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Old 07-06-12, 06:31 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
Take the pedals off, lower the seat so that your feet touch the ground, find a grassy slope with a gentle downhill, sit on bike, use feet to move bike forward, and as you can, raise feet to get the feel of "balancing."

As you gain balance, put pedals on and use them to gain speed. Raise seat and pedal away!
That's how Mrs. Grouch learned to ride.
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Old 07-06-12, 06:38 AM   #27
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[QUOTE=molyneux;14445965]
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My kids are encouraging me to do this - something I've always wanted to do but afraid to look silly!
The only folks who are silly are those that don't try new worthwhile things - now that is silly!!
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Old 07-06-12, 06:55 AM   #28
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Way to go, molymeux! Good for you for having the courage to go forward with this!
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Old 07-06-12, 09:15 AM   #29
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While I was out on my Independence Day ride along the Whittier Greenway Trail, I saw an older woman (easily 50s or 60s) on a bike with training wheels. Ride!!
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Old 07-06-12, 11:11 AM   #30
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I'm 20, and I just learned how to ride a bike last summer, and throughout last year at college, I gained experience and confidence riding around. I first rode on larger size BMX bike, in a grassy area with a tiny hill. My advice is to find a nice open area without trees to run into, until you get the hang of balance and steering and pedaling and all that. Once I figured out how to get on and pedal, I was riding around the neighborhood, in big circles. Beyond those initial learning stages, experience and practice is the best way to gain confidence and skills! Now I'm riding a road bike, about 100 miles a day. Tucson is a great place to learn too.
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Old 07-06-12, 10:17 PM   #31
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I just successfully taught my 11 year old nephew how to ride a bike via what I think is a great method. It splits the learning process into two distinct methods, vice lumping it all in together. Start by just using your feet on the ground to propel the bike, lifting your feet for short periods. Practice this for a while until you have worked your balancing skills up enough to keep your feet up for several seconds. Unless going down-hill, you won't build up enough speed to do much more than this. Once you have mastered balancing, and controlling the bike. Then work on pedaling. Remember a few important things as you progress: try not to look at the ground in front of you, but rather look to where you would like to end up. Many people, when they start, will end up looking at things they want to avoid, which actually draws you to the object. Where your eyes point, your chin points, which is where your shoulders will point, which is where the bike will go. Learn to focus on your destination, surveying your surroundings with your peripheral vision. Practice things, one at a time, and then combine them as you gain proficiency, and you will be speeding around the neighborhood in no time.
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Old 07-26-12, 09:30 PM   #32
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Hi everyone! Just wanted to thank you for all the inputs in this thread. I stumbled upon this forum a few weeks back when I was looking for tips on how to learn how to ride a bike as an adult. I'm 30 and have never been learned how to ride until now. I'm still wobbling my way around the city, but I am riding just the same. Learning how to balance was the most difficult part for me, but after keeping at it and sustaining one wound in the process I think I finally figured it out. I'm now in the process of gaining more confidence on riding out in the streets.

What helped most for me was having someone push the bike and keep it steady while I was getting used to controlling the bike. As has been mentioned in several posts, it's a good idea to put off pedaling until you learn how to keep your balance. Best of luck for those who have yet to learn. I'm officially in love with biking.
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Old 07-26-12, 10:22 PM   #33
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transformosa,

You might want to take an LAB road course to increase your confidence and safety in dealing with traffic.
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Old 07-27-12, 01:51 AM   #34
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transformosa,

You might want to take an LAB road course to increase your confidence and safety in dealing with traffic.
Hi Artkansas,

I am not from the US so I cannot take the classes, but the website has a lot of useful info. Thanks for the link!
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Old 08-06-12, 03:28 AM   #35
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I have just bought a bike at the age of 51 and am starting to learn to ride using the no pedals and sccoting/freewheeling method. I went out yesterday and was doing really well on the grass but when i went onto a hard surface, I was a lot less happy. I know I will get there but it seems a long way off yet. I am geting more used to using the brakes rather than putting my feet down, but I wondered, how long should I leave it before getting the pedals back on? Should I get used to turning corners etc first?
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Old 08-06-12, 06:22 AM   #36
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I just learn to ride also and I am 30 y.o. I am in love with cycling now, went on my first ride Sunday mornig 1.5miles. Keep at it, it will be a payoff.
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Old 08-06-12, 07:04 AM   #37
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I got recruited to teach all my sons friends how to ride their bikes because i'm the only dad in the area that can run along side a kid on a bike for more than 10 feet without have a massive coronary. All you need is a good flat sidewalk with no trees or poles to hit, and a friend that's willing to push you for a short distance to get you going. Lower the seat so both feat touch the ground easily, and if you get off balance just fall into the grass.

I bet I've run 1000 miles next to kids while pushing their bikes to keep them up to speed. Before they know it, I'm not next to them anymore and they're happily pedaling around.
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Old 08-06-12, 09:45 AM   #38
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I have just bought a bike at the age of 51 and am starting to learn to ride using the no pedals and sccoting/freewheeling method. I went out yesterday and was doing really well on the grass but when i went onto a hard surface, I was a lot less happy. I know I will get there but it seems a long way off yet. I am geting more used to using the brakes rather than putting my feet down, but I wondered, how long should I leave it before getting the pedals back on? Should I get used to turning corners etc first?
You might want to get comfortable turning before you put the pedals back on. Is there an empty parking lot that you can use to practice riding on a hard surface?
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Old 08-06-12, 10:23 AM   #39
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I have just bought a bike at the age of 51 and am starting to learn to ride using the no pedals and sccoting/freewheeling method. I went out yesterday and was doing really well on the grass but when i went onto a hard surface, I was a lot less happy. I know I will get there but it seems a long way off yet. I am geting more used to using the brakes rather than putting my feet down, but I wondered, how long should I leave it before getting the pedals back on? Should I get used to turning corners etc first?
No pedals, scooting, freewheeling, all this describes a scooter. I think that's the way to go for adults who really need more time to adjust to balance, steering, and speed. Besides, you may actually like the scooter too much.

http://www.amazon.com/Razor-A5-Lux-S.../dp/B004C6BGII

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Old 08-06-12, 11:50 AM   #40
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I learn to ride by sitting on the seat and going down a small hill placing my feet close to the ground for safty. After getting hang of the balance I started to pedal at the end of the hill.... After that I just practice starting from a flat surface then practice turning and such. I learn to ride last week at 30 y.o. btw
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Old 08-09-12, 12:43 PM   #41
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Try riding with your front wheel in some kind of rut that prevents steering. You fall off if you unable to steer. If we are contantly making small adjustments to the steering, we are not riding in a straight line. It just appears straight because the radius of the curves is so large. Most complete newbies attempt to steer a straight line and wobble all over the place. If you direct newbie to ride in curves, around some widely spaced markers then balance becomes a lot easier.

Training techniques often seem counter-intuitive because experienced people forget or internalise what they are doing.
And counter steering. Even most motorcyclists don't know about it. Any time you are steering a two-wheeled vehicle above ~8 mph, you use countersteer to initiate a turn. It's so subtle and slight that most people don't realize it. It's also one reason so many avoidable accidents happen...people 'freeze up', and wind up thinking too much about steering, target fixate, and go right where they are trying to avoid.
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Old 08-10-12, 09:51 AM   #42
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A Reporter Learns to Ride a Bicycle As An Adult
Matt Flegenheimer, a transportation reporter for The New York Times who did not know how to ride a bicycle, took a class in Manhattan offered by Bike New York

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/11/ny...-adult.html?hp
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Old 08-10-12, 01:51 PM   #43
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Hi All,
I just joined bikeforums so I could respond to this thread! I am 32, and over the past few months have been learning to ride a bike for the first time. I had two good lessons; the third was also good until the end... I fell over the side of the bike and smashed my chin and lower face into the pavement. I was wearing a helmet, but it wasn't even touched. I had a concussion and two badly broken front teeth, in addition to several other bruises and sprains. I've been afraid to ride since, though I really want to learn! I was learning on a thin road bike; what other style of bike might be easier for a newbie? And of course I would appreciate any advice on overcoming fear after an injury! I've enjoyed reading all the adult new riders' stories, but I haven't heard of another accident like mine, so I feel extra lousy...
But I don't intend to give up, so any help/advice would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 08-10-12, 02:30 PM   #44
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Hi All,
I just joined bikeforums so I could respond to this thread! I am 32, and over the past few months have been learning to ride a bike for the first time. I had two good lessons; the third was also good until the end... I fell over the side of the bike and smashed my chin and lower face into the pavement. I was wearing a helmet, but it wasn't even touched. I had a concussion and two badly broken front teeth, in addition to several other bruises and sprains. I've been afraid to ride since, though I really want to learn! I was learning on a thin road bike; what other style of bike might be easier for a newbie? And of course I would appreciate any advice on overcoming fear after an injury! I've enjoyed reading all the adult new riders' stories, but I haven't heard of another accident like mine, so I feel extra lousy...
But I don't intend to give up, so any help/advice would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks!
I am so sorry to hear about your experience. It is difficult to overcome trauma from one incident, and the "getting back on the horse" advice is easier said than done, as it is very different for everyone.

Why not try learning as a young child would? Lower the saddle so that you can plant your feet firmly on the ground while in the sitting position. Remove the pedals and scoot along for a few meters and lift your feet up off the ground. This will give a feel for the balancing of the bike and it will give you enough confidence to put both feet down if you feel losing control. Keep this up until you are confident enough to put the pedals back on and use them.
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Old 08-10-12, 04:03 PM   #45
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Crank forward bikes are great for those who are uncomfortable stopping tippy toed.

Trek has nice ones..

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...creation/pure/

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Old 08-13-12, 08:52 PM   #46
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What a great topic! There's lots of great advice here.

I, too, am a late learner. My husband taught me to ride a bike when I was 26. Like steve57, I started out practicing in the dark, scooting around our neighborhood on my bike around midnight because I would have been mortified to have the neighborhood kids observing my beginner's efforts. I didn't think to take the pedals off as others have suggested, but I did wear shin guards.

My big mistake was getting a bike that was just a little too big for my comfort. I am short, so it was difficult to find a decent bike in my size and my DH prefers over-sized bikes and hoped I would share that preference. Big mistake. I was shaky on that bike around other cyclists and around any kind of traffic. I had a very scary accident with a car (totally not the driver's fault) that ended with my head on the ground inches from her stopped-just-in-time tire. That shook my confidence and eroded nearly all my progress. DH and I got a tandem after that, and that's how we rode for years until he started having problems with his wrists, exacerbated by the heavy steering of the tandem.

I miss riding with my husband, who is still very much a bike enthusiast, so at age 51, I recently decided to give cycling another go. This time around, I decided to go for a small bike so that I would feel absolutely comfortable about being able to put my feet down on the ground without toppling. Because I wanted a bike with a small frame that would let me "grow into it" as I improved my skills and developed my confidence, I decided on a folding bike. Last week, we purchased a used Brompton. As a "starter bike," it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but you just need to think about what you'll feel comfortable with - then consider borrowing, renting, or buying used if possible.

Learning has been a little different this time around. We live in a rural area with a driveway big enough to practice in, which I have been doing once or twice a day for the last four days. I lowered the seat and scooted around, pushing with my feet and practicing my balance. Today, I managed to keep my balance and pedal up and down the driveway.

The Brompton has been GREAT for learning (re-learning) to ride! Plus I like that my DH can ride the same bike simply by adjusting the seat height. He likes it so well, that he's already shopping for one for himself.

Pardon my long first post, but it's just so good to know that I'm not alone in learning to ride a bike as an adult. A big thumbs up to all of you who are pushing past embarrassment, fear, whatever, and making an effort to learn!

Last edited by Janis; 08-13-12 at 08:55 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 08-18-12, 07:59 PM   #47
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Me too!

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What a great topic! There's lots of great advice here.

I, too, am a late learner. My husband taught me to ride a bike when I was 26. Like steve57, I started out practicing in the dark, scooting around our neighborhood on my bike around midnight because I would have been mortified to have the neighborhood kids observing my beginner's efforts. I didn't think to take the pedals off as others have suggested, but I did wear shin guards.

My big mistake was getting a bike that was just a little too big for my comfort. I am short, so it was difficult to find a decent bike in my size and my DH prefers over-sized bikes and hoped I would share that preference. Big mistake. I was shaky on that bike around other cyclists and around any kind of traffic. I had a very scary accident with a car (totally not the driver's fault) that ended with my head on the ground inches from her stopped-just-in-time tire. That shook my confidence and eroded nearly all my progress. DH and I got a tandem after that, and that's how we rode for years until he started having problems with his wrists, exacerbated by the heavy steering of the tandem.

I miss riding with my husband, who is still very much a bike enthusiast, so at age 51, I recently decided to give cycling another go. This time around, I decided to go for a small bike so that I would feel absolutely comfortable about being able to put my feet down on the ground without toppling. Because I wanted a bike with a small frame that would let me "grow into it" as I improved my skills and developed my confidence, I decided on a folding bike. Last week, we purchased a used Brompton. As a "starter bike," it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but you just need to think about what you'll feel comfortable with - then consider borrowing, renting, or buying used if possible.

Learning has been a little different this time around. We live in a rural area with a driveway big enough to practice in, which I have been doing once or twice a day for the last four days. I lowered the seat and scooted around, pushing with my feet and practicing my balance. Today, I managed to keep my balance and pedal up and down the driveway.

The Brompton has been GREAT for learning (re-learning) to ride! Plus I like that my DH can ride the same bike simply by adjusting the seat height. He likes it so well, that he's already shopping for one for himself.

Pardon my long first post, but it's just so good to know that I'm not alone in learning to ride a bike as an adult. A big thumbs up to all of you who are pushing past embarrassment, fear, whatever, and making an effort to learn!
Janis, there seem to be loads of us, and what's more, other cyclists have, in my experience, been really supportive and encouraging, it really is an inclusive sport, which is great!

I'm also a late re-learner, having got my very first bicycle at the age of 53. My previous cycling experiences had been on holiday as a teenager - I learned to ride at the age of 14 on my cousin's bike by trying to balance on it in the driveway and falling off a lot. Not owning a bike of my own, I never really progressed beyond the wobbling round the block stage. Fast forward nearly 40 years and, encouraged by some dear friends who provided me with a second hand bike, I had three lessons with an extremely patient nephew! I have since been practising in my local park when no-one can see me fall off - my numerous adventures involving the perils of wet grass, squirrels, wood pigeons and an alsatian with attitude have kept my friends, family and colleagues amused (and bored to the eyeballs!) for months!

I definitely agree with the idea of gaining confidence via a smaller wheeled bike. My bike is a 40 year old Raleigh Stowaway fold up bike, with 20" wheels and no gears. Although the bike is quite heavy compared to more modern bikes with full sized wheels, I'm not sure my confidence on the bike would have grown as much if I had started on one of those. The fear factor is very real and I'm still learning how to mount and dismount properly in preparation for when I have a bike with more of a cross bar and full sized wheels. I have every sympathy for the learner who had an accident and is wary of getting back on the bike. It is very difficult indeed to "feel the fear and do it anyway" and perhaps a bike with smaller wheels and without a cross bar may help the transition. For what it's worth, I've found that progress is not about what others think you should be able to do on a bike after x number of attempts or lessons, but what you feel safe and confident about doing. Celebrate every time you get something right - I also celebrate every time I get back home in one piece without any new bruises!

I absolutely love riding my bike even though I'm just a wobbler, not a cyclist. After nearly 5 months of practising I still have a death grip on the handlebars and clearly have a very long way to go. I really need to buy a road worthy bike soon in order to do my bikeability training, but in the meantime, I'm simply enjoying riding in the park. Don't be put off, do wear a helmet and any other protective clothing you feel necessary and do enjoy yourself.
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Old 08-19-12, 10:18 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
Take the pedals off, lower the seat so that your feet touch the ground, find a grassy slope with a gentle downhill, sit on bike, use feet to move bike forward, and as you can, raise feet to get the feel of "balancing."

As you gain balance, put pedals on and use them to gain speed. Raise seat and pedal away!

+10000

This is how I taught my kids, each only took about 3 hours of coasting (divided into about 3 days) and they were off. My daughter a week later did an 8 mile Sunday Parkways ride just fine.
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Old 09-07-12, 10:01 AM   #49
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I seriously was so excited to see this thread, that I just joined this forum on the spot to post!

Hi everyone! I'm Jenn. I'm 37 (though I much prefer to think of myself as 29, for the eighth time), and I learned to ride a bike two weeks ago. I honestly thought I was the ONLY adult on earth who couldn't ride a bike. I am thrilled to see that I'm not alone!

My push to actually learn was my son, who is 3 1/2. He just mastered riding a bike (with training wheels), and loves it. He wanted both my husband and I to ride bikes with him. My husband found us some great bikes on eBay, used. Once they arrived, it was my "moment of truth."

Fortunately, we live near an elementary school, with a nice, big, flat, freshly-paved parking lot. My husband and son rode their bikes, I walked mine over. I told my husband I wasn't going to leave until I could ride my bike home.

After that, I'm stubborn, so my approach to it was "I'm going to get on this bike and ride it" without much thought to my approach. I found myself doing what a lot of you mentioned -- I kind of pushed myself along with my feet, then got comfortable with picking my feet up and coasting a short distance. Once I got comfortable with that, I tried actually putting my feet on the pedals and going. This is where I found myself struggling. My husband watched me for a bit and finally told me to stop watching my feet, and to just keep going.

With a little persistence and some cheering from my husband and son, I did it!

Learning as an adult, you are fully aware of how counter-intuitive the process of riding a bike actually is -- moving faster is what brings stability, as does steering INTO the direction you're wobbling.

Weirdly enough, one of the things that helped me a lot was shifting my bike into a harder gear. For some reason when I felt like I was working to pedal, I felt more in control of the bike. I've only recently tried shifting the bike to an easier gear.

Like a lot of you mentioned, I felt embarrassed at wobbling across the parking lot in a less-than-straight line. I have found though, that once you start telling people you JUST LEARNED, after a bit of good-natured ribbing, most people are extremely supportive.

This past weekend, I just went on a 3 mile ride for the first time. I'm a disaster with tight turns, I can't take my hands of the handlebars (or I lose control) and I have a hard time looking anywhere other than straight ahead -- but I did it!
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Old 09-07-12, 12:49 PM   #50
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Good for you Jenn (and for your hubby and kid!). You should go back to that parking lot and practice some low speed, tight turns, until you feel more confident about it. It's an invaluable skill, although you always have the option of putting your feet down and just turning the bike.
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