I’ve been biking to work for about a year now. In the beginning, I stuck mostly to trails and sidewalks because I was afraid of being in the street with cars. I couldn’t keep up with traffic because I am slow, and I was afraid of being hit.
I also avoided bike lanes. Most are apart of a regular lane, some are neglected and it just still feels like I’m going to get hit, especially since some bike lanes are doubled as parking spots for cars.
Until recently, I just stuck with trails, sidewalks and the occasional traffic lane if I felt comfortable. I felt that adding a little street to my tires meant that I was progressing as a biker. That I was part of the community.
Two months ago, a bridge that I take often closed up for construction. Added, were two bike lanes guarded by a pole every yard. I thought this was neat! The city is recognizing that more people are starting to use bikes and they are taking measures to make sure we feel comfortable and safe on our daily commutes. I thought it was a win for us. But, why wasn’t I using it?
I was still using the sidewalk of the bridge instead of the bike lane. At one point, I started going out of my way to bike to the next bridge over where there was just a sidewalk. And, to get on and off this bridge you have to climb a very steep hill that left me gasping for breath and hurting by the time I was in the middle of it. Then, I realized that I was scared. I was scared that I would be too slow, I was scared of people looking at me with disgust because they would know that I wasn’t a real biker. But, I am a biker. And, I have to support what the city has given us. If we don’t use it why would they build more?
So, I started taking the bike lane, and it wasn’t so bad.
Have you ever been afraid to do something because you doubted yourself?