EVERYONE knows how to ride a bike, right? Well, that's what most folks think, including most folks who ride a bike. But, just as with shooting freethrows well, skiing well, or swimming well, practicing is the difference between be "sorta good" and really being skilled.
When my nephew was learning to ride a bike, we would go to large empty parking lots (a school on Sunday, or a church on Monday). We would practice riding a straight line, by tracking an inch to the left of a painted line. Practice riding in circles, including very small, tight circles. Practice riding full speed, and then braking to a stop in the shortest possible distance. Set up obstacle courses, etc.
Generally, most actions on a bike are easiest at moderate speeds (twice a brisk walking speed). After you become skilled going through your obstacle course, trying doing it at faster speeds. Then try doing it a very slow speeds.
Riding at very slow speeds (at the speed of a companion who is walking) is actually rather difficult. Several of the worst falls I've seen have happened when someone was riding too slow to maintain their balance. So, practice riding as slowly as possible. Learn to use one foot to stop a fall when you are going too slowly to continue balancing.
By practicing bike handling skills, you can quickly develop the ability to look at the road and put your bike PRECISELY where you want to be. But, practice in parking lots, not on busy roads where you are dodging day-dreaming cell phone dialing motorists.
If you spend just 30 minutes, two or three days each week, practicing riding skills, within a few weeks you will be a better rider than the majority of folks on the road.
Last edited by alanbikehouston; 07-19-07 at 02:01 PM.