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  1. #1
    Newbie KelsandraAnn's Avatar
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    Re-learning to Ride a Bike?

    Did any of you have to "re-learn" to ride a bike when you first started seriously cycling?

    I went and bought a bike at my LBS yesterday. Of course, they let me test it out first. I found myself unable to start pedaling correctly OR able to steer right! I know part of it was because I was really bonked from walking two miles in the blazing heat and high humidity to get there. But it was REALLY difficult for me to start pedaling, and I think that had to do more with lack of skills than lack of energy/reason. I ended up walking back home with the bike because I didn't trust my ability to ride it.

    Granted, it has been about 12 years since I last rode a bike.

    Anyone experience anything like this, and any tips to get my skills back up to speed? I now live in a fairly busy apartment complex on a semi-busy street, and management doesn't allow riding bikes in the parking lot. Plus, I don't like others to see me failing miserably at something a 6-year-old can do!

  2. #2
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    The best way (for me) to start is to straddle the bike, put a foot on the pedal (with the pedal forward and about half way between top and bottom of the pedal stroke) and push off with the other foot. Then place that foot of the empty pedal and just keep pedaling.
    You have to get the bike moving so it won't fall over before you can pedal.
    Speed helps with balance and turning. If you're going too slow its hard to balance and turning is difficult.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon

    I thought of that while riding my bicycle -- Albert Einstein

  3. #3
    Newbie KelsandraAnn's Avatar
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    That's how I learned to start pedaling when I was younger (though I was self-taught), and that's what I've been trying. I guess I'm just out of practice, but it just feels really off, like I can't get my other foot on the pedal fast enough, and I start falling over. Oh well, I suppose I'll just keep trying. Thanks for the response!

  4. #4
    Senior Member mustachiod's Avatar
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    just keep riding

    it can even be awkward switching between different styles of bikes
    Quote Originally Posted by powers2b View Post
    BF does not have the answer to what you will be happy with.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by KelsandraAnn View Post
    That's how I learned to start pedaling when I was younger (though I was self-taught), and that's what I've been trying. I guess I'm just out of practice, but it just feels really off, like I can't get my other foot on the pedal fast enough, and I start falling over. Oh well, I suppose I'll just keep trying. Thanks for the response!
    I taught a 40-year-old woman who'd never learned a few years ago for a newspaper column (I'd written a column about bikes, and she called and said she had a new boyfriend who was a cyclist and she wanted to surprise him). I did it the same way I did with my kids: Lower the seat so she could put both feet on the ground, take off the pedals so she wouldn't run over her heels, then had her coast down a VERY gentle hill, sort of like riding a scooter, until she could keep her balance. Her first ride was about four feet, but by the end of the afternoon she was arcing along for 100 yards or so. Then I put the pedals back on and told her to rest her feet on them, but not pedal. Then I yelled, "OK, now, PEDAL!" and she was riding.
    You really forgot how to ride, though? I've never heard of anybody saying that. It's one of those things you're supposed to know forever once you learn how. I don't think I rode at all from about sixth grade until I got out of the Army at age 24, but bikes were cool in college. I bought one, hopped on and rode it 12 miles home.

  6. #6
    XR2
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    Senior Member XR2's Avatar
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    After 10+ years of little to no riding I was a bit rusty and the bike felt twitchy. It didn't take too long for the body to remember. It's still coming back.........or I'm getting better at it little by little. Just ride and enjoy.
    I owe-therefore I am.

  7. #7
    No I'm Not a Pirate! Bionicycle's Avatar
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    It just takes a little time to get your bicycling abilities back to were you need them to be again. It's like a lot of other things, you never really forget, you just get out of practice. Try playing Ping Pong after not playing it for 10 years or so, or playing the guitar after not doing that for several years. You will find yourself saying "I used to be able to do that"... A LOT.
    A bird can roost but on one branch, a mouse can drink not more than its fill from a river.

  8. #8
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    I had to relearn as well.

    What I did was I rented a simple beach cruiser for a bit, went out into a parking garage(I was on vacation at the time), and just rode over and over again in the nice open space. The good thing is, for the most part, parking garages are built near-perfectly level and flat, so you can just slowly figure it out without much chance of things messing up.

    An empty parking lot would also work pretty well. You just need a nice, open space and some stubborn will. Best of luck!

  9. #9
    Member Bicycle Guy's Avatar
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    I went for over 30 years without riding a bicycle. Then purchased a new bike this year. I didn't test ride the one I bought. I had the LBS order and assemble it for me. I really like the bike-I got lucky breaking the rule of test riding before one buys.

    I had a bit of trouble riding at first. I found out that throwing my leg over the seat was very hard at first, but I learned to lean the bike over when mounting. Steering in a straight line was hard at first, and turning around while riding was very hard for me.

    I just kept after it, and within a few dozen miles I was comfortable with the bike. Now I am riding 12-15 miles at a time and cycling feels very natural to me.

    Hang in there-take it slow (always alway always wear a helmet)- and practice in flat parking lots (empty of cars) if you can. The re-learning effort is very much worth the end result!

    Best
    Ken

  10. #10
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Here's the obligatory Sheldon Brown page, complete with a video, about starting and stopping:
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/starting.html

  11. #11
    Senior Member SouthFLpix's Avatar
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    Well, I had to relearn decent 'bike handling', but not riding in general. I've heard it said on more then one occasion that adults learn to ride a bike more quickly then children, and I believe it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member SunnyFlorida's Avatar
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    Carry a cell phone with you for safety reasons. I recently learned how to ride a bike and I took a nasty fall in an empty parking lot. I was lucky that it was just a bad sprain and I was able to limp home with the bike.

    If I had broken a bone and didn't have a cell phone with me, it would have been a horrible experience instead of it being a frustrating one.

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