Author Topic: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)  (Read 911 times)

dcozad999

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 609
Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« on: May 03, 2019, 09:11:26 AM »
Question for the Bike Enthusiasts (or gift enthusiasts).

So my wife is turning 38 on May 6th and she has mentioned several times over the last couple of years that she wants to learn to ride a bike. She grew up in a large city in South America, so she never really had the opportunity. The only people I've seen ride bikes there are cycling enthusiasts, although they do pop out some of the best cyclists in the world.

Anyway, I thought it would be cool to get her a bike and/or some type of cycling lessons as a gift. Any suggestions on how to make this a cool experience for her?  I called the local bike shop about some type of lessons but they don't provide anything like that. I don't think she would have any trouble picking it up, I was just looking at it as a fun experience for her, and a chance to get away from the kids for a bit. Anyway, I'm not sure what I'm looking for, just something more than just handing her a bike on her birthday and saying "here you go". So any ideas on how to make this fun? Also recommendations on a bike, as I haven't ridden one in probably 20 years either.




Hirondelle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1337
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2019, 09:15:12 AM »
How uncomfortable is she on a bike? There ain't that much to 'learn' about the biking itself, it's mostly the traffic. Could you go somewhere and rent a bike for a fun ride? E.g. many cities I've visited offered bike tours that are a fairly relaxed stroll and you get to see more places than with a walking tour as you can cover longer distances.

(Note: most of those cities were in Europe, I'm European, so I don't know about the feasibility of this option to you)

dcozad999

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 609
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2019, 09:19:15 AM »
How uncomfortable is she on a bike? There ain't that much to 'learn' about the biking itself, it's mostly the traffic. Could you go somewhere and rent a bike for a fun ride? E.g. many cities I've visited offered bike tours that are a fairly relaxed stroll and you get to see more places than with a walking tour as you can cover longer distances.

(Note: most of those cities were in Europe, I'm European, so I don't know about the feasibility of this option to you)


Yeah. I'm not worried about her learning. Was just looking for more of an experience rather than just a simple gift.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7965
  • Location: United States
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2019, 10:00:32 AM »
In addition to giving her a bike, it seems like a gift of time to teach her: be patient, hold the bike to help her balance while she pedals, run along side her, just like you would a kid. Be there to be a cheerleader for her.

I expect an average adult with good balance would learn pretty quickly.

LifeHappens

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6161
  • Location: SnowBirdLand
  • Downshifting from 5th to 3rd Gear
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2019, 10:15:40 AM »
Are you close enough to a beach to rent a couple fat tire bikes for a beach ride? The combination of extra wide tires + sand will make learning less scary.

dcozad999

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 609
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2019, 10:37:27 AM »
No beach unfortunately.

I will definitely be teaching her.  Not worried about her learning.
Though in my 43 years on this Earth I've learned there are 2 things that I'm not very good at:  Art, and Teaching.
I will do my best.

Hadilly

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 266
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2019, 10:44:19 AM »
My kids all learned to ride on Strider bikes, essentially bikes with no pedals.  I would recommend taking the pedals off whatever bike you get, lowering the seat a bit, and letting her learn by pushing with her feet and coasting. That way she can learn the balance component in a comfortable way. Adding the pedals will feel easy after that.

Tester

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 197
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2019, 11:06:49 AM »
My wife learned to ride at 36.
Find a gentle slope and have her just coast down, no pedals.
After that is easy get to the pedals.
Offer support.
It is really fun after she gets it.

jfer_rose

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 438
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Urban Dweller
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2019, 11:25:08 AM »
If you have any bicycle advocacy groups in your area, check to see if they have any learn to ride classes. I'm talking specifically about ones for adults who never learned to ride a bike at all (balance, braking, etc), although sometimes advocacy groups will also offer classes teaching skills about biking in traffic as well. I've volunteered at one of these learn-to-ride events and it's really fun to see adults when they finally get the hang of the balance and start biking!

The way this is typically taught is that they remove the pedals from the bike at first and put the seat down pretty low. The students practice gliding around on their bike, putting their feet down when they feel they need to catch their balance. It's only when they get the hang of how to balance that the wheels are put on and the students practice pedaling.

Peachtea

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 157
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2019, 06:41:57 PM »
REI has adult bicycle, bike maintenance, and mountain bike classes.https://www.rei.com/events/p/us-il-chicago/a/cycling?page=2

Iíve never taken one of their classes, so canít give a review, but sounds like it fits what you were looking for.

yourusernamehere

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 167
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2019, 08:17:33 AM »
As a 36 year old who is not super comfy on a bike, I guess I would add that for me a big part of the hesitation is that Iím afraid of feeling stupid. I'm sure you will be extremely patient, and I really commend your wife for wanting to do something that I think is harder as an adult (trying new skills in general, but especially physical ones.)

Are there any slow rollers clubs near you? That could be a fun experience out. A scavenger hunt or treasure map where you meet her at the end for a date?

damyst

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 158
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Canada
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2019, 12:59:44 AM »
Does it make sense for you two to rent bikes and try out a few quiet gentle routes together? Cycling trips are a lot of fun, and you can pick a destination where traffic is not a factor, e.g. a rail trail.
Where I live we have a well-developed bike culture, including food tours in agricultural areas, organized night rides, even bike-based brewery tours. See if there's something similar in your area.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 01:03:11 AM by damyst »

Dr Kidstache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 158
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2019, 03:09:44 AM »
My kids all learned to ride on Strider bikes, essentially bikes with no pedals.  I would recommend taking the pedals off whatever bike you get, lowering the seat a bit, and letting her learn by pushing with her feet and coasting. That way she can learn the balance component in a comfortable way. Adding the pedals will feel easy after that.

Yes, do this. This is how the bike advocacy group in my town teaches adults to ride bicycles with great success.

dcozad999

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 609
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2019, 08:50:50 AM »
As a 36 year old who is not super comfy on a bike, I guess I would add that for me a big part of the hesitation is that Iím afraid of feeling stupid. I'm sure you will be extremely patient, and I really commend your wife for wanting to do something that I think is harder as an adult (trying new skills in general, but especially physical ones.)

Are there any slow rollers clubs near you? That could be a fun experience out. A scavenger hunt or treasure map where you meet her at the end for a date?


Alas, patience is a virtue I have yet to master.  But I am good at saying I'm sorry.

There are some bike clubs, gut those are pretty much for the serious cyclists.

I live in a small city (town really) with a pretty non-existent bike culture.  We would definitely need to drive to to the trails, as my anxiety issues would make it very uncomfortable to drive on the streets.

dcozad999

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 609
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2019, 08:52:41 AM »
My kids all learned to ride on Strider bikes, essentially bikes with no pedals.  I would recommend taking the pedals off whatever bike you get, lowering the seat a bit, and letting her learn by pushing with her feet and coasting. That way she can learn the balance component in a comfortable way. Adding the pedals will feel easy after that.

Yes, do this. This is how the bike advocacy group in my town teaches adults to ride bicycles with great success.


So rather than using strider bikes, can we just remove the pedals and drop the seats for the same effect? 

Dr Kidstache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 158
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2019, 02:15:13 AM »
My kids all learned to ride on Strider bikes, essentially bikes with no pedals.  I would recommend taking the pedals off whatever bike you get, lowering the seat a bit, and letting her learn by pushing with her feet and coasting. That way she can learn the balance component in a comfortable way. Adding the pedals will feel easy after that.

Yes, do this. This is how the bike advocacy group in my town teaches adults to ride bicycles with great success.

Yes, exactly!

So rather than using strider bikes, can we just remove the pedals and drop the seats for the same effect?

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11720
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2019, 09:39:34 AM »
Steps to try...

1. Talk her through the parts of the bike so she knows what they all do. This seems remedial and dumb, but you want her to understand the machine and be comfortable with it. Make it clear that she can't fuck up the bike no matter what she does, and that everything can be fixed. Show her how the handlebar screws can be undone to adjust the bar, for example. Be sure to explain how the brakes work, and that she can use them at any time.

2. Have her sit on the bike "to size it". Fiddle with the seat and get it perfect for her (no matter how perfect it was to start with). This way she knows the bike is "just right" for her, and she can see that if she is uncomfortable it can be changed. Make sure she is comfortable.

3. With the seat and handlebars adjusted to fit her, have her sit on the bike with her feet out on either side. Tell her to raise her feet and try to balance the bike (she can't). Show her that to prevent a fall, she just has to put her feet down.

4. Now hold the seat behind her (use your knees to support her weight) and repeat teh balance exercise, having her see how long she can keep it up without you holding it. This will help her see how to sit to keep the bike upright.

5. With her balance calibrated, take her to a very gentle slope - like the drainage slopes in a parking lot - and repeat, but let the bike roll. she will find it easier to balance as the bike moves. Repeat until she can make it to the bottom and partway up the other side. She may figure out to turn to ride the inclines on her own. Cheer loudly.

6. Get her to try pedaling, but show her that by pedaling she moves the balance point. Likely on the second or third try, she'll be riding a bike.

7. She can ride and stop by now, but not start. Learning to push off is harder, but once she has enough confidence, show her using a curb so her foot is up off the ground to start, then graduate to pushing off the ground.

Hadilly

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 266
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2019, 11:22:42 PM »
Yes, I should have clarified. Stride bikes are for little kids. I would remove pedals and drop the seat. Find an empty parking lot or bike path and try it. If she feels wobbly, she can put her feet down. My kids started by ďwalkingĒ themselves along, while seated on the bike. Then, pushing and gliding a bit between the next foot touching down. Eventually they could zip along and felt very comfortable. It ultimatelytook them about fifteen minutes to master pedaling because their balance was solid.

When she is ready to try pedals, please show her how to stand on a pedal,  NOT sitting on the seat, other foot on the ground, then push with the ground foot. Once she gets some minimal speed, then sit down and start pedaling. Itís a bit counter intuitive, most people want to sit on the seat and start pedaling, but it doesnít work so well.

Good luck!

BussoV6

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
  • Location: Egoli
Re: Wife Wants to Learn To Ride a Bike (Birthday Gift)
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2019, 03:26:10 AM »
Remember to buy her a helmet to go with the bike. Learner riders may have a few minor falls before they get the hang of it. Also, it's a good habit to get new riders into.