Learning to Ride

"It's like riding a bike; you never forget how to do it." A common adage, but what if you never learned how to ride a bike? It's never too late. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Make sure the bike is the right size for you; your feet should reach the ground.
  • Familiarize yourself with the bike—the gears, brakes, etc.
  • Select a practice area without traffic or other obstacles.
  • With your right foot on the pedal and your left foot on the ground, push down with your right foot. Keep your left foot near the ground until you feel steady enough to put it on the pedal. It is easier to learn to balance if you have someone behind you holding the bike as you move forward.
  • Once you have learned to balance, you can move on to steering and braking.
  • Make wide turns initially until you get the hang of it, then you can master the sharper turns.
  • If the bike has hand brakes, learn to gently squeeze the brakes in order to come to a stop; squeezing the brakes too hard and too quickly may cause you to flip over. If you're dealing with foot brakes, apply those gently too.
  • When you are comfortable with your balancing, steering and braking skills all that's left is to practice. The more you ride, the more comfortable you will be.

The same tips apply to teaching children to ride. Don't be surprised if they take to it a bit more quickly than adults; odds are they've had the benefit of a tyke bike with training wheels.

If you prefer to learn in a more "professional" setting, classes are available. Ask your local bike shop about classes in your area. The internet is also a great source; the following links may help you get started.

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