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Stupid question...

Old 11-03-06, 04:06 AM
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gorty
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Stupid question...

Hi Im 19 and i can't ride a bike, iv'e tried a couple of times, rather half-heartedly mind, and i was no good. I brought myself a bike today in order to turn this around. My question is, is it harder to learn to ride a bike the older you get? My friend says its impossible not to be able to do it but i dunno just asking like..
thanks
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Old 11-03-06, 04:18 AM
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...It's just like riding a bike.
Shouldn't be too hard unless you have some balance issues. With anything it's just a matter of practise. Start on soft ground.
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Old 11-03-06, 04:23 AM
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Unless you have a serious problem with balance, you should be able to ride a bike. Keep trying, the cool thing about this skill is it will all of a sudden click, you'll have it, and you'll never forget it.

Try this: Get yourself some training wheels. Put them on a little high so that you can balance between them, and just ride around. It won't take long.

When my son was learning to ride I put two bookcases just far enough apart to fit the rear wheel inbetween with a little space on each side. Then had him practice balancing on the bike in the evening while watching TV.
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Old 11-03-06, 05:12 AM
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Try, try and try again. Remember that the hardest part is getting started. Once it starts rolling, it's easier to balance. Try to relax, and it's easier to balance.
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Old 11-03-06, 05:27 AM
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Learning anything as a young child is much easier, think of skiing or ice skating but you can learn as an adult. See some top tips
The secret of riding a bike, which most cyclists dont even understand, is that bikes are steered by balnce and balanced by steering. They dont ride in straight lines but a series of S curves which are so long they appear straight. At the begining you will find yourself riding in S curves, dont fight it, learn to master the leaning, balance and steering so that you can lengthen them.

The best way to start is with the bike in a low gear (smallish fron cog, largish rear cog), with the saddle low enough so your feet can stretch to the ground. Some people take the pedals off but I dont think you have to.
Wear protective clothing, long arms and legs with gloves and helmet.
Pick a flat, grassy park with a very gentle slope.
Dont forget to learn to brake. Whwen yopu apply the brakes the bike stops but you dont, you have to brace your arms against the bars and stick you leg out. Dont touch the ground till you have stopped.
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Old 11-03-06, 08:18 AM
  #6  
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The only thing that makes learning more difficult as an adult is that you no longer feel invincible. You have fear.

Don't even bother trying to pedal at first. Just sit on the saddle and have it low enough that you can easily touch the ground flat footed. Then use it like a scooter. After a week or two you will have mastered the scooter method. Then made sure it is in an easy gear and start with scooting the bike until you are up to speed. Going slower than ~4 mph makes it very hard to balance! Make sure you are going at a good clip, then start to pedal. Choose a nice big area with a slight downhill and NO traffic. You will get it eventually.

Like the previous poster said, cycling is about big S curves. No one can go absolutely straight. Don't worry about swerving a lot. With practice those big curves will be so small that it will look like you are going straight. Wear plenty of protective clothing so that you won't be preoccupied with getting hurt.

Once you feel comfortable with pedaling you should raise your seat so that your leg is almost straight when the pedal is at 6:00. Having the seat too low will eventually hurt your knees(after about 30-60 miles or more). But in the process of learning to ride it won't do you any harm to have the seat nice and low.
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Old 11-03-06, 08:31 AM
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On the outside chance that you just can't learn 2 wheels there is
always the option of 3 wheels.

I ride a trike built for adults that isn't a "Grandma" trike that
you might think of. In fact there are some really neat speedy
trikes available so don't give up on cycling to quickly.
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Old 11-03-06, 10:22 AM
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After you've gotten past the first stage of balancing, then check this out:

http://sheldonbrown.com/beginners/index.html

...
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Old 11-03-06, 10:42 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Tightwad
On the outside chance that you just can't learn 2 wheels there is
always the option of 3 wheels.
The racing trike or barrow never quite took off in the US. Its a rare site in the UK but one you dont forget.

More common is the recumbent trike in agile short wheelbase or speedy long wheelbase form.
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Old 11-03-06, 10:47 AM
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I taught my 32 yo gf how to ride.
I took off the pedals- ran a twisty tie through one of the cranks to hold it motionless
to the frame. Lowered the seat all the way down.

The key to learning is #1 learn the feeling of the balance. Forget about pedaling. The
rider must understand how the balance feels on a bike. On a bike, you are always falling.
The key to not hitting the ground is to steer the bike so the center of gravity stops the
tipping over motion.

Use the brake! dont drag your feet to stop. You are much more likely to fall down if you
do that. Stop with the brake, then put your feet on the ground only after stopping.

Practice propeling the bike with long walking steps. When that feels comfortable, start
pushing with both feet at the same time and coasting as far as you can. When you can
do that, Its time to learn pedaling.

I wouldnt recommend tryin this with the pedals on. Its very hard to walk while seated.
*Remember when removing pedals: The left pedal is threadded backwards.
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Old 11-03-06, 11:11 AM
  #11  
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Not to scare you off, but you are going to fall. I still do, and the first thing that goes through my mind when I do is, did the bike get hurt?
Don't worry about it, just don't be surprized when it happens.
The secret to success is "fall down 7 times, get up 8"

Enjoy the ride.
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Old 11-03-06, 11:24 AM
  #12  
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I taught my wife to ride a bike when she was 30. Only took about an hour.

1. Lower the seat so that you can put both feet flat on the ground.
2. A good place to practice in the beginning is a school parking lot on Sunday morning. You'll have an unobstructed paved area with nobody else around.
3. Forget about pedaling at first. Push yourself along with your feet. Get the feel for balancing yourself on the bike.
4. As you gain confidence, pull both of your feet up and coast.
5. When you get to the point that you can coast 100 feet or so with your feet up, pedaling is just a baby step.
6. After you gain a little more confidence you'll want to raise your seat, a bit at a time, until your leg is almost straight at the bottom of the pedal stroke. It's more efficient.
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Old 11-03-06, 01:33 PM
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I know people who learned to ride in their 50s and 60s, and they weren't supertalented athletes or anything.

If you can walk, you can probably bike. There's been good advice given here on how to do it. If you feel you're really scared of falling, you can try doing this on a grassy surface instead of pavement: the bike won't go fast and will tend to stop soon, so maybe find a slight downhill.
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Old 11-03-06, 01:46 PM
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Just coast and learn to stay upright at the beginning. Learn to pedal later after you've acquired your balancing skills.
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Old 11-03-06, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
The only thing that makes learning more difficult as an adult is that you no longer feel invincible. You have fear.
This almost says it all. Almost because there is one more important piece. You have some fear, so you go slow. Worst possible thing. Riding a bike at a reasonable pace is easy, riding one really slow is difficult.

Make sure your bike is set up decently, find a nice flat place with space and no cars or other traffic and just do it.
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Old 11-03-06, 02:54 PM
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My advice is lower the seat, and find a long hill to ride down and walk up. That way you don't have to pedal to move, and your feet can go do the ground instantly.
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Old 11-03-06, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne
I taught my 32 yo gf how to ride.
I took off the pedals- ran a twisty tie through one of the cranks to hold it motionless
to the frame. Lowered the seat all the way down.

The key to learning is #1 learn the feeling of the balance. Forget about pedaling. The
rider must understand how the balance feels on a bike. On a bike, you are always falling.
The key to not hitting the ground is to steer the bike so the center of gravity stops the
tipping over motion.

Use the brake! dont drag your feet to stop. You are much more likely to fall down if you
do that. Stop with the brake, then put your feet on the ground only after stopping.

Practice propeling the bike with long walking steps. When that feels comfortable, start
pushing with both feet at the same time and coasting as far as you can. When you can
do that, Its time to learn pedaling.

I wouldnt recommend tryin this with the pedals on. Its very hard to walk while seated.
*Remember when removing pedals: The left pedal is threadded backwards.
Just what I was going to suggest-it works. My road is full of small kids and there always seems to be a new kid on a new bike. One of them this year just could not get on with learning to ride. Within 2 hours of skooting it around- the pedals went back on and she was riding.
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Old 11-03-06, 03:17 PM
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Get a bike with 20" wheels or less, drop the seat as far down as it goes. Spend a few hours each day over a week in an empty parking lot trying to ride it.

Or try local bike clubs and shops, there might be someone who teaches it.

Read 'Effective cycling' by Forrester
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Old 11-03-06, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by geo8rge

Read 'Effective cycling' by Forrester
Oh jeeze, that will scare the heck out of any newbie... and so much of that book is outdated these days.

Last thing I would recommend actually.
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Old 11-03-06, 03:23 PM
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Also wanted to add to have fun. It can be frustrating to learn sometimes, but don't forget that you are getting to experience something new and exciting and take pleasure in the small steps of accomplishment you get day to day.
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Old 11-03-06, 03:40 PM
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Get on the bike on top of a big hill and don't let go until you get to the bottom.
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Old 11-04-06, 02:43 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by geo8rge
Read 'Effective cycling' by Forrester
To learn how to ride a bike?? This is like saying "read a calculus text" to someone who's learning how to add...
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Old 11-04-06, 05:15 PM
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speed is your friend
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Old 11-04-06, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne
I taught my 32 yo gf how to ride.
I took off the pedals- ran a twisty tie through one of the cranks to hold it motionless
to the frame. Lowered the seat all the way down.
+1

If you can separate the balancing from the pedalling, you'll make much quicker progress.
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Old 11-04-06, 06:50 PM
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What Hobartlemagne wrote. Walking/coasting the bike like a hobby horse is called 'draising.'
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