I just can't get the hang of it, I've tried at least once a year since I was twelve.  I'm twenty-one now, and my stepdaughter is learning how to ride a bike and I'm stuck at the sidelines unable to share the experience with her.  It has always bothered me and it's definitely going to be affecting my relationship with my signifcant other. 

She is an avid cyclist and she's willing to teach me, but in all of our attempts I've failed.  It's increasingly embarrassing as I get older and want to indulge in bike/camping trips (I'm moving down to Pasco County which has some of the best biking/camping NPs).

I want to throw in the towel and get a tricycle - but that would be ridiculous in my eyes.

 

Are there people who just can't learn?  Is it because I'm flatfooted and terribly balanced?  I have no clue, but I'm going to be making my goal to give it a final try this year - harder than ever before. 

Does anyone else share in my plight?  And if not, what are some tips for a late starter such as myself?

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I never learned how to swim so I can kind of relate to what you're feeling. But alas, I can ride a bike.

Having balance problems could be the issue here. After all, riding a bike requires you to balance on two circles that are are 2 inches wide- and then propel yourself that way. I would visit a doctor and ask him what the holdup is. Barring any traumatic childhood experiences on a bike I would guess that balance is indeed the problem here. 

My tip, besides visiting a doctor, would be to get to a gym and ride the stationary bikes there. No balance required! You sit on a seat and move your legs. If it turns out that you can't ride even a stationary bike I think it's likely that my hypothesis about your balance is correct. If you can ride a stationary bike then there's another problem here that you need to figure out. 

I've never heard of anyone being physically unable to ride a bicycle, I assume you can walk so I would assume that's all the balance you need to ride a bike.

It's been quite a while since I learnt to ride but I still remember the first time I got going, freezing up because I didn't know what to do since I was so used to falling, paralysed with success as I slowly but surely careered straight into a tree.

It's just a case of doing it I would imagine, I would suggest (this is purely from my own guesswork by the way, i guess you could google it) getting some training wheels and when your alone, I cannot stress this enough, Do not let anyone see you with training wheels! put them on and make sure both wheels are not touching the ground at the same time so you balance on 2 wheels on the bike.

I'm sure you've noticed it's hard to balance when your still so just put your feet on the ground and use them to propel yourself forward a metre or two and just get used to the feeling of balancing and moving at the same time. Just keep your feet out by your side so the bike doesn't fall.

When that gets easy, push yourself a bit harder and try to put one of your feet on one of the pedals and pedal once or twice then stop just so you can get used to balancing and pedalling at the same time, as this will pull you sideways.

Then just go from there.

And I'm sure you tell your stepdaughter the same but don't forget your helmet ;)

But what if he does it with no one around, like the tree falls thing?

(and I mean the wheels, not the castrate thing).

If I had the choice between the two, I'd likely put training wheels on my bike.  But I'll shy away from both choices, thanks.

Well, I've confidently fallen plenty of times.  

Barring some major medical or psychological problem, I suggest you not limit yourself by saying things like this will be your last time to try.  I I only have about 20% of the visual range that most people have, and I learned to ride a bike when I was about 10 I think.  I had training wheels for a few weeks, but learned quickly and couldn't get them off fast enough.  I haven't ridden in many years, but I'm certain I could still do it.  In fact, my wife and I are looking forward to buying our own bicycles in the near future.  I can't offer any tips on how to do it, but I'm sure you can do it.  Just stick with it and don't give up.  My older brother taught me how to do it.

I have a couple of tricks to help you get your bike moving.  The first trick is to put the pedal of your non-dominant foot at the bottom of its rotation, and then push yourself along with your other foot like the bike was a scooter.

Another trick is to put your dominant foot on the pedal first, when the pedal is slightly forward.  Simultaneously push off the ground with your other foot and push down on the pedal.

I don't know how much this will help, but, it couldn't hurt.

I'll try this method, I haven't tried it yet (and I have tried having a larger friend "guide" me, it was humiliating).

Before trying this method, take the pedals off and use your bike like a coaster bike for a bit. Make sure you set your seat correctly first.

+3 (for each of my kids) That's how our family learned. Much faster than getting dependent on training wheels and then trying to beat the dependency.

It's been at least 35 years since I was on a bicycle, and I expect that when I get one and start riding again, I'll be shaky and somewhat embarrassed.  But, it's not that difficult a skill to learn.

 

As memory serves, I had my breakthrough when I stopped *trying* to balance the bike, and just let it happen naturally.  When I was constantly and manually feeding back into the system, it became unstable.  Our bodies know how to balance, but our brains, not so much.

 

Try this.  Stand up.  Stand still.  Stand perfectly still.  Do not sway...try your hardest not to sway.  

 

Notice, the more attention you pay to it, the more aware of it you are, and the more tiny little inputs you put in.  And, suddenly, you realize that you look like a junebug on a hot skillet.

 

That's the point.  Stop *trying* to ride the bike, and just ride it.  Stop worrying about it.  Shift it to the back of your brain, and be done with it.

 

Or, alternately, you could get a tricycle.  It's not giving up.  Think of it more like a man sized go-kart with pedals.

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