How To Ride A Bike As An Adult, Plus Tips From A Pro

adult riding a bike

I had an incredible time learning how to ride a bicycle for the first time when I was younger. I'm hoping I can help you learn how to ride a bike, even if you're an adult. I get asked by hundreds of readers each week: "how do i learn how to ride a bike?". This blog contains all the lessons and tips I used to learn how to ride my bicycle for the first time. Each tip is apart of what I had to go through in order for me to finally master it and become a great rider.

Riding a bike is something many people learn to do as a child. Whether it was your first time riding on the back of an old Schwinn, or you had a training wheel in place, the first time you rode your own two wheels, you may remember that feeling like your feet were barely touching the ground. It's great to experience the sense of independence and freedom that comes with this type of accomplishment. But what happens when adulthood hits, and those training wheels were never put on?

Here’s everything you need to know about learning how to ride a bike for adults, from where to start and what to expect, to the basics of bike riding safety and the most effective ways for adults to learn how to ride.

Know Your Bike

There are several different types of bicycles that you can choose from. Here is a list of the most popular bikes:

  • Mountain Bikes
  • A mountain bike has sturdy wheels with deep treads that help it grip the ground. Mountain bikes are designed for off-road use or for navigating tough terrain. These bikes have wide handlebars that allow for greater control when riding through uneven terrain. Mountain bikes also have shock absorbers that cushion the impact on bumpy trails.

  • Road Bikes
  • Road bikes are built specifically for speed. They are very lightweight with narrow tires that allow riders to accelerate quickly on smooth surfaces like pavement or asphalt roads. Road bikes have dropped handlebars so riders can lean forward while accelerating and get into an aerodynamic position as they race down the road.

  • Electric Bikes
  • Electric bikes are just like regular bicycles, except they have a battery-powered "assist" that comes via pedaling or, in some cases, a throttle. When you push the pedals on a pedal-assist e-bike, a small motor engages and gives you a boost, so you can zip up hills and cruise over tough terrain without gassing yourself.

Different parts of a bike

  • Saddle (seat) - This is where you sit. It's up to you to decide which saddle is most comfortable for you. Many saddles come with different padding options from thin to thick.
  • Seat post - The saddle goes in the seat post. If the seat is too high or too low, you will have to adjust it this way. To adjust the height, loosen the bolt at the bottom of the seat post and slide it up or down until it's at your desired height and tighten the bolt.
  • Handlebars - This is where you steer your bike and put your hands while cycling.
  • Grips - No matter how straight the handlebars, unless they're covered with something soft, it will be hard on your hands. Grips are usually made of rubber and cover the handlebar grips so that they're more comfortable to hold onto while riding.
  • Brake levers - These are what you squeeze or push on when you want to stop your bike! There is one brake lever on each handlebar grip (one on each side). When squeezed or pushed on, they engage the brake pads to slow you down.
  • Frame - The frame is what holds together the wheels and other components. This is usually made from steel, although aluminum frames are becoming increasingly popular. Frames also have a curve to them that "house" the rear wheel, front fork, seat post and handlebars. The head tube is where the handlebars are attached to the frame, like a fork sticking straight out from the front of the bike.
  • Wheels - The wheel (or wheels) is what keeps you from falling over on your bike. They come in all sorts of sizes, from kids' training wheels to racing bikes with slick tires that make cornering easier on the rider. Most adults will ride a set of 700c wheels (or larger), which are big enough for most adults but not so big that you can't ride them in the street or park without special equipment.
  • The chainrings - The sprocket-like pieces attached to your crankset in the center of your bike — divide up the chainwheel, allowing the rear wheel to move differently for each cog. The size of these rings determines how fast you can go for each shift. Smaller chainrings mean you'll need to pedal more times to get up to speed but will give you more torque (the ability to climb steeper hills). Larger chainrings go faster, but it takes more effort to get them moving.
  • Derailleurs - Derailleurs are the mechanisms that move your chain from one gear sprocket or ring to another. These mechanisms need to be adjusted so they don't push or pull on your cable too much and cause shifting problems. Each derailleur has a limit screw that sets the largest sprocket it can shift into and a stop screw that sets the smallest sprocket it can use. Older derailleurs also have a B-screw that controls where the cage is in relation to the largest and smallest cogs. These screws are usually marked with an H or L which stand for high and low gears.
  • Shifters - Your bike's shifter is the part of the bike that shifts the gears for you. The shifter has markings that tell you what gear number you are in, as well as which direction to shift to go from one gear to another.

Learn to balance on your bike

This is the hardest part of learning to ride a bike, but it's also the most important. Push your bike around or walk it down a hill until you can get some speed going, then lift one foot and try to balance for a few seconds. Bikers call this "coasting." Keep practicing this until you can coast with both feet off the ground.

Make sure your seat is set correctly

Your seat should be parallel to the ground so that your legs are almost straight when you're standing over the bike with both feet on the ground. If your seat is too low, it will be hard for your legs to extend all the way. If your seat is too high, it will force you into an uncomfortable position and make it hard to pedal efficiently.

Wear a helmet

Helmet use has been estimated to reduce head injury risk by 50 percent! Even if it's not required by law where you ride (and many states do require helmets for children), wearing one is always the smart choice.

Adjust your seat height and handlebars

You should always make sure that you feel comfortable when riding your bike. Adjusting your seat height will help with this, as will adjusting the handlebars so that they fit properly in your hands.

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Here are 10 step to take when learning how to ride a bike

  1. Get the right size bike.
  2. Check the tire pressure.
  3. Adjust the seat height.
  4. Learn how to start and stop.
  5. Learn how to look behind without swerving.
  6. Lift your feet up when you’re riding along and practice coasting smoothly for a few seconds at a time (this helps you learn balance).
  7. Remember that brakes are for slowing down, not stopping (that’s what your feet are for), so you should use one brake gently and slowly rather than both brakes quickly and hard.
  8. Learn how to get on and off the bike safely by having someone supporting the bike with one hand while you put one foot on a pedal, then the other foot, then walk it out of the way once you're ready to ride again).
  9. Have lots of practice in an area with no cars or traffic until you feel confident enough to ride somewhere else like a park or school parking lot or even on quiet streets.(please wear a helmet!).

How To Ride A Bike For Adults: Pedaling

The right way to pedal isn't necessarily the same for everybody, but there are some general guidelines that apply to most people. The position of your foot on the pedal should strike a balance between comfort and efficiency.

The right way to pedal isn't necessarily the same for everybody, but there are some general guidelines that apply to most people. The position of your foot on the pedal should strike a balance between comfort and efficiency.

How To Ride A Bike For Adults: Turning

When you're just learning how to ride a bike, you're probably focused on pedaling and braking. But in order to really get around, you'll need to learn how to turn. The easiest way to do that is with some body. Simply lean in towards the direction you want to go, if you want to make a left turn, lean left.

How To Ride A Bike For Adults: Braking

Now you know how to ride a bike with the pedals. You can take it to the next level by learning how to brake and stop your bike. To brake on your bike, simply pull back on your left lever for the front brake or right lever for the rear brake.

How To Ride A Bike For Adults: Balancing

Once you feel comfortable with your ability to use the bike's brakes and make turns, it's time to work on balance. Balance is something that most people struggle with at first, but it gets easier quickly.

As you become more comfortable riding on the level ground of the parking lot, try steering your bike around a corner or two. Don't pick up too much speed when you turn; there's no need to rush things. The goal is to get used to handling the bike, not compete in a race.

You'll find that balancing on your bike becomes much easier as you get more comfortable riding it. Your confidence will grow and so will your ability to steer and control your speed.

Maintaining your bike as an adult

Doing the proper bike maintainance will usually lenghten the lifespan of your bike. The basic maintainance on your bike should be taken after each ride. Things like checking that your brakes work will be best for the lifespan of your bike.

Conclusion

If you have always dreamed of riding a bike in the city and are at a point in your life when you have time to learn, finances that allow you to buy a bicycle, and an open mind, then you should make it happen. You won't regret it. If you decide that bike riding is for you, I hope my blog has helped steer you in the right direction of what to look for when buying a bike and how to get yourself started.

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