Learning how to ride a bicycle
Doc O'Leary wrote:
For your reference, records indicate that
Tanguy Ortolo wrote:
I have a friend (~ 25 years old) that never had a chance to learn how to
ride a bike. After a couple of years in Paris, she is now considering
the idea of eventually learning it, starting with an electric bicycle.
That idea, of starting with an electric bicycle, surprised me, and I am
not convinced it would be the best way to start. Now, that being said, I
am not too sure of myself either, so maybe she is right and it would be
easier or more efficient.
Would you have any advice on this matter, or some experience to share
about the same? Since there is a bicycle school near her place, I am
also suggesting her to go there anyway.
I’m not sure what a “bicycle school” is or why it would be needed. I’ve
taken motorcycle safety courses, though, and one of the stats that gets
mentioned is that you’re more likely to get into an accident on a
new/unfamiliar vehicle. So my advice to your friend would be to pick
the kind of bike she wants to ride first, and then use it to learn. For
an adult especially, it’s not exactly a complicated process, either.
Most of the difficulty in learning to ride for kids is that they are
small, weak, and uncoordinated.
The old-school approach was to remove the pedals and lower the seat so
your feet could reach the ground. Then you can just use it as a
balance bike to coast around and get a feel for steering, braking, etc.
Once you’re comfortable with all of that, you put the pedals back on
and worry about powering the vehicle.
If she chooses an electric bike, that *might* change how she approaches
things. Some are pedal-assist, and some are more like
mopeds/motorcycles with throttles. Whether or not that makes it easier
or harder probably depends on how well she can coordinate the power
with the steering of the bike. I would think it’s still probably going
to be safer to get comfortable with it unpowered first.
I would think human powered would be the way to initially get into bicycling.
A powered electric bike (whether electric or small gas engine) may have a
mind of its own! I remember my sister careening across the lawn because she
wasn't sure how to work the throttle and a best friend running through our
hedge one a Honda 250 Elsinore because he got the throttle operation mixed
But I think the real challenge will be riding the bike (powered or by legs) in
Paris (or any urban area). There's a real art of riding while sharing a road with
motor vehicles, some techniques of which may be initially thought of as suicidal!