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Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby 13daza on Wed 27/Dec/17 2:08pm

So here's the deal ,over the Xmas break Wifey again raised the issue of her profound lack of ability to ride a bike and the fact she misses out on heaps of bikey fun that me and the boy have together shes also on a fitness buzz and would really love to be able to ride her bike(brought a few years back for her to learn on)
We have been together 17 years now and in that time the most coordinated I have had her on two wheels has been coasting down a gentle slope (ie about a 1 in 40 hill) feet off the pedals and screaming like a banshee for about 40 meters before the inevitable pile up (this was the penultimate of about thirty fails). Her father by all accounts tried until she was 12 to get her riding but failed .
I have come to accept she may be balance impaired and cycling may not be her "thing" however I have also become aware over the last 17 years shes a bit stubborn and doesnt seem to like giving up (which is possibly why shes kept me around ).
She has been on me wanting training wheels on her bike (is there such a thing as adult training wheels) but Im not sure that it is going to be all that much help .Has anyone had any experience teaching adults to ride from scratch ,I have tried all that I could (which has worked for kids really well) to no avail .
I have given some thought to a trike (which may be a solution for the terminal lack of balance ),although I suspect that those Granny trikes you see around are not really for going on a couple of hour rides out in the country (which is what she would love to be able to do) ,the recumbent trikes look pretty cool and the "tadpole configuration" trikes are supposed to be stable as and pretty fast to boot (which would be right up her alley) but the prices are staggering (even for a bike nut) got quoted 4.5 k for a "basic" trike and by basic think a warehouse bike level of gearset etc, I guess the steel tubing for the frame must be sourced from NASAs materials development labs or such.
Having never ridden such a machine I have no idea what they go like ,if its suitable for a beginner to ride and such has anyone had anything to do with these things, would they work for her ?
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby Velocipedestrian on Wed 27/Dec/17 4:02pm

Ask Simon Morton for some hints.
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby Scaredy_Cat on Wed 27/Dec/17 4:17pm

As someone who learned to ride as an adult (as in 30+) - don't give up on 2 wheels just yet! Persistence, playing around on grass - stable bike with low seat so she can always get her feet down. Does she have trouble with balance in general? If not, there's hope... coming from someone who is tragically unathletic and uncoordinated AF - but still love my bikes :-)
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby 13daza on Wed 27/Dec/17 5:28pm

Scaredy_Cat wrote:As someone who learned to ride as an adult (as in 30+) - don't give up on 2 wheels just yet! Persistence, playing around on grass - stable bike with low seat so she can always get her feet down. Does she have trouble with balance in general? If not, there's hope... coming from someone who is tragically unathletic and uncoordinated AF - but still love my bikes :-)


I would love to say my beloved has the balance and grace of a ballerina ,however while she is beautiful and amazing in almost everything she does she cannot balance on one foot for more than about a second (which sadly is her average "flight" time on her bike) in saying that she can walk which on paper would seem to be far more precarious from a balance point of view than riding a bike :crazy:
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby Conners on Wed 27/Dec/17 8:46pm

Go with the new school of teaching kids to ride - balance bikes.
Take the drivetrain off totally, including cranks. Get the seat low enough that she can propel herself forward, but not so low that she can’t comfortably lift her feet off the ground to coast.

Seriously, kids just jump off a balance bike and ride a pedal bike. It gives them the basic grounding of balance without the complication of pedalling.
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby philstar on Thu 28/Dec/17 2:48am

Conners wrote:Go with the new school of teaching kids to ride - balance bikes.
Take the drivetrain off totally, including cranks. Get the seat low enough that she can propel herself forward, but not so low that she can’t comfortably lift her feet off the ground to coast.

Seriously, kids just jump off a balance bike and ride a pedal bike. It gives them the basic grounding of balance without the complication of pedalling.


:withstupid:

the thing about riding a bike is that it does not require balance it just requires you keep pedaling, but what i think balance bikes gives people is getting the steering right,
another option could be a scooter to get the hang of movement = balance

13daza wrote: the most coordinated I have had her on two wheels has been coasting down a gentle slope (ie about a 1 in 40 hill) feet off the pedals


as you probably know riding a bike with your feat off the pedals is one of the least balanced things you can do. (if you doubt this try and track stand without your feat on the pedals)
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby mfw on Thu 28/Dec/17 10:18am

13daza wrote:I have given some thought to a trike (which may be a solution for the terminal lack of balance ),although I suspect that those Granny trikes you see around are not really for going on a couple of hour rides out in the country (which is what she would love to be able to do) ,the recumbent trikes look pretty cool and the "tadpole configuration" trikes are supposed to be stable as and pretty fast to boot (which would be right up her alley) but the prices are staggering (even for a bike nut) got quoted 4.5 k for a "basic" trike and by basic think a warehouse bike level of gearset etc, I guess the steel tubing for the frame must be sourced from NASAs materials development labs or such.
Having never ridden such a machine I have no idea what they go like ,if its suitable for a beginner to ride and such has anyone had anything to do with these things, would they work for her ?

I would avoid the traditional trike until you've exhausted all other options. They are unstable and prone to tipping, and may make it harder to go back to a two wheeler later. This is speaking from experience as my daughter has balancing issues and I reluctantly put her on a full size trike a few years ago.

Cornering technique requires turning the bars right to turn right (opposite to a 2 wheeler where subconsciously you initially turn them left to counter-steer), which makes it hard to switch between the two.
If you learn how to ride them they are actually fine for pottering around at low speed on the flat, but as soon as the ground pitches they get real tippy and off road the wide wheel track becomes a major limiter too.

We now use a tandem MTB for all our serious rides now, trike is relegated to campsite riding only, haven't given up on teaching my daughter to ride a 2 wheeler yet it's just proving time consuming!
Can your wife ride a scooter?
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby EoinC on Thu 28/Dec/17 10:51am

A few years ago, as a very adult adult, I taught myself to ride a unicycle, testing my understanding of how the subconscious works.

The theory is based on watching myself learn to wheel-stand as a kid, and watching my children learn to stand / walk / ride:

We live and thrive in the conscious, but it is a very slow reacting part of the mind. When it comes to balance, it's still busy doing calculations, as the body is hitting the dirt. The part that really does the good stuff is the subconscious, which hard-wires the sensor feedback.

What I learned as a kid was that you have to go past the point of no return, to 'know' where that point is. That 'knowing' is in the subconscious, and comes through it's single methodology of building patterns and soldering them into place. The process is sped up through repetition, and delayed through including too many variables, and having the conscious come wandering in for a look around.

It's probably a year since I last rode my unicycle, but I know that I could get on it today, and ride (the balance patterns are hard-wired in place). I also know that, if I were riding it, and thought about my balance, I would fall off (the conscious overriding the sub-conscious).

To put this in practice:
1) No training wheels.
2) A mindset of wanting to learn.
3) Find a safe, gentle slope, with no distractions / other variables.
4) Focus on 1 skill at a time.
5) Start with learning how to save yourself (ie put a foot down). Repeat this until it is automatic, and therefore, confidence-building.
6) A repeat & rinse regime, which requires no thought, and few breaks. For the unicycle, I pushed myself off from a doorway, and would do 10 repeats (crashes) straight after each other, then stop for 1 minute. I would do 5 of these sets, then have a break and do something else).
7) Celebrate surviving failures - They are the ones that really help our subconscious solve the Rubiks cube.
8) Celebrate success - Make sure she stops after a little win, and recognises what she has achieved.
9) Enjoy that, after 17 years, you can still work together as a team.

With the unicycle, every attempt was a crash (or unplanned dismount, to use the street phrase). When I noticed that all of my dismounts were off the front, it meant that I was not pushing down hard enough on the forward stroke. I would then shift my repeats to focus on falling off the back, by pushing harder on the pedal. Once this was consistent, I'd go back to off the front again.

All of this was building the patterns for the subconscious to work out where are the points of no return. It took me a morning to get to where I could ride 3 crank revolutions, and 2 days to where I could ride around a basketball court.

Getting out of the comfort zone is...uncomfortable, but it is also where we do our greatest learning. That learning, put into practice, then becomes a new, expanded comfort zone, which we once again can push the boundaries of.

Be very encouraging of her efforts. She will have enough frustration to deal with, without any extra. If it's getting too much, just take a break. That frustration comes from the conscious not enjoying not being in control.

Herendith my totally uneducated and ill-informed psychology lesson.
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby mudguard on Thu 28/Dec/17 7:49pm

philstar wrote:
Conners wrote:Go with the new school of teaching kids to ride - balance bikes.
Take the drivetrain off totally, including cranks. Get the seat low enough that she can propel herself forward, but not so low that she can’t comfortably lift her feet off the ground to coast.

Seriously, kids just jump off a balance bike and ride a pedal bike. It gives them the basic grounding of balance without the complication of pedalling.


:withstupid:

the thing about riding a bike is that it does not require balance it just requires you keep pedaling, but what i think balance bikes gives people is getting the steering right,
another option could be a scooter to get the hang of movement = balance

13daza wrote: the most coordinated I have had her on two wheels has been coasting down a gentle slope (ie about a 1 in 40 hill) feet off the pedals


as you probably know riding a bike with your feat off the pedals is one of the least balanced things you can do. (if you doubt this try and track stand without your feat on the pedals)


I think balance bikes are brilliant, I think to myself when I see kids on them (I just bought one for my two year old neice), where were these when I was a kid. Training wheels do nothing for preparing a rider for two wheels. The trackstand thing is misleading, riding extremely slowly is possibly the most difficult thing you can do on two wheels. It's not the pedalling aspect that balance bikes promote, it's everything else, realising that it's the gyroscopic force that keeps you upright once you're rolling, with the safety net of having your feet nearby. I've seen plenty of kids scoot up to speed, then place their feet somewhere on the frame once they're coasting.
By the time they get to pedalling it's virtually an afterthought.

I think as an adult, but a little off topic, it's the shifting that is probably the most difficult. I've had partners where they'd leave it in the middle or granny ring for entire rides, just either not being comfortable with the left shifter, or forgetting about it.
But going back to the OP, as mentioned before, whip the drivetrain off and make sure she can reach the ground seated.
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby philstar on Fri 29/Dec/17 12:41pm

mudguard wrote:I think balance bikes are brilliant, I think to myself when I see kids on them (I just bought one for my two year old neice), where were these when I was a kid.

yes
mudguard wrote:Training wheels do nothing for preparing a rider for two wheels.

yes (apart from getting the coordination of the circular pedaling movement, which is not much) and as has been said earlier they do more harm then good.
mudguard wrote:The trackstand thing is misleading, riding extremely slowly is possibly the most difficult thing you can do on two wheels..


my point was that it is a lot easier with feet on the pedals, and once the learner has progressed to pedals they should be strongly encouraged to keep their feat on the pedals when moving, or another way of putting it feat should be on the ground or on the pedals.

I wonder if there is a stage in the progression where you should just have the learner stand on the pedals and coast with the seat as far out of the way as possible.
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby Conners on Fri 29/Dec/17 2:58pm

philstar wrote:the thing about riding a bike is that it does not require balance it just requires you keep pedaling, but what i think balance bikes gives people is getting the steering right

Totally disagree. If pedal bikes don’t need balance, only pedalling - then why do people fall over when they move from a trike to a bike?

You’re right about balance bikes teaching steering - that is the balance part of riding a bike. Being able to balance while stationary is not a requirement for riding a bike - that’s not the
Kind of balance you need.
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby philstar on Fri 29/Dec/17 4:09pm

Conners wrote:
philstar wrote:the thing about riding a bike is that it does not require balance it just requires you keep pedaling, but what i think balance bikes gives people is getting the steering right

Totally disagree. If pedal bikes don’t need balance, only pedalling - then why do people fall over when they move from a trike to a bike?

You’re right about balance bikes teaching steering - that is the balance part of riding a bike. Being able to balance while stationary is not a requirement for riding a bike - that’s not the Kind of balance you need.


because when moving from a trike to bike you rely on the wheels to balance rather than pedalling to keep you upright (torque on the back wheel rights the bike). yes you do not need to be able to track stand to ride a bike (which is kind of my original point) which kinda good as most people cant (and even fewer can without using the pedal torque reaction to stay upright).
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby Conners on Fri 29/Dec/17 7:25pm

Still disagree. The forward propulsion doesn’t keep you upright on its own, steering/balance plays just a big a part.
Sure, you need propulsion to maintain being upright, but it’s not solely what keeps you there.

Continuously riding a bike is a combo of both components, not one or the other. My point is that balance bikes teach the balance part very well, without the complication of pedalling. Once balance is established, pedalling is added easily. I can’t see how learning to pedal first, and then adding balance would be any better. To achieve that you could use trainer wheels - but we’ve already established that that’s a shit idea.
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby EoinC on Sun 31/Dec/17 3:53am

Conners wrote:Still disagree. The forward propulsion doesn’t keep you upright on its own, steering/balance plays just a big a part.
Sure, you need propulsion to maintain being upright, but it’s not solely what keeps you there.

Continuously riding a bike is a combo of both components, not one or the other. My point is that balance bikes teach the balance part very well, without the complication of pedalling. Once balance is established, pedalling is added easily. I can’t see how learning to pedal first, and then adding balance would be any better. To achieve that you could use trainer wheels - but we’ve already established that that’s a shit idea.

Correct - Balance does play a role - It's just that once you've learned to balance (re. diatribe above about subconscious hardwiring), it is automatic, so you don't even notice that it is happening. In the beginning, it does have to be learned, otherwise every human could just hop on a bike and go.
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Re: Teaching Wifey To Ride

Postby Conners on Sun 31/Dec/17 2:32pm

Also, clamp the headset on a bike and report back how well pedalling alone works :lol:
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