in the event of a crash....I would really hate to learn Joe's quality the hard way. :D
 
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