Getting Back on the Bike: Facing Fear on the Streets of LA

I’ve always been apprehensive about bicycles. When I was 5, I broke my arm falling off a bike. While everyone else was speeding laps around the neighborhood, I was riding with training wheels until I was 6 or 7. And forget anything with hills, cars, or pedestrians! This continued into college, when I tried riding my new bicycle to class, but was so anxious about riding that I locked up my bike halfway through. I picked it up later that evening and walked it the whole way back to my dorm instead of riding it.

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Why did you pick this particular Goliath?
When I moved to LA, the idea of riding a bike sounded like a great way to get around the city, but I was still too afraid. After seeing so many people conquer their own personal Goliaths, I was inspired to finally tackle mine. And I’m glad that I did! CicLAvia was a great way to reintroduce myself to the bicycle in a fun, friendly environment. It really is true what they say about riding bicycles―you never forget [how to do it].

“I tried to put those thoughts out of my mind, but they kept creeping in, especially on the day of CicLAvia.”

What were some of your thoughts/fears as you got closer to overcoming your Goliath?
I was terrified by the idea of falling off my bike, losing control, or getting into an accident, especially on the wild streets of Los Angeles.

I tried to put those thoughts out of my mind, but they kept creeping in, especially on the day of CicLAvia.

There were little moments of anxiety throughout the day: when we were on our way to the official route and were riding alongside cars, dismounting to walk our bicycles, coming up on large crowds of bikes, or people biking slower than me. But thinking of the great support system of riders and event volunteers helped me stay the course.

Describe how you felt and the thoughts you had when you completed it.
I could feel the wind pick up the closer we got to Venice Beach, as if it was propelling me to the finish line. By the time we reached the end of the route, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe I’d done it—both mentally and physically. And while the ride back to Culver City was just as physically demanding, it felt like a 7-mile victory lap.

What’s your biggest personal takeaway?
It’s easy to overanalyze a bad experience to the point where it stops you from trying new things.

“I’m so thankful for the D&G CicLAvia group who rode with me―their words of encouragement helped to calm any nerves I had while riding.”

What was the response of family/friends when you completed your Goliath?
My friends and family were incredibly supportive! They knew how apprehensive I’d always been about bicycling, so they were actively cheering me on before, during, and after the event. I’m so thankful for the D&G CicLAvia group who rode with me―their words of encouragement helped to calm any nerves I had while riding and propelled me throughout the day.

How would you inspire others to overcome their Goliaths? What words of encouragement would you give them?
Time and perspective can breathe new life into anything. Try everything twice!