Dealing with Heights

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by henryroten, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. henryroten

    henryroten Been here awhile

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    I have been riding forever but have found that I have now developed a rather dramatic fear of heights...but mostly just when riding my 990R. High bridges over running water scare the crap out of me as do riding high ridges found here in Utah with steep slopes on each side without guard rails. I get through it, but almost makes me re-route trips to avoid a tense situation. I was thinking that the cause may be inner ear or eyesight, but annual checkups don't reveal anything odd.

    Just wondering if there is a pill, or a technique, or a hypnotist that anyone has used to overcome this syndrome (or am I the only pussy out there?).

    Thanks
    #1
  2. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    Look up, so that the bottom of your vision only gets so far as to show the bridge, but nothing underneath it. Tell yourself you're riding on a level road.
    #2
  3. 1911fan

    1911fan Master of the Obvious

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    Same problem here, been scared of heights all my life. Just suck it up and go- it gets easier the more you do it, but it still scares me. I talk to myself, things like "Okay, you're halfway across, you can do this!" so make sure your helmet mike is off or your riding partner will give you endless grief.
    How the hell I'm comfortable strapped to the side of a helicopter is beyond me.


    1911fan
    #3
  4. scottrnelson

    scottrnelson Team Orange

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    Simple solution: move to Florida. Problem solved. :D


    As one who is not afraid of heights at all, I'll have to go with the pussy idea that you brought up. :wink:
    #4
  5. espacef1fan

    espacef1fan Been here awhile

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    fear of heights. This is a fear of mine, but I experience it strangely. I'm terrified of working ont he roof of a house..or standing near a window ina skyscraper. I ok sitting on the ramp of a Chinook helicopter with my feet dangling..more than 10000 ft off the ground....Make sense? It doesnt to me either.
    #5
  6. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    You'd have a rough time on the Mackinac bridge in MI. The center two lanes are steel grating so you can see straight down. I usually use the concrete curb lane, mainly because the grating can be slippery.
    #6
  7. Crisis management

    Crisis management Latte riders FTW!

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    Far from an expert here but you mention this is a new "fear", have you considered why it may have developed?
    At the begining of the year I had a bit of an accident on the 640, lost the rear on a 120km/h sweeper and bounced around the road a bit. Once recovered, I had a lot of trouble commiting to right hand corners and it took me a day on a track to go from "arms locked on bars / upright stance" to being able to hang off the bike and drop into corners, two months later and I am still nervous of right handers and have to think myself into commitment.
    I suppose my point is that I don't think it's a case of "suck it up", more a case of re-learn your skills / overcome your fears, and then get on with enjoying it. I don't have any real suggestions of how you do this other than to start back at easy levels and work up to harder (more fear generating) exercises.
    Something else to consider, as we age we tend to get more cautious, we do realise accidents hurt more and recovery is longer, maybe it's a bit of natural caution? I know that at 56 I am less likely to do some stuff that my 25 year old son thinks nothing of, there is no dishonour in holding the beer and watching!

    Hope that helps.
    #7
  8. Sox Fan

    Sox Fan SoxFan

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    Afraid of heights too and I have been over the Mackinac Bridge 3 or 4 times on a motorcycle. 300 feet over the water, riding on grates! Yikes!
    #8
  9. LowInSlo

    LowInSlo Been here awhile

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    Crisis is on the right track. I have an intense fear of heights. Pictures of heights freak me out. It's a thing. I hate it. Anyway - accepting the fear is key. Owning it. Then build skills so that you can ride past the fear. I took Eric Trow's Stayin' Safe course in So Cal. I came down a road I could never in my life ridden down with confidence, because I had this amazing set of skills now to manage it. I was also following Eric as he talked me down. Yes that helped. Now I ride roads in my neighborhood that used to freak me out.

    Step one - accept it. Don't 'suck it up', that makes it worse.

    Then skills/ tools building.

    Oh, I love airplanes ;-)
    #9
  10. Celtic Curmudgeon

    Celtic Curmudgeon Indiana Jones wanabe

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    You're not alone here! While I"ve always had slight fear of heights, I think it's gotten worse. I can ride in an airplane or helo, look off a balcony, climb up to my roof on a ladder, but tall bridges (Tampa in particular) make me nervous, and forget about things like roller coasters. A couple years ago, we were in Colorado and drove Trail Ridge Road (in a car). Going up was fine, but going back down was very disconcerting,even though that road is nearly three lanes wide. Funny thing, as a kid of about 12, I went up the old Fall River Road, which is dirt with much steeper drop-offs, and don't remember being bothered. Another interesting point I don't understand, walking a next to a steep drop-off doesn't wig me out as much as driving near one in or on a vehicle. Not sure why. I guess I won't be competing in the Pike's Peak or driving Yungas Road anytime soon. :eek1
    #10
  11. Contevita

    Contevita Cigar Adventurer

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    Don't think, just focus straight ahead and go.
    #11
  12. henryroten

    henryroten Been here awhile

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    Thanks to all for the insight/wisdom of me dealing with heights. After my last trip that contained numerous high bridges and long dark tunnels (I didn't mention that I tend to lose my equilibrium or balance in dark tunnels) I was convinced that the time had come for me to hang it up and sell the bike, my day was done. After a week or so of deep contemplation, I decided that the best thing to do was for me to try and conquer my fears, perhaps one step at a time, and learn to deal with it. A doctor once told me that whatever the fear was that I was experiencing or feeling, that the reality was entirely different than my perception. That recollection now makes sense, and seems to help.

    Onward I go, is there really an option?
    #12
  13. Celtic Curmudgeon

    Celtic Curmudgeon Indiana Jones wanabe

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  14. Mr.Dabalina

    Mr.Dabalina Been here awhile

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    Never growing up had I been afraid heights. Climbed up roofs, would even jump off and no problems. Had my dad teach me how to rappel. I have bounded down 100' cliffs and had a blast. As I've gotten older (only 31), i have become terrified of heights. Only the last year or two. Since this fear is new to me, I take it all in (even the height), take a deep breath, wiggle the hands, and go. The more I think about it the worse it gets. That's why I try and just go before it truly sinks in.
    #14
  15. gmk999

    gmk999 ____ as a Rotax

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    Take a break, Fear builds and can become overwhelming, (you don't quite get over the first instance when the second , third and fourth come along..) sudenly that little pang of nervousness that you used to feel is a full blown phobia and no fun anymore. It can make you physicaly ill.
    Two things to know.
    1 The fear is real
    2 it will subside with time if you let it (don't invite it back till you are ready)

    Take a break.

    An unattended tick bite years ago.. taught me (and a team of dr's) volumes on Fear and fear management. I am better now and Fearless!!!:freaky

    Good Luck
    #15
  16. Schnickelfritz

    Schnickelfritz pick, grin, repeat

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    Can I git a "amen" up in here, people?
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  17. Offcenter

    Offcenter On The Road Again!

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    LOL!!! :rofl
    I have a close friend who has the same problem. One day a few years back I decided to take him for
    a "ride in the country". Since he doesn't know the back roads around here like I do, I very quickly had
    him lost and all he could do was follow me. I headed for the Delaware river near central New Jersey.
    Over the next few hours I took him on ride that took us back and forth over EVERY bridge that crossed
    the Delaware river into Pennsylvania, all the way up into lower New York state. In the middle of every
    bridge I'd slow down and yell over the CB, "Hey Steve! Look at the boats!" or "Hey Steve, beautiful
    view from here!" He'd yell back "Shutup and keep moving!" :rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl
    Many of those bridges are so narrow that two cars can barely pass. The Belvidere bridge and the
    Dingmans Ferry bridge are just two that come to mind.
    By the end of the day he was ready to wring my neck!
    He's gotten better since then....but not by much!
    These days he has a GPS. If I tried to pull that now, he'd turn around
    and go home. :rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl
    (I have a warped sense of humor)
    #17
  18. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

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    #18
  19. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

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    Take up rock climbing and skiing.

    Also is the fear in the fear of the heights themselves or in your ability to control the bike so that it doesn't go off with you on it?
    #19
  20. achtung3

    achtung3 Long timer

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    I have no problem riding or driving or flying, but man! I can not stand on my feet when it comes to height, no tall buildings, cliffs, bridges, ferris wheel, ledges of any kind my legs just goes limp and I get queasy.:puke1
    #20