Learning to ride a bike


Über Member
It takes ages to learn to ride a bike, going through stabilisers through to the big day when dad lets go of you and you’re on your own.
Yet once learned we never seem to forget and can jump on a bike and ride.
It’s such a precarious position and difficult thing to learn, why don’t we seem to forget?


Not really certain, but most learn fairly young, and I'm thinking it gets really hard wired when learnt young.


Legendary Member
It's no different from any other skill such as throwing and catching, swimming, walking, running, driving. Your brain quickly learns the corrective movements needed with the handlebars to keep the contact points in line with the centre of gravity. That's why running along holding a child's saddle is the worst way to teach them balance, while removing the pedals, dropping the saddle and allowing them to scoot the bike along with their feet is the best way.

Kids' brains develop at different rates according to the training you give them so some will learn fast and others slowly. GtiJunior rode everywhere in our Landy, strapped into his child seat with a clear view of the traffic ahead rather than staring at the back of a seat and as a result he has an extraordinary ability to recognise and remember number plates and car models. We call him Mr ANPR.
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The Monch
Inside my skull
I don't have long enough gaps between riding to forget. Apart from when travelling round the world, and holidays, I cycle every week. I also ride a number of different bikes including recumbent. As above people who gave only ridden upright won't get a recumbent right to start with, and will wobble and fall off, but once learnt, it becomes one of many types of bike you can ride.


Bloviating windbag
The brain and neuroplasticity is a weird thing. There was a guy who created a bike where the bike steered opposite to what was expected and he wasn't able to ride it at all at first, but after a little while, it was like a switch flipped in his brain and he could ride it as easily as a normal bike.
(IIRC he then tried to ride a normal bike and found that he couldn't at first.)

As said above, cycling requires a lot of subconscious fine motor control and muscle memory which never really goes away. Conversely, cycle when properly drunk (really not recommended, even on segregated infrastructure) and you'll be too busy concentrating on staying upright to travel faster than 5-10mph.
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