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Old 01-15-08, 04:58 PM   #1
meeshu
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Forgotten How To Ride!!??

The last time I rode a bike (single speed road bike) was nearly twenty years ago.

I had intended to get back into (road) cycling for recreation and fitness. So I recently purchased a Giant Yukon 24 speed mountain bike. However, I tried riding it, and I found that I couldn't!? I thought that once you learned to ride you would remember?

I wonder whether the "breakdown" (not serious, but enough to screw things up a bit) I had about 10 years ago has something to do with it?

So I'm wondering whether to persevere and 'learn to ride again'(?), or sell the bike?

Any comments?
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Old 01-15-08, 05:04 PM   #2
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Keep it. Practice coasting without pedaling and your feet down until you can ride a ways without touching the ground with a foot. Once you get it all down start pedalling.
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Old 01-15-08, 05:08 PM   #3
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try this maybe - should take ~1 hour

Best description I heard for teaching children/adults to ride in 1 hour (plagiarised from teh interwebz):

Take the training wheels off the bike

Find a gentle grassy slope with a long, flat runout and NO obstacles.

Have the child dress in long clothes and helmet.

Show the child exactly how to use the brakes

Get the child to go up the slope a short way with the bicycle.

Get the child to coast down with both feet dragging for stability and the come to a controlled stop using the brakes.

Repeat until child is confident/impatient to do more.

Now add steering, gentle s bends, still with feet dragging (by this stage they may be picking their feet up anyway) coming to a controlled stop at the bottom.

Get the child to repeat the straight line coast, brake, controlled stop routine but with their feet on the pedals this time.

Repeat the same with turns, i.e., gentle s bends, coasting with feet on the pedals, brake and controlled stop at the bottom.

Finally, add in pedalling, first in a straight line then with gentle turns.

This, in theory, takes less than one hour, won't wear the rider or the parent out and there's no danger of you running into the child from behind when the crash.

Edit: While having the seat low enough that they can put both feet down isn't very efficient you can encourage a better postion on the bike after you've celebrated their accomplishment.
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Old 01-15-08, 05:18 PM   #4
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Were you taking any mind altering drugs during your absence from bicycle riding?
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Old 01-15-08, 05:47 PM   #5
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Your seat may be too high or too low?
Start in a low gear and keep it there.
You don't have to change gears to keep riding.
I have a 12 speed rode bike.
I keep it in one gear most of the time.
Smile while you ride.
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Old 01-15-08, 08:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meeshu View Post
The last time I rode a bike (single speed road bike) was nearly twenty years ago.

I had intended to get back into (road) cycling for recreation and fitness. So I recently purchased a Giant Yukon 24 speed mountain bike. However, I tried riding it, and I found that I couldn't!? I thought that once you learned to ride you would remember?

I wonder whether the "breakdown" (not serious, but enough to screw things up a bit) I had about 10 years ago has something to do with it?

So I'm wondering whether to persevere and 'learn to ride again'(?), or sell the bike?

Any comments?
You do not know how much this made me laugh. Back in the seventies I bought a ten-speed. Now at that time I had not ridden in 15 years. Like you I thought once you could ride a bike you never forgot, after all everyone says that, right? I bought it at a bicycle shop about 10 miles from home. And just as you, I discovered that I could not ride it. However, for your peace of mind, by the time I got home I could ride just fine. One advantage you have you didn't as a kid is you know it is possible to ride a bicycle. It comes back pretty quickly.
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Old 01-15-08, 08:44 PM   #7
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Since there are a couple of posts on how to teach a kid to ride a bicycle, I will present my method.

1. Set the seat to where the kid can put his feet down without falling over.
2. Give the kid the bike.
3. Go watch TV.
4. When the kid comes and wants you to watch him ride his bicycle, go out and watch, and give him lots of praise and hugs.

This works for two reasons.
1. No one wants to be watched making a fool of himself, not even a little kid.
2. Kids love attention, so they will keep falling off the bike to get it if you are there.
3. Since the kid made the effort and learned for himself, he deserves that attention he did not get in the second instance.
4. He has learned a valuable lesson about self-reliance.

And finally spend time going on short rides with the kid. You will both enjoy it, if you are not critical of his performance.

Note: I used him in a gender neutral way above.
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Old 01-15-08, 09:29 PM   #8
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"I wonder whether the "breakdown" (not serious, but enough to screw things up a bit) I had about 10 years ago has something to do with it?"

That is a question for your doctor. Not just that, but the riding (or not being able to) in general.

I rode bikes all the time when I was a kid. I rode one a little bit round 1988 or so. And then started again about 2 years ago. So that was maybe 18 years since I'd been on a bike. It felt a bit alien at first, but wasn't any problem to ride.

When I was a kid, I rode cruiser-type bikes. They had more rake (ie, fork sweeps forward more) so they tended to steer themselves a lot better than my current bikes do, made it real easy to ride without hands. So there can be some difference in the bikes, but that shouldn't make it where you just can't ride, either.

If your sense of balance has suffered any, that could be a problem. If you're a lot heavier, that would affect riding, but the skill should basically be there.

When you're riding, you're basically using the steering to keep the bike underneath you. If you start leaning to the right, you have to steer to the right, but the natural reaction (if you haven't ridden a bike) is to steer to the left, which is wrong. So a part of it is just getting used to doing something that isn't real natural.

If you don't remember from riding way back when, it's harder to ride slow than it is to ride at moderate speed. But of course when you learn, you're always going slow, and that makes it harder.

It's hard for me to put myself in your place but I would go for the "learn to ride again" approach. If that doesn't easily work, you might check into an adult trike (if you want to pedal around flat land slowly) or a recumbent trike (if you want to go fast anywhere) as other options.
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Old 01-16-08, 01:39 AM   #9
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really stick with it.
I was in the hospital middle of last year and i lost my memory so I had to relarn how to ride my bike and work my shifters.

it can be a little daunting even more so when it is something you expect to never forget how to do.

but the people here have gien you good advice. but in the end it boils down to your willingness to try to ride and your willingness to make the effort. so stick with it and good luck
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Old 01-16-08, 01:44 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies!

First. I have not taken anything (illicit) which may affect the brain. I'm only on presribed medication, which may cause drowsiness under certain conditions, but otherwise should not impair brain function.

I have just tried a few more times riding again (around my back yard, where no one can see me make a fool of myself ). After managing to shift from slow speed to a higher speed gear, I think I am managing to get the hang of it! Still a bit wobbly, but I think with effort I may get there!

Working up a bit of sweat in the process as well; shows you how unfit I am! Mind you the temperature is around 77 degrees, so it is a bit warm to begin with.

I'll try riding again over the next couple of days and see how things go.

I would really like to ride properly again, as it is fun and good exercise!
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Old 01-16-08, 05:52 AM   #11
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Meeshu,

First of all, don't worry about what other people think. You're doing something they're sitting on the couch watching reruns of I Love Lucy.

Get out in the park or parking lot (no traffic) and do what yo need to do to ride smoothly; going straight, turning, stopping and starting, all the basic skills. Don't worry yet about shifting. Just ride with the chain on the middle gear in the front and the second or third from largest in the rear. When you are proficient there then add the shifting in.

Most of your riding now you'll probably be using the middle gear in the front and starting in the big back gear in the back working towards the smallest as you get going faster. The small front gear is used mostly when climbing hills and the big one is for going down hill or you've run out of gears using the middle ring in the front.

The brain is miraculous. Any thing is possible. If they didn't use destructive procedures during the breakdown, you should be good to go.

Life only got better after my stay with the white coats.
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Old 01-16-08, 11:09 AM   #12
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If you want a transition stage, try a two wheel scooter for adults. It has a low center because the platform is maybe 6 to 10 inches off the ground. One foot on the platform, the other on the ground propelling you along the way. As you gain speed, just coast and get the feel for balancing.

By the way, for toddlers, they learn the same using those Razors. This transitions to bike riding without ever using training wheels.
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Old 01-16-08, 11:20 AM   #13
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LOL! I used to ride with no hands as a kid but I seem to have somehow lost that ability as an adult...


Just go to a park away from cars and too many other bikes/people and ride...

Wear your helmet...
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Old 01-16-08, 11:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graywolf View Post
Since there are a couple of posts on how to teach a kid to ride a bicycle, I will present my method.

1. Set the seat to where the kid can put his feet down without falling over.
2. Give the kid the bike.
3. Go watch TV.
4. When the kid comes and wants you to watch him ride his bicycle, go out and watch, and give him lots of praise and hugs.

This works for two reasons.
1. No one wants to be watched making a fool of himself, not even a little kid.
2. Kids love attention, so they will keep falling off the bike to get it if you are there.
3. Since the kid made the effort and learned for himself, he deserves that attention he did not get in the second instance.
4. He has learned a valuable lesson about self-reliance.

And finally spend time going on short rides with the kid. You will both enjoy it, if you are not critical of his performance.

Note: I used him in a gender neutral way above.
Worked for one of my sons (the one with a can do attitude big enough to make Richard Simmons appear a pessimist). The other son gets discouraged easy without encouragement so it took a lot of helping him. Will see how my youngest daughter goes on her birthday next month (she's turning the magical age of 4).

Anyway, the lowest common denominator is practice and doing. Whether supervised or not. Just do it.
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Old 01-16-08, 12:02 PM   #15
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Congratulations on taking the steps to a fun lifestyle. I too had to relearn to ride in 2004 after years of being ill and having bi-lateral (both) below knee amputations. I could barely lift my leg over the old ten speed and used more than half the road on my first ride. Real soon you will be enjoying the wind in your face and the scenery as you ride.
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Old 01-16-08, 12:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markhr View Post
try this maybe - should take ~1 hour

Best description I heard for teaching children/adults to ride in 1 hour (plagiarised from teh interwebz):

Take the training wheels off the bike

Find a gentle grassy slope with a long, flat runout and NO obstacles.

Have the child dress in long clothes and helmet.

Show the child exactly how to use the brakes

Get the child to go up the slope a short way with the bicycle.

Get the child to coast down with both feet dragging for stability and the come to a controlled stop using the brakes.
Repeat until child is confident/impatient to do more.

Now add steering, gentle s bends, still with feet dragging (by this stage they may be picking their feet up anyway) coming to a controlled stop at the bottom.

Get the child to repeat the straight line coast, brake, controlled stop routine but with their feet on the pedals this time.

Repeat the same with turns, i.e., gentle s bends, coasting with feet on the pedals, brake and controlled stop at the bottom.

Finally, add in pedalling, first in a straight line then with gentle turns.

This, in theory, takes less than one hour, won't wear the rider or the parent out and there's no danger of you running into the child from behind when the crash.

Edit: While having the seat low enough that they can put both feet down isn't very efficient you can encourage a better postion on the bike after you've celebrated their accomplishment.

The bold (mine) step implies that the bike will have hand brakes, not very common on bikes with training wheels.

Otherwise, pretty good system.
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Old 01-16-08, 01:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
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really stick with it.
I was in the hospital middle of last year and i lost my memory so I had to relarn how to ride my bike and work my shifters.

it can be a little daunting even more so when it is something you expect to never forget how to do.

but the people here have gien you good advice. but in the end it boils down to your willingness to try to ride and your willingness to make the effort. so stick with it and good luck

Hey, me too. Fortunately, my therapist was also a cyclist. He told me it was fear (after a cycling accident), and that my balance was more than good enough to ride. After that, I had very little trouble, except for problems getting the leg over the saddle.
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Old 01-16-08, 01:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmfnla View Post
The bold (mine) step implies that the bike will have hand brakes, not very common on bikes with training wheels.

Otherwise, pretty good system.
thanks -not mine but the best I've seen on "teh interwebz"

I did add the "show them exactly how to use the brakes" line as a caveat

Funny story - got my first bike with training wheels, hop on straight away and point it down the drive (short and steep), my parents watch me coast at light speed down the drive, across the quiet (luckily) 2 lane road and into the concrete storm ditch on the other side. Once I'd stopped balling the first question was "why didn't you use the brakes?"...





...the only possible answer being "what are brakes?"

I was 4 years old dammit
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Old 01-16-08, 01:47 PM   #19
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thanks -not mine but the best I've seen on "teh interwebz"

I did add the "show them exactly how to use the brakes" line as a caveat

Funny story - got my first bike with training wheels, hop on straight away and point it down the drive (short and steep), my parents watch me coast at light speed down the drive, across the quiet (luckily) 2 lane road and into the concrete storm ditch on the other side. Once I'd stopped balling the first question was "why didn't you use the brakes?"...





...the only possible answer being "what are brakes?"

I was 4 years old dammit

That was probably good for some couch time...
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Old 01-16-08, 01:57 PM   #20
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That was probably good for some couch time...
not sure what "couch time" means but it did get me another big hug
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Old 01-16-08, 02:31 PM   #21
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I've ridden 30,000 miles in the last several years and I would hate to try riding in my back yard. Not that i couldn't do it, but it certainly isn't as easy as riding on a straight, flat wide open surface.
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Old 01-16-08, 04:26 PM   #22
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I suggest finding a nice smooth empty office parking lot on a weekend. Pick a spot with no cars anywhere near, and just try it out. Don't even think about changing gear. Just remember that the key thing with any two-wheeled vehicle is to ride fast enough that you don't fall over. If you move too slowly it becomes harder to balance, and you will fall. Don't ask me to explain the physics, but that's the deal. The knowledge of how to ride a bike is lurking somewhere in the very back of your brain. It will come back.

And yes, as has been said before. Wear a helmet.
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Old 01-16-08, 04:39 PM   #23
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not sure what "couch time" means but it did get me another big hug
Couch time refers to time spent with a therapist. The hug might have eliminated the need.

You know us Yanks...
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Old 01-16-08, 05:23 PM   #24
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Couch time refers to time spent with a therapist. The hug might have eliminated the need.

You know us Yanks...
aaah - thanks, hitting pillows looks more fun

www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5wQeBLQ194
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Old 01-17-08, 12:23 AM   #25
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I would really like to ride properly again, as it is fun and good exercise!

We're all pulling for you, meeshu! Lots of different stories here about succeeding, and I know that you will be able to add yours soon .

Welcome to BikeForums!

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