How many times have you heard that riding a bicycle is easy because It’s all about the gyroscope effect, which implies that a spinning disc will maintain its orientation while in motion? It is not true because most cyclists can stay upright on a bicycle even when it is moving very slowly, which proves that balancing a bicycle is a learned skill reliant not on the bike but on the skills of the rider,
If you break the learning process into easy-to-learn and manageable steps, learning how to ride a bicycle is not hard. The trick is to teach your brain how to balance and ride a bicycle, and you do this by first learning how to roll, and once that step is mastered, you learn how to peddle.
The future cyclist needs to adjust the seat, learn how each bicycle controls works, and finally practice gliding with both feet on the floor. When the student can do that without using their feet as balancing aids, they can proceed to peddle the bicycle.
Learning To Ride A Bike Is All In The Brain
If you are prepared to put in the time, learning you ride a bike is not difficult.
It is no harder for an adult to learn to ride a bike than for a young child.
Learning to ride a bike requires two primary skills to be learned.
- The rider develops the muscle memory needed to keep the bicycle upright and balanced.
- The rider trains the brain to keep balance and adjust the steering bar position (handlebars) to maintain balance.
- The rider learns the controls to power the bike, steer, and stop.
It is that easy.
If you are about to learn to ride a bike or you are going to teach someone else, follow the steps listed below, and you will be up and traveling in a very short time.
Step One –Set The bicycle Up
Set the bicycle up to match your dimensions.
If the seat is too low, it will be very tiring on your legs when you try to pedal.
If the seat is set too high, you will struggle with the following actions.
- Mounting the bike will be hard because you will struggle to touch the ground while astride the seat.
- If the seat is too high, you may not be able to keep your feet in contact with the pedals are the bottom of the pedaling action.
- When you stop, you will have to move off the seat and over the crossbar, which is not difficult for an experienced rider but may be difficult for the learner.
Follow the method below to set the correct saddle height.
- Measure the ideal height by standing barefoot on the floor with your back to a wall and a magazine, with the spine at the top, between your legs.
- Measure the distance between the magazine spine and the floor.
- Multiply that number by 0.883, then subtract 1/8th inch (4mm).
- The distance computed is the correct distance between the seat and the bottom bracket (by the pedals and crank).
With the crank arms level (one forward and one backward), drop a line with weight in it from your forward knee to the end of the forward crank arm. If this is vertically aligned, it is the optimal position.
If not in line, loosen the seat post clamp and slide the saddle to the front or back until the correct position is found.
Step Two – Understand The Bicycle Controls
Check that you are completely familiar with the controls.
- The right brake lever activates the pads on the front wheel.
- The left brake lever activates the pads on the rear wheel.
- The pedal and the crank turn the chains and rotate the rear wheel.
- If the bicycle has gears, the right-hand gear lever adjusts the gears on the rear wheel.
- The left-hand gear lever adjusts the gears on the crank.
- Before starting off, ensure the bicycle’s gears are in first (the smallest cog on the rear wheel hub).
- To change gears, pick the rear wheel off the ground, turn the crank and adjust the right-hand gear lever.
To give you the confidence to stop the bicycle when you start moving, walk alongside it and activate the brakes.
You will find them very effective at slowing the bike down if they are adjusted correctly.
Step Three – Practice Getting In And Off The Bicycle
The most efficient way to get on the bicycle (mount it) is to follow the three-step process.
- Pull the brake lever to activate the brakes.
- Stand beside it, facing forward, and lean the bike towards you.
- If your bike has a crossbar, throw your right leg (if you are right-handed- left if you are left-handed) over the saddle until you have straddled the bike.
- If your bike has no crossbar, you can step through the bicycle in front of the seat.
Step Four – Learn To Roll The Bicycle
Before learning how to use the peddles, spend a little time with your feet on the ground, pushing the bike forwards and lifting your feet off the ground as it slowly rolls forward.
You can stick at this step for as long as you want until you can roll forward without wobbling or falling off.
If you feel unbalanced, keep one foot on the ground until your brain learns to stay upright.
Once you can rill along without touching the ground for balance, you are ready for the next step.
Step Five – Learning to peddle
When you can roll along without needing to balance yourself by putting your feet on the ground and are happy that the brakes work, you can learn how to peddle.
Start with your non-dominant floor on the ground (if you are right-handed, this will be your left foot and vis versa).
Place your dominant foot on the pedal when it is at the ten o’clock position (viewed from the side right to left).
Press the peddle down, bring your other foot onto its pedal, and try to have each footwork in harmony, pushing down and lifting on the reverse side of the cycle.
Although it may seem counterintuitive at the time, the faster you pedal, the easier it is to remain upright and not wobble.
When you get the hang of riding in a straight line, put some obstacles in the way and practice getting around them as smoothly as possible.
CONGRATULATIONS you have learned to ride a bicycle.
It is not hard to learn how to ride a bicycle, particularly if you break the whole process down into little steps. Getting the hang of riding a bicycle is one of those momentous steps most people remember for the rest of their lives.
As the saying goes, once you have learned to ride a bicycle, you will never forget it.