Videos: Overcoming Fear After Injury

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We’ve occasionally posted things from Seth’s Bike Hacks and The Singletrack Sampler (Alexander Bowers) before, and this time it’s a collaboration between the two of them.

Sometimes, courage is enough to get you through something new and intimidating, or as former Singletrack writer Matt Letch put it: “One two go! Three”. Sometimes you need a different approach though. We’ve all had that one crash that was bigger than before and messed up our riding for ages afterward. Sometimes, the biggest dents aren’t to your body, but your confidence. Every time you approach a similar trail feature to the one you crashed on, you become tense, and in turn less able to ride.

Often, the best approach to get rid of the fear is, if you’re able, to get straight back on the bike and try again, but sometimes that’s unwise if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, and sometimes you can’t because you’ve hurt yourself. Of course, all of this is bad enough when you’re just riding for fun. Imagine if you also have the pressure of trying to keep a mountain bike YouTube channel running! Alexander crashed on a steep slick-rock trail, cracking his teeth and injuring his neck in the process. In the video below, he returns to the same spot with some friends to try again (warning: the crash is near the beginning, mostly in POV shots, and there’s no gore but it’s bad).

(No embed showing? Here’s a link).

Seth has some excellent tips for approaching and dealing with this kind of situation, and they aren’t all about your mental state or bike control – riding with supportive friends is probably one of the most important elements in getting back on the hors-um, bike.

As if the first crash and emergency room visit weren’t enough, when Alexander was back on a bike he almost immediately went over the bars and dislocated his shoulder. After that, trying a bit of road riding, he once again went over the bars into asphalt. Talk about a bad run. Alexander does at much greater length in this video, which he sat on for a year and almost didn’t post:

(No video above? Try this link).

Update: If you want to see Alex getting right back on top of (and down) this, he just uploaded his video of the same ride with Seth:

(No video? Link).

Kudos to Alexander for opening up about this publicly. In dude-centric, macho cultures it’s hard to talk about this kind of stuff and takes courage – yet it’s probably relatable for most of us.

Seth's Bie Hacks - dealing with fear
As both a trials rider and mountain biker, Seth makes a lot of things look easy…

David Hayward

Singletrack Contributor

David started mountain biking in the 90’s, by which he means “Ineptly jumping a Saracen Kili Racer off anything available in a nearby industrial estate”. After growing up and living in some extremely flat places, David moved to Yorkshire specifically for the mountain biking. This felt like a horrible mistake at first, because the hills are so steep, but you get used to them pretty quickly.

Previously, David trifled with road and BMX, but mountain bikes always won. He’s most at peace battering down a rough trail, quietly fixing everything that does to a bike, or trying to figure out if that one click of compression damping has made things marginally better or worse. The inept jumping continues to this day.

Comments (1)

    Fear is good. Listen to it, consider it, then either ignore it or act on it.
    Trying the bit in between when full of uncertainty is what gets you mangled.

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