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Old 05-28-07, 06:04 PM   #1
cantdrv55
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Can you give me tips on how to teach an adult to ride a bike?

I tried to teach a relative to ride a bike today. My bro-in-law is 30 years old and has never ridden a bike. He doesn't know the first thing about bikes. We spent an hour-and-a-half in a deserted parking lot and by the end of the day, he was able to go solo about 15 feet then fell. Maybe my expectations were too high but I thought I could get him riding like a pro in an hour.

Anyway, do you have any tips on teaching an adult to ride? He's more afraid of falling than my son was when I taught him 10 years ago.
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Old 05-28-07, 07:21 PM   #2
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adults are always afraid to fall.
used this approach with my mother, she was in her 60s at the time.
took the pedals off the bike,
lowered the seat so she could sit on the seat and
have her feet touch the ground.
took her to the school parking lot, had her propel herself
around with her feet. did this several times, then found a slight
hill for her to coast down. did that a few times. after a while
she was comfortable coasting and could balance. plus she got use
to the brakes, she was real worried about not being able to stop,
she also got a good feel for the sensation of riding and how the
bike turned.
put the pedals back on, adjusted the seat, picked a low gear, had her
sit on the bike and pedal away- she pretty much had it mastered after
a few short trips aound the lot. if i were going to do this again and had
a stationary trainer to mount the bike into, i might have the person sit
on their bike in the trainer and get use to peddling, this would also help
with getting the seat and handlebars adjusted.
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Old 05-28-07, 07:48 PM   #3
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I taught my wife to ride a bicycle when she was 30. We used pretty much the same method as martianone. Only took an hour or so.
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Old 05-29-07, 10:19 AM   #4
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Buy him a copy of "efficient cycling" by Forester. There is more to it than staying upright.
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Old 05-29-07, 10:23 AM   #5
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Take him to the deep end and throw him in.


No, wait... that's for swimming. Nevermind.
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Old 05-29-07, 10:48 AM   #6
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Start him with a kick-scooter, so he can get used to the principles of lean/steering.
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Old 05-29-07, 10:50 AM   #7
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A scooter is good, but if there isn't one around lowering the seat and getting the person to scoot around a parking lot for a while works fine too. Don't even need to take the pedals off for that.

A word of caution: teach 'em how to use the brakes before setting them off any hills!
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Old 05-29-07, 02:19 PM   #8
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Martinone gave an excellent method. Here is a simpler one.

Get a mountian bike. Put the gears in about the middle of the middle chain ring. Find a nice grassy area, not trimmed too high and soft, but not glorified dirt either. Point out that bikes are easier to ride going at a decent speed.

This one is more quick and dirty, but often will work.

Pay attention to their speed, if too slow you might want to combine parts of this with pretty much all of Martinone's method. (except going grass instead of parking lot).
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Old 05-31-07, 12:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chephy
A scooter is good, but if there isn't one around lowering the seat and getting the person to scoot around a parking lot for a while works fine too. Don't even need to take the pedals off for that.

A word of caution: teach 'em how to use the brakes before setting them off any hills!
I had an expereince in that regard, almost killed my lawyer!
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Old 05-31-07, 04:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacey
Take him to the deep end and throw him in.


No, wait... that's for swimming. Nevermind.
LOL!

I'm not making fun...but it's sort of hard to belive there are thirty year olds who don't know how to ride a bike? Drive a stick shift...that I understand, but ride a bike? How does that happen?
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Old 05-31-07, 04:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huhenio
I had an expereince in that regard, almost killed my lawyer!
That's not necessarily a bad thing...


He needs more speed!!! Better to start him on a long sloping road and hold the seat and push him up to speed. He NEEDS to be pedaling to maintain 10mph+, then let go when he's got enough momentum and stability to continue on his own.

Kids learn to ride by falling down 5-10x in a row! Adults just can't handle setbacks and failures without going into their head about how bad things are or how it reflects poorly on them or how they just "can't" do something. HAH!!! He needs to get out of his head and JUST DO IT!!!
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Old 06-13-07, 02:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoore
LOL!

I'm not making fun...but it's sort of hard to belive there are thirty year olds who don't know how to ride a bike? Drive a stick shift...that I understand, but ride a bike? How does that happen?
It's true!! My wife has never been on a bike, never learned to ride. She is from another country and I'm not sure of her lifestye doing her growing up period. But everyone does not have the opportunity to be able to afford a bicycle. She does not know how to drive a car either.

I came home yestrday and she was outside waiting for me. She wanted to see me ride. I can see whats coming down the pipe. She wants to ride too. This is why I am playing close attention to the "how to's" on instucting someone to ride a bike.
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Old 06-18-07, 04:29 PM   #13
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That's great....just take it slow. Husband's teaching skills like driving a stick shift, flycasting....and maybe riding a bike...can be uh, interesting.

Steve
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Old 06-19-07, 10:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martianone
adults are always afraid to fall.
used this approach with my mother, she was in her 60s at the time.
took the pedals off the bike,
lowered the seat so she could sit on the seat and
have her feet touch the ground.
took her to the school parking lot, had her propel herself
around with her feet. did this several times, then found a slight
hill for her to coast down. did that a few times. after a while
she was comfortable coasting and could balance. plus she got use
to the brakes, she was real worried about not being able to stop,
she also got a good feel for the sensation of riding and how the
bike turned.
put the pedals back on, adjusted the seat, picked a low gear, had her
sit on the bike and pedal away- she pretty much had it mastered after
a few short trips aound the lot. if i were going to do this again and had
a stationary trainer to mount the bike into, i might have the person sit
on their bike in the trainer and get use to peddling, this would also help
with getting the seat and handlebars adjusted.
This is pretty much how we teach people to ride in the Adult Learn To Ride version of CAN-BIKE (www.can-bike.net).

Just so happens 2 weeks ago I tried to teach a 40-something lady to ride a bike. This was the first time I EVER taught (or tried to teach) someone how to ride a bike.

It didn't go so well. Perhaps I am a poor instructor, at least for teaching someone who does not know how to ride BUT in my defense her first words to me when we met was "I can't do it".

Anyway, I got her on my trainer and git her pedaling a bit and he lightly talked about HOW to ride a bike, or rather HOW I was gonna teach her. At which point she replied "good luck."

Anyhoooo, I take the pedals off, get her outside on a flat area to try and have her kick or scoot around on her bike and she proceeds to fall over. I eventually was able to keep her up right and so we try turning with the pedals off and her kicking around with her feet, she falls over.

Now by this time she is getting frustrated and telling me "I told you so" So I tell her, "when we first started you couldn't even balance going straight, now your doing that and even turning!".

I convience her to let me put the pedals on and I get her to leave one foot on the ground and push down on the pedal with the other foot. Well, let me tell you she ALMOST brought the other foot up on the pedal. I tried to talk her into trying a hill stateing that it's easier to stay upright when going a bit faster, but by this time she was totally frustrated.

So we quit for the day and I told her I'd call to set up another time to try again. She hasn't returned my calls. Last call I suggested that maybe she'd have better luck with another instructor and gave her name and number to another istructor to try.

I think she has given up. My assumption is her confidence has always been low as evident by her first words to me PLUS she is not at all athletic...no balance.

Anyway, I failed at that one.
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Old 06-19-07, 12:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geo8rge
Buy him a copy of "efficient cycling" by Forester.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacey
Take him to the deep end and throw him in.

No need to suggest the same thing twice.
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