Regression/Mind games - Help!

For some reason my subconscious mind is hindering my progress, and I’ve developed a bad habit putting me back to almost square one.
I need tips on unlearning.

I’ve been using the curb method to get started. I’m tired of riding with assistance (e.g. a wall), but when I try to get going without any help my right foot always steps off as the pedal as it nears the 6 o’clock position so my left foot can’t bring the pedal around the top to keep going. I’m not even going half a rotation at this point.

Strange thing is I’ve been able to get going without help and keep riding for a bit before. Even when I dialed it back reverting to practicing between a wall and my car in the garage I’m golden. No problem whatsoever, and I’m not touching either of them.

Obviously the absence of not having something next to me is triggering my subconscious to make me stop. I don’t want to, but I do. Sometimes I wish I had stirrups on my pedal.
I’ve watched tons of videos and the pedaling looks so natural. I know I’m not going to fall, so what’s the problem?

When I go back to riding along something I try to focus on what my feet are doing and how it feels so I can replicate it later, but it’s so natural and unconscious, and goes by so fast I’m at a loss.
I know what it feels like to ride, and I can visualize myself doing it, but something is not working.
I think I need hypnotherapy to fix this. :slight_smile:

I’m desperate for tips on how to overcome this.
Has anyone experienced this kind of regression before?

Could you find somebody that could hold your hand? It gives you some stability and mental security that you have something to hold on, but still is much, much closer to free riding than keeping the wall.


  • 36 freemounting, I have regressed many times and learned again (I hurt badly myself once -broke my Achille’s tendon- and cannot overcome my subconscious fear)
  • can’t ride a 20" anymore (reason unknown)
    I know that if I get nervous about it I will surely miss… So for instance for 36" freemounting I have some tricks: some places have a “magical” quality … if I fail twice it means that the place is doomed and I try elsewhere … … also I try to think about something else and let my body be in charge without bothering with what my brain is doing …

Try riding between the length of two cars, they will give you a bit of confidence and by the time you get to the end of them you will have enough momentum to keep going.

Count your pedal rotations out loud but make your count at a place your not having a problem. ie: problem at 6 o’clock then count out at 9 or 1 o’clock.

Make sure your keeping your weight in the saddle, weight on your feet makes it more difficult to keep pedaling.

Good luck with it, Jim

Try changing your seat height. Even a small change there makes a big difference in how you ride. It will kind of force a mental “re-boot.”

I went through a stage like that last summer. I didn’t need a support beside me all the time I was riding, but I needed to start next to a parked car. I realized later that I had a chronic wobble after half a crank turn, the first time the pedals went through 6 and 12, and ny balance wasn’t good enough to recover from it most of the time, and I knew it so I always bailed at that point. Beside the car, I could touch the car again once more to steady myself at that vulnerable point. After that I was OK and could ride up the street a pretty good ways.

I like what Wobbling Bear says about deciding that a place is doomed and trying somewhere else. Stubbornness probably doesn’t pay well here. Find a way to practice succeeding, not failing.

As Vookash suggests, having a partner beside if one is available could be good too. You might just need to be able to tap someone’s shoulder at that spot where you get unsteady.

You need to get out of your head. Too much thinking and not enough riding. Try this: practice idling, with a support. Wall is good, fence is even better. Idling means the bottom foot is doing most of the work. It has to go back and forth, past bottom dead center for the idle to work. This will get your foot used to the motion.

Try it on both sides. The idea is not to perfect idling, but to get used to doing the motion with that bottom foot. The pedaling part is actually the easiest part. To turn that into a working idle, you have to make the little side-to-side movements that keep you balanced.

If you enjoy it, stick with it and you’ll have idling down. But probably not before freemounting. My guess is that you’ll get that worked out sooner.

The same approach can work for other things. Try something harder than the thing you’re stuck on, and it can help you make a breakthrough.

Thank you for the suggestions!

<<You need to get out of your head.>>
I realized this is part of the problem.
Practiced idling tonight.

When I can get someone to help me I’m able to move past the problem and continue practicing by myself.
But my brain forgets by the next day putting back to square one. Frustrating.

<< if I fail twice it means that the place is doomed and I try elsewhere>>
I had the same thought about moving to a new place. Tried it but it didn’t work. :angry:

Good thing I don’t give up easily. I’ll keep at it.
I’m open to anymore suggestions.

to help my friend progress i used to ride alongside him on my uni down the road so he could get the feel of riding without holding onto a wall and i would hold onto him worked really well

cant you play your own mind game ,when im stuck learning ,something i tell myself that my life will be considerably better when i get hang of it

When I was learning to ride (14 years ago) I could at one stage pedal alongside a wall rack in a gym. Not holding it but just getting confidence from it being there if I needed it. Once I left the vicinity of that support, I would sort of step off like you describe, just for fear that there was nothing to hold onto.

Someone let me hold their shoulder while I ventured into “the open” and he walked beside me. He encouraged me to hold him as lightly as possible. At some point I realised I held only a string of his jacket hood, non-taut, and so I really didn’t hold on to anything. That was a a breakthrough moment for me: I let go of the string and rode on my own!