How to Ride a Bike
Learning to ride a bike can take minutes or a few hours, but it requires a little bit of courage and a trusted friend (to hold the bike steady and stop you from falling).
- Learn to ride when you are as young as possible. The older you get, the heavier you get, making it harder for your helper to hold the bike steady, chase after you, and catch you if you fall.
- Lower the seat so that you can touch the ground with your feet. You should be able to straddle the bike with both feet flat on the ground (not just tiptoes). When you are more confident with your balance, you can raise the seat.
- The first thing to master is balance. Practice on a large paved area, free from obstacles, so that you can concentrate on balance, without having to worry about steering or braking.
- At first, your helper can steady the bike by holding onto the back of the seat and one side of the handlebars. Once you feel safe, your helper can gradually give less and less support, until finally letting go completely.
- As you build up speed and feel that you are balancing with very little help, have your friend release the bike, and run alongside you so that as soon as you start to slow down or falter, he or she can catch you if necessary. Stopping and starting is the most difficult part at this stage, so that's when you are likely to need the most help.
- Keep pedaling. If you get wobbly, pedaling will help to restore balance.
- After you have mastered balance, focus on steering and braking. Remember to put your feet down after you brake so that the bike doesn't fall over. Use the back brake (rather than both together, otherwise the bike will stop too fast and you may be thrown forward over the handlebars).
- Always wear a helmet and learn the rules of the road, including never riding out into a road without stopping to check for traffic, obeying stop signs, and checking for traffic behind you, before turning or changing lanes.