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Old 06-30-10, 05:15 PM   #1
SunnyFlorida
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Not in Kansas anymore!!!

I got a new bike (just a Sun Streamway 7). I brought it home Saturday. Now I'm learning how to ride it.

Any pointers?

I do have the pedals off (which was suggested by other posters on past threads involving adult learners) and the seat is as low as I can get it. This enables me to push it along (like a dandy horse) as I practice my balance.

My plan is to take it out every other day and so far I've taken it out twice so far

Right now I can only balance myself, on average, a pathetic 4 seconds. The longest was 8 seconds.

I find that I can only practice for about 30 - 45 minutes before the saddle starts to kill me and my toes start to ache. I'm about 5 ft 1 1/2 inches tall so even with the seat being all the way down, I'm still a bit tippy toe.

Nevertheles, I'm keeping this thought in mind "progress not perfection" and plan to keep at it.

Any suggestions, pointers or guidelines you can offer to help with this goal?


P.S. I assumed being out in an empty parking lot after business hours would not attract attention. I was wrong. Yesterday I had two cyclists come over to see if I needed help.

Unfortunately, one was nuts and the other was drunk. Neither one were hotties. My luck.

The nut kept yelling that I didn't have pedals and kept asking me where the pedals were. After explaining 2x why I didn't have pedals, I just gave up and started to push myself toward the light and civilization. Mercifully he rode away with a very perplexed look on his face.

The drunk cyclist, came 20 minutes later. He also kept asking me where my pedals were except he kept circling me like a shark while I stumbled around on my bike. He finally left me alone muttering something like "how can you 'spec to learn how to ride with no gaddamn pedals". Maybe he really wanted a date. I don't know.

My friend said I should start carrying pepper spray. I think I'll just go in the early a.m.

For some reason I'm going to assume that nuts and drunks sleep late.

Last edited by SunnyFlorida; 07-01-10 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 06-30-10, 06:09 PM   #2
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When I first learned how to ride a bike, it had training wheels on it. Seemed to work fine for me.
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Old 06-30-10, 09:00 PM   #3
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30 - 45 minutes sounds like overkill on a bike without pedals. Why not cut the time in half and give your toes and butt a break. Your technique is fine as far as it goes, but at the speeds you are likely to acheive, 4 or 5 seconds doesn't sound all that bad. Just maybe you are ready to work with the pedals, even if you keep the saddle way low.

Yeah, drunks usually sleep late. The nuts are often morning people, though. That's why they call them nuts.
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Old 07-01-10, 08:35 AM   #4
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desconhecido & Nermal - Thanks for the feedback.

des - I did look into adult training wheels but decided not to use them for now. They cost an average of $200 and I've read mix reviews on their effectiveness. However, it may be an option worth taking if I don't make any significant progress.

Nermal - Yep. For my toes and butt sake, I think cutting down on the pedal-less practice time is a definite "do". Today I went out for 30 minutes and did a lot better. I found a safer and less distracting place to practice, my own apartment complex. I also adjusted the saddle so it was less uncomfortable today.

As a result, my average balance time went up one second from 4 to 5 seconds. More importantly, my longest balance ride went from 8 to 10 seconds and I was able to achieve this not once but 4 times. YAYYYYYY!!!!!

Based on the above progress I've decided that I'll probably put the pedals on once my average balance time is at least 10 seconds or more.

Is this time reasonable? Should it be more or less?

Last edited by SunnyFlorida; 07-01-10 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 07-01-10, 08:46 AM   #5
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Why don't you quit over science-ing this and just put some pedals on it, put your feet on the pedals, your a__ __ on the seat and go ride the bike like everyone else?

Drunk or not, if I saw somebody trying to ride a bike with no pedals I am pretty sure I would think they were daft, drunk or on drugs or in need of serious help, which he tried to give you.

That was me by the way.

What is the worst that could happen, fall? Man up, woman up, walk it off and get back on the saddle and go again.

Last edited by Loose Chain; 07-01-10 at 10:17 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 07-01-10, 09:35 AM   #6
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I second what Loose Chain posted. Don't over analyze the pedals. I think you would be better off with platform pedals just to get started. You need to learn the feel and security of them rather than not having anything there. Balance is key but you should try to put everything together at once. Keep it up and things will come together before you least expect.
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Old 07-01-10, 10:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Loose Chain View Post
Why don't you quit over science-ing this an just put some pedals on it, put your feet on the pedals, your a__ __ on the seat and go ride the bike like everyone else?

Drunk or not, if I saw somebody trying to ride a bike with no pedals I am pretty sure I would think they were daft, drunk or on drugs or in need of serious help, which he tried to give you.

That was me by the way.
Was that you!!! I thought so. Thanks for stumbling by.

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Originally Posted by travelmama View Post
I second what Loose Chain posted. Don't over analyze the pedals. I think you would be better off with platform pedals just to get started. You need to learn the feel and security of them rather than not having anything there. Balance is key but you should try to put everything together at once. Keep it up and things will come together before you least expect.
Thanks for the feedback and encouragement.

Folks I'm not afraid of falling but it makes sense to reduce the number of times I do. As far as going pedal-less, I've seen and heard this recommendation over and over again so I'm surprised at the posts saying to have them on.

I guess like almost everything else around here, it's debatable.

Last edited by SunnyFlorida; 07-01-10 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 07-01-10, 10:23 AM   #8
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The problem with going pedal-less is that part of thing that keeps you balanced is speed. You can't achieve meaningful balance speed without pedals, you simply never get going fast enough on tiptoes, not to mention the fact of the dangers of getting your feet caught in the crank or wheels. I think you will find that with pedals it would be easier to keep your balance because then you could actually turn the wheel into the "fall" direction at a speed that would actually counterbalance the "fall". Then do it again when you "fall" the other direction, back and forth and back and forth... then all of the sudden you are riding.

If you are afraid of falling and haven't learned to ride yet might I suggest a Tri-Cycle. Big tires, basket in the back for groceries... quite nice actually...
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Old 07-01-10, 11:04 AM   #9
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Can you work the brakes? If so, then have you tried coasting down a short slope? That will give you some of the balance you need and then put the pedals on and practice putting all the parts together.
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Old 07-01-10, 01:02 PM   #10
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Balancing is MUCH easier as your speed increases.
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Old 07-01-10, 01:52 PM   #11
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Balancing is MUCH easier as your speed increases.
This.

The bike WANTS to balance itself, and it does so with forward momentum. Although this explanation is bad science.
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Old 07-01-10, 03:48 PM   #12
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1) Pedal-less is useless after 30 minutes of riding, total. Put your pedals back on.

2) You are almost certainly riding too slowly and making it impossible to balance. Bikes don't really get stable until you hit the speed of a person jogging (4 MPH+).
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Old 07-01-10, 04:14 PM   #13
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Keep the pedals off until you get the hang of balancing. Putting them on too early greatly increases the risk of falling - and there's a much greater chance of injury for an adult compared to a child who's learning.

But I agree with others that you may need just a little more speed to balance easily. Does your bike have at least one handbrake so you can control the speed? If so, then find an empty business parking lot that has just a little bit of a slope - just enough that rolling downhill will get you going about 4 - 6 mph. That should be enough to practice balancing but not so much that you have any difficulty controlling your speed and stopping when necessary. Practice your balance by rolling down the parking lot and then walk the bike back up to the start. Remember that the moment you feel the bike start to lean to one side that you want to steer in that direction to straighten it up again - don't worry about trying to ride any kind of straight line until you get the balancing figured out.

Keep your practice sessions short and take a little rest in between each coast down the parking lot.
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Old 07-01-10, 05:11 PM   #14
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canopus, no motor, RonH, csanders, kimmitt, prathmann - Thanks for the feedback and suggestions. I do plan to keep the pedals off for a few more sessions. I have also discovered the parts of the parking lot that does have a bit of a slope which gives me that little lift of speed.

I'm sure I'll get the hang of it soon.

canopus
- I already have a trike. I've been riding it off and on for two years. Recently though I started to use it more frequently because of a job I got that I can easily commute to.

I originally got the trike since I never really owned never mind learned to ride a bike. I also assumed I wouldn't be using it to ride very far or often. Boy was I wrong. I ride it 5-6 days out of the week now and for longer distances.

But, it's a little cumbersome, at times and a tad slow and so I decided to take the chance and get a regular bike.
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