Adult Cycle Learning

mgarl10024

Über Member
Location
Bristol
Hi,

A quick question for you all - my GF's dad, now in his 50s, never learned to ride a bike as a kid.
If he wanted to, where/how could he learn? Are there classes he could go to?
(I don't like the idea of running along behind his bike, promising him that I am definitely holding on to the saddle whilst discretely letting go...).

Thanks,

MG
 

mark barker

New Member
Location
Swindon, Wilts
Many local councils offer free training for adults, so maybe worth checking out your local authorities website.
 
The CTC hold the register of Accredited National Standards trainers, and many councils will keep a list of trainers local to them (we do in our Road Safety team), so try them for size if you don't fancy teaching him yourself.
 

Arch

Married to Night Train
Location
Salford, UK
If he has any trouble finding an absolute beginner class, or feels embarassed about it and would rather try to learn the basic act of cycling on his own, or with only someone he knows, this is the method.

Find a bike that he can sit astride the saddle, with both feet comfortably flat on the floor. Find a place that has a nice flat smooth empty quiet area (a closed car park or similar, or a very quiet bit of cyclepath perhaps). Remove the pedals. Get him to sit on the saddle and walk the bike along. Slowly at first, and then as he gets more confident, he can start to scoot faster, lifting each foot off the ground for longer. Before long, he'll be 'running' it along, and at the same time learning to balance (at the moments when both feet are briefly off the floor), and steer. Make sure he can also remember to brake too.

Once he can run along, he should be able to freewheel with both feet up for longer and longer. When he feels confident, the pedals can go back on, and it should come fairly naturally to scoot along and then bring the feet up to the pedals and turn them.

I taught a middle aged chap this way once - I gave him the bike with pedals off, told him what to do and to come back to me when he wanted the pedals on. No pressure, I kept a discrete eye on him, but he just did it himself. It was about 40 minutes, and then off he pedalled. (obviously, some people might take longer, some less).

Its the best way to teach children, and it works for adults too.

Obviously, once the basic act of balancing is mastered, then the important things are to learn to manoeuvre safely, indicate, road sense, traffic etc. That's where formal tuition will be important.
 
OP
mgarl10024

mgarl10024

Über Member
Location
Bristol
Mark, xpc316e, HJ, Arch,

Some really great advice there - a very impressive response for my first question to this fine forum.

I hadn't considered the Council (I'm in North Bristol, under the South Gloucestershire Council), but on checking their site I've found http://www.southglos...4c-674e1f25f1c3

The Training is free to all who live or work in South Gloucestershire.

  • Cycle training is available to people of all ages and abilities.
  • Training consist of a helmet and bike check plus an off road cycle skills ability assessment.
  • Once basic skills have been mastered Cycle training takes place on the public highways.
  • In partnership with your instructor, a plan will be put together for each training session, with consideration to your ability; aim’s and end goal.
  • All cyclists are eligible for up to three, one hour sessions. Complete beginners (non riders) are eligible for up to five, one hour sessions.
I'll pass that on to him, and if he's interested and embarrassed I'll show him your suggestion Arch (maybe he'll do that, get a grasp of cycling, then take up the above course).

Thanks once again for this excellent advice - really useful.

MG
 
Well, that's mighty impressive of South Gloucestershire Council to offer Bikeability free of charge to adults. It is something that has been mooted in my council, but for a variety of reasons (most of which are to do with funding) we don't offer it (yet). I'd bite their arm off and sign him up for the course.
 

summerdays

Cycling in the sun
Location
Bristol
Well, that's mighty impressive of South Gloucestershire Council to offer Bikeability free of charge to adults. It is something that has been mooted in my council, but for a variety of reasons (most of which are to do with funding) we don't offer it (yet). I'd bite their arm off and sign him up for the course.
I think part of it is due to the Cycle City status - although it is slightly different in Bristol and there is a £5 for the first hour's worth of training. But as the Cycle City status is due to end next year - I would definitely go for it now in case it suffers in the future budget cuts.
 
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