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Old 05-21-09, 07:12 AM   #1
dropdeadchedd
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20 Year Old Just Learned to Ride

Hi, I just learned how to ride a bike this weekend at the ripe old age of 20. I used to live in a place with terrain that was just about the opposite of conducive to learning to ride a bike, and now I live on a very populated street of Boston which is just as scary. I have literally ridden a bike once, out in a suburb with my boyfriend. My dad is dropping off a new bike for me today (he tells me it's a cheap, old mountain bike).

I don't really know how to practice. I've considered riding on the streets late at night when there are no cars on the road, but I don't like to be out by myself that late. I am not coordinated enough to stay on a sidewalk, much less avoid pedestrians. I have no other means of transportation besides on foot or on the T (subway). I suppose I could bring a bike on one but it would be very inconvenient and inconsiderate for for others.

Basically, I am at the skill level of about a five year old, with no one to teach me, and in sort of a dangerous area. I don't even really know where to start.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I can improve that will not risk my life at the hands of Boston drivers? I am kind of on my own here and I would like to get better so that I can go for rides with my boyfriend (but he lives too far away for me to be able to see him often enough to get the practice I need if I were to leave the bike at his place and only do it when I see him. He usually comes to see me).

Any advice would be appreciated. I am a blank slate!
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Old 05-21-09, 07:38 AM   #2
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I will start knowing that you will get some more advice... You say that you 'learned how to ride', that tells me that you at least can stay upright on the bike in some fashion. ?side streets without much traffic? ?a nearby parking lot? Don't know what you have been riding but the mountain bike may have a little different feel, maybe even more stable a feel where you sense more comfort. again since you say you have somewhat learned....practice, practice, practice...and give it time,,,you are not going to be "smooth" tomorrow.
hope this helps.
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Old 05-21-09, 08:51 AM   #3
MilitantPotato
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Congrats on learning! I've heard it's much harder to learn as an adult, hopefully you're feeling very proud!

If you can go straight, a local Multi Use Path (MUP) that most parks have would be a great start. This is the tactic I'm using with my son. Once he learned to to brake effectively and had reasonable bike control from riding in a large empty parking lot, that's the next best place to learn. Riding in traffic would be a nightmare at this point. Find a bike path and go when most people are working so it's nice and empty.
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Old 05-21-09, 10:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dropdeadchedd View Post
Hi, I just learned how to ride a bike this weekend at the ripe old age of 20. I used to live in a place with terrain that was just about the opposite of conducive to learning to ride a bike, and now I live on a very populated street of Boston which is just as scary. I have literally ridden a bike once, out in a suburb with my boyfriend. My dad is dropping off a new bike for me today (he tells me it's a cheap, old mountain bike).

I don't really know how to practice. I've considered riding on the streets late at night when there are no cars on the road, but I don't like to be out by myself that late. I am not coordinated enough to stay on a sidewalk, much less avoid pedestrians. I have no other means of transportation besides on foot or on the T (subway). I suppose I could bring a bike on one but it would be very inconvenient and inconsiderate for for others.

Basically, I am at the skill level of about a five year old, with no one to teach me, and in sort of a dangerous area. I don't even really know where to start.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I can improve that will not risk my life at the hands of Boston drivers? I am kind of on my own here and I would like to get better so that I can go for rides with my boyfriend (but he lives too far away for me to be able to see him often enough to get the practice I need if I were to leave the bike at his place and only do it when I see him. He usually comes to see me).

Any advice would be appreciated. I am a blank slate!
Hi, I would suggest that you contact a local bike shop and see if they conduct 'beginner rides' or, if they don't, ask if they can give you a contact person for a local club.

I began riding a bicycle in 1946 and have been 'Car-Free' for 5 years and I have to tell you, I agree with you when you say:-

"I've considered riding on the streets late at night when there are no cars on the road, but I don't like to be out by myself that late."

Good luck and best wishes to you.
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Old 05-21-09, 01:06 PM   #5
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Log on to http://www.bikeleague.org/cogs/resou...ndit/index.php - the website of the League of American Bicyclists who run bike ed courses to see if they do one somewhere near you.

Congratulations, by the way, it often takes more nerve for an adult than a kid to learn - they don;t have as much fear, usually, and they're nearer the ground/lighter when they fall off.

Ive also just checked the Massachusetts Bicyle Coalition site and they certainly do some - http://massbike.org/skills/classes.htm - being local they will be able to put you on to someone who will be able to help.

Last edited by atbman; 05-21-09 at 01:11 PM. Reason: Added info
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Old 05-23-09, 06:28 AM   #6
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Good advice about riding in an empty parking lot (maybe a church lot when services aren't going on?) or finding a class. Also, I've read on this forum, that if you are wobbly, try looking farther ahead on the road or trail instead of looking down at the front of your tire. Look where you want to go instead of focusing on the ground near your tire. Where your eye goes, so does your bike. Hope that helps. Happy riding.
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