I rolled. It rocked.
After my somewhat embarrassing admission a few weeks ago that I couldn't be bike chic because I couldn't ride a bike, I had been not-to-patiently awaiting my Adult Learn to Ride course with Bike New York.
Well, it was last weekend and it was fantastic. In just two hours I went from wobbly and terrified to zipping around the paved sports court where we were learning. I guess their method of teaching is a really good one.
I'll explain it, but it's disclaimer time - you have to promise not to take what I say as any sort of lesson. I'm not an instructor; it's been about 4 days since I learned to ride. If you're actually going to try and learn, find a similar course in your town, head to a bike shop and plead for some help or find a friend who really knows what they're doing. And please wear a freaking helmet!
Anyway, first (after adjusting the bike and helmet to fit you, of course) they take the pedals of the bike. You get on and roll without pedaling in order to get the sense of balancing. Once you've mastered that you put the pedals on and do the same thing, except once you're rolling you start to pedal.
I was surprised at how easily I learned. My mother's constant reminders that I have no health insurance were unnecessary because I only fell once. All I came away with was a cut on one ankle and some glorious bruises that I'm actually kinda proud of.
My one disclaimer, however, is that if you are learning through Bike New York, make sure your schedule is clear the entire day. There's no guarantee that you'll get into your first choice time slot, and you don't find out your final assignment until about a week ahead of time. But, I learned that if you ask them they'll do what they can to accommodate you. Or in my case, annoy the bejesus out of them until there's a cancellation in the slot you wanted and they put you in it (thanks again guys!). They're very helpful if you just ask, which was exactly how all the instructors were during the lesson.
I was also surprised to see how many other adults were there. I always thought I was the only person in the world who didn't learn how to ride a bike as a kid. I wonder if they, too, are now hooked and have been scouring FreeCycle and Craigslist in search of a bicycle on the cheap. -Liza
(photo via Flickr)
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