Most Fun You Can Have on Two Wheels

Much fuss is made in cycling circles about the factors that keep people from bike commuting: lack of safe parking, no showers at work, unsafe streets, etc. Sometimes, however, the biggest challenge is much more fundamental: being scared to ride a bike. Not scared of traffic or anything like that; scared of the bike itself. Starting, stopping, staying upright, wobbling, and turning all create reasons to stress for those who have not ridden a bike since childhood. Such was the case for Dottie when she started riding again after more than 10 years, and for my friend and former college roommate Kristi, who was visiting this weekend along with the Dotties. Despite having led ski groups and trail rides–talk about something to fear!–Kristi was a bit intimidated at the thought of being on two wheels.

Kristi Rides A Bike

Kristi Rides a Bike

Luckily, such fear is easily overcome for those willing to give it a try. Check out Kristi turning the fear to fun ratio upside down with Dottie’s helpful guidance and me yapping in the background.

more about “Kristi “, posted with vodpod

From here, we took it to the streets and she was amazing. Come back and ride the Bat anytime, K!

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24 thoughts on “Most Fun You Can Have on Two Wheels

  1. Erich says:

    I totally agree, and a lot of people turn others off by mocking that fear, saying “it’s piece of cake” and things like that. Truth be told, most people are afraid of doing something that requires stepping outside your comfort zone, and biking for more than a couple miles is decidedly outside many a comfort zone. My sister has been getting back into cycling as of late, and it has reminded me how much more difficult starting to bicycle is than I remembered. I can go long distances now without much thought, but the days weren’t all that long ago that my I had a pain twixt my nethers from just a mile or two.

    On the bright side, fear and enjoyment go hand in hand, and it’s by conquering that fear that you can have the most fun!

  2. I was at a bike rodeo for little kids this weekend.

    Check out the video to see a little girl who understands that STOP means stop.

    You’re right about that initial startup pain. I remember when I first started riding again how I could feel every pebble in the street during the final mile home.

  3. sara says:

    Before we got our bakfiets in February, I hadn’t ridden a bike since 1996. I was committed not to using a car for our 2-mile commute to school, but I started waking up at night after we ordered the baks & before it arrived, thinking of all the scary things that could happen in some of the busier sections of the commute. But once I got on the bike & took it out twice with no kids, I felt good to go. And here we are now & I am a total convert.

  4. The biggest problem for me, is that I never learned how to mount and dismount a bike properly, and was scared to death of riding on a bike where my feet couldn’t touch the ground while seated. At first the solution seemed to simply get a bike were my feet can reach the ground. But after cycling for a while in this position, it became evident that this isn’t the bets thing for my body and not the most efficient way to cycle. So for the past month, I’ve been working on myself and raising the seat ever so slightly each time I ride. Hopefully I will soon master proper mounting and dismounting!

  5. Trisha says:

    Loving reading about the fears you have overcome. Lovely Bicycle, seat height and mounting/dismounting was a big thing for me, too, and it took me a few months of commuting before I figured it out. Yesterday reminded me of it, when I got a new bolt and was able to adjust the seat on Le Peug again. So much more efficient!

  6. Lynn says:

    Knowing how to start and stop properly is so important when deciding what size bike to buy. I ended up buying one slightly too small because I didn’t think the saddle could go low enough on the next size to allow me to touch ground. Then a few days later I learned how to stop from (who else) Sheldon Brown:
    http://sheldonbrown.com/starting.html (video halfway down page)
    What a huge revelation to something so basic! I’ve been raising my daughter’s saddle gradually to get her ready to try it, but she’s a bit hesitant. (Of course, plans are on hold now since she’s on crutches.) I wonder why no one ever taught me this as a kid?

  7. Lynn says:

    PS – Your Batavus is even more beautiful in motion! Look at the lovely posture it gives her. Great choice, Trisha!

  8. Sheldon Brown’s (RIP) article and video are exactly what I’ve been using to learn. In my head it makes perfect sense, but I think I have the worst sense of balance in the world! Oh well — baby steps : )

  9. Oh, PS: I have a coaster brake, so some of those moves on the video simply don’t work on my bike. How do you coaster-brake gals do it?

  10. Pete says:

    Love is so simple, so abundant and so willing to travel.

    It’s so beautiful that you’ve discovered “love of bike” and are so excited and willing to share. I’m like that too, I want everybody to know about this “good thing” that I’ve found. I’m so willing to bend my bike message so that it lands, and catches and helps people to discover for themselves the delight I’ve found in riding my bike.

    Dottie snagged Missy on a ride in the snow, and Missy ended up riding off on Smurfette.

    You brought your friend across the intimidating threshold to a place where the joy of the ride was bright, joyous and self evident. That is such a happy thing.

    It is amazingly simple to share something so good.

    This may be how revolutions are born ……..

  11. John says:

    All that fear and trepidation evaporates within minutes of getting on a bike.

  12. dottie says:

    I loved Kristi’s enthusiasm once she got the hang of it. Somebody buy that girl a bike, stat! :)

  13. Kaitlin says:

    I just found this little piece about adults who don’t know how to ride a bike (not just those who learned as kids and have taken a 20-year hiatus). It seems that demand for adult bike riding lessons is growing, which I think is great. I was just talking to a friend who was upset that his girlfriend didn’t want to do active things with him like go biking and I tried to remind him that she might have a lot of apprehension, even fear, about biking and he should try to be sympathetic to that in trying to convince her to go biking. It is something I need to remember myself when I try to convince people to bike more.

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/02/for-adult-learners-bike-riding-isnt-as-easy-as-it-looks/?hp

  14. [...] Size was a concern—at 5′1″ it is hard to find a frame that fits me, which was one of the reasons I chose this model. The 48 cm frame seems perfect. Both the handlebars and seat adjust up and down and forward and back, so I can imagine this bike fitting anyone from 5 feet to 5′6 or so with ease. In fact, it has—Kristi is about 5′7″ and she looked great on the bike, too. [...]

  15. Kyong says:

    thank you for this post! the last couple of weeks have been a stress roller coaster for me as i bike-commute and try not to fall flat on my face at intersections. i’m always approaching stops & starts with such dread bc i am also one of those shorties (5’0″) who never learned to mount & dismount as a kid. i too watched the proper way to start/stop on a bike from sheldon brown’s website! i actually toppled over w/ my bike at an intersection over the wkend. i lost my balance trying to push off at a greenlight. my foot instinctively floundered to find pavement – and the whole momentum brought me & bike down. guys in a truck whizzed by and yelled, “get some training wheels!” oh, humiliated. but i’m still trekking on! i really enjoy your blog!

  16. Melissa Miller says:

    I am happy to have found this post. I have an OMA on order at Dutch Bike (Seattle) and am so nervous to start my biking adventure. I have a 17 month old so am feeling a little nervous about biking with him and everyone keeps commenting on the hills. I don’t mind getting off my bike and walking if I need to but all the comments are, honestly, making me a little nervous about the choice I made. After reading this post and the comments I am feeling better about my decision and look forward to riding around the city w/ my son on the new OMA (she’s going to be red!)
    Love this blog!

    • Trisha says:

      Melissa, so glad we could reassure you about the Oma and biking in general. Dottie loves hers and I think you (and your son!) will, too. Bet the Oma is extra sassy in red!

      • Melissa Miller says:

        Thanks Trisha. I don’t know about you but I grew up riding a bike. I lived in a rural area in SW Michigan (Kalamazoo). The only way to get around the country roads was by bike. Now I’m 42 and find that when speaking to people about biking their concept of biking is spandex, skinny seats, and tons of gears so that you can go fast and/or get up hills. Ok, so this is a broad generalization but when I was telling people I was interested in the OMA I kept hearing “it’s flat in Amsterdam. You live in Seattle”. My response was, if I can’t make it up a hill I will walk. The looks people gave me would make you think I was crazy. I remember being 10 or so and having to go up a huge hill to get to the blueberry patch (I think it was the only hill in a 10 mile radius but it was steep!). Well, I had a single speed bike and when it got to the point where I couldn’t ride it any further I got off and walked it. The brakes were coaster style so I just road the brakes going down the hill. I never gave it another thought. Being a kid was so much fun. I look forward to having that same freedom with my new bike. Keep up the wonderful blog. I will be checking back often and will share our adventures.

  17. Kyong says:

    Hi Melissa – Don’t let my clumsy incident scare you off from biking. Have fun w/ your OMA! Dutch bikes are so cute & functional! I can’t wait to get a rack and front basket on my hybrid Trek soon. I have to go through a busy university & downtown sections and bus part of the way. Despite some wobbles, I’m gaining more confidence & I do love the feeling of being on the bike in areas I know well. I’m waiting for my “click” moment when me & bike become one! ;) I also find no shame in walking my bike up hills and also across busy streets. I should have done that at the intersection where I had my embarrassing fall!

  18. [...] advice on conquering their fear of sharing the road. In the past, we’ve doled out bits and pieces of advice on this issue, but have never really consolidated it all into one step-by-step post for those who [...]

  19. […] Size was a concern—at 5’1″ or so it is hard to find a frame that fits me, which was one of the reasons I chose this model. The 48 cm frame seems perfect. Both the handlebars and seat adjust up and down and forward and back, so I can imagine this bike fitting anyone from 5 feet to 5’6″ or so with ease. In fact, it has—Kristi is about 5’7″ and she looked great on the bike, too. […]

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