Author Topic: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!  (Read 3948 times)

Student loan stomper

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Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« on: September 14, 2015, 06:11:14 PM »
So I am beginning to realize the benefits of biking and as my husband and I continue to cut costs and be become more focused we have started talking about bikes.  My husband road a lot as a kid and is excited about getting back into it, but I only ever had about a weeks worth of lessons from my friend and her dad when I was in high school, then I road into a houseboat (yeah... A houseboat) and that was the end of my bike lessons...  Any advice for learning to ride as an adult?  Also, should I just get a cheap bike for $20ish (clist / garage sale) for learning and then upgrade once I feel confident or should I go ahead and get something nice and lord that over myself to encourage use and practice.  Thanks for the help!

Kaikou

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Re: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2015, 06:23:16 PM »
As an adult is the concept of how a bike is rode clearer? I mean isn't that the reason why it is hard as a child? I'm sure there's YouTube videos.

Annamal

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Re: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2015, 06:30:10 PM »
Congratulations for trying new things

I think getting a cheap bike to learn on at first is probably wise (because there is a decent chance you will fall off a little as you get used to the balance).

This site seems to describe roughly the sort of thing you are after:
http://www.ibike.org/education/teaching-kids.htm

kendallf

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Re: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2015, 06:33:29 PM »
+1 to the cheap bike first idea.  If you have problems balancing, you can learn just like kids are learning now; take the pedals off, put the seat down, and turn it into a push bike.  When you can balance and corner a bit, put the pedals back on and raise the seat appropriately.  Start with straight line pedaling and stopping, when you're confident in that, work into turning.

As an adult, you'll probably plan your lessons much better than your impromptu houseboat ride as a kid; you'll be fine.

FIRE Artist

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Re: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2015, 06:33:41 PM »
I have a friend who also did not really know how to ride a bike, well, she could ride the little kid kind of bike with the reverse pedal to break, but didn't know how to use hand brakes or change gears.  Of course this all came out when we had committed to doing a bike tour of Bogota for a day.  It ended up being a long day for her.  Makes me laugh just thinking about it.  Lol.

So yes, start with a cheap bike, but get one with gears and hand brakes!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2015, 06:35:40 PM by Diverging Artist »

Thinkum

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Re: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2015, 06:52:17 PM »
First of all, congrats, biking is all sorts of fun. As to some practical tips, the most useful/important would be to realize that with motion comes easier balance. When you start to slow down, try to keep your handlebars straight so you don't topple over. Be mindful of the weight you're putting on the bars and try not to turn too quickly. Smooth movements will make it easier. Oh and cheaper bike for sure. You can try your local thrift store for a good deal. I wish you luck. 

mskyle

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Re: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2015, 07:18:46 PM »
First step: take off the pedals and lower the seat so you can practice balancing and coasting!

For more info, check out this great guide by people with tons of experience teaching adults to ride: http://www.bicycleridingschool.org/teach-yourselfother-teachers.html

Zathras

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Re: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2015, 06:35:33 AM »
The REI I used to work at sometimes offers a class called "How to ride a bike for adults."  I think most of the REIs have it. They do a class for kids, too, but the adult class is specifically for people 15-ish and older.  You're definitely not alone - this class was always quite popular.

It is a little pricey (I think in the $50-$60ish range for a couple of hours) but probably worth it if you think instruction in a more formal setting might help.

They use exactly the method mskyle says, you take off the pedals and coast, until you are comfortable steering the bike while coasting, then you add the pedals back on.  Most people are pedaling by the end of the class.

elaine amj

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Re: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2015, 10:11:07 AM »
I have a friend who also did not really know how to ride a bike, well, she could ride the little kid kind of bike with the reverse pedal to break, but didn't know how to use hand brakes or change gears.  Of course this all came out when we had committed to doing a bike tour of Bogota for a day.  It ended up being a long day for her.  Makes me laugh just thinking about it.  Lol.

So yes, start with a cheap bike, but get one with gears and hand brakes!

I can ride fine and do long distance road biking. I still can't manage one of those coaster bikes where you have to reverse pedal to brake! I tried one at a rental place the other day and there was no way I was going to be able to ride the thing...I couldn't even figure out how to get started!

Leanthree

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Re: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2015, 12:21:33 PM »
 I learned at age 22 (had bad accident at age 6, was afraid from then to 22) and have commuted daily by bike to work ever since. It shouldn't be that hard to learn for an adult with adult coordination based on the advice here. Part of the reason it is so hard for a child is that they lack coordination. I learned enough to keep up with my friends at the beach in a couple hours.

Once you get up and rolling a few times, practice breaking very hard and notice how your body goes forward while the bike stops moving. Learn to brace against it.

As far as being comfortable in traffic and such, that will come with time. Don't force it too quickly.

Student loan stomper

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Re: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2015, 03:41:10 PM »
Thanks for all the advice!  One more question, as I am looking at used bikes, how do I tell what is a good size, also I know I should check breaks and gears but since I don't have much experience can you give me some quick tips on how to make sure I am not getting something too broken?  Also, I see a few listed on Clist for like $30, but most posts are for $100+  what is really a good deal?

Thanks!

JJNL

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Re: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2015, 04:36:18 PM »
If you're not used to cycling, it's hard to tell by just trying what a good size for you would be. I mean, I know when I'm on it, but I ride every day - you're going to have to cheat. Tip: go to a bike shop, have them size you and write down the numbers. Try a couple of bikes until you find something you like. Tell them you will think about it, and then turn around and see if you can find something similar on Craigslist. Yes, this isn't the 'nice' thing to do, but if you pick your neighbourhood bike shop they will later on make money off you on repairs, so boohoo for them.

About breaks and gears: never buy a bike without test driving it. You will soon find out if the breaks and gears work smoothly by using them. If you are not confident about this, bring somebody along who can test drive and judge. Also, look for obvious damage like rust (is especially bad on the chain and the gear blades), fraying cables, missing screws, dents etc. What's a good deal depends on what you're buying. 30 bucks is a bad deal for a bike that costs 60 at Walmart and is generally crappy so you'll hate riding it. 150 bucks is a good deal on a high-performance, high-quality bike that would cost 10 times as much in the store. If I were you, I would go with a relatively cheap model which has the features you need to get around in your environment, but nothing more than that. Lots of moving parts means lots of potential things that might break, and you want something you don't mind falling over on while you're learning. Only get something fancy when you've made cycling a habit, so at least you will really be getting your money's worth.

Student loan stomper

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Re: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2015, 06:26:49 PM »
Thanks JJNL, I went to REI today and the guy there helped me out a lot, I feel a little more confident about finding a starter bike.  My goal is to find a good deal before the end of October so I can take advantage of cool weather to practice, it is easy to get discouraged in the TX heat... 

JJNL

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Re: Don't shun me but I don't know how to ride a bike.... Help!
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2015, 01:53:44 AM »
Good luck Stomper - I hear you about the heat, I would surely wilt or melt or something like that if I were ever to move to Texas :)