Regardless of how severe or how mild, a motorcycle crash is a traumatic event that can inhibit your ability to get back into the saddle. Many riders report feeling anxiety, fear, and even panic at the thought of riding again after a crash, especially if it involved a trip to the ER. It’s perfectly natural to feel this way, and you should allow yourself plenty of time to heal fully. There is no rush and no point in pressuring yourself to get back to riding if you don’t feel ready.
When you feel ready to try swinging a leg over the saddle again, here is how you can help yourself:
Face the Fear
Fear is an incredibly powerful and primal emotion that can hinder any effort if you try to fight it with force. If, upon starting your engine, you feel fear flooding your senses, trying to ignore it or power through it may cause you to tense up and stop thinking clearly. Don’t try to eliminate fear by sheer willpower: instead, acknowledge it, listen to what it has to say, and then consciously choose to put the fear aside for the time being. Using breathing exercises and meditation can help, even booking a session with a therapist or coach can be helpful. Getting support is crucial if you feel that fear is making you lose control and robbing you of the pleasure of riding motorcycles.
Take One Step at the Time
If you want to start riding again, keep in mind that you don’t have to jump right back into the middle of the action. Even if you are an experienced rider, you don’t need to set off on a cross-country ride, sign up for a race, or go for a fast-paced trail riding weekend with your friends just yet. It’s OK to proceed with small steps and small victories. It’s okay to simply sit on your motorcycle and turn the engine on one day, then slowly roll out your driveway the next day, then ride to your favorite lunch spot the next day. Take it easy and take it slowly to rebuild a solid foundation, building your confidence one step at a time, because doing too much too soon can actually have an adverse effect.
Get Your Confidence Back
Losing your confidence after a crash is a major factor why riders struggle to get back into the saddle, even stop riding altogether, and that makes total sense. A crash can rob you of your sense of being in control and your feeling of being self-assured. The good news is, you can get that confidence back by taking it slowly, seeking out support, and focusing on your goal of getting back to riding instead of focusing on how full of fear you are.
To start, set some initial goals for yourself, making sure they are achievable and they set you up for success by gradually building your skills. For example, start with riding around the block to grab coffee, or head to the nearest motorcycle spot on roads you know well and to a destination you can easily get to. Before you embark on a weekend ride with friends or a day out on the trails, create some small wins for yourself so you can easily step into the next right action for yourself. If you still feel doubtful, ask your riding buddies to ride with you and look after you until you get your moto mojo back.
Get Some Training
Getting training is always a confidence booster, and can go a long ways towards soothing your frazzled nerves. With private lessons you can work on the specific things which intimidate you the most, and in a private setting. Many training schools offer this type of instruction. Group lessons help as well, especially in terms of building overall confidence and skill mastery. Book a training session with a professional motorcycle instructor to reinforce your skills…it will be well worth it!
Be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge each improvement and each ridden mile. And know that the entire motorcycle riding community has got your back and is cheering you on. You go, girl. You’ve got this!