Rider Fear Is AMAZING: Listen Carefully

written by David Mixson

Fear is natural, instinctive, and unbiased. Fear is your body’s way of telling you it’s uncomfortable, out of balance, and in danger.

Rider fear can show you where you need to improve. It can nudge you to take action. It can also be a friend that saves your life! 

Best-selling author Steven Pressfield wrote, “If you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.”

Conquering Rider Fear

It’s been more than a decade since I conquered rider fear, or did I? 

To this day, before I put on my helmet, I pause, take a deep breath, and ask myself if I really want to do this. 

Is my mind clear? Do I feel steady and sure? Is the reward worth the risk?

Fear isn’t the enemy; it’s our friend. Fear is how our unconscious mind steers our conscious mind. Fear is how our body prepares for peak performance. FEAR IS AMAZING!

Lean in and Listen

If you’re struggling with rider fear, lean into your fear and listen to what it’s telling you. Rider fear is part of your journey. Rider fear keeps you from doing things your muscles don’t know how to do. It’s a meter that registers progress.

Rider fear is so beneficial that I feel sorry for riders who’ve never experienced it. 

Ralph explains it this way: 

“There’s always a bit of nervousness when the kickstand goes up, but for me, nervousness combined with awareness leads to heightened alertness. My grandfather owned a small plane for years but sold it when he stopped having that small butterfly knot in his belly at take-off. He thought he was becoming too confident in his abilities. He always said, ‘There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots.’ Maybe a motorcyclist is just a two-dimensional aviator. Becoming complacent could place you at the Pearly Gates ahead of schedule.”

Ralph is right. Having at least some rider fear is probably a good thing.

The Other Side

For most riders, there’s a good chance you’ll look back on rider fear as a thing of the past, an obstacle you overcame, a feeling that made you get serious about learning how to control your bike. But for others, it will be a persistent guerrilla that destroys your dream of riding a motorcycle. 

Either way, rider fear served a valuable purpose. 

* This article is an excerpt from my book Motorcycle Smarts.

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About the Author

David Mixson writes about the topics other motorcycle books gloss over. He worked as a NASA engineer for over thirty years and is the author of three books.

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