Author Topic: Learning to bike.... again?  (Read 2532 times)

EfficientN

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Learning to bike.... again?
« on: May 05, 2015, 02:50:45 PM »
Some of you may remember my previous topic, where I (23 YO yuppie) explained I'm moving to NYC. Taking some great advice in that thread, I'm looking for an apartment that balances a commute to work, and its rental cost. I'm considering areas that are outside of a timely walking distance, but seem reasonable on a bike, such as 5 miles.

Now this may be embarrassing. I believe (from replicating the trip in the gym) that I can physically pedal a few miles, but I haven't actually been on a real bike in  a decade. I was thinking of getting used to things using the Citibike bike-sharing service, but this NYC, where I'm a bit hesitant to get on a road with buses, cabs, etc during rush hour.

So while this seems silly, has anyone had to "relearn" how to ride a bike? Is the idea that you never forget actually true?

nereo

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Re: Learning to bike.... again?
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2015, 02:58:46 PM »
So while this seems silly, has anyone had to "relearn" how to ride a bike? Is the idea that you never forget actually true?
Barring any major physical injury and subsequent and substantial physical recovery, the adage seems to hold true.  I've watched many people start biking again after a decade+ of never having been on a bike.  The physical  part of riding a bike seems ingrained.  It just takes a few rides to get used to the fear of moving fast, being around cars, etc.

Best advice I can give - start slow.  Find a park where you can ride around for an afternoon.  I hear there's a nice big one uptown...

vhalros

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Re: Learning to bike.... again?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2015, 03:56:06 PM »
Most people don't forget how, mechanically, to ride a bike: You will probably be able to make it go forward with out falling over. But many people never learn how to actually ride a bike very well in the first place as an actual mode of transportation.



I've not been on a citibike, but if they are like most other bike share bikes, they are tanks. They are very stable, and eat pot holes, but you can't really make them go fast or travel particularly far (five miles should be doable though).
« Last Edit: May 05, 2015, 03:59:04 PM by vhalros »

GuitarStv

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Re: Learning to bike.... again?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2015, 05:07:42 PM »
Don't try to commute until you're confident on a bike.  Commuting is busy, there are lots of angry drivers (and some fellow cyclists), and you'll feel shitty if you do something stupid.  I'd third the advice above to relearn (or just learn for the first time) how to shift, brake, and start the bike from a stop.  Actually balancing and pedalling should come pretty quickly if you did it at all as a kid.

kendallf

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Re: Learning to bike.... again?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2015, 05:44:18 PM »
Central Park is a great place to ride.  If you see Bono, however, please stop immediately!   

Ricky

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Re: Learning to bike.... again?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2015, 06:07:11 PM »
I'd say NYC is one of the safest places to ride a bike. You're more likely to be hit from someone opening their door than to get hit by a car considering traffic basically doesn't move. It's not like anyone's hitting 55MPH in Manhattan. Look up Casey Neistat on YouTube. He rides his bike everywhere. I'm sure there are countless others.

I agree with whoever else said that learning to ride on the streets is way different than just riding a bike. That's not to sound intimidating - you can do it, it will just take a little precaution at first.

EfficientN

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Re: Learning to bike.... again?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2015, 03:03:30 PM »
Thank you guys for the replies: The Casey Neistat channel is pretty funny, beyond his biking videos. I also didn't consider the costs of getting a few good locks. Perhaps I'll start with just purchasing a helmet, and start with Citi Bike on the weekend, and then eventually move up to my commute.

Carolina on My Mind

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Re: Learning to bike.... again?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2015, 05:43:14 PM »
I "relearned" to ride a bike seven years ago, at the ripe old age of 38.  I started the same way a little kid would, with a few wobbly rides up and down a quiet side street.  It didn't take long at all to get the hang of it, and within a couple weeks I was permanently hooked.  I'm sure you'll find that it's a piece of cake once you get started.

I think experimenting with the bikeshare bikes is a great idea.  I use the ones here in DC a lot even though I have my own bike; they're kinda clunky, but they're fun to ride and are useful for one-way trips and for running errands when you don't want to carry a lock.  Get yourself a bike map if you don't have one already.

One thing I did before I started bike commuting was take a free "confident city cycling" class sponsored by a local bike association.  It was really worthwhile.  If you can find something similar in NYC, I recommend it.  Otherwise, at least read up on safe cycling online.  It's worth doing because sometimes (at least in my experience) the safest thing to do is not necessarily intuitive.  Here's a good place to start:

How to Not Get Hit By Cars

http://bicyclesafe.com/

Once you get out there on a bike, you will love it.  Have fun!