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  1. #1
    Senior Member jp173's Avatar
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    Teaching an 18 yr Old To Ride??

    My 18 yr old daughter -- after years of being a couch potato and making fun of me for running and riding -- has suddenly decided that she wants to learn how to ride a bike.

    I've seen a lot of articles on how to teach young kids to ride, but nothing on how to teach adults.

    Can anyone point me to any articles or suggestions on how to teach her.

    Also, I wouldn't mind suggestions on a bike for her. I think she's mainly going to use it for getting around at college (big campus). I'm thinking some sort of fixed gear cruiser (and inexpensive).

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    nyc
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    i have a friend who i promised to help her learn how to ride too but well being 18 myself i have no idea how to go about this. Anyone?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Shaman's Avatar
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    You cannot teach an 18 y/o anything. You can show em the way and they'll go from there.

    If you tell em "No shorts and floppers till you get comfortable" you'll see em doin' it the next day with full confidence that they are comfortable

    Just stock up on gauze, band-aids and some Neosporin

  4. #4
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Here is how a City of Toronto workshop teaches adults to ride:

    As a first step, lower the seat all the way down, so that she can put both feet flat on the ground when she is sitting on the saddle. Might want to remove pedals if they get in the way.

    1) Get her to "walk" the bike while sitting on the saddle: pushing with alternate feet.
    2) Next, make her "run" (i.e. for a split second the feet are actually not in contact with the ground as she's coasting).
    3) Next tell her to push with both feet and lift them off the ground for a few seconds, so that she can experience and experiment with the sensation of coasting.
    4) Put the pedals back on and introduce her to pedalling. At first she should just push one pedal and coast. Next get her to find the second pedal as the bike as in motion and make a couple of pedal revolutions. Then just work on being able to keep balance for a longer period of time. (Tell her how to brake too, so she feels more in control and can stop the bike if necessary).

    Some people would say do all this on some softer surface like grass so that falls do not hurt too much. Some would say it's too difficult to get the bike moving on the grass, so do it on the asphalt/concrete. I say whatever she's comfortable with.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jp173's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chephy
    Here is how a City of Toronto workshop teaches adults to ride:

    As a first step, lower the seat all the way down, so that she can put both feet flat on the ground when she is sitting on the saddle. Might want to remove pedals if they get in the way.

    1) Get her to "walk" the bike while sitting on the saddle: pushing with alternate feet.
    2) Next, make her "run" (i.e. for a split second the feet are actually not in contact with the ground as she's coasting).
    3) Next tell her to push with both feet and lift them off the ground for a few seconds, so that she can experience and experiment with the sensation of coasting.
    4) Put the pedals back on and introduce her to pedalling. At first she should just push one pedal and coast. Next get her to find the second pedal as the bike as in motion and make a couple of pedal revolutions. Then just work on being able to keep balance for a longer period of time. (Tell her how to brake too, so she feels more in control and can stop the bike if necessary).

    Some people would say do all this on some softer surface like grass so that falls do not hurt too much. Some would say it's too difficult to get the bike moving on the grass, so do it on the asphalt/concrete. I say whatever she's comfortable with.
    That's some really good suggestions. I especially like the coasting idea.

    THANKS!!!!

  6. #6
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    When teaching people how to ride a motorcycle, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses start off by putting riders on a small motorcycle, and having someone push them. They learn to balance and stop before they learn to use the engine. You might want to consider something similar here. Get her on the bike, preferably with the seat lowered, and push her to a jogging speed. Ideally, you could remove the pedals so she wouldn't smack her shins on the pedals. Her goal would be to learn to balance with her feet a few inches off the ground, and to learn to stop. Once she's comfortable with this, you might get her to use the pedals once she has gotten underway. The last step would be to show her how to start by putting one foot on the pedal and lifting herself onto the bike.

  7. #7
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    A learning bike should be on the small side and as simple as possible. Girls style dropped frames can increase confidence. Singlespeeds are good (but not a "fixed" gear).
    Dont forget to practice braking before going to fast. The important thing is to brace the arms and brake gently.
    Riding in straight lines is quite difficult for learners. Instead, ride in big swoopy curves and gradually straighten them out.
    Cover exposed skin and use gloves to prevent grazing. A helmet is not going to help much on a grass slope but you may as well start as you intend to continue.

    I dont think too much parental instruction is helpful. Give her a few pointers and let her make her mistakes out of view.

  8. #8
    Fred
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    I'm teaching my daughter with the above method. We go to a local track, which is a rubberized surface - softer than roads, smoother than grass. She has to do at least one lap to get a reward.

  9. #9
    Senior Member jp173's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your replies

  10. #10
    Superfly asuperstar103's Avatar
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    WOW!!! I cannot imagine not riding a bike until I was 18. I love to ride. Been riding since I was probably five and I love to ride offroad now. I hope she enjoys it!!!

    http://www.superflysunglasses.com

  11. #11
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    In response to the MSF comment, yes, they do do that - but I believe they're also assuming that anyone who's learning to ride a motorcycle already knows how to ride a bike, and has that sense of balance down...

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    I wish I has a stainless steel living room. I could just loaf on my couch, watch TV, eat, get obese, pee/poop mysef, and ocassionally just hose down the whole place. Why bother moving or making any effort to do anything? Pass me some lard!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Neist's Avatar
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    I would get her a very low geared single speed. Spinning helps to keep the balance a bit (gyroscopic forces and all that).

    Definitely dont get her a fixed right off the bat.. well. Maybe. I guess fixed gears are only dangerous if your used to riding a regular bike and coasting.
    Quote Originally Posted by soze
    I would use something in addition to the U-lock. Like a guy named Tony with a baseball bat.

  14. #14
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    I would recommend getting this video Pedal Magic. I bought it to teach my 11 year old son to ride. The author/inventor has designed a intelligent way of teaching anyone to ride a bike. We bought the video tape, but he no longer sells it--just a Windows only video file.


    Disclaimer: I have no business interest or connection to this product
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  15. #15
    The City Cyclist ryanz4's Avatar
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    I learnt to ride two years ago when I was 18. I started of with a smaller bike and pretty well started by kicking off and trying to keep balanced. It took me about 30minutes of doing that until I really got the hang of it.
    Then the next day I went down the sidewalk to a parking lot early in the morning to practise moving around. Did that for about an hour.
    Did that for about another day, then I was pretty comfortable on it. A week later I was bicycling all over the city...

    Not sure whether that helps, but that's how I learnt when I was 18. Two years later and you can't get me off my bike.

  16. #16
    You know you want to. Eatadonut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryanz4
    I learnt to ride two years ago when I was 18. I started of with a smaller bike and pretty well started by kicking off and trying to keep balanced. It took me about 30minutes of doing that until I really got the hang of it.
    Then the next day I went down the sidewalk to a parking lot early in the morning to practise moving around. Did that for about an hour.
    Did that for about another day, then I was pretty comfortable on it. A week later I was bicycling all over the city...

    Not sure whether that helps, but that's how I learnt when I was 18. Two years later and you can't get me off my bike.

    Uhh..+1. To the entire post. No, seriously - that's exactly me. Actually, 2 years and 3 months ago I learned to ride, and then the rest of your post is accurate.

    Add in friends with a video camera on the second day in the parking lot, though. Jerks. Didn't help, but they laughed good and loud.
    Weather today: Hot. Humid. Potholes.

  17. #17
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    I wish I has a stainless steel living room. I could just loaf on my couch, watch TV, eat, get obese, pee/poop mysef, and ocassionally just hose down the whole place. Why bother moving or making any effort to do anything? Pass me some lard!
    Don't forget the drain!!!

  18. #18
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neist
    I would get her a very low geared single speed. Spinning helps to keep the balance a bit (gyroscopic forces and all that).

    Definitely dont get her a fixed right off the bat.. well. Maybe. I guess fixed gears are only dangerous if your used to riding a regular bike and coasting.
    Couldn't disagree more. Very low gearing means she will be going very slow. Ever notice how hard it is to keep a line going very slow. It also means she has to concentrate on pedaling very fast. Now very high is just as bad. Over all a bit on the low side is OK.

    By and large from what I've seen for average or even below average people the single biggest problem is trying to ride too slow when learning. Heck how many people that are even experienced riders have trouble doing a track stand or close to it?

  19. #19
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    Been 2 weeks now
    She riding the damn thing yet?
    She's 18!
    Cause the more cyclists notice me the more I Love myself.
    Cause the more cyclists notice me the more I Love myself.

  20. #20
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neist
    I would get her a very low geared single speed. Spinning helps to keep the balance a bit (gyroscopic forces and all that).
    The gyroscopic forces that help the bike stay upright come from spinning of the wheels, not of pedals. And if she's in a really low gear, the wheels will be spinning very slowly, making it difficult to keep her balance.

  21. #21
    Senior Member kc9eog's Avatar
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    I don't understand, an 18 year old who has never ridden a bicycle? At all?? My parents took the training wheels off when I was 5. Isn't an 18 year old who has never ridden a bike considered freakish, or is it a common thing anymore?

  22. #22
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kc9eog
    I don't understand, an 18 year old who has never ridden a bicycle? At all?? My parents took the training wheels off when I was 5. Isn't an 18 year old who has never ridden a bike considered freakish, or is it a common thing anymore?
    What I don't understand is people over 18 who are still riding their bicycles. I ditched that thing on my 16th birthday, as soon as I got the real thing. Isn't an 18-year-old who is riding a bike considered freakish, or is it a common thing anymore?

    Sorry. Couldn't resist. No offence meant. It's just that people do come from different backgrounds...

  23. #23
    Senior Member jp173's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunofsand
    Been 2 weeks now
    She riding the damn thing yet?
    She's 18!


    Not quite riding yet, but at least I've gotten her on it and we're doing the coast without pedals thing.

    She's scared of the bike.

    She absolutely denies it, but I think she has a conditioned fear from when she was about 3-1/2 years old and I fell while carrying her in a baby seat on the back of my bike. She wasn't hurt then, but I'm sure that she remembers the fall.

    We're using a smallish mountain bike that we borrowed from a friend of the family. Fits her nicely and we're using a low gear, but not too low.

  24. #24
    Senior Member jp173's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kc9eog
    I don't understand, an 18 year old who has never ridden a bicycle? At all?? My parents took the training wheels off when I was 5. Isn't an 18 year old who has never ridden a bike considered freakish, or is it a common thing anymore?

    Around here (southwestern CT), there aren't that many who HAVE ridden.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Neist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99
    Couldn't disagree more. Very low gearing means she will be going very slow. Ever notice how hard it is to keep a line going very slow. It also means she has to concentrate on pedaling very fast. Now very high is just as bad. Over all a bit on the low side is OK.

    By and large from what I've seen for average or even below average people the single biggest problem is trying to ride too slow when learning. Heck how many people that are even experienced riders have trouble doing a track stand or close to it?
    Well, let me define very low gearing. Very low gearing to me is maybe.. 50 GI. I guess now that I read it, it was slightly misleading. But also, trying to mash on pedals when you cant even balance well to begin with isnt going to help all that much either. It should be a fluid motion, and it should be easy enough that you should be able to hit that fluid motion without excessive muscle.

    Quote Originally Posted by chephy
    The gyroscopic forces that help the bike stay upright come from spinning of the wheels, not of pedals. And if she's in a really low gear, the wheels will be spinning very slowly, making it difficult to keep her balance.
    See what I said above about the GI. 50 GI should be nice. I think thats what I learned to ride my bike on years ago (was a BMX). But silly me didnt realize that about the wheels though. Oops. Thats why I'm not a physicist.

    I still say single speed would be best though. If you give someone who is not customed to riding bikes, they could get into bad gearing habits and potentially blow out their knees with too low of cadences.
    Quote Originally Posted by soze
    I would use something in addition to the U-lock. Like a guy named Tony with a baseball bat.

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