Believe it or not, not everyone knows how to ride a bike due to lack of interest as a child, old fashioned parents that felt respectable girls shouldn’t, or because their family couldn't afford more than one set of shiny, but expensive wheels. So, for those of you that never got to grips with bicycle bells, gear changes, tyre pressures, and road signals how difficult is it to learn as a grown adult? Not very as you’ve got far more hand, eye coordination and ability to balance.
Learning as an adult involves the same procedures as what children are taught except because you’re a grown up, you should grasp certain concepts much quicker than if you were a kid. Discovered a latent love of cycling? It may be worth you taking a bike ability course that’ll teach you road safety, bicycle control and maintenance, which bike to use on what terrain and how to communicate with other cyclists. There are usually three levels to the certificate, beginners, intermediate, and advanced with each level teaching students more in-depth cycling techniques such as approaching road junctions, using hand signals and also what to do in an emergency.
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Learn The Basics
Forget training wheels as you won’t be needing them and we’re not sure just how much they helped in the first place because they were so clunky. Firstly, get to know your bike, check out the tyres, brakes, gears and wheels then find a wide open space, preferably a grassy area because you will end up falling over and gravel hurts a lot! Check that the seat’s the right height for you as It should be comfy not digging in, while your feet should skim the ground when off the pedals.
Check you can reach the brakes and gears without stretching ridiculously far over and that it doesn’t hurt to lean back. Hop on the bike by leaning it towards you while pinching the brakes to keep it stable. Do the same when you go to get off, and it’ll reduce the chances of the bike wobbling as you dismount. Braking is an essential skill most cyclists use their brakes on 99% of rides, so you need to know how to do it properly. If you don’t feel comfortable braking while on the bike, walk beside it so you can get used the squeezing motion, while learning how much finger pressure to apply to the gears.
Hone Your Balance
If you practice yoga, pilates or even gymnastics you’ll be at an automatic advantage when it comes to cycling as so much of it is related to balance and vision. If you’ve ever ridden a scooter, horse or even a trike, the same principals apply. Look ahead at all times and steer in the direction you want to go, while paying attention to any obstacles on the route. Look up instead of down at your wheels or pedals and remember to be always aware of the traffic around you. Remember, it’s illegal to ride on the sidewalk, so you’ll need to learn how to hug the curb as well as how to stop and go safely.
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Once you’ve gotten to grips with your bike, it’s time to learn how to ride it! You may want to consider taking out bicycle insurance as newbies tend to have a couple of bumps and scrapes along the way, as well as needing to fork out for repairs occasionally. Start by scooting forward, i.e. push the bike with your feet till you get a feel for the balance and are comfortable with moving forward without wobbling. Keep practicing scooting until you can keep your balance for around three, or more seconds without feeling like the bike’s falling over. Once you’ve mastered that then it’s time to put the pedal to the metal!
Start with one foot on the ground and the other on the pedal about half way up as this will give you the momentum needed to start moving. You’ll quickly notice that the harder you pedal, the faster you’ll go but don’t feel like you need to go super quick to get the hang of it. In fact, it’s best that you start slow and increase your speed as you gain confidence. Practice doing circuits whenever you can, over time you can even add in obstacles, cones, and hoops to test your turning and braking skills. Eventually, you’ll be able to ride a bike as if you’ve been doing it all your life and the great thing about cycling’s once you learn how to do it you never forget!
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