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Old 03-14-07, 10:08 PM   #1
Ekdog
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Teaching my wife to ride

As my wife has never learned to ride, the more time I spend on my bicycle, the less time I spend with her. She says she wants to learn, but I've been unsuccessful so far in teaching her. She's terrified that she's going to fall over. Her fear causes her to tighten up and makes the learning process impossible.

Any ideas on how to overcome this? Should I try training wheels? What if I were to rent a tandem? Couldn't she sit on the back and get the feel of riding?

Any suggestions would be highly appreciated.

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Old 03-15-07, 02:41 AM   #2
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tell her to focus on something infront of her because your body will go where your head is pointed is she looks forward she goes forward if she looks down she goes down if all else fails get her a trike
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Old 03-15-07, 03:33 AM   #3
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slip her some drugs to loosen her up first.

/not really!


seriously though, you might get her some rollerblading knee pads and elbow so she'll feel more secure. also adjust the seat so she can touch the ground with both feet while sitting on it, she can start by pushing herself along almost dragging her feet so if she starts to fall she can catch herself but she will also start to ballance.

i'm trying to get my fiance' to ride 'correctly' and i know it can be a hard thing to do. she knows how to ballance and pedal but the gears seem to be a mystery to her. she doesnt believe me that the faster you go the MORE stable the bike is. And she wants he seat adjusted so she can flatfoot the bike with both feet while sitting on the saddle (i told her this is entirely too low, i'm only sugesting it for your wife while she learns to ballance then of course adjust the seat to a normal height). i love her but either she will learn to ride or one of us will die trying.

GOOD LUCK!
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Old 03-15-07, 05:24 AM   #4
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My wife was in a similar position so what we did was to take the pedals off the bike and drop the seat so she could comfortably place both feet on the ground while she sat on the saddle. Then we went to a nice quiet flat MUP and she could "walk" herself on the bike as long as she wanted untill she got the feel of balancing..... and the fear slowly subsided.

She did that for about 3 hours over 4 sessions, then she requested that the pedals go back on, after that the fun overwhelmed the fear and she just took to it and now loves riding. The key ingredients are patience and encouraging words, be extremely generous with both.
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Old 03-15-07, 07:29 AM   #5
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"MUP"

Translation, please. I'm terrible at abbreviations.

Thanks to you and the others for the excellent advice.
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Old 03-15-07, 07:58 AM   #6
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MUP=multi-use path

many cities have them for running, walking, biking, etc. - usually fairly straight and smoothly paved...usually.

take her somewhere that she is in no danger of cars, etc. passing and startling her.
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Old 03-15-07, 08:37 AM   #7
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Hey Ekdog, as a dedicated roadie who does thousands of miles a year, I have/had the same problem, and my wife started running rather than get on a bike, nonetheless, it was fine by me because I was glad to see her exercise and now she's doing half-marathons and such. But recently she suffered an injury and has had to report to non weight-bearing exercise and started riding an indoor recumbent, and loved it. Wanted to get back outside but still can't do running, so my solution? A tandem and let her be a "stoker" while I had control of the bike steering/gears/brake as the captain. Now she's talking about getting her own bike or using one of mine, so a tandem would be another type of "training wheels" option. I'd recommend it highly.
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Old 03-15-07, 01:29 PM   #8
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Teaching adults to ride is harder than teaching children, they are not as bendy and dont bounce.

Pick a good teaching bike, simple , slightly small with easy controls, the fewer the better. If a geared bike, select a low gear then leave gears alone.
Lowering the saddle and removing the pedals are good tricks.
The best terrain is a slightly sloping , empty grass field.
Dress the rider in jacket and pants to prevent grazing. Gloves protect the hands. If they fall, advise them not to reach out and grab the ground but to impact on the shoulder and side, parachute style
The order of lessons should go:
1. Braking
2. Riding.
If you reverse the order you will find a sudden need for the braking lesson.

Braking should include using both levers gently, bracing arms and putting one foot out to lean over, but NOT engaging the ground whilst in motion.
It is really hard for beginers to ride straight and they should even try. Riding should start with big swoopy curves, showing how you steer by leaning and balance by correcting the steering. The curves will eventually resemble a straight line.
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Old 03-15-07, 02:00 PM   #9
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Does she currently have a bicycle to ride? Could it possibly be too big for her, and that that is the reason she feels uncomfortable?

There are many good suggestions here. I think that if you combine both Cyclaholic and MichaelW's suggestions, she should be able to get the hang of it fairly soon.

Have you gone with her on the trial sessions? Does she want you to go with her? Or would she rather stumble around and figure it out on her own? Cyclaholic has some very good words of advice:

"The key ingredients are patience and encouraging words, be extremely generous with both."

Don't get angry or impatient or shout. I often have to train new people, and the material I have to teach is almost like learning a new language. It helps me to try to remember back to my first days at work so that I remember how awkward I felt--that's how your wife feels now, very awkward.

Good luck to both of you!

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Old 03-17-07, 08:20 AM   #10
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Ekdog, any progress?

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Old 03-19-07, 04:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by East Hill
Does she currently have a bicycle to ride? Could it possibly be too big for her, and that that is the reason she feels uncomfortable? Yes, we've been using my Dahon folder because it's low to the ground and the height of the saddle is easily adjustable. It also has removable pedals, so I think I'll take them off the next time we go out.

There are many good suggestions here. I think that if you combine both Cyclaholic and MichaelW's suggestions, she should be able to get the hang of it fairly soon. I agree. The suggestions have been outstanding.

Have you gone with her on the trial sessions? Yes. Does she want you to go with her? Or would she rather stumble around and figure it out on her own? She'd be terrified to go at it by herself. Cyclaholic has some very good words of advice:

"The key ingredients are patience and encouraging words, be extremely generous with both."

Don't get angry or impatient or shout. I often have to train new people, and the material I have to teach is almost like learning a new language. Well, I'm a language teacher, so... It helps me to try to remember back to my first days at work so that I remember how awkward I felt--that's how your wife feels now, very awkward.

Good luck to both of you!Thank you very much indeed, East Hill. You and the others have been most helpful.

East Hill
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Old 03-19-07, 04:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by East Hill
Ekdog, any progress?

East Hill
No, I've been suffering with a bad case of otitis, so we haven't been able to practise. We'll have to wait till next weekend.

Ek
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