Trying something new: addressing those concerns

I tried a new activity last night:  BMX biking!  For those not in the biking know, you may be thinking how you’ve seen lots of photos or posts or something related to me on a bike.  It’s true – but those are of mountain biking.  And BMXing is very different (although complementary).  You could say that BMXing to mountain biking is what hiking is to trail running.  Similar…but not really!

I wanted to share my BMX experience and hurdles with you in an effort to alleviate your concerns when trying something new.  I want you to be able to address those concerns so that they don’t hold you back.  Additionally, perhaps you’ve been trying to get a friend into a particular activity and they’ve been timid.  Hopefully, by understanding some of my hesitation, you can find a solution for your friend and get them out to enjoy your favourite sport!

I’d been invited out to the pump track before but had always chickened out and made up excuses.   I got to thinking about what was holding me back from trying and started really processing those excuses I was making up.  When I think of BMXing and the races that friends had been going to this summer, this is what I had in my head:

Riiight…time for a reality check, Tara!  Step one is to understand the realities of what you – or your friend – will actually experience the first time out.  Have a conversation with yourself (sure, out loud is ok!) and realize that what you are watching on YouTube or TV are professionals.  Your friend needs to be reassured you’re not taking them on black diamond runs and you’ll be starting off slow.  For me, that meant telling myself:

  1. I will NOT be on a track that size.
  2. I will NOT be on jumps that big.
  3. I will NOT be going that fast.
  4. I will NOT be with that many other people.
  5. I will NOT even be racing!

See? Just little humps & bumps!

A little big of logic brought be back and grounded what I was to be doing; and yet, I still found myself making excuses not to go and try it out at our local (little!) pump track.  It was time for another gut check to figure out what was holding me back and that comes down to listing those excuses.  What was I afraid of?

I’m a bit embarrassed to say that one of my biggest excuses was in regards to clothing!  And that’s when I realized how the clothing piece became a big hurdle for me, even though it wasn’t specifically about the clothing.  I realized I was so nervous about trying this new sport that I was having troubles thinking about what I could wear.  I was continually told to just wear a pair of jeans…but I didn’t want to wear my jeans since I didn’t want to destroy them (valid and true!).  What I really needed was someone understanding to say “wear something your comfortable with that won’t get stuck in the chain, such as your mountain biking shorts” (and I would add to that list a pair of yoga tights or running pants would work just fine, too!).  I really needed someone to make it clear and tell me to wear x, y, z: take the thinking right out of it for me.  When Adam finally suggested I wear my standard mountain biking shorts, it all made sense.

  • To yourself, are you really that freaked out you don’t have the exact and proper gear?  Or are you just a bit overwhelmed and need clear guidance?  Most people are more than happy to provide you with suggestions and advice if you ask; whether it’s your friend, a store, or a club, we were all beginners once.  You’re allowed to not know and you’re allowed to be nervous.  Acknowledge and accept those feelings but don’t let them overwhelm you and keep you from trying.  Ask for clear, simple directions!
  • To your friend, lay everything out simply for them.  Reiterate they don’t need all of the top of the line gear to get started and they aren’t expected to figure it all out on the first try.  Make it easy – they shouldn’t have to think about much aside from having a wicked, epic, rad fun time.  You want them coming back for more and they can learn details later.

As for my inaugural ride on the bike?  I’ll let this picture do the talking:

What it’s all about: having fun!

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