A year ago I would have said no way to mountain biking but I have been doing a project of 50 new and adventurous things before I am 50. Along the way, I have conquered many fears and realized how strong I am. I did cry during my day of mountain biking but I felt supported and I am so glad I did not give up. Read about my day at NorthStar California Resort in my first POPSUGAR article. This was by far the most challenging thing I have accomplished on my list of 50 things before I am 50 and the one I am the most proud of.
I spent most of my life terrified of being on a bike. In the ’70s when I was just a preteen, I had a nasty accident that landed me in the emergency room. Luckily there were no serious injuries, but mentally, it was terrifying. Always worried I would fall, I never felt comfortable on a bike again . . . or so I thought.
For my 45th birthday, I visited Myanmar to see the temples of Bagan by bike. There were dirt tracks, rocks, and subpar bikes. On the first day, I had a flat tire and nearly no brakes, and I was frozen with fear. I met a woman there who was 20 years older than me and thrilled to get on her bike. It left me wondering why I saw it as another day of torture. In that moment, I wondered if in the future I could be less afraid of cycling. Maybe I needed lessons.
Facing my fears head on, I put mountain biking on the top of my “50 Things Before I Am 50” list and signed up for a women’s clinic with the Specialized Bike Academy in Lake Tahoe, CA. That is how I ended up on the top of a mountain fully armed in bike gear, asking myself, “What am I doing here?” Despite the careful instructions, I felt like I was just not getting it and couldn’t make it past the bunny slope. But I was still trying my hardest. I had shown up. I had not cried. I gave it all my effort. I kept going up the hill and practiced everything being taught to me.
I had been promised beginner runs, but Shep suggested that we move onto an intermediate trail. I peeked ahead and the path looked scary and full of rocks and dirt. I hesitated, but I did trust him. Surely he would not take me to die before my 50th birthday.
But at the turnoff to the trail, I thought I might hyperventilate. Shep looked at me and asked, “Have you fallen? Have you gotten hurt? Has it been too hard?” The truth was no. I realized I was already a better biker than I had ever been before, knowing the ins and outs of riding. And, even more importantly, I realized that by just saying yes to mountain biking, I took great strides in overcoming fears that arose out of falling on my head decades earlier.Mountain biking was by far the biggest challenge I have accomplished on my list of “50 Things Before I Am 50” list and the one I am the most proud of. I could have left after the bunny hill and it would have still counted as an accomplishment. I could have stayed on the beginner trail and it would have been heralded by all as a great triumph. But instead I went on an intermediate run and enjoyed it. Well, I mostly enjoyed it. Standing in the pedals of my bike going downhill and feeling the wind was wonderful. And, for me, overcoming my fear was the biggest victory.
Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is a speaker at the Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Dallas Travel and Adventure Shows for 2023. Her podcast, “Make Your Own Map,” has been watched in more than 11 countries on 4 continents. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. Look for her memoir in Fall 2023 from Post Hill Press/Simon and Schuster.
You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have nearly 2 million views.
With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club.
As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries.
For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.
Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals
including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo.
National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards
2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out”
2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver”
2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art
Southern California Journalism Awards
2022 Finalist: Book Criticism
2021 Winner: Technology Reporting
2021 Finalist: Book Criticism
2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt”
2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature
2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway”
2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile
2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers”
Social Media Presence
YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.7 million views)
Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts
Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers)
Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers)
Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views)
Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers)
LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)
2 responses to “Are You Ready to Conquer Your Fear of Biking?”
Interesting post! Biking is so fun and a quick way to get around the city. Mountain biking is an adrenaline rush and can be super exciting but scary. I was mountain biking once and I got a little too confident and ended up flipping over my handlebars. Luckily I was wearing a helmet. Seems really fun and loved that you accomplished your goal. Great Job!
I would definitely like to try this it is also one of the fear which i want to overcome. it was great time to read this article.