Dealing with Heights

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

  1. ChadHahn

    ChadHahn Been here awhile

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    Years ago I went on a multi-state motorcycle ride with my dad and his friends. One of the stops was at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge outside of Taos. If you haven't been there the bridge is 565 feet above the river. I could barely walk out onto the bridge for photo opportunities but Dad was climbing up on the railing and throwing one leg over and generally freaking me out. I was able to get close enough to the edge of the bridge to stick my camera over and take a picture but then I scurried off.

    That day we rode to Mesa Verde and camped. The next day we stopped somewhere in the park for pictures and I hopped up on a wall that was maybe 10 feet high to take some pictures. My dad wouldn't go close to the wall. He said, "I thought you were afraid of heights?" I said that I was but the worse this fall could do would be to break my leg and that I'd rather have a broken leg than die. Dad said that he'd rather die than have a broken leg.

    So what I'm saying is that I'm with you. Certain bridges freak me out. I've been on high narrow bridges that scare me driving across in a car. If you add to that the grates that some bridges have that make your wheels float around it can be nerve racking. In Phoenix there are some exchanges on the interstate that are three levels high. I hate driving on those in a car or a bike.

    Chad
    #21
  2. Crisis management

    Crisis management Latte riders FTW!

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    That's a question worth pondering. :deal
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  3. DrLewall

    DrLewall The Human GPS

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    A friend of mine suffered from this also. He told me once that he was crossing the Mississippi River on a grated bridge..he messed up by looking down as he was crossing. He said the road way disappeared and he was riding on air. He said it was the most terrified he had ever been but he got across. He picked another route coming back tho.

    [​IMG]

    This is hard for me to relate to as I have zero fear of heights. I am one to look over the edge just to see how high up I am.

    [​IMG]
    #23
  4. scottrnelson

    scottrnelson Team Orange

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    I'm thinking that this thread should get the subject renamed to "Wusses who are afraid of heights, check in here". :lol3


    Nice line of S2000's on the bridge. Were you a part of some local club or something (used to own one)?
    #24
  5. cafebmw

    cafebmw Adventurer

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    I've had inner ear issues my whole life. Started getting more and more vertigo in situations around them. Told my doctor and he sent me to Physical Therapy for Vestibular Rehab. They determined my balance was over reliant on my vision and out of sync with my inner ears. 8+ weeks of vision/balance exercises to help get them back aligned. Still working on it, but surprised how much it has helped. Still don't like bridges, cliffs, etc, but don't loose my balance around them as much as I used to.

    Some other good advice in this thread on how to get through it. When in doubt, speed up, a rolling wheel can't fall over :norton.
    #25
  6. PukaWai

    PukaWai Been here awhile

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    I had what I suppose would be an "average" fear of heights before I started paragliding. After a few flights, no more fear. But then a few years later I flew my paraglider over San Bernardino and managed to climb to about 9000 ft. All of a sudden, for no reason at all, I got scared shitless thinking about me dangling that far off the ground under a glorified diaper and dental floss. It came to me that that was real fear of heights and what I had before was fear of falling. Now I'm an old fart, but still not very afraid of heights - usually. Was coming south along the California coast a few months ago and got real scared looking at the Richmond-San Rafael bridge as I approached it, it just looked so skinny and high. Then after crossing, I wondered what the big deal was.
    I think the way to overcome any fear is to push past your comfort zone every day, but just by a little bit!
    #26
  7. WeazyBuddha

    WeazyBuddha Carbon-Based Humanoid

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    I was somewhat afraid of heights then got into spelunking and pretty much was not. I'd ascend, repel, cross bottomless holes with my back on one side and feet on the other, I'd stand on precipices, and cross rock slides (one at a time in case the thing let loose) but now that I'm older I have quite a bit of fear of heights. Oh well. I slow down more than I used to on the motorcycle and have fun. I don't obsess about it much, it is what it is.
    #27
  8. EggChaser

    EggChaser Been here awhile

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    Don't stop and look at what you are scared of for too long. Picked this up while learning to snowboard. If you start by thinking something ahead is bad, those thoughts get magnified in your head if you look at it for too long, much better to understand what your skill level is and make an immediate decision to continue or stop.

    Oh and I second the concept of doing other things (such as skiiing etc) that have a height element about them.
    #28
  9. Gitana

    Gitana A work in progress

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    I am not overly fond of heights, but I can manage it. My first trip to Moab, we went down Mineral Bottom Switchbacks and I was terrified. You go off the edge, you are going to be severely injured or dead. This isn't my video, but gives a sense of what it was like. I hugged the inside of the road the entire way down. By the end of the trip, I was doing other switchbacks without as much problem. I found I just had to have the mental discipline to stay focused on what was 30' in front of me and to never, ever target fixate on the view.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/QDFQOiq9N0k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #29
  10. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    Hmmm, I grew up working on roofs, metal buildings and the like and high places were really no issue. Developed some vertigo on high places about 20 years ago, just about the time I had to start wearing glasses. I wonder.

    What kind of vision balance exercises do you do?
    #30
  11. Yakima

    Yakima DL 650

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    Not an issue for me, but a friend suffered from similar symptoms.
    Turned out to be some sort of inner ear thing.
    He learned to stand on one foot for extended periods and that regaining of muscle-balance cured his fear of heights.
    When muscles no longer balance well (the interplay between inner ear and muscles in feet and legs) we compensate with vision.
    By retraining his muscles and inner ear, problem was solved.
    YMMV
    #31
  12. scottrnelson

    scottrnelson Team Orange

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    #32
  13. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

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    I've injured my ankle a few times and had to do PT. One of things they had me do was stand on a trampoline and balance with my eye's closed on the injured ankle


    Also played catch standing on one foot.

    My balance wasn't bad before but it was better after that. I also got an indo board that I play with allot, pretty much whenever I'm watching TV.
    #33
  14. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

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    I hate that Visa commercial where that pretty thing balances on top of a Utah pinnacle. I can barely watch. Also, I doubt I'd enjoy being a high rise window washer or standing on the very edge of the grand canyon on one foot!

    But narrow dirt roads like the one in the Moab video don't bother me. I do get bouts of inner ear vertigo, though. Doesn't last but a few days, but I don't ride during them and try not to drive too. I live in a place I can walk everywhere.
    #34
  15. Snarky

    Snarky Vodka Infused.

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    I do not have a fear of heights. That said, there are some interchanges in Dallas and Houston that make my butt pucker a bit.

    Like the Hi-5 in Dallas, I think the highest deck is 12 stories off the ground.

    [​IMG]

    Houston I-10/Beltway Ramps
    [​IMG]

    Houston Ship Channel Bridge.
    [​IMG]

    All of these roads are basically Highway Speed bridges. You're doing 50-60 mph on them. Even if you aren't scared of heights, they can be worrying. Considering most of them of are also curved I keep reminding myself to look through the turn and not off the edge. Also not to be a hooligan because a good wind can move you out of an ideal line.
    #35
  16. bogey78

    bogey78 Been here awhile

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    I had to climb a ladder to inspect a toilet vent boot on my elderly dad's house the other day. I was probably 12 feet off the ground and my knees were shaking a little. I was never afraid of heights as a kid and would ride any coaster, rappel, fly in small planes, worked on roofs, etc. However, over the last 5 years or so I have become a great big wuss when it comes to heights and also closed in spaces. Now I'm kind of scared of heights and I even get a little claustrophobic if I have to work under the house or in the attic.

    I also went with our church to Six Flags in Atlanta last year and was terrified while on Goliath. Honestly, that ride seems to need more straps and handholds to be safe. Of course, nobody fell out but it sure felt like I would. The only way I would ride it again is with a couple of ratchet straps around my chest and thighs and I don't think they'll go for it. My wife still laughs and calls me a chicken when the subject of roller coasters come up. It's the only one I won't ride though!
    #36
  17. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    A few years back some dumbass entered the high 5 on a sportbike with passenger at a very high rate of speed, hit the rail and pitched his lady passenger over the side, I think 87 or 97 ft to the highway below. Long ways to fall,

    That one in Lake Charles is a tall son of a bitch.
    #37
  18. ADW

    ADW 'tard bike restos

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    I prefer the grating because the side rail on the bridge is so low I wanna be as far away from it as I can! VERY easy to just fall right over it when perched on a cycle (at least that's what my brain says).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #38
  19. eepeqez

    eepeqez Long timer

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    Makes perfect sense to me.
    Fall off a roof and it hurts very immediately.
    Fall out of a Chinook and there is about a minute to do something to save yourself (never mind that without a parachute, there's not actually anything useful you can do in that minute), and you're not going to hurt when you land anyway.
    #39
  20. DrLewall

    DrLewall The Human GPS

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    and if it does hurt, it will be briefly! :huh
    #40