45 years old, back into BMX, I'm in pretty good shape, but fear is the mind killer.

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6/22/2018 11:04 AM

Hi,

The title says it all really.

Last time I had a BMX was 20 years ago and in truth it was just something to burn around on, however I decided a few weeks back to 'get reasonably good at BMX' as part of my bucket list. However, fear has decided to play its role.

I can bunny hop not too bad, clearing high kerbs and getting bigger air of lips and raised areas, and I do it properly: ie lifting the front wheel up and..well, you know how it goes. I've even just about taught myself how to fakie with generally good results, but even these small tricks has my heart go into my mouth 70% of the time.

I've tried to 180 a few times and each time I've come crashing down. Expected, but each time I gear up to try again my confidence takes a walk and I bottle it.

Don't get me wrong I love going out on my bike, (it's so much fun to ride!), but I really want to be able to shake the fear that, no doubt, my age has a part to play along with my inexperience when it comes to learning new tricks.

Any advice, hints or tips you fine folks can share to help me get over this hurdle?

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Grow old, live young...

6/22/2018 11:26 AM

I honestly think fear is the biggest thing holding me back as well. I'm not even sure it's the age thing preventing us from learning, I think we just have much more knowledge of how badly you can get injured, and also having life responsibilities (children, jobs, etc)

There's a balance to be struck though. You have to push yourself, because otherwise, why ride a BMX?

I've only ever really injured myself doing regular stuff. I've landed in the hospital for the following (Mind you, I spent 5 years skateboarding, I've gone snowboarding a lot, hiking, bmx, etc):

- Dislocated ankle -> broken leg. I stepped off a 3" curb and practically exploded my leg.
- Showering, bent over, came back up, threw my back out so bad I collapsed.
- Didn't drink enough water, drank a lot of coffee, got kidney stones

So...so far, BMX has been pretty good to me. Granted I'm not jumping 15 stair sets, but I'm kinda on the same path as you. I want to be respectably/reasonably good.

Mostly...you just gotta battle it and get over it. I remember how scared I was to drop in for the first time in 20 years, but I concentrated a lot on the feeling I got right after I successfully did it. That feeling floated me for a while. Good luck!

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BMX over 30: Eat clean, Stretch, and Pray.

6/22/2018 11:40 AM
Edited Date/Time: 6/22/2018 11:42 AM

Thanks for the reply mate, and yeah I think you're right about the knowledge of how much something as BMX can injure, combined with life responsibilities playing its part. I've been lucky to not have actually broken any bones throughout the course of my life, just cracked a few ribs and sprained my ankles and wrists, so I imagine that is also a factor, for me at least.

I work in our local hospital and the gang on A&E are always joking about when they expect me to come in with my bike wrapped around my neck! It's all good-natured of course, but I reckon they've got a point.

You're right of course, and I know this is something I'll have to overcome myself, but it's nice to know I'm not the only old fart dreaming of popping a 180 to fakie and looking cool!

Cheers.

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Grow old, live young...

6/22/2018 11:42 AM
Edited Date/Time: 6/22/2018 11:43 AM

Honestly while fear is, most certainly, a factor, I think what is really at issue is the bike control. Sure, we can all ride a bike with reasonable comfort. But, as I'm sure you will recall, there was a time when you and your bike were one. The bike was an extension of your body.... like an alien appendage (that's what she said...). When you get back to that comfort, fear won't be as big of an obstacle. Sure, attempting a jump over the grand canyon would scare the shit out of anyone, but 180's, airing, whatever, is so much easier when you are really comfortable on the bike. That being said, it takes a little bit of fear to get that comfort back. We have to push the limits a bit to up that comfort zone. Move in small increments toward the goal of what you are attempting (as much as you can. Like you said, hopping curbs, etc... moves to hopping over construction cones. Which leads to picnic tables, etc..; Just keep at it. Try to find others you can ride with, which always seems to keep things fresh & keeps you motivated.

Anyway, welcome back & welcome to the forum!

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6/22/2018 11:46 AM

^^^ Agree 100% With Mishinn. Before I started to actually try peg stalls, 180's or any kinds of hops, I just rode for miles and miles on my bike. Just constantly. Not even doing tricks, just shifting weight around, popping the back wheel up, the front wheel up. I put many hours and miles on the bike just...being on the bike. I think that's where a lot of that comfort comes in.

Plus, if you work at the hospital, you'll prob get the royal treatment if you ever get really hurt, be thankful for that! NYC hospitals will have you sit for 4 hours without painkillers before they look at you.

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BMX over 30: Eat clean, Stretch, and Pray.

6/22/2018 11:52 AM

Yep, Mishinn makes a sound argument about bike control, it wasn't even something I'd considered. I've only been riding again for a few weeks and perhaps I am trying run before I can walk. Everything is new, so I guess I need to slow down and really get a feel for my bike first and, as cheesy as it sounds, become one with it.


Great positive vibes guys, really appreciated. smile

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Grow old, live young...

6/22/2018 11:54 AM

Dude, I was literally in the same shoes as you, (except I'm 15, not 45 lol) and when I first started riding, I was scared to do a lot of stuff, I was scared to jump off 2-3 feet drops, and I was scared as hell to even hop up a curb lol. And I also remeber, I was scared as hell to do 180s, I'd attempt one, and I would be scared to do another one. Now, I can 180 off 2-3 foot drops, I can 180 going about 10-15mph and I can also 180 up curbs and stuff. Just riding your bike around and gaining bike control is what you need to do, like doing jumps and stuff helps so much, getting comfortable on your bike allows you to do tricks, so you will be scared at first. But then as more time goes on that you're riding, tricks and what not get easier and not as scary to do...

Good lucks dude!smile

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I don't crash, I do random gravity checks...

6/22/2018 12:00 PM

Gemini7673 wrote:

Hi,

The title says it all really.

Last time I had a BMX was 20 years ago and in truth it was just something to burn around ...more

Get your bike control back. I’m 43, and minus taking a 2-3yr break for mountain bikes I have rode BMX for over 35yrs now.

I know what you mean and I have been there. The key is to get back in the swing of things. Bunnyhop onto curbs and ride down them as far as you can. Manuals, bunnyhop, riding with 1 hand and no hands. Just got to get back to feeling in control and knowing what will happen in a split second. One thing I use to always do (no idea why) is while standing up on my bike. I just jump and kick my feet off and I do it 3-4 times. Getting my feet higher and further extended to the sides each time. My hands are still on my bars and my tires never leave the ground. When I first got back I was kinda scared to do it because I kept thinking I was going to miss the pedals and get nailed in the shin by my pedals. You just have to do 2-3 things.

1- Try not to think about what you are doing. Just do it and if you are comfortable with the basic stuff soon the other stuff comes easier too.

2- Comit 150% and just try. Having been in the position you are at first it is not easy. But, keep to the simple things and it will come to you.

3- We are not 20 anymore ? so if you do tweak something or something feels uncomfortable (on your body) don’t push it. It sadly takes us longer to heal and when you notice a minor injury. Rest up for a day so your fresh the next time you ride. And stretch after each ride so nothing gets tight that can lead to a pull or strain. Especially your lower back! It’s something every rider gets and as we get older it can get really bad. Stretching and some ab work for your core will help. Planks are a great way to get more strength and core control to help not get any real bad back soreness or stiffness

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6/22/2018 12:03 PM

Thanks, Honda.

That's an awesome looking bike you have there by the way.


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Grow old, live young...

6/22/2018 12:10 PM
Edited Date/Time: 6/22/2018 12:11 PM

Gemini7673 wrote:

Hi,

The title says it all really.

Last time I had a BMX was 20 years ago and in truth it was just something to burn around ...more

Gack2000 wrote:

Get your bike control back. I’m 43, and minus taking a 2-3yr break for mountain bikes I have rode BMX for over 35yrs now.

I ...more

Seems bike control is the number one advice here, with the ability to ride a bike clearly not being enough.

We've one of our rare sunny weekends in the UK ahead of us tomorrow and my daughters have agreed to come out for a good old bike ride on Sunday, (gotta do regular family stuff tomorrow), and so that's what I'll be doing. Getting to really know my bike going forward.

Thanks for the advice. I gotta be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect but there's a nice friendly vibe here so I'm glad I joined the site.

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Grow old, live young...

6/22/2018 12:22 PM

Pretty much what's already been said. Just time on the bike helps loads. Learn how far you can lean it, how much you can pull up before you loop out etc. Just doing little drops and hops, and practicing manuals etc will all help.

You'll also be using muscles in a way you never have before, and a lot of tricks are muscle memory. I've been riding so long I struggle to describe how tricks should be done, because I simply don't think about how I do them.

You'll get there!
There's a group on Facebook called ride on, which is very encouraging of the older gentleman on a bmx. Just don't post a pic of your bike on there laughing
Where in the UK are you? There's a few of us on here smile

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6/22/2018 12:41 PM
Edited Date/Time: 6/22/2018 12:42 PM

Just dont push things too far. If something scares you come back to it naturally. Dont be consumed by the "I gotta get this line or die trying" mentality. You're not trying to do this professionally, you're not doing this because you promised a sick child you will get this 180. You are doing it for yourself.

Your body will tell you when you feel ready for something. Nobody did El Toro the first day they jumped on a board or a bike. wink

Also, if you ride with people younger than you, dont feel pressured because they did something above your ability/comfort level. Dont let anyone pressure you into doing something you are not comfortable with. You are an adult, you have a choice! smile

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6/22/2018 12:43 PM

Hi, Steve, first thanks for the reply. I live in Cheltenham. The only other BMXer I personally know, who is in his late 20's, is a guy I work with and he's been doing it for some years. Like yourself, however, as much as he tries to throw advice my way he fully admits it's difficult for him to get it across in a way I'd fully understand as he is working from muscle memory.

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Grow old, live young...

6/23/2018 1:41 PM

Glad to see I am not the only old fogee in here trying to ride again!

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6/23/2018 4:04 PM

Ever since I turned 30 I've had a fear issue. IDK why. Maybe it's the fact that I know I don't have the young person heal factor no more or because I have adult responsibilities and I'm afraid if I hurt myself I won't be able to handle them no more. Whatever it is though, I now have fear. I use to barge rails like they were foot high ledges. Now for some reason I'm afraid my pegs will slip and I'll either crack my skull open or my knee will somehow slip between the top rail and the bottom. It's so irrational but for some reason age makes me think or the worst possible outcome. Even hop bar spins freak me out because I'm not able to pinch my seat anymore. I feel like as we get older we realize we can't afford to get hurt anymore. Literally.

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6/24/2018 12:38 AM

Photo

as you can see from the chart above, your fear stems from your lack of skill, which isnt suprising since your just starting out.

Work on the more fundamentals of BMX and as your skills increase your anxiety will diminish. Believe it or not but learning how to fall / bail is a skill in and of itself.

but dont overthink it too much, keep it fun and the rest will follow. good luck and welcome back to BMX
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Ride everything

6/26/2018 9:05 AM

Same here. No fucks given in my 20's. Now at 34, I run all the painful scenarios through my head first. It can and does fuck up your confidence but most of the time, things work out.

I've only had one bad fall since starting again back in January or February. Went to 180 feeble a little box at my local "skatepark" and double tired it instead. It was pretty slick and I went down and twisted my wrist. Felt better after about three days but I guess I got lucky.

Start with the low risk tricks first.

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6/26/2018 9:08 AM

I've been really pussing out/psyching myself up to try a down-ledge at my park.

it's a small A-Frame ledge only about 2 feet high and I'm just running through all the ways I could fuck myself up on it. At some point I really gotta just bite the bullet and fuckin go for it.

It really is a mind game though. I know I can get up onto it, but I just think "what if its too slippery, I fly off, and fold myself in half"

But honestly...that's not gonna happen. I gotta just get some balls and go for it.

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BMX over 30: Eat clean, Stretch, and Pray.

6/26/2018 10:08 AM

dead goon wrote:

Same here. No fucks given in my 20's. Now at 34, I run all the painful scenarios through my head first. It can and does fuck ...more

It’s normal.

At 43, a single father of a 13yr old daughter... I have zero choice but to think “what if I ______”

To avoid this I stick to things I know I can do for a few minutes while I’m thinking about the other things. And clear my mind about what I am about to do

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6/26/2018 10:50 AM

Well I've taken you fine folks advice and have been riding my bike as much as I can, including to and from work each day, to really get a feel for it. On my little trips out, (and those quieter parts of the journey home from work), I've been bunny hoping on and off of kerbs while trying to keep my pedals level, getting air of lips and speed bumps, pulling up the front end as often as possible to garner more confidence without the fear of the bike suddenly whipping out from under me and just generally riding as much as possible.

And of course I've been practising my fakies. smile

It's definitely coming along in that the bike is feeling less and less of a stranger each time I take her out. I'm getting a good feel for the bikes weight vs my own weight as well as figuring out my centre balance.

The 180's etc can wait for now. All in good time.

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Grow old, live young...

6/26/2018 4:31 PM

Gemini7673 wrote:

Well I've taken you fine folks advice and have been riding my bike as much as I can, including to and from work each day, to ...more

Glad to hear it man! And I can tell you a little secret I have done many times to learn basic air tricks.

Jump a curb into the grass. So, if you want to try say a 1 hander...it won’t be too bad if you fall. But do it in steps.
1- Figure out what hand you feel safer with on the bike. Most people it’s the hand you write with (dominant hand).
2- Jump and ONLY loosen the hand a bit on the grip.
3- Repeat #2 over and over till your comfortable. You probably will land with only one hand really gripping the bars a few times. But, after the first 2-3 times you will be ok with that and also know you can land 1 handed (sorta).
4- Now open the hand on the grip and slam it closed before you land. You could do it first thing or might take a few minutes.
5- Now that you have all but done a 1 hander, know that you can ride away with only 1 hand on the grip tight...it’s time...
6- Pull up, and as you level out (which you will know by this step) let go of the grip. Nothing wrong with a few inch or two types.
Pat yourself on the back you have learned 1 handers and unless you don’t have time or manage to fall more than you like. It only took you about 1hr give or take some can do tricks almost immediately. Other people take a day or 2 for something like this. Once you get it, you will be doing it on anything that you know you can get the height it took to learn.

Good Luck ??

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6/26/2018 4:58 PM

Cheers, mate!

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Grow old, live young...

6/26/2018 6:40 PM

I'm 42 and it I never thought about what I was doing when I was younger. I wasn't very skilled but I'd huck myself off just about anything with little though about the consequences. Not now. It's sometimes all that goes through my mind. Just need to spend more time riding like everyone said.

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6/27/2018 10:17 AM

I turned 45 last week and have been back at this for about a year. I have noticed that the biggest thing that helps me is forcing myself to keep my feet on. If I am going to go for a rail or a small gap or even a 180 at higher speed, I concentrate on landing in the position that I'm after. I ride cassette so when I am going to pop 180 and fakie, I concentrate on landing in a stable position, weight back center, and backpedaling when I land. I keep that focus all the way through. The times I have gotten hurt have come from failing to commit fully and trying to step out/off too early. I have found that if I keep my landing position in mind, my body does what it needs to in order to get me there. Keep it up and remember as everyone said; you are in this for you and the pace you take only matters to you.

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6/27/2018 4:19 PM

Helijames wrote:

I turned 45 last week and have been back at this for about a year. I have noticed that the biggest thing that helps me is ...more

The times I have gotten hurt have come from failing to commit fully and trying to step out/off too early.

This. It's the awkward bails that hurt you. And it is about confidence. Whenever I have super psyched up to do something really hard it was...actually pretty easy. damn it.

so my first advice is go for it. It likely isn't as scary as you think.

My second advice is get good shoes. I was constantly tweaking my right ankle in sneakers. Got the Hi-8's and no issues since. Also they stick to pedals like glue, it changes your life. So worth it
.
46 two kids, 2 years into my re-start after a 25+ year pause. I practice 150 hops a lot. Not 180, more like 150.
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New tech can't beat old school cool...or can it?
1987 O.O.S. Redline RL20II (Old Old Stock - this ain't no museum piece kids!)
2012 Norco Deviant
1996 GT Avalanche LE w/ Full 2002 XT upgrade and NE Total Air MZO fork

6/27/2018 5:26 PM

The key to getting away from a fall without getting hurt is tricky. Almost to the point of learning a trick. I have a tip that has saved my ass many times over the years. Practice crashes!

NO not on concrete or anything like that. But again off a curb into grass. You can go basic or full on. Basic is just a small jump and try to learn sideways. The first time or two you will hit the ground so stay low. After a few times you will start getting the idea of ditching the bike. You can also just fall over sideways into the grass. After a few times you will notice that your protecting the key areas on instinct that can cause the most damage. Full on is do say a low 180...odds are it will be more a 90-100. And again a few times and you will start protecting key areas.

But overall the best advice is comit 150%

If you have to do say 3 run ups and still are unsure...don’t do it.

Relax, fear will make you tense up and then if you fall, it’s worse.

Know what you can do and what you can’t. If you can hop up a curb then next up is something say 2” taller. Not 3ft taller. But if you do it in steps you will get to 3ft at some point.

Don’t stress if you don’t get it. That will automatically get stored in your head. Always follow the old “I CAN do it” and you will notice less fear and worry.

Tuck!!! I can’t say that enough. If you are going down and you can throw the bike away from you and cover your head. Landing like a sandbag beats...

NEVER catch yourself except on small stuff with your hands. If you start sticking out an arm the odds of breaking it go up (broke my wrist doing it).

Watch both videos and (mostly follow Steth’s and subscribe to him great guy who deserves it *Shameless Plug* but for any bike type he pretty much has you covered on information) FOLLOW it:



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6/28/2018 3:33 AM

Gack2000 wrote:

The key to getting away from a fall without getting hurt is tricky. Almost to the point of learning a trick. I have a tip that ...more

Thanks for the vids. I guess it's only natural to put your hands out when bailing, and I did slightly hurt my wrist a week back doing so. There's a few grassy areas where I live with enough room to practice crashing.

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Grow old, live young...

6/28/2018 3:45 AM

Definitely getting a little more air with my bunny hops now. Enough that I can turn the bars and slip in a slight lean, giving the hop a bit more style.

Small progress, but progress nonetheless so happy with that.

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Grow old, live young...

6/28/2018 7:13 AM

+1 for seth. With some minor tweaks you can build both his micro and mini ramps out of a single 4x8 sheet and some 2x4's. We put the micro against a curb (making it, ~ 8") for the kids. We're using the mini on our backyard patio to practice over the humps, and I am using it for fakies, stalls, lots of stuff. Pull it out of the garage and ride for 30 min after work, or before bedtime. Every bit helps.

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New tech can't beat old school cool...or can it?
1987 O.O.S. Redline RL20II (Old Old Stock - this ain't no museum piece kids!)
2012 Norco Deviant
1996 GT Avalanche LE w/ Full 2002 XT upgrade and NE Total Air MZO fork