Can Adults Still Learn How to Ride a Bike?
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. That’s not entirely true when it comes to riding a bike.
While most people pick up the skill as a child, some never bother to learn how to ride a bike. If you can drive at 17, there is no need to ride on two wheels, right?
Many adults, however, are now learning how to ride a bike for health reasons. Cycling is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to stay active. If you love to travel, you will also discover that many tourist attractions are best seen while on a bicycle.
Maybe you have always wanted to learn how to ride a bike but are too afraid or had little confidence. It is not yet too late. Many bike companies around NSW offer riding lessons for beginners of all ages. After only two hours of individual lesson, they can get you up and riding.
Tips to Learn How to Ride a Bike
If you are serious about learning how to ride a bike, check out this step-by-step guide for adult beginners.
1. Get an instructor.
Bike instructors will explain everything to you in a way that is easy to understand. They are trained to be cool, calm and encouraging, even when you panic and brake suddenly.
2. Find a safe place to ride.
There are many great spots in NSW for you to ride solo. The best environment to learn and master bike control is a flat, hard surface in an open area free of obstacles or traffic.
3. Gear up.
You will need a suitable bike, safety gear, and appropriate clothing.
For casual trips around the neighbourhood, any good working bike will do.
If you have an old bike that has been gathering dust in the garage, consider taking it to a specialist bike shop to check if it is still roadworthy.
If you are investing in a brand new bike, there are many models to choose from. Hybrids, road bikes, and mountain bikes come in a variety of sizes and features that suit your budget and cycling needs. Some bikes are also tailored for riders with disabilities.
Safety should always be a priority. Check the headlight and tail lights of your bike before heading out. Keep in mind that wearing a helmet is mandatory in Australia.
Now for the fun part – cycling gear! Wear light and bright colours while riding to make sure other people on the road can see you. Leave those loose or flappy outfits at home. Not only do they look uncool, but they are also a safety hazard. Wear footwear that is flat and closed. When riding at night, reflective clothing is a must.
4. Learn the basics.
When you take riding lessons, you can learn all the basics – mounting, starting, stopping, braking and steering – within the first two hours. You will have plenty of time to practise them.
5. Safety first.
Generally, cycling is a safe form of exercise. If you have a medical condition, see your doctor first before you start riding.
Road safety is a key concern for first-time cyclists. As mentioned earlier, wearing a helmet is compulsory in Australia. Before you start riding in traffic, check your state law on road rules and regulations for cyclists.
In most cities, bicycles are allowed on footpaths. Just be mindful that you are sharing this space with pedestrians.
If your community has a lot of cyclists, take riding courses on how to avoid crashes. Police departments and cycling groups often run courses for schools and residents.
6. Practise, practise, practise.
Even if you do not plan to ride around the streets of Sydney or take part in a triathlon, continue practising until you feel confident. Once you overcome your fear, riding a bike should come naturally to you.
More Tips on How to Ride a Bike as an Adult
Choose the best route.
Choosing the correct bike route ensures your safety. You don’t have to take the same route you would take when driving a car. Look for bike-only paths or alternative routes.
If you are traveling a long distance, you might want to take the first-mile approach; that means riding on your bike to the nearest public transport terminal and hopping on a bus or train the rest of the way.
Be wary of traffic.
Practise riding with single-hand steering so you can make turn signals with your other hand. You should be comfortable looking over each shoulder to improve your visual awareness.
Some riders prefer to attach side mirrors similar to the ones installed on cars. With a mirror on the bike handlebar, you’ll be able to see what’s behind you.
Consider parking and maintenance.
You will need some maintenance for your bike. If you do not want to get your hands dirty, find a bike maintenance station. These shops are equipped with a pump, chain breaker, wrench, and shifter spanner.
You must also be ready for emergencies like a flat tyre. Ride around the neighbourhood and see if you can spot nearby bike pumps.
Doctors recommend that adults do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. Riding your bike for more than 30 minutes enables you to meet your weekly exercise target.
Cycling can reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. It can also help you lose weight and improve your mood.
If you are just getting started, take it slowly and gradually increase your minutes and intensity. If you suddenly fall ill, however, stop and seek medical attention.
Make it a habit.
Riding your bike as a means of daily transport is one of the easiest ways to establish an exercise routine. Ask your office manager if there are showers and bike storage available at your workplace.
Cycling is also a fun way to explore the city and the countryside. Ride with your friends and family on the weekends to enjoy the morning breeze and sunshine.
Find a riding buddy.
If it’s too cold outside and you are finding it difficult to get out of bed, cycling with a buddy can be an extra motivation.
There are plenty of groups that connect bike enthusiasts who not only ride together but share tips on maintenance, custom work, and cycling competitions. From charity rides to triathlon meets, signing up for a bike event is a great way to stay active and enjoy the great outdoors.
A lot of people are scared to hop on a bike because they think they are too old to learn. The good news is that there are a number of cycling organisations across NSW that provide riding classes for beginners. These courses are tailored specifically for adults, with each lesson catering to your current riding level. Take a class to build your confidence as you get comfortable riding on two wheels.
Ready to start riding? Check out the cool line of bikes and bike accessories at Stead Cycles.