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Old 08-20-07, 01:21 PM   #1
Elkhound
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Fourteen year old who does not know how to ride a bike.

How would you go about teaching a young man such as this? Most of the material I can find about teaching absolute beginners assumes that one is dealing with a little kid.
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Old 08-20-07, 01:25 PM   #2
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I can't imagine teaching an adult, young adult, or little kid to be any different...?

Just don't say things like, "Oh, did you get a boo-boo?" when they fall over.
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Old 08-20-07, 01:54 PM   #3
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The same way as I'd teach anyone to ride a bike. So many beginners are intimidated by having to deal with the two parts of the problem simultaneously, so the obvious answer is to divide the problem into two separate parts: (1) balance, (2) propulsion, and deal with each part in turn.

(1) Remove the cranks and chain (or even just the pedals) from the bike, and lower the saddle so that the learner can touch the ground with their feet, whilst seated on the bike. This will enable them to scoot the bike around, and get used to balancing and steering.

(2) Once they've got the idea of balancing and steering, the cranks and chain are replaced, and the beginner learns to pedal while balancing and steering.

Eventually the saddle is raised to the correct height.

This method has been used since the invention of the bicycle, and is guaranteed to work every time, and is much quicker than using those stupid training-wheels!

- Wil
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Old 08-20-07, 02:10 PM   #4
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Have them get on.....push them...yell at them to pedal. Yell at them to keep peddaling.
Hit them with Cattle prod, when they slow down. Worked for all my kinder.
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Old 08-20-07, 04:01 PM   #5
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The same way as I'd teach anyone to ride a bike. So many beginners are intimidated by having to deal with the two parts of the problem simultaneously, so the obvious answer is to divide the problem into two separate parts: (1) balance, (2) propulsion, and deal with each part in turn.

(1) Remove the cranks and chain (or even just the pedals) from the bike, and lower the saddle so that the learner can touch the ground with their feet, whilst seated on the bike. This will enable them to scoot the bike around, and get used to balancing and steering.

(2) Once they've got the idea of balancing and steering, the cranks and chain are replaced, and the beginner learns to pedal while balancing and steering.

Eventually the saddle is raised to the correct height.

This method has been used since the invention of the bicycle, and is guaranteed to work every time, and is much quicker than using those stupid training-wheels!

- Wil
+1 Have done this with all ages from 3 to 50. Works every time, even with people with dyspraxia (co-ordination problems)
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Old 08-20-07, 04:03 PM   #6
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Just noticed the bit about removing cranks and chain? Just remove pedals, it has the same effect
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Old 08-20-07, 05:26 PM   #7
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Learning ability for bike riding varies from person to person, same as everything else. I had the advantage of growing up on a dead-end suburban street, and a grandfather in the construction business. How I was taught:

Grampa got two orange street cones, and placed them about twenty feet apart, in a straight line. I was to ride from one cone to the next. I feel over a few times, got a few scrapes, but did it. Then, the cones were moved a little further apart, and the process was repeated. Before long, I was able to ride up and down the street, no problem. And no, I never had training wheels. Yes, my seat was adjusted low on purpose, so I could easily put both feet down. Then, once I had the hang of it, Grampa raised the seat up. Give it a try, if you can get some cones, or some other type of markers. Waste baskets would probably work just fine.

Wil Davis, ever see a kid riding along on a training-wheel equipped bike, and they're leaning to one side at a severe angle? What on earth is up with that? what are they being "trained" to do? Jeesh!
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Old 08-20-07, 05:43 PM   #8
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…Wil Davis, ever see a kid riding along on a training-wheel equipped bike, and they're leaning to one side at a severe angle? What on earth is up with that? what are they being "trained" to do? Jeesh!
Yup, many times! I think the bloody things should be banned! Unfortunately, so many lazy parents use them as an easy way to avoid making the effort required to spend some quality time with the kid by helping them to learn something which will be useful for the rest of their lives.

I've long given up trying to point out the uselessness of trainer-wheels, but most parents aren't interested, and as they say "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise"

- Wil
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Old 08-21-07, 01:52 AM   #9
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Just took my 8 year old daughter out on the road for the first time yesterday. I can't help but think that riding a cycle when young is an important method of gaining road skills for young people, which is being lost, as most young people don't ride bikes these days. The first experience they have in traffic is when they get their automobile licence.
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Old 08-21-07, 07:33 AM   #10
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Wil Davis - Great ideas !!

Now, try that with a unicycle - not so easy !
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Old 08-21-07, 07:45 AM   #11
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My father and his siblings, as well as their father, spent a great deal of time trying to teach my grandmother to ride a bicycle, with no success. Whether this anecdote has any significance, I can't say.

I would suggest your 14-year old start with a scooter. Riding a bike or scooter has something to do with balance, but also with developing a connection between you hands and your brain. Once you can steer the scooter to keep it under your center of gravity, you're ready to try a bike (at which point Wil Davis' protocol should work very nicely).

Training wheels are a menace, but can be employed to teach kids how to ride. The thing is, training wheels are a way of getting a kid comfortable on the bicycle; that's about all they're good for. For this purpose they have to be adjusted so ALL FOUR WHEELS are on the ground at once. This way the kid learns steering and braking. When the kid starts riding so fast that this becomes dangerous, you're ready to go for a nice long walk (adult walking, kid on bike) and every now and then you surreptitiously lean the bike over and bend the training wheels up just a little bit, so now the kid has to steer to get the training wheels up off the ground. As the kid gets better at riding short distances without the training wheels touching the ground, you keep adjusting them up... until they can be removed entirely.

It worked for me, and my kids were both riding on two wheels before they turned five.
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Old 08-21-07, 09:23 AM   #12
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How would you go about teaching a young man such as this? Most of the material I can find about teaching absolute beginners assumes that one is dealing with a little kid.
Well i my self did not learn to ride till i was 9 and i did it on my own. I'm going to teach my grand nephew (hes 6 years old) to ride the same way i learned by basically coasting down a long shallow hill. This way they do not need to worry about pedaling at first and can just learn how the bike feels when it rolls. When your pedaling a bike you do not feel the bikes tendency to want to remain upright. So id say let him coast down a grade nothing huge but something nice and long would be great.

Let him coast down it a few times before he tries to pedal away at the bottom. Once hes not falling over have him pedal once he hts the flat area and go from there. Then you only need to teach one basic skill how to take off.
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Old 08-21-07, 02:00 PM   #13
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The same way as I'd teach anyone to ride a bike. So many beginners are intimidated by having to deal with the two parts of the problem simultaneously, so the obvious answer is to divide the problem into two separate parts: (1) balance, (2) propulsion, and deal with each part in turn.

(1) Remove the cranks and chain (or even just the pedals) from the bike, and lower the saddle so that the learner can touch the ground with their feet, whilst seated on the bike. This will enable them to scoot the bike around, and get used to balancing and steering.

(2) Once they've got the idea of balancing and steering, the cranks and chain are replaced, and the beginner learns to pedal while balancing and steering.
+1 you can also explain how to use countersteering for balance. Turning the bars to the right to correct a lean to the right and turn to the left when the bike leans left.
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Old 08-21-07, 09:04 PM   #14
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"Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise"

This is an obvious falsehood. If ignorance were bliss, there would be many more happy people out there!
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