Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to feel safe on the road

By: Debi

Have you ever decided to try something new even though it scared you?

I recently made the decision to step out of my running comfort zone and train to complete a triathlon this Summer.

I grew up riding bikes, I still ride one occasionally along the trails near my home, or on the sidewalk. My bike has a basket on the front of it to carry food and blankets for family picnics at the park. So when I decided to train for a triathlon, I knew instantly my hardest obstacle to overcome would be my fear of riding on the road...with traffic. I have this intense fear that I'm going to turn in-front of a car or lose my balance right when a car is passing me...instant roadkill!!

Well, instead of letting that fear keep me from trying something new, I purchased a road bike. Then, I went on a group ride with Bikes Plus. Bikes Plus has a women's only beginner's ride group on Monday nights from their Germantown location. This group ride has a 'no rider left behind' policy.

So as we started out I was shaking, literally terrified, and debating whether I could handle being out on the road. The ladies in the group were so encouraging, and quickly made a protective barrier between them and other cars that there was no way that I could be hit. As we progressed through the ride I became more and more comfortable. While we did have to travel on some busy roads, it was only as a means to get to areas that have little to no traffic. Each time we had to cross traffic the ladies had a system to stop oncoming traffic until each rider crossed safely.

The ladies taught us how to communicate properly with other riders (advising of cars passing, locations of potholes, etc), how to ride as a group safely, and helped with my form to ease tension.

This past week, one girl's chain came undone on her bike. Something that most of us would have no idea how to fix if we were riding alone. One of the girls that lead the ride had it fixed within minutes, and the riders that were in front circled back in the meantime to ensure that everyone was okay. This truly is a no rider left behind group! 

I am so thankful that Bikes Plus hosts a beginner's ride! It is a safe way to learn how to ride the road properly. I can't wait to join them again.

Have you ever thought about riding, then you should come too! The ride is at 6pm Monday nights from the Bikes Plus Germantown location.

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