Quad bike hell increases confidence
On a recent holiday in Scotland with my family in the swing of the holiday mood I agreed to go quad biking with my husband, daughter and son. I had only ever seen quad biking in action briefly on TV and thought it looked like a relatively tame and fun activity to do and so got myself booked on with very little thought about where we would be riding the bikes and what exactly was involved in driving them safely in an upright position.
Having been taken through the safety instructions I felt relatively confident that I could operate the bike and set off across the small track approximately 30 feet long. Within that small space my bike decided to stall on no less than a dozen occasions the result of which made me call into question whether this could potentially happen to me mid flow up a very high hill. My palms began to moisten as my once calm and collected heart rate steadily increased leaving me feeling a little nauseous. “Come on Jane” I said to myself “once the bikes warmed up it’s just like a car it will run like a dream”. Well that bit of positive self talk worked a treat and it wasn’t long before my bike was moving along nicely – my next and even bigger challenge was to actually keep it on track, within a safe distance from my daughters bike in front and out of the very thick bushes along the path. So while still on a small test track before we properly got started, I managed to go completely off track into a small bush, nearly crashed into the back end of my daughter’s bike and push the throttle down when I meant to apply the break – who would’ve thought quad bikes had such powerful acceleration. I can honestly say that in that moment I started to panic and all I wanted to do was thank the instructor for his time, make my apologies to the rest of the group and leave in the direction of the bar. All I could think was “if this is the test track how on earth will I cope up the side of the hill, what will happen if my bike tips up and I wonder how you clean vomit up from a moving bike?”
I considered my options – what’s worse admitting I’m scared in front of my kids telling them I want to give up (knowing there was a very strong possibility my son would’ve given up too by the looks I was getting from him each time I caught his eye?) Or acknowledge my fear and see it as a challenge with the hope that at some point along the way I would actually enjoy the experience. I decided on the latter and carried on arms gripped tightly on the handle bars, shoulders so far up the sides of my neck I thought my arms would drop off with the increased tension. The instructor advised us that when we went uphill to focus on where we were going and pretend we were on a flat road. His advice worked a treat and the ride was so say the least exhilarating, scarey, at some points stressful, and in the main utterly amazing. The hills were quite steep and the road was uneven and muddy and although I felt really scared at times I was proud of myself for carrying on and overcoming my fear. When we reached the very top of the hill, got off the bike and looked across at the beautiful Scottish countryside I felt a real sense of achievement and pride and knew I had made the right decision – I just had to deal with the journey downhill!! I knew though that if I could make it up, there was no reason why I couldn’t make it downhill.
What did I learn?
- It is good to try new things even if you’re scared – the feeling you get from overcoming that fear far outweighs any negative effects (as in my case stiff shoulders from gripping the handle bars too tightly!!
- Make sure what you do try is safe.
- Fear is good it gets the adrenalin pumping round your body – its panic that’s not so good!!
- Focusing on your goal rather than worrying too much about the twists, turns and challenges of your journey can help to refocus your attention and prevent too many nagging thoughts affecting your confidence (“those who believe they can do..”)
- Its good to step out of your comfort zone every now and again – I can now add quad biking to my list of skills.