Finding the Soul to Ride

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Finding the Soul to Ride

We all know by now, I was hit by a car two months ago.   To this date I haven’t been able to ride on the road. I haven’t mentally been able to prepare myself, or get over the gut wrench that I think about when I think about riding.

I’ve taken the steps.  I changed out the saddle, stem and handlebar on a Raleigh Clubman that’s in my garage from a review.  Now, swap the pedals and pump up the tires.. it is ready to roll.

Someone please get me on my bike, on the road… block out all the thoughts and feelings that I feel.  Get me there.  Now.


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  1. 30 Nov ’10 at 4:14 pm — Reply

    Chin up, Chica. Time heals all wounds. There is no rush. You’ll ride when you’re ready.

  2. Archergal
    30 Nov ’10 at 4:33 pm — Reply

    You can do it! Start with quiet, easy streets and good weather. The first time is the hardest.

    ::cheers you on::

  3. 30 Nov ’10 at 4:39 pm — Reply

    I’m not sure riding alone is going to work. Try a small group ride on some quite streets. Get comfortable on the road again. Then some short rides by yourself without time pressure, like trying to get to work. Be patient. You have a lot of cyclists to support you. Take care.

  4. dukiebiddle
    30 Nov ’10 at 4:44 pm — Reply

    A really bright headlight that is visible during the day is a really effective way to defend against left crosses. I’m sure you were looking for something more along the lines of a motivational speech; but if dread from that particular type of accident is what is keeping you off the road perhaps a good headlight will help you overcome the anxiety.

  5. Laura J
    30 Nov ’10 at 4:45 pm — Reply

    Hi there! Long time reader, first time commenter.
    I recently became a bike commuter and have found a handful of blogs / websites that I frequent for inspiration and information. Your site is one of them. Having permanently parked my Suburban for the joy of commuting on two-wheels just 10 months ago, I’m both a nervous and novice rider. I don’t have magic sage-like words of encouragement to give. All I can offer is my encouragement (you can do it!) and my thanks. The experiences you share have reached out to Seattle and into the heart of a 30-something from Seattle.

  6. Deb
    30 Nov ’10 at 4:48 pm — Reply

    When I first started bike commuting it freaked me out a bit. I left for work really early the first day, and it was so lovely! There is definitely something to be said for riding when most of the world is still sleeping.

    Something else that might help is to ride for the first time in a group of others.

  7. Ian
    30 Nov ’10 at 4:51 pm — Reply

    Ride with others.
    If you were local i would say come out for a Bike party ride :) In Dec we are going to be riding through a lot of the decorated streets

  8. Richard
    30 Nov ’10 at 5:20 pm — Reply

    Keep your head up and get the support of other riders. & if you don’t want to ride on road again and instead stick to the trails that is OK too!

  9. 30 Nov ’10 at 6:16 pm — Reply

    Support from the north! I look forward to the first report from back in the saddle going to places you love you to go. Ride to get an ice cream cone :)

    (And, I found out we are 2 people removed from knowing one another or however that Kevin Bacon thing works.)

  10. 30 Nov ’10 at 6:18 pm — Reply

    FWIW, blocking thoughts and feelings isn’t going to get you back on the bike – you can’t do it. At least not for very long.

    Working through those feelings and thoughts is the only way to get past them.

    The way to work through them is to put yourself back in the situation, in a somewhat controlled environment.

    For example, find an area with light traffic and start there. Start slowly and build. The first part will be the hardest. Once you get over the hump of “doing it” – actually getting back out there and riding, the impasse you have been feeling, will melt away. The anxiety, fear, nerves, caution, etc. will take time, but it will happen.

    I am a better, smarter rider than I was before my accident. As I said on your FB post, it is time for some tough love. :) Get a friend to go with if that will help, but truly, at this point, the only way you are going to get past what you are feeling is to go through it. If you can’t than I do encourage you to see a counselor/therapist. Hopefully one that bikes!
    Best of luck,

  11. Cheryl
    30 Nov ’10 at 6:49 pm — Reply

    Take up mountain biking! I absolutely love riding the trails and if you ride within your skill level it is safer than the road. Tree general don’t move!

    Find a park or greenway path and get back on your bike and just enjoy it! Maybe try riding a cruiser type bike just for fun.

  12. 30 Nov ’10 at 9:49 pm — Reply

    Yo Bike Shop Girl, You have inspired others with your words, tenacity, and love of all things cycle. Countless chicks have thrown a leg over because you dare to do the same. You dare to be a strong woman, and write about it for all of us to share with you.. I’m incredibly proud of you and inspired by your journey back to the bike. I’m going to get on my bike tomorrow and ride the streets of San Francisco for Bike Shop Girl tomorrow. Everyone I talk to tomorrow will share your story through me. Get out there and feel good because you are alive and able to spin. I’ll be spinning with you.

    Big hugs,
    Rosies Rivet House, SF CA

  13. 1 Dec ’10 at 12:38 am — Reply

    It will never ever be as bad as you think. Plan a 10 minute short ride and see how you feel – you might find you stay out for half an hour. You can do it!

  14. 1 Dec ’10 at 6:53 am — Reply

    Better to have a companion when your riding your bike or have your family to ride with you. That is a good start.

  15. John
    1 Dec ’10 at 8:04 am — Reply

    I figured you’d get the itch to get back out. But it is one that you’d have to find on your own, not with the pushing and pulling of others. Now that you have found that need for the open road back all on your own… We are all behind you. If you are up for it, you can join us any Saturday morning, just South of town. Loose group of people that likes to get out and ride. All different skill levels. Very little traffic.
    You’ve got an unbreakable spirit. I look forward to hearing how your first ride back goes.

  16. Thomas Bowden
    2 Dec ’10 at 10:54 pm — Reply

    That which did not kill you has made you stronger – you just don’t know it yet. It breaks my heart to think you would never ride again – so go and do it.

    “Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.”

    That’s the limit – two cliches per comment.

    I’m betting you’ll be back at it soon.

  17. Thomas Bowden
    2 Dec ’10 at 10:54 pm — Reply

    That which did not kill you has made you stronger – you just don’t know it yet. It breaks my heart to think you would never ride again – so go and do it.

    “Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.”

    That’s the limit – two cliches per comment.

    I’m betting you’ll be back at it soon.

  18. 4 Dec ’10 at 12:54 pm — Reply

    I can’t imagine how tough it must be to get back out there. Sometimes the anticipation of something is worse than actually doing it, I know you will be out there soon enough. You rock.

  19. faffingmyway
    4 Dec ’10 at 2:23 pm — Reply

    lots of good ideas here. you’ll know when you’re ready. if you still are forcing yourself against a great wall of fear/anxiety, wait a while longer. that fear may be protecting you until you’ve finished processing what happened. let it do it’s job. when you find the fear is stopping you from enjoying an important part of your life, figure out how to act despite it. Try out some of the suggestions other readers posted. Buddy up, consider a group road ride, go for a short ride, pick a time when traffic is light. physical recover from accidents takes time and it’s reasonable for emotional recover to take time too.

  20. carolcdt
    5 Dec ’10 at 10:30 am — Reply

    You can ride.
    Take a few short rides with another person. Wish I could go around the block with you.
    I work at home so I can’t do a commute in your honor. And we have hard, slick, icy snow out there, so my bikes are inside. But I’ll go sit on one now and send warm thoughts your way.
    You can ride! <3

  21. Jim
    5 Dec ’10 at 11:26 am — Reply

    You are being a whimp–who asked you to think about riding? Suck it up. Ride. Report back.

  22. lauranic
    5 Dec ’10 at 4:36 pm — Reply

    you will feel proud when you get home.

    had a wee fall myself in november and have been feared of going out since it started snowing here last week (scotland). everytime i thought about a ride i just saw myself falling. but i went out today and at first i was cautious but once i lost that i felt at home spinning my legs. now i feel that warm glow that nothing else gives you.

    you can do it, you will.
    velo love from inverness

    • 9 Dec ’10 at 11:53 am

      We tend to fear traumatic events because we have that memory, when, actually, it’s unlikely that the same traumatic event will happen to us again, from a statistical viewpoint. As a survivor of an abusive childhood, where I spent my 17th year homeless, I tend to have an overblown fear of being homeless again, which is actually extremely unlikely, as I have a loving family and a husband, job skills, etc. The trauma I will likely experience will probably be something completely unexpected. That’s the nature of things. So, you have to be firm with yourself, set that huge fear aside, and embrace the risk. That’s what I had to do. It’s not easy at times. In fact, sometimes is amazingly hard. But, my desire to live life to the fullest is stronger than my fears. Hope that helps! Good luck and saddle up!

  23. […] is doing fine, but could use a little motivation. AKPC_IDS += "6871,"; […]

  24. […] posted about having The Fear and needing support from the community to get back on her bike.  Bike to Work Barb (I’ve never read her blog before this) responded with a post that […]

  25. 14 Dec ’10 at 2:15 am — Reply

    Susan gives some sage advice I think. Try to slowly work through your feelings. There is no rush, but at the same time, it will take work. There is a fine line between putting things off (I am an expert at this-and it makes things worse) and taking the time needed to be ready for what you need to do. Maybe if you do it like one is supposed to go about eating the proverbial elephant; one bite at a time.

    Keep in mind that you already have the most important part: the desire to get back on. At least the desire to want to – want to get back on (if that makes any sense).

    I have one more suggestion that might be counterintuitive. Sometimes we only find our strength when someone else needs it more than we do. Maybe after you go on a few very light rides with someone you trust to “shepherd” you, you could return the favor and guide a less confident rider through a quiet street riding situation. Sounds crazy, I know, but think about it this way: You already were a proficient rider (more than most probably) before this happened. Now you have been through a bad situation, but here is the key – you are through it now – and you will be able to add the experience of coming through it to your resume, so to speak. Trust in what you know and you will find when you share it with others than it was even stronger than you had suspected.

    Of course, these are just my ideas…you must do what is right for you, in the way that works best for you:-) However you find that to be, I genuinely wish you well, and will come back to your blog to see how you are doing!


    ~Dan Evans

  26. 22 Dec ’10 at 10:10 am — Reply

    You are being a whimp–who asked you to think about riding? Suck it up. Ride. Report back.

  27. Michael Schlei
    5 Jan ’11 at 1:45 pm — Reply

    I am new to your blog so I have some catching up to do but I saw this entry and wanted to reply. I sort of know what you are going through. Years ago my fiancee was killed in a cycling accident just feet in front of me and even though I wasn’t injured it took several months for me to get back on the road. Like so many others have mentioned ride with friends. Just knowing they are surrounding you will help you begin to put one foot in front of the other. It will be a struggle at first but I know you can do it.
    I look forward to reading the rest of your blog.
    Mike in Houston.

  28. Bob
    22 Jan ’11 at 3:15 pm — Reply

    I’m also late to this party, and hope you are back to riding in some form by now. I found your site through online research after I tangled with a truck last week. Multiple broken bones mean I’ll be laid up for a while, but as soon as I can, I want to go for a ride (with friends) on the same route where I was hit. For me, I think that will give me the closure I need to move on. I hope you find what works fo you.
    Bob in Tustin, CA

  29. Mo
    18 Feb ’11 at 5:21 am — Reply

    I was hit in August, the day after i returned home from my first half ironman, talk about a roller coaster ride. I offer you this. Do you think of yourself – in the heart of your identity – as a cyclist? I did too – before the accident. After the accident, my friends (who were with me) quietly said “welcome to the club. you are now a true cyclist.” I hate that this is the reality, but it is. Welcome to the club. Embrace that you are a cyclist and put yourself back out there. Being a cyclist can never be taken away. RIde to live.

  30. Al
    29 Apr ’11 at 6:41 am — Reply

    Hi Shop Girl! Riding is your passion, right? So, get out there and ride! Don’t let anyone or anything, including your fear, take that from you. I was hit by a car last April and experienced the same mental anguish, frustration, and fear, even though I rode my bike the minute I could get back on it. I rode because I didn’t want to be afraid. I rode because I love it. The fear lingered; panic-attack-like. But, what I found was, the more I rode, the more I conquered my fear. By using new routes, I was able to stay off more congested roads and get back to the essence of road riding–freedom on winding back-roads I never knew existed, nearly free of cars. Come on! Remember why you love riding and think of those things instead of your fear. To quote Brandi Carlile’s song, Gone: “…but live in doubt, live in fear and you might live forever. Or live it up and watch your back, and you might live for better…”

  31. gerr
    20 May ’11 at 5:19 am — Reply

    Healthy fear is good if it leads to change.
    The ole cliché you will hear is take up mountain biking. But….well I have been doing this stuff since the mid 80’s and let’s just say I have had my share and seen my friends well you know……..
    One thing though that I absolutely love is the joy of riding my hardtail mountain bike on the road. I jump up on sidewalks stay far away from cars much of the time and just feel more agile and am still able to get the wonderful exhilaration of great cardio of the marvelous bike. The big wheels let me circumvent traffic in many creative ways (even on my suburbia back road giant hills) Remember it’s about the cardio as well as the “flying.”
    (a cyclocross bike works to some degree in this regard also)
    Also, I will do routes with little traffic and jump in groups for road group rides that force cars to know we are there. (historically I have seen less carnage on big group rides than folks riding by themselves as far as safe interaction with texting loving motorist.)
    When I do ride my road bike now I have big 700×28 tires and they help the handling and my dexterity on the bike tremendously.
    Guess what ? I can still keep up with the roadies !

    When I am back home in colorado I spend allot of time on the trails being a mountain flyer away from carbon monoxide and combustion vehicles. Spending time with the birds and the bees and watching out for the trees. :D

  32. 14 Jun ’11 at 3:04 pm — Reply

    we’re all in the same boat. but like what one other person said, it takes time and time is unique to each individual. so no rush. People like us here at DZR are in this industry for the primary goal of getting people on a bike. We ride for us cyclists and everyone else not on a bike because we believe that this world is so much better one bike at a time. And when you have friends to ride with, you’ll be back in no time!

  33. […] to review and post commuter articles now that she is back on the bike commuting after her accident with a car a while back. We are excited to see Arleigh back […]

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