Facing the fear of cycling alone

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My brief afternoon ride 😃 #cycling #relive

A post shared by Hayatti Rahgeni (@hayattirahgeni) on

I rarely cycle alone on the road.

One of the main concerns that I have if I cycle alone is what if I have a flat tire.

I experience this once so far and unfortunately it happened during a race. The feeling that I had that time was helplessness, and I was upset at the thought I would DNF (did not finish). Fortunately there were two male cyclists who helped me and I was able to complete the event.

I haven’t learnt how to change bicycle flat tires.

Not having the skill to change bicycle’s flat tire made me think twice to cycle alone and to cycle further on my own.

There are other concerns that I do have when I cycle alone.

  1. I’m responsible for my own safety on the road. Which means be alert, not be distracted and eyes on the road at all times.
  2. I need to communicate (using hand signals) to other drivers of where I’m going (left, right, slow down).
  3. Back up plans if something’s happened.

When I cycle with bobby, I don’t worry much because most of the time Bobby is the one leading me. He would be the one doing the hand signaling and I just followed. Flat tire? Not to worry, Bobby can change it for me. Tired? We can go back. Hungry? We can stopped by at kedai runcit along the road and buy food. Exhausted? We can rest for a while to recuperate before cycle again.

It feels so safe to cycle with Bobby.

And so when I decided to cycle alone a lot of fears do come up for me.

Major fears like what if I get hit by a car or got into self accident and no one was there to provide assistance. At least with Bobby there’s two of us.

Having the fears above did stop me from cycling alone. I’d rather stayed at home and not exercising at all.

Now that I’d rather be active (except when I’m injured), I had to rationalize my fears and come up with ideas and back up plans so that my fears don’t stop me from cycling alone.

Below are the brief list of how I rationalized my fears.

Concern of getting hit by car – Be highly visible. Wear bright colour shirt/jersey. Cycle in the morning or afternoon. If at night, cycle at lighted roads and/or empty road, use extra lights, reflective vest etc.

Concern of self accident – Cycle on good condition roads. Be alert. No distraction. Having quick reflexes might be helpful.

Concern of flat tire – Find a short loop to cycle. Choose a distance that you don’t mind walking your bike. For me personally, I would go for 5km loop or less.

When fear is overwhelming this is when I should consider working out at home which I’m pretty lazy to do. I’d rather go out to exercise really.

I’ve done cycling alone by myself. The furthest I’ve done was 20km on a 5km loop. The recent one that I did was cycling from home and cycled for 9km and back home (as shown by the video above). I was nervous before I started because it’s a small road and there are houses on the left and right where people do drive in and out of the road.

Nevertheless I did it! I survived the 18km loop without any harm to myself and my bike!

I can’t say that I look forward to cycling alone coz I’m not. But I will do it if I need to and if it’s necessary.

 

To more courageous adventures!

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