The Anna Karenina principle of biking is this: Everyone who learned how to ride a bicycle did so in roughly the same boring way; anyone who made it to adulthood without learning required a unique series of roadblocks, failures, negligence, and procrastination. If you fall into the latter group, congratulations! Your inability to do something most children have mastered makes a great conversation-starter.
But Marilyn Northcotte has been teaching adults how to ride for decades through a program called Pedal Ready in Wellington, New Zealand. The vast majority of her students some as old as 69! After all, learning to ride as an adult is no harder than learning as a kid, as long as you take the same step-by-step approach to the process—and push grown-up fear and nerves out of the way.
As a child, I never learned how to ride a bike. I have snap-shot memories of my father lightly holding onto the handlebars of my white-and-pink bike, jogging alongside my crooked path until I was, to my surprise, riding all by myself. At 7 years old, I was well on my way to full two-wheeler independence when, at an extremely low speed, I collided with the side of a parked minivan.
Although our dad ran a bike shop, my brother Ritchie never actually learned how to ride as a child. There were quite a few attempts to set him off on what would always become a slow-speed fall, but because his balance was fairly poor — probably due to the fact he suffered from quite severe glue ear — eventually the idea of riding a bike was abandoned. However, a couple of years ago and now in his mids, Ritch decided he wanted to learn how to ride a bike again.
Now a grandmother, with a daughter and grandchildren living in Copenhagen, she decided it was now or never So, why had she not learnt to ride before? Like many women around the world, it was down to lack of opportunity and encouragement.
All you need is an open space, a working bicycle, and a willing student. Be patient and encouraging, and give the rider all the time they need to feel comfortable and confident while learning to ride a bike. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Most bikes are suitable if they are the right size for the rider. Also check for wear in the rims or cracks in the frame. Spin the pedals round and make sure the chain is oiled.
Jason Horowitz waves and flashes a big smile when we meet up at a metro station in Arlington, Virginia. The contradiction has never been lost on me. We write about the health and environmental benefits of exchanging steering wheels for handlebars. Many staff members are avid riders.
Our content is provided free as a public service! Follow us on Twitter. There are options to the traditional method of teaching a kid to bicycle was to strain your back while running along side them holding them up-right and pushing them until they crashed or final did it under their own power and coordination.