6 Tips – Riding Roads without Worrying (too much)

It shouldn’t be stressful at all, it should be relaxing. However riding your bike on the roads can be a stress and worry inducing experience. So what are the top 6 reasons we get stressed about riding our bikes?


Lots of long-term riders have a recurring nightmare that they have an unfixable mechanical in the middle of nowhere. The more you ride and the more incidents happen, you realise that the vast majority of issues can be fixed. Usually with a mini tool, spare tube, pump and a can-do attitude!

Reduce the fear by…

Carry a decent mini tool,  tube , pump and mobile phone whenever you ride. Learn basic bike mechanics, and get to know how your bike works and what you need to do to keep it working well.


The fear of crashing is more prevalent in new riders. The more experience you gain, the less fear you have about fast descending, tight corners or groups, for example. Make sure your bike is fully functional and always replace badly worn components.

Reduce the fear by…

Practice any element of riding you are not great at. The more you do it, the more the fear will subside. Check your bike before & after each ride.

Kom’s Gone!

This relatively new phenomenon is, in part, due to the popularity of Strava. It has led to many serious cases of Strava stress – Where a Strava King / Queen of the Mountains (K/QOM) becomes endangered or taken by another rider.

Reduce the fear by…

Tell yourself it’s just a bit of fun and ‘not to worry’. Alternatively, find a slightly more obscure and less competitive Strava KOM (as I did below :)) to target and take it seriously. But not you Mr Boucher.


Depending on where you live, stresses around this can be huge; volume of traffic, time of day you ride and the condition of the roads. These stresses / fears are arguably the hardest to keep a lid on for regular riders. Fears are compounded by serious accidents and footage from near miss videos which are prevalent all over the world. I had a serious life threatening cycling accident 11 years ago (crushed by a large artic’ Truck), and find myself constantly having to overcome my fears. However the chances of being involved in a serious accident are still relatively slim and should be kept in perspective.

Reduce the fear by…

Moving to Holland! Last year I rode around a European capital city with my wife and young children, on bikes without brakes and, shock horror, without helmets. The European capital was The Hague (Holland) and I have never felt safer, or more relaxed riding a bike. Minimise the risks by looking at alternative roads, time of day you ride, what you wear, use day lights and how you ride. Although, as in my case, if drivers are distracted or not concentrating there isn’t much you can do except minimise the chances and hope for the best.

Getting Dropped

Not being able to hold the wheels in a group ride and being dropped, is a fear most riders have to face at some point. After time away from riding or after illness / injury, the fear of not being able to hold a wheel is real. Unfortunately, this can stay with us and often rears its head whenever we ride with a new group or compete in an event.

Reduce the fear by…

Training harder! Or at least riding regularly to gain more fitness and confidence, reducing the chances of this being an issue. Check out coach Tom’s tips. Make sure you ride behind the biggest rider to get the most shelter. Get to know the roads you are riding on, so if you do get dropped you can easily get home or to the cafe on your own. Ride with a phone, cash and emergency gel – making yourself self-sufficient will make for a more care free ride.


Fearing the weather is a bit like fearing death or fearing taxes, it will happen and you can’t avoid it. So in winter it will be freezing cold, windy, rainy and sometimes snowy and in summer it can be very hot (depending where you are) so dress accordingly.

Reduce the fear by…

Check out local weather forecasts and where appropriate clothing. There is a wide range of technically advanced clothing which can protect you from the foulest of weather. Even arguably THE WORST aspect of riding in cold wet weather – frozen toes has been eliminated by SpatzWear. Remember the old saying ‘ There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’




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