Author Topic: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession  (Read 2681 times)

Valley of Plenty

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I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« on: July 08, 2020, 01:49:25 AM »
I know it's unorthodox to post about yourself on the Antimustachian Wall of Shame, but this is so shamefully anti-mustachian that I simply must be honest with myself and post here.

I am 25 years old and I never learned how to ride a bike.

It's just something that I never bothered to do as a kid. I was never big on outdoor recreation to begin with, and my parents didn't really pressure me to learn it. I remember my dad getting me a bike when I was about 9 or 10 years old and spending one day trying to teach me, but I wasn't really motivated to put serious effort into it and evidently neither was he because that was as far as it went.

As a teenager/young adult I felt even less of a need to learn. "Why would I need to learn how to ride a bike? I have a car and I can drive anywhere!" That was what I would tell people when they asked me flabbergasted how I didn't know how to ride a bike. I never felt all that silly for it. Then I found this blog, and boy did I feel like a complete clown (although at least clowns ride unicycles!)

Last winter I promised myself that when the weather warmed up, I'd invest in a bike and learn to ride it, and start using it for short range commuting (which really is about the only kind of commuting I do). I live a short 3.7 miles from work, so biking to work should be completely doable. I know I can not truly call myself a Mustachian until I tackle this.

So while I do welcome shaming in this thread (as I know I deserve it), I am also looking for advice on what the best bike is to buy for someone who has never ridden one before, that will be newbie friendly but still a solid choice for commuting. The area I live in is flat for several miles around, so I don't have to worry about hills or anything like that.

Shame me, but please give me some constructive advice to go with it!

joleran

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2020, 05:11:14 AM »
Kudos for giving this a go!

I would check local bike shops for a used bike, both for cost efficiency and because they can help you out in person and take you through proper sizing and a test ride (though not sure if or how that would work in your case).  They might have some suggestions for learning too and might even be excited to help.

Do not buy a "Wal-mart special", the components are so cheap and annoying to use it's not worth your time. A budget of $300-500 should get you a really dependable bike, especially in the used market.

There are some things I would look for in your situation:
Upright riding position - bikes intended for longer distances and/or speed will have your back nearly parallel to the ground and it's just not a casual commuter feel
Wide-ish wheels/tires - easier to balance, slightly slower - there's a spectrum from "off-road tires" to "racing tires" and a mostly smooth but wider ride would be nice to have
Rear rack for bringing panniers or just being able to get a backpack off your back in hot weather
Fenders and/or chain guard to protect clothes
Kickstand for convenience - serious riders tend to eschew these for weight but it can be nice to just put your bike where ever without leaning it
Some gearing options - I know you're saying things are flat, but having at least a 3 speed can let you try different pedal strengths, and a fixed gear really shouldn't be a first bike



Dave1442397

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2020, 05:25:28 AM »
If you can't find a bike you like, it might be best to wait a few months. I was at a local bike store yesterday, and the owner told me he has almost zero stock for sale. Between supply chain issues and more people taking up cycling during the lock down, there's nothing left.

I agree with the above posting - an upright hybrid-style bike will be easiest for you.

Bikes Direct Motobecane models are generally good value for money, but are mostly sold out right now - http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/hybrid_bikes.htm

https://bikesmarts.com/4-of-the-best-hybrid-bikes-under-500-commute-frugally/

https://www.bicycle-guider.com/best-hybrid-bikes/

https://sportsgearblog.com/best-hybrid-bikes-for-beginners/


talltexan

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2020, 06:24:01 AM »
We're going through teaching one of our kids to ride right now. My wife has a greater tolerance for that sort of thing, but sometimes what she's doing to the kids seems close to torture.

I wouldn't be so hard on your dad. Props to you for getting serious about making this change in your life.

By the River

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2020, 07:40:14 AM »
I was walking through the nearby park a couple of months ago and saw a lady (in her 30s?) with training wheels on a full size bicycle.   So you are not the only one to not learn as a kid.  I hope the lady learned and is riding still. 

talltexan

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2020, 07:45:45 AM »
Personally I think having a downward sloping driveway is what you need, but I cannot convince anyone else in my family

bloodaxe

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2020, 08:00:03 AM »
I know it's unorthodox to post about yourself on the Antimustachian Wall of Shame, but this is so shamefully anti-mustachian that I simply must be honest with myself and post here.

I am 25 years old and I never learned how to ride a bike.

It's just something that I never bothered to do as a kid. I was never big on outdoor recreation to begin with, and my parents didn't really pressure me to learn it. I remember my dad getting me a bike when I was about 9 or 10 years old and spending one day trying to teach me, but I wasn't really motivated to put serious effort into it and evidently neither was he because that was as far as it went.

As a teenager/young adult I felt even less of a need to learn. "Why would I need to learn how to ride a bike? I have a car and I can drive anywhere!" That was what I would tell people when they asked me flabbergasted how I didn't know how to ride a bike. I never felt all that silly for it. Then I found this blog, and boy did I feel like a complete clown (although at least clowns ride unicycles!)

Last winter I promised myself that when the weather warmed up, I'd invest in a bike and learn to ride it, and start using it for short range commuting (which really is about the only kind of commuting I do). I live a short 3.7 miles from work, so biking to work should be completely doable. I know I can not truly call myself a Mustachian until I tackle this.

So while I do welcome shaming in this thread (as I know I deserve it), I am also looking for advice on what the best bike is to buy for someone who has never ridden one before, that will be newbie friendly but still a solid choice for commuting. The area I live in is flat for several miles around, so I don't have to worry about hills or anything like that.

Shame me, but please give me some constructive advice to go with it!

Since you don't know if you will actually like riding a bike and bike commuting, I would buy the cheapest non-broken bike you can find.

I don't know where you are in Pennsylvania or how tall you are, but something like this: https://harrisburg.craigslist.org/bik/d/mechanicsburg-mens-mountain-bike/7154109963.html would work.

I know it's a mountain bike and a Walmart brand (department store brands are looked down upon), but it would work well for your purposes. If you find yourself biking a lot more you can always buy the $500 option others are suggesting.

I would try learning without training wheels. First, sit on the bike and hold the handlebars. Then push off the ground with your feet. Try to keep yourself balanced without touching the ground for as long as you can.

When you feel comfortable, start peddling.

kanga1622

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2020, 10:05:10 AM »
If it makes you feel better, my 10 year old will have the same issue as an adult. He's too afraid to try riding without training wheels and he is just about too long legged for the biggest bikes that come with training wheels. He's decided he will have a 3 wheel bike as an adult. Shrug Guess that is his choice. His "Sheldon from Big Bang Theory" is coming out strong on this issue.

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2020, 10:19:29 AM »
I feel eternally grateful to my dad for teaching me how to ride when I was a kid, but it's just not a priority for everybody, so don't feel bad that you didn't learn to ride. I would look for organizations that help adults learn to bike: groups like Cycling Savvy or the League of American Bicyclists and there are probably others. I think they have courses for adults learning to ride (which will also cover important safety tips) or they could provide resources and encouragement at least.

Like others said, I wouldn't put a lot of money into a bike early on--get something cheap but that fits reasonably well and ride that around. Eventually, if you like it, you'll figure out what kind of riding you want to do and you can invest more money in a bike that will fit the bill. Getting the fit pretty right is important since a bad fit will be uncomfortable and discouraging.

Good luck! Biking is so much fun. Please keep us updated!

NorthernMonkey

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2020, 10:19:59 AM »
How to learn to ride a bike...

1) put the saddle low enough that you can touch the floor flat with both feet

now the really big one....

2) REMOVE THE PEDALS

3) find somewhere flat, not grass, and learn to scoot about. Gradually extending the time you can balanced keeping both feet ahead

4) once you can scoot for at least 100ft without feet down, only then put the pedals on

NorthernMonkey

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2020, 10:23:41 AM »
If it makes you feel better, my 10 year old will have the same issue as an adult. He's too afraid to try riding without training wheels and he is just about too long legged for the biggest bikes that come with training wheels. He's decided he will have a 3 wheel bike as an adult. Shrug Guess that is his choice. His "Sheldon from Big Bang Theory" is coming out strong on this issue.

Training wheels are a really terrible way to learn to ride a bike. Take the pedals off, and learn to ride, then add the pedals later

https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/go-ride/article/20200407-goride-static-How-to-teach-your-child-to-ride-a-bike-0


sherr

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2020, 10:24:30 AM »
Shame me, but please give me some constructive advice to go with it!

I'm curious how hard it will be to learn as an adult, please report back! On one hand some things (languages, etc) are certainly easier to learn as a kid, but on the other being an adult who has a lifetime of experience balancing and really understands that leaning too far to the left can be corrected by steering to the left might easily outweigh that and you might get the general hang of it in five minutes.

As for a bike: if $500 is nothing to you then sure, go ahead and get a nice bike that you'll enjoy. If that's a lot of money then I second the "get the cheapest thing you can find first, only spend that much later if you decide to keep going" advice.

As for learning: it is drastically easier to stay up if you're going > 10 mph or so, so it's one of those things that you just have to go for. If that's not working then try taking the pedals off completely (they should unscrew from the crank arm) and just push yourself around with your feet like a balance bike until you get the hang of steering.

GuitarStv

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2020, 10:30:51 AM »
How to learn to ride a bike...

1) put the saddle low enough that you can touch the floor flat with both feet

now the really big one....

2) REMOVE THE PEDALS

3) find somewhere flat, not grass, and learn to scoot about. Gradually extending the time you can balanced keeping both feet ahead

4) once you can scoot for at least 100ft without feet down, only then put the pedals on

I agree with this method.  It's how I taught my son to ride a bike over a couple weekends when he was four years old.  Once you get the hang of balancing on a moving bike, add in the pedals.  Then get used to braking.  Then shifting.

It's doable, and not all that hard.  But it also is something new, and that can be scary.  High liklihood of looking like an idiot the first few times you're learning . . . but you should pick up the basics in less than a month.  Kudos for giving it a whirl!

dogboyslim

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2020, 11:21:21 AM »
How to learn to ride a bike...

1) put the saddle low enough that you can touch the floor flat with both feet

now the really big one....

2) REMOVE THE PEDALS

3) find somewhere flat, not grass, and learn to scoot about. Gradually extending the time you can balanced keeping both feet ahead

4) once you can scoot for at least 100ft without feet down, only then put the pedals on

I was going to post the same.  Taught all 3 of my kids to ride.  Each took about 1 hour from not riding to pedaling around just fine using the method above.  Only difference from my perspective is find a slight downhill slope, and challenge yourself for how far you can go.  This one is easier if there is a handbrake.  Good luck!

Zikoris

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2020, 12:42:05 PM »
Good for you, my boyfriend also didn't learn to ride as a kid, and started up somewhere around your age. He found someone local on Reddit who met him at a local park a couple times to give him tips and encouragement to learn, and then we just started going for rides a lot to practice. It was really nerve-wracking for me at first riding with him because he would go all over the place and crash into things, but it got better quickly.

If you want to go really outside the box, you could also skip learning to ride a bike and get an adult tricycle. They're basically impossible to screw up/fall, and have wicked carrying capacity if you want to use them for stuff like grocery shopping. My boyfriend loves trikes, I have one friend who also had one for a long time, and now my boyfriend's parents are also thinking of getting one.

diapasoun

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2020, 12:50:24 PM »
I taught myself to ride when I was 22. I grew up in a rural area and there was nowhere safe to learn how to ride (all the roads are rural highways with no shoulders...) and there wasn't anywhere to ride to, either. Then I moved to a city for grad school and was like, fuck, I need to learn how to ride because I don't have a car and I can't walk everywhere, it takes too much time!

I got myself a beater bike off Craigslist -- an old Schwinn step through with only 2 working gears. It was a heavy steel bike and it was perfect for me for learning. I put the seat down low enough I could get my feet down quickly if I started to tip over, and then I went to a nearby apartment complex parking lot that had a gentle slope and just started learning how to go down the hill with my butt on the saddle and my feet sticking out. Then I started figuring out how to get my feet on the pedals and actually pedal a bit. After I'd done that a few times, I went to a nearby flat parking lot that was usually empty and just rode in circles until I felt comfortable making tight turns. It took me less than a month to teach myself -- maybe 10-15 hours overall? -- and I think I fell maybe twice. I'm not a physically bold person or especially well-coordinated/athletic person and it wasn't scary or difficult. It just took a bit of time.

If you decide you like biking, totally get a decent bike instead of a department store bike. But for now, just get a bike where you can sit pretty upright when you have your hands on the pedals handlebars and your butt on the seat (it's a lot easier learning to balance sitting up instead of leaning forward), and get out there and do it. :) It's well worth the reward imo.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 12:56:07 PM by diapasoun »

GuitarStv

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2020, 12:53:44 PM »
But for now, just get a bike where you can sit pretty upright when you have your hands on the pedals and your butt on the seat

I would recommend feet on the pedals.  What you're describing here is a rather more advanced a technique.

:P

diapasoun

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2020, 12:55:40 PM »
But for now, just get a bike where you can sit pretty upright when you have your hands on the pedals and your butt on the seat

I would recommend feet on the pedals.  What you're describing here is a rather more advanced a technique.

:P

Oh it's not good when you make your own self headdesk.

And I've already had my coffee... eep.

Just Joe

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2020, 01:00:53 PM »
How to learn to ride a bike...

1) put the saddle low enough that you can touch the floor flat with both feet

now the really big one....

2) REMOVE THE PEDALS

3) find somewhere flat, not grass, and learn to scoot about. Gradually extending the time you can balanced keeping both feet ahead

4) once you can scoot for at least 100ft without feet down, only then put the pedals on

Exactly what I wanted to say. My kids learned how to ride a bike in under an hour like this on a tiny bmx style bike when they were little.

Back in the dinosaur says I learned via the traditional Dad holding on to my seat, pushing and then letting go. Took me ages to learn how to ride a bike. Lots of skinned knees. I was a clumsy kid too though.

Just Joe

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2020, 01:13:11 PM »
Jumping in here again to say that the WalMart bikes I have used were really terrible. I bought one 15 years ago and it didn't last 75 miles according to the odometer.

On the other hand I bought a entry level bike shop bike and I have it 12 years and many thousands of miles later. Of course I have worn out some parts and replaced them with same or better quality.

One of these days I'll upgrade again to something even nicer just because.

I did buy a couple of different 1980s Schwinns - each for about $40 used and they've been fine for general purpose riding. They needed maintenance and tires but all good beyond that.

As others have already said - go cheap and if you like riding, go buy better.

YouTube has hundreds of bicycle maintenance videos. Good thing to learn so something minor doesn't leave you stranded.

Also, watch bicycle safety videos. Ways to ride without getting hurt. And buy a quality helmet.

mspym

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2020, 02:41:55 PM »
Once you are comfortable scooting around on a bike, I strongly recommend checking out any introductory courses bike orgs run for riding in traffic/ safe cycling / basic maintenance. My city runs these pretty regularly and they are great at getting you over some of the next set of problems that might put you off.

Good luck to you and your freedom machine

Valley of Plenty

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2020, 11:00:22 PM »
Once you are comfortable scooting around on a bike, I strongly recommend checking out any introductory courses bike orgs run for riding in traffic/ safe cycling / basic maintenance. My city runs these pretty regularly and they are great at getting you over some of the next set of problems that might put you off.

Good luck to you and your freedom machine

Unfortunately I live in a very small rural town where such an organization definitely doesn't exist. But I'll do plenty of research online regarding safe cycling practices.

damyst

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2020, 12:52:32 AM »
The best time to start riding bicycles is right now :-)

I'm glad some of the recent comments brought up road safety. Learning how to balance on a bike is important and all, but learning to navigate different roads and conditions safely takes far longer.

I've been biking most everywhere for several years now. In that time I've managed to: take a spill due to an unseen pothole; take a spill due to black ice; take a spill trying to make a turn on a pile of rotting leaves; tip over after miscalculating a turn and hitting the curb. I've also had bags and even a bike trailer detach and endanger others because I didn't fasten them properly.

I encounter other reckless, careless, clueless road users on a daily basis. Some of them are driving, others walking, too many of them are riding bicycles.

This isn't meant to deter you. Just know that your learning begins once you've mastered basic balance, turning, breaking and shifting.
Don't forget to wear that helmet!

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2020, 01:09:41 AM »
How to learn to ride a bike...

1) put the saddle low enough that you can touch the floor flat with both feet
...

Agreed with the learning technique. Be wary of guidance for frame size that are based on your height, you could end up with a frame that won't allow the seat to go low enough. You might need a smaller frame size so that both heels will easily reach the ground at the same time. You can raise the seat later.

PhilB

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2020, 06:59:31 AM »

2) REMOVE THE PEDALS


This is a great idea, but you may struggle to do it until you realise that the left pedal unscrews the opposite way to normal things!

talltexan

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2020, 07:50:47 AM »
@Valley of Plenty , we'd love to hear how it's going.

As far as myself, I just got my rear inner tube fixed at a local bike shop, so I'm back in business! It was harder loading the bike onto our car rack to drive it there than it was for them to fix it.

GreenToTheCore

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2020, 06:30:52 PM »
No shame at all, congratulations on having the gumption to learn something new!
Here's some more resources on learning skills. Can't wait to hear all about how it's going. Even 10 years later I'm still learning new tips/tricks.

https://cyclingsavvy.org/2020/05/starting-and-stopping/
https://www.bikeleague.org/ridesmartvideos
https://cyclingsavvy.org/category/savvy-cyclist/
http://www.dot.state.pa.us/public/PubsForms/Publications/PUB%20380.pdf
https://vimeo.com/cyclingsavvy
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/beginners.html


A bicycling community makes all the difference. Reach out with any questions, we're all here for you.
Happy riding!
« Last Edit: July 09, 2020, 06:35:02 PM by GreenToTheCore »

GreenToTheCore

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #27 on: July 09, 2020, 06:34:00 PM »
Bikes Direct Motobecane models are generally good value for money, but are mostly sold out right now - http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/hybrid_bikes.htm

Agreed, that's where my first adult bike came from.

The Guru

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #28 on: July 09, 2020, 08:41:47 PM »
Good luck with your endevour! It reminds me of  my own late (not nearly as late as yours)  blooming. My friends had all been riding 2-wheelers for some time, so one hot summer evening my oldest sister told me she'd buy me an orange Popsicle if I rode her bike to the corner. Once she assured me she'd hold on until I got going I straddled her old balloon-tired Schwinn and off we went. Once I got my balance and momentum up I turned around to tell her she could let go- and saw her standing nearly in front of our house. I had been riding solo almost the entire time! Been riding ever since. Hopefully you'll catch on as quickly.

Anyway, to add to the previous suggestions for choosing a bike, I'd add DON'T get one with suspension, especially at the rear.  It sounds like a good idea but you don't need it on pavement and it the motion of the suspension cancels out some of the effort you're expending to move forward, actually making it more tiring. Not to mention the added weight and complexity.

The_Big_H

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #29 on: July 09, 2020, 10:57:56 PM »
I started biking again as an adult seven months ago.
I relearned on one of those rental bikes you use an app (like lime or HOPR) it was like $25 a month.

They are great to learn on because they are step trough, heavy, and slow with airless tires you wonít pop or flat on.

Was like $25 for an hour a day of riding.

You might look into electra bikes they are known for the pedals forward which is less efficient but feels better for newbies.  I bought the path 9d EQ fully loaded with lights fenders chain guard. An excellent but pricy ($900) beginner bike. I use that for getting round on short errands 

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #30 on: July 10, 2020, 12:15:37 AM »
I started biking again as an adult seven months ago.
I relearned on one of those rental bikes you use an app (like lime or HOPR) it was like $25 a month.

They are great to learn on because they are step trough, heavy, and slow with airless tires you wonít pop or flat on.

This is really clever. It'll give you a good idea of how much you like cycling and what you want from a permanent bike.

Gerard

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2020, 08:42:52 AM »
Lots of good advice on here. VoP, please report back on your progress from time to time. Lots of strangers on the internet are pulling for you!

NorthernMonkey

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2020, 12:57:35 PM »
Anyway, to add to the previous suggestions for choosing a bike, I'd add DON'T get one with suspension, especially at the rear.  It sounds like a good idea but you don't need it on pavement and it the motion of the suspension cancels out some of the effort you're expending to move forward, actually making it more tiring. Not to mention the added weight and complexity.

Good suspension bikes are lovely to ride, but cheap and nasty ones are really horrible. You need to spend at lease $2500 for a full sus, added to which you'll need a strip and service of the shocks and bushes yearly, which is an involved job.

If you aren't sure what you want, then you can be 99% sure you don't want a full sus mtb

PDXTabs

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #33 on: July 11, 2020, 12:58:33 AM »
How to learn to ride a bike...

1) put the saddle low enough that you can touch the floor flat with both feet

now the really big one....

2) REMOVE THE PEDALS

3) find somewhere flat, not grass, and learn to scoot about. Gradually extending the time you can balanced keeping both feet ahead

4) once you can scoot for at least 100ft without feet down, only then put the pedals on

I was going to post the same.  Taught all 3 of my kids to ride.  Each took about 1 hour from not riding to pedaling around just fine using the method above.  Only difference from my perspective is find a slight downhill slope, and challenge yourself for how far you can go.  This one is easier if there is a handbrake.  Good luck!

I also endorse this method.

LuvSaving

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #34 on: July 11, 2020, 03:13:48 AM »
How to learn to ride a bike...

1) put the saddle low enough that you can touch the floor flat with both feet

now the really big one....

2) REMOVE THE PEDALS

3) find somewhere flat, not grass, and learn to scoot about. Gradually extending the time you can balanced keeping both feet ahead

4) once you can scoot for at least 100ft without feet down, only then put the pedals on
This is by far the best and safest way to learn.

I used this exact process successfully with both my kids.

My son learned at age 6 how to ride without training wheels with a week. Once all the neighborhood kids saw what he was doing they did the same and within two weeks the entire neighborhood of kids 5 and up were riding their bikes without training wheels and feeling confident.

My daughter was more adventurous and learned shortly after turning 4 y.o. and everyone was shocked to see such a tiny girl riding so well. They would asked how she learned to ride so well at such an early age, and I would share this technique with them as many of them had kids ranging from 7-12 that still didnít know how to ride a bike without training wheels.

Hope this helps and wish you all the best in your efforts learn something new later in life.

Valley of Plenty

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #35 on: July 11, 2020, 10:44:26 PM »
Thanks for the advice and encouragement everyone!

It's been a hectic last few days, but I've not forgotten about my new objective. I'm about to head to Colorado for a week, but as soon as I get back I'll be making a trip to the local bike shop in town to see what they have to offer.

As mentioned in a previous reply, I live in a rural area so my options are somewhat limited. The store I'm going to is small and I'm not even sure if they stock used bikes, but if not my only option is going to be either Walmart or buying something online. I'm going to compile a list of all of the features people have recommended, and see what I can find that fits the bill. I'm really not concerned with the prospect of not liking biking, I know for certain that once I get the hang of it it's something I will enjoy doing. Saving money and physical exertion are two of my favorite things!

I've enjoyed reading all of your comments and suggestions, and I will continue to do so. It makes me feel much more confident having the wisdom of bicycling Mustachians to help guide me along.

PDXTabs

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #36 on: July 11, 2020, 11:54:10 PM »
As mentioned in a previous reply, I live in a rural area so my options are somewhat limited.

Could you go on a day trip to either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia? A new local bike wouldn't be the end of the world but you really shouldn't spend your money on a Walmart bike.

Valley of Plenty

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #37 on: July 12, 2020, 04:44:03 AM »
Could you go on a day trip to either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia? A new local bike wouldn't be the end of the world but you really shouldn't spend your money on a Walmart bike.

Either of those would require a 3 1/2 hour drive for me, which would end up being something like $60 just in gas. Perhaps I can find a used bike shop in state college. That would only be about a 35 minute drive.

NorthernMonkey

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #38 on: July 12, 2020, 09:53:48 AM »

As mentioned in a previous reply, I live in a rural area so my options are somewhat limited. T

Do you know someone who will lend you a bike? The ideal bike to learn on might not be the best one to ride. On my Mountain bike, the seat is at the right level so my legs are almost straight at the bottom of the stroke, and the middle of the pedals (the bottom bracket) is almost a foot off the floor. This would make it a right pig to learn on.

If you can borrow a womans bike, with the dropped centre tube, then it would be easier to learn. The bike that you ride once you can ride will probably be a bit bigger

TheFrenchCat

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #39 on: July 12, 2020, 10:16:14 AM »
Could you go on a day trip to either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia? A new local bike wouldn't be the end of the world but you really shouldn't spend your money on a Walmart bike.

Either of those would require a 3 1/2 hour drive for me, which would end up being something like $60 just in gas. Perhaps I can find a used bike shop in state college. That would only be about a 35 minute drive.

There's several bike shops in State College, so I'd definitely call around.  .There's even one, Freeze Thaw cycles, that recycles old bikes and parts.
 However, they may be low on bikes now, like most places now.  Maybe try their Craigslist too?

MrTurtle

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #40 on: July 12, 2020, 12:07:35 PM »
How to learn to ride a bike...

1) put the saddle low enough that you can touch the floor flat with both feet

now the really big one....

2) REMOVE THE PEDALS

3) find somewhere flat, not grass, and learn to scoot about. Gradually extending the time you can balanced keeping both feet ahead

4) once you can scoot for at least 100ft without feet down, only then put the pedals on

This man can Ride.  I would also add: disconnect the front brake when you're learning so you don't have any over-the-bars experiences.

Plina

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #41 on: July 12, 2020, 12:33:51 PM »
How to learn to ride a bike...

1) put the saddle low enough that you can touch the floor flat with both feet

now the really big one....

2) REMOVE THE PEDALS

3) find somewhere flat, not grass, and learn to scoot about. Gradually extending the time you can balanced keeping both feet ahead

4) once you can scoot for at least 100ft without feet down, only then put the pedals on

I was a teacher a couple of times in adult biking courses for immigrant women who never learned to bike as kids. This was the method for teaching them. It was so fun to see how they gained confidence in their skills and learned to bike so they could go biking with their kids. It is also a healthy and cheap way for them to transport themselves in the city and a prerequisite for certain positions if they want to work in the elder care.

Taran Wanderer

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #42 on: July 12, 2020, 01:26:46 PM »
I know someone said above not to buy a Walmart special - I 100% agree.

However, to learn, I would suggest finding a slightly small Craigslist mountain bike, pull the pedals off, lower the seat so that your legs are a little bent with your feet at flat on the ground, and then push yourself around on it like it's a scooter.  This is how we taught our kids, and they all were riding without training wheels at age 3 or 4.  Of course it would be best to have hand brakes for this...

Once you're comfortable scooting, put the pedals back on and practice/play some more.  Then, if you enjoy riding the bike, go to a real bike shop and buy a decent bike.  $500 to $750 budget.  Only ride bikes in your budget range, and buy the one that you feel most comfortable on.  If you don't enjoy riding, then you can re-sell the Craigslist bike and move on... to a skateboard?

centwise

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #43 on: July 12, 2020, 01:52:40 PM »
The "scooting about" technique, where you push yourself around with your feet, is truly amazingly effective. What it does is teach you how to balance on the bike without risk of falling over. Once you are comfortable that way, it will be much much easier to learn how to start pedalling the bike.

I recommend finding a used bike. If a lot of people are buying bikes these days, it means that many people are looking for an upgrade and will want to get rid of their old one. You can probably get a used bike for $100. After you've ridden around on it, you will have a better idea of what you want from your new bike when you are ready to spend some serious cash.

meghan88

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Re: I don't know how to ride a bike - My Shameful Confession
« Reply #44 on: July 13, 2020, 02:58:19 PM »
Once you've started, please buy a good helmet and a good U-lock.  Cable locks are easy to cut.

Also:  stay hyper-aware at all times, and trust no one else on the road, whether in front of you, beside you, or behind you.