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  1. #1
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    I need help teaching my wife how to ride a bicycle

    Hello,

    My wife is in mid 20s and wants to learn to ride a bicycle. Is there some good teaching material / guideline available that I can use to teach her?

    I came across the following thread through google search, but the links in that thread are quite old:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in...p/t-94540.html

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Forum!

    Your thread has been moved to the General Cycling Discussion, I think you'll get more help here.

    I don't know of any "how to" sites for the mechanics of learning to ride a bike, but Sheldon Brown's site gives a lot of helpful hints for beginners.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    Take her to a level grassy park, run along side her while holding on lightly, providing any needed support, and above all, tell her how great she is doing.

  4. #4
    The Professor akohekohe's Avatar
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    The League of American Bicyclists has a program for teaching adults how to bicycle. It covers more than just learning how to ride the bicycle but also teaches how to ride in traffic etc. You can find a list of instructors in your state by going here. I would contact several instructors near you and see if you can find one who will be willing to take on a complete beginner.
    The more you drive the less intelligent you are. - Tracy Walter as Miller in Repo Man.

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    Um, are you interested in teaching her road safety, how to ride in traffic, etc? Or does she literally not know how to ride a bike?

    Depending on what you want to teach her, the answers will be pretty different.

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    Put her on a bike and shove her down the steepest hill you can find.

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    The best method I've found is the same for both adults and children. It usually takes less than an hour and involves no falling.

    Step one is to choose a bicycle that's a little on the small side for the learner. With the seat lowered the learner should be able to put both feet flat on the ground easily while still having a bit of a bend in the leg. It's preferable if the bike has at least one hand brake.

    Step two is to remove the lower the seat as above and to remove both pedals. Find an almost flat and empty parking lot area (corporate lots on weekends and church lots during the week are usually good). Best is if there's just enough of a slope to allow you to coast down it at a comfortable walking pace without using the brakes - but totally flat works alright too. Smooth pavement is preferred and I would not use this method on grass since the rolling resistance is so much higher. A big wide-open space is good so the learner doesn't need to worry about steering around any obstacles initially.

    Step three is to practice balancing while riding the bike as a 'hobby horse.' I.e. the learner pushes themselves along with their feet while sitting on the bike. When the bike starts to lean they should have the seat low enough so they can just put a foot down and catch themselves. Have them practice steering in the direction in which the bike starts to lean to stay balanced. Initially they shouldn't pay much attention at all to keeping a straight line - just to keep balanced for slightly longer periods as they get the hang of it. When they start coasting for longer periods between foot touches have them go in the direction of the slight slope (if present - most parking lots have some slope for drainage purposes). That will let them coast for still longer distances and get better at balancing by steering into the lean. A handbrake is good to have at this stage for reassurance that they can stop quickly whenever they may want to.

    Step four is to practice making turns and steering towards particular places. This is still while riding 'hobby horse' style. Once they get the hang of this and are able to coast for significant distances between foot touches it's time for the final step.

    Step five is to reinstall the pedals (platform style only). Keep the seat low initially so they still have the assurance of being able to put a foot down if they ever feel like the bike is starting to lean too far. They may initially give themselves a push off with a foot and then put the feet on the pedals to keep going. Then practice getting started with just a foot on a pedal. Once they gain confidence the seat can slowly be raised to a more normal level for more power and efficiency.

  8. #8
    Senior Member jgjulio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    The best method I've found is the same for both adults and children. It usually takes less than an hour and involves no falling.

    Step one is to choose a bicycle that's a little on the small side for the learner. With the seat lowered the learner should be able to put both feet flat on the ground easily while still having a bit of a bend in the leg. It's preferable if the bike has at least one hand brake.

    Step two is to remove the lower the seat as above and to remove both pedals. Find an almost flat and empty parking lot area (corporate lots on weekends and church lots during the week are usually good). Best is if there's just enough of a slope to allow you to coast down it at a comfortable walking pace without using the brakes - but totally flat works alright too. Smooth pavement is preferred and I would not use this method on grass since the rolling resistance is so much higher. A big wide-open space is good so the learner doesn't need to worry about steering around any obstacles initially.

    Step three is to practice balancing while riding the bike as a 'hobby horse.' I.e. the learner pushes themselves along with their feet while sitting on the bike. When the bike starts to lean they should have the seat low enough so they can just put a foot down and catch themselves. Have them practice steering in the direction in which the bike starts to lean to stay balanced. Initially they shouldn't pay much attention at all to keeping a straight line - just to keep balanced for slightly longer periods as they get the hang of it. When they start coasting for longer periods between foot touches have them go in the direction of the slight slope (if present - most parking lots have some slope for drainage purposes). That will let them coast for still longer distances and get better at balancing by steering into the lean. A handbrake is good to have at this stage for reassurance that they can stop quickly whenever they may want to.

    Step four is to practice making turns and steering towards particular places. This is still while riding 'hobby horse' style. Once they get the hang of this and are able to coast for significant distances between foot touches it's time for the final step.

    Step five is to reinstall the pedals (platform style only). Keep the seat low initially so they still have the assurance of being able to put a foot down if they ever feel like the bike is starting to lean too far. They may initially give themselves a push off with a foot and then put the feet on the pedals to keep going. Then practice getting started with just a foot on a pedal. Once they gain confidence the seat can slowly be raised to a more normal level for more power and efficiency.
    +1
    I have taught many kids how to ride a bike this way. It works for them - it will work for adults.
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    The previous thread that you linked to is still valid and full of good info.

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    I second the League suggestion. My wife didn't know how to ride at all at 35, I got her with a League instructor, and after a couple of sessions she was riding. She still had to gain some confidence in passing and still isn't comfortable with a power takeoff, but did 20 miles this past weekend, less than a year later.

    He didn't like the no pedals method, so we kept them on. For her, we started her out on a pedal forward bike, a Trek Pure, like a Townie. Of course now she's sold that and has an FX, a Ruby and an X-Cal

  11. #11
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    Our bicycle coop has 'balance' bikes that they loan out. Essentially they are bikes that have no chain, pedals or cranks installed. That way the person only needs to work on balance while coasting down a decline. Once that is mastered they move onto a fully functioning bike.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    I opt for an adult push scooter. Its much like the above but even less scary for an adult. The wheels are smaller and the platform is very low to the ground.

    Razor makes them.

  13. #13
    Crawlin' up, flyin' down bikingshearer's Avatar
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    Prathman's method is spot on. I'd add one minor tweak. In riding the bike like a hobby horse, have the rider start pushing with alternate feet, sort of like walking. As they get comfortable with that, have them push with both feet at the same time. This makes them have both feet off the ground for longer periods naturally and encourages development of balance without even realizing it.

    The method Prathman descibes, with or without my tweak, beats the heck out of trying to walk/run beside someone. I had my then-5 year old son happily riding and turning and basically on his own in 45 minutes or less, and he was pretty risk-averse. This way works.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member sherilinn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manapua_man View Post
    Put her on a bike and shove her down the steepest hill you can find.
    Thats how I learned. I was only 5 though

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    Thank you all, for the helpful tips. Parthman's method sounds the most appealing. We'll give that a try.

    Thanks for all your help.

  16. #16
    MAK
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    If you want to preserve your marriage...Give a guy or girl at the bike shop $50 and have him/her teach her.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lull_basheera View Post
    Thank you all, for the helpful tips. Parthman's method sounds the most appealing. We'll give that a try.

    Thanks for all your help.
    Quote Originally Posted by MAK View Post
    If you want to preserve your marriage...Give a guy or girl at the bike shop $50 and have him/her teach her.
    When my wife wanted to learn to ride a bike we combined elements of both:

    I just lowered the seat so she could put both feet on the ground and told her to scoot with her feet until she gained confidence in her balance, then I walked away. Within a couple of hours she was riding confidentally around the neighborhood.

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