Biking 101 - What Can I Do to Not Feel Scared?


    Riding in the Street Seems Scary Sometimes. What Can I Do to Not Feel Scared? by Brett Ratner


    As you gain experience, riding your bike in traffic will becomes second nature, and even seem fun. But when you haven’t ridden in awhile, jumping straight into a rush hour might be a little intimidating.


    One great way to get comfortable riding a bike is starting out on a bike path. Another is getting out early on a weekend morning, when there aren’t too many cars around. Doing laps around a deserted parking lot can help too.


    When in the parking lot, also practice using the correct hand-signals. Riding with one hand might feel uneasy at first, but after a few tries, it will become second nature. Another good thing to practice is maintaining your balance while glancing over your shoulder. This is an important skill to have so you can look for traffic before changing lanes or making a turn.


    Another great approach to get over the initial fear of street-riding is to join some nearby group-rides.  Ranging from group tours, to rides with an end destination, they are available for all ages and skill levels and provide solid experience on the road.  Check The Chainlink Calendar for upcoming group rides around Memphis.


    If you’re hoping to commute by bike, we recommend checking out your route on a weekend, so you don’t have the pressure of needing to get there on time, and there won’t be as many cars on the road.


    Ultimately, you should give yourself all the time you need to regain that comfortable feeling you used to have riding as a kid. Then you can start venturing out into busier roads.


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    About the Author
    Brett Ratner ( has been a professional journalist for more than 25 years. He has contributed to dozens of publications, including The Chicago Tribune, The Nashville Tennessean, The Nashville Scene, Guitar Player and Musician. Brett began commuting by bike in 2005. Shortly thereafter, his interest in cycling expanded to century rides, bike camping, and trail riding. The competition bug bit in 2012 and nowadays he also occasionally races cyclocross, track, mountain bikes, criteriums and gravel.