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How to learn to ride a bike as an adult male without being ashamed for it?

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How to learn to ride a bike as an adult male without being ashamed for it?

Old 11-25-21, 02:47 PM
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mokapim
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How to learn to ride a bike as an adult male without being ashamed for it?

Before we start, you can laugh at me, I'm already used to it anyway


I've never been riding a bike my whole life, I was raised by strict parents that wouldn't allow me to do outdoor activities. Nevertheless, the way my parent raised me, I don't hate them because I knew that everyone has their way to raise a kid but I do feel upset sometimes when I remember it.


And here I am, 25M now still feel ashamed to admit to my peers that I can't ride a bike, always trying to cover it up with a bullsh*t story every time they asked. But I am too embarrassed as well to learn now because I live in a city where people not only going to judge me but will laugh at me as well if I'm trying to learn how to ride a bike now as an adult, not to mention there is no empty space/field nearby to practice.


But I've been thinking about getting a bike roller (I assume you all already know what I'm talking about) to learn it indoors. Do you think it is suitable for beginners? But the most important question is how do I learn a bike at this mature age without getting ashamed for it?


Thank you so much will be waiting for your suggestions and input
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Old 11-25-21, 02:59 PM
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I would suggest buying a ladies bike or a low entry style bike to practice on. This way you can practice balancing at low speeds and get off easily at any time.

There is no shame in not having riden a bike. And you need not explain why to anybody.

Last edited by xroadcharlie; 11-25-21 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 11-25-21, 03:05 PM
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I’m not certain exactly what YOU mean by rollers, but what is conventionally meant is a series of round drums that you can ride your bike on indoors. I wouldn’t recommend that. You already need delicate balance and a smooth pedal stroke BEFORE using rollers. If you are talking about a stationary trainer, I wouldn’t recommend that either. To learn to ride a bike, you need to be able to balance it. Bikes wobble and your brain needs to imprint how to counter the wobble. Everything else comes easily after that.

I would start on a slight grassy incline. Don’t even pedal. Just coast down the incline repeatedly balancing the bike. Once you get comfortable with that, try coasting and then pedaling. Then, just pedaling. Then, practice.
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Old 11-25-21, 03:09 PM
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I would suggest that you learn the way most kids learn these days - work exclusively on balance first (I'd go so far as to remove the crankset and chain) and, when you've got that down, add pedaling to the mix. It's far easier than trying to do both at once.

Adjust the saddle so that you can place both feet on the ground (this will probably be a little lower than ideal when you're up and running) and start walking it around, getting a feel for the balance. Work on going a little faster, lifting both feet and gliding longer. It shouldn't take too long.

After you're good and comfortable with that, get the crankset/pedals/chain re-installed, find an appropriate gear and you'll be off to the races in short order.
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Old 11-25-21, 03:14 PM
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Branko D
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I learned to ride a bike at a tender age of 34.

The way I did it was take my wife's bike, lower the saddle until I felt safe, and went to the local bike path every couple of days. The locals were treated to the spectacle of a grown man trying (badly) to balance on a bike. It helps if you can laugh at your own expense 😉 Learning to tolerate doing something embarassing is a useful skill to cultivate in general.

​​​​​​A slight downhill and I could balance, but it was hilariously bad. A month later I was sort of ride. Two months later I was buying myself a bike.

That was a little over 4 years (and 32000km of riding and 3000km of running in that time) ago. My bike handling skills are still lacking (but improving) compared to someone who learned as a kid, but I've done a couple of full distance Ironman races so far, recently a 300km bike race with 5500m of climbing, and so on; I class myself as a pretty solid rider. So, it doesn't take very long.

So, basically, just go outside and learn and don't let causing a bit of public spectacle bother you. It goes by fast. Who cares about what people think? With some luck, in some time you'll be dressed up in lycra head to toe and everyone who doesn't ride will think you are weird. Who cares 😉

​​​​​​
​​​​​​

Last edited by Branko D; 11-25-21 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 11-25-21, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Branko D View Post
The way I did it was take my wife's bike, lower the saddle until I felt safe, and went to the local bike path every couple of days.​​​​​​
Along these lines, some bikes are more stable than others - finding one that's not too twitchy would probably be helpful. When I do maintenance on my wife's Dutch-style bike, I'll take it for a little ride - at low speed, it is WAY more twitchy and wobbly than any of my bikes. I imagine that something like that would be a pain in the butt to learn on.
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Old 11-25-21, 03:33 PM
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Find a grassy (slight) slope (park or something like that), lower the seat so you can put both feet on the ground while seated, and just coast down, with feet out. Take it nice and slow. When you get the hang of balancing, try getting your feet on the pedals while coasting. Then try gentle turns. When you're comfortable, move the seat up to proper height, then work on propelling yourself with the pedals.

You can be riding in a couple of hours.
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Old 11-25-21, 03:41 PM
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1. Remove pedals from bike - left side pedal has reverse (left hand) threads, right pedal has normal (right hand) threads. You generally need a 15mm wrench to remove or install pedals.
2. Lower the saddle as far as possible
3. Practice 'hobby horsing' - use your feet on the ground in a 'running' movement to propel yourself and to practice balancing.

The way to think about balancing a bike is that you have to steer the bike to keep the wheels underneath you.
Once you can balance and coast comfortably with your feet lifted off the ground, put the pedals back on and use them to propel yourself instead of using your feet on the ground. Make sure the pedals are well tightened into the crank arms.
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Old 11-25-21, 03:48 PM
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Get a bike. Ride it.

If you need training wheels, use them. If you need to lean against a building a pedal along a 3 mph, do it. If you need to paddle along with your feet on the ground and then coast for a while, repeatedly, until you feel comfortable balancing, do it.

Just Do It.

or do not, I guess.

I don't live life according to what others think of me .... or what I imagine they think of me, because All the scenarios you are playing out in your head about being in embarrassing situations are All in your head .... just your imagination.

Go to a church parking lot on a Tuesday night. Go to an elementary school after it has closed, if their ball field is smooth enough. or whatever.

The sooner you start, the sooner you will be enjoying riding a bike.
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Old 11-25-21, 04:51 PM
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Good for you!
And welcome to the Forum.
Lots of excellent advice above, especially that to feel no shame.
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Old 11-25-21, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by mokapim View Post


But I've been thinking about getting a bike roller (I assume you all already know what I'm talking about) to learn it indoors. Do you think it is suitable for beginners? But the most important question is how do I learn a bike at this mature age without getting ashamed for it?

Firstly forget about the indoor rollers - they require more skill than normal bike riding.

Regarding being ashamed, that's just something you will have to get over by yourself. Some people might laugh at you, but do you really care? I would just get on with it. As others have advised, learn to balance first while "Flintstoning" along with your feet and take it from there.
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Old 11-25-21, 06:05 PM
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Hurry up and learn. A whole new world awaits. We'll be here.
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Old 11-25-21, 06:49 PM
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You have nothing to be ashamed of, that's mostly in your head. I'm proud of you for trying something new and challenging. It will be worth the effort the first time it comes together and you feel like you are flying. People who would laugh or make fun of you are the ones who should be ashamed.
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Old 11-25-21, 07:07 PM
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And wear a bike helmet.
We all fall when learning to ride at first.

Dust yourself off and get back on that steed.
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Old 11-25-21, 07:56 PM
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I'd suggest you borrow a bike. You'll find out fairly quickly if riding is something you can do. If it works out and you enjoy it, come back and ask what bike to buy.
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Old 11-25-21, 08:21 PM
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listen to & watch naturals. try to assimilate the gestalt of riding

(Equine) Gestalt Riding develops balance and responsiveness through body (somatic) awareness and conscious integration of all elements of the rider's physical, mental and emotional experience
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Old 11-25-21, 08:34 PM
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Get yourself an Electra Townie. It has a slightly crank forward riding position that lets you flat foot. And it’s stable and classic looking, and fairly popular so it’s not hard to find.
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Old 11-25-21, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
listen to & watch naturals. try to assimilate the gestalt of riding
Assimilate the Gestalt used to open for Joy Division

Or is fancy-talk for “get the hang of it”
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Old 11-25-21, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Find a grassy (slight) slope (park or something like that), lower the seat so you can put both feet on the ground while seated, and just coast down, with feet out. Take it nice and slow. When you get the hang of balancing, try getting your feet on the pedals while coasting. Then try gentle turns. When you're comfortable, move the seat up to proper height, then work on propelling yourself with the pedals.

You can be riding in a couple of hours.
this is probably the best way to go. I did something similar with both my kids and had them riding in less than a half hour. My grassy hill was my driveway and they road into th cul-de-sac.
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Old 11-26-21, 04:43 AM
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Everyone learns sometime. I've got a friend who was never taught by his parents for similar reasons and is now 37, he'll probably try and learn in a couple of years when his kids want to learn. Kudos for trying and opening yourself up to being a bit embarrassed. You'll get over it quickly enough and then never look back, and no-one you care about will make fun of you over it.

Have a look for local cycling charities (if you give us a location we may be able to offer something). There are a few near me (Glasgow, Scotland) that are all about getting folk on bikes and whilst they mostly deal with kids and disabilities I can't imagine they'd be anything but keen to help an adult learn. Some will have a dedicated track / practice space and a whole host of bikes for you try try with, and well as being able to provide tailored advice.

With a bike the propulsion is the easy part, and it's the balance that needs mastered (though complicated by the fact that balancing is easier as you go faster).

If you're getting help, then follow their advice.

If you're doing it alone, acquire a bike (anything will do) where you can sit on comfortably on the saddle with your feet on the ground, it'll likely be too small for 'proper cycling' but it's a start. Then focus on rolling down some gentle slopes with your feet off the ground until you're comfortable, then try some longer/steeper slopes and some turns. Once you're confident you're not going to fall overand die, try pedalling a bit whilst keeping the seat low so that you can put your feet down if you feel unstable.
Once you've mastered that, raise the seat up a bit and try to find a more comfortable cycling position (ideally your legs should be nearly straight when the pedal is at it's lowest point).

Then treat yourself to some beer/cake for achieving something a lot of people are afraid to do!

Last edited by Herzlos; 11-26-21 at 04:54 AM.
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Old 11-26-21, 06:08 AM
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My mom never learned to ride a bike. In her 40's we used my sister's bike to teach her. She learned, but was fearful each and every time she was on it, and eventually she quit. Don't let that be you!
You can do it and who cares what others think anyway? We taught mom right out on the street in front of the house. Come to find out, two of our neighbors never rode bikes and were soon learning, all because they saw my mom taking the reins.
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Old 11-26-21, 06:38 AM
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There is nothing to be embarrassed about. If you have a friend, family member, neighbor or coworker with a simple bike, explain why you can't ride just like you did to us complete strangers on the internet. Nobody here is putting you down and I'm sure they probably won't either. You would probably be surprised how quickly one of them can teach you in an empty parking lot. Good luck and I hope you come back and post soon how easy and fun it was for you.
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Old 11-26-21, 07:23 AM
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I have helped a couple of adults who had never been on a bike in their lives.
As above, I would remove the pedals and have them ride it like a hobby horse until they get the idea.
The one thing that I have found to be the biggest challenge is to get them to look where they want to go. For some reason, after they go a few feet, they always want to look down at the front wheel. Where you look is where you will go, so look ahead, not down.
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Old 11-26-21, 08:54 AM
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The good news is ... once you learn you never forget !!
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Old 11-26-21, 10:01 AM
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Don't forget there are plenty of us who are 20 pounds to hundreds of pounds overweight and still dress up in tight clothes and go out in public. Cycling and embarrassment cannot coexist, we have no shame!
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