Sports FAQ
Home / Mountain Biking

Edge/Exposure fear

Catrin2011-09-26 14:19:24 +0000 #1
When you first started mountain biking, did you have a problem with exposed edges/drop-offs? How did you get over that?

I've been told night riding is the best way to get over it because you can only see what the light illuminates and you learn to totally focus on that. That does make sense to me, but as a beginner, I don't think my skills or confidence level is ready for that.

I do already have the "falling off the edge" thing taken care of, and neither me nor my mountain bike were hurt in the process

I really try to focus down the trail, but inevitably my eye gets drawn by that edge...I do have a fear of heights so this is probably complicating things.

Right now I figure the best I can do is each time I ride the exposed portions of the trail is to try to ride it a little further than I did last time before I walk the rest of it. My line is straighter than it once was, and at least I am not in heart-pounding fear of that edge

It would be helpful to read that others have overcome this, and I understand it is quite common for novice mountain bikers.


Irulan2011-09-26 14:23:53 +0000 #2
Straight line riding, like on a 2x12.

Practice looking DOWN the trail, at a point in front of your tires. Your bike will go where your eyes go. Otherwise saying, don't look at the edge.
spokewench2011-09-26 15:09:12 +0000 #3
Quote:

Originally Posted by Catrin

When you first started mountain biking, did you have a problem with exposed edges/drop-offs? How did you get over that?

I've been told night riding is the best way to get over it because you can only see what the light illuminates and you learn to totally focus on that. That does make sense to me, but as a beginner, I don't think my skills or confidence level is ready for that.

I do already have the "falling off the edge" thing taken care of, and neither me nor my mountain bike were hurt in the process

I really try to focus down the trail, but inevitably my eye gets drawn by that edge...I do have a fear of heights so this is probably complicating things.

Right now I figure the best I can do is each time I ride the exposed portions of the trail is to try to ride it a little further than I did last time before I walk the rest of it. My line is straighter than it once was, and at least I am not in heart-pounding fear of that edge

It would be helpful to read that others have overcome this, and I understand it is quite common for novice mountain bikers.

Don't mean to alarm you - it gets better; but I road and raced mountain bikes for almost 15-20 years. I never got over the exposure issue. Some do, some don't. But, then again, I do have some fear of heights!
Catrin2011-09-26 14:56:09 +0000 #4
Quote:

Originally Posted by Irulan

Straight line riding, like on a 2x12.

Practice looking DOWN the trail, at a point in front of your tires. Your bike will go where your eyes go. Otherwise saying, don't look at the edge.

Good idea! I know I can do it, I had a private skills session last month and she had me riding a narrow rock wall at the end of it

It helped that there was only a couple of inches to the ground on either side. I will see about picking up a scrap 2x12 that I can practice on. Somehow I HAVE to stop looking at that edge...
Aggie_Ama2011-09-26 15:40:15 +0000 #5
I don't know what made it start clicking but I WOULD NOT night ride to get comfortable. IMO that is a horrible idea as new as you are. My experience is night riding is fun, a totally different experience but it is also scary because you can see so little. I did it on a trail I ride more than any other and have rode on average once a week. It may be different for others but for me being a bit timid I wouldn't do it until I had been riding for a while.

But trying to figure out what is going on when you are riding is a good idea. Are you looking over the edge? Well don't do that! You know your bike goes where you look and you don't want it going over the edge.

Slow drills will help you get comfortable with body english. My instructor had us ride our bikes as slow as possible in a straight line. This will give you the confidence in your balance.

One thing I do on challenging sections of trail is mentally try to remember where I got the last time and go past it. It is kind of my reward, maybe I didn't ride the whole way but I knew I was progressing.
Adventure Girl2011-09-26 14:54:48 +0000 #6
Quote:

Originally Posted by Irulan

Straight line riding, like on a 2x12.

Practice looking DOWN the trail, at a point in front of your tires. Your bike will go where your eyes go. Otherwise saying, don't look at the edge.

This is a GREAT drill. We did it at a skills camp.

First: 12" stripe painted on the ground

Second: 2 x 12 board on the ground

Finally: 2 x 12 board about 6" off the ground

And, yes, the key is to look down the trail (board).
limewave2011-09-26 16:18:01 +0000 #7
Definitely just keep your eyes out on the trail ahead of you. That will help. Especially if you can look 25-30 feet ahead instead of looking right down. I can't believe how much that helps with the fear of immediate obstacles, especially drops and cliffs.

There's a section of trail that I used to ride that I completely did not realize had a huge drop-off until someone pointed it out to me. After that, I was freaked out every time. I had always been so focused on the trail . . .

Reply

Name:
Content:


Other posts in this category