can't balance

Discussion in 'Beginners Forum' started by jahanas, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. jahanas

    jahanas New Member

    3
    0
    0
    I just got a bike but have not rode one in 20 years. I try to get on but cannot stay in balance well enough to get both feet on the pedals. Any insight? Thank you
     
  2. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

    12,349
    650
    113
    Lower the seat so that you can flat foot, and try kicking with your feet to just get the hang of coasting. That's how we teach kids to do it. Unless you have an inner ear problem, it should come naturally.
     

  3. SprocketGirl

    SprocketGirl spin... spin.. spin

    1,579
    173
    63
    i love hacks advice but wanted to add a little

    when you begin with the seat lowered and both feet on the ground.... put one foot on the pedal that is at about 2 o'clock and when you push forward just step with the bike. do this several times until comfy with it. then try putting the other foot on the pedal as it comes around to 1 o'clock. this sounds kinda strange and may even sound scary but don't try to go too slow. while riding slow seems safer it is tons harder to do. momentum is your friend. i have several friends i mountain bike with who have trouble riding areas that i just fly across. they tell me i am a better rider when in fact i just have more confidence. they fear crashing thus slow way down to a speed that if i tried i would not be able to ride the area either. momentum is your friend...

    "Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." ~Albert Einstein
     
  4. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

    1,223
    0
    0
    Hack and Sprocket girl are right on the money. Another tip would be to get some help supporting the bike while just practice starts and stops. In a short time your feet just know where to go to find the pedals.

    Another thing you can try is to find a very small down hill, not very much but just enough to provide a little forward movement. Once spinning bicycle wheels are like gyroscopes. They want to stay upright. Its really tough though not impossible to keep a stopped bike upright.

    The biggest thing is to be patient with yourself, just as you would be if you were teaching a 8 year old. I have no doubt you will get it. Most people were not born on bikes, though there are a few exceptions. As we get older we just don't like being beginners again, but there is also a great deal of satisfaction when you do reach that goal.
     
  5. LarryM

    LarryM Eocyclist

    742
    15
    18
    I just had two things to add to the already good advice given gere.

    jahanas, if you find that you're banging your ankles on the pedals as you scoot the bike around the parking lot, remove them until your sense of balance improves to where you're ready to start pedaling again. The left side pedal has a left hand thread, so you have to turn it the clockwise rather than anticlockwise to remove it.

    +1
    A fairly common problem for first time adult riders is to apply pressure with the 2nd foot before it is properly on the pedal and past the 12 o'clock position. They either fumble and loose balance, or start pedaling backwards.

    If getting the 2nd foot on the pedal is a problem, practice coasting as far as possible with one pedal push. With both pedals on the bike, put one pedal in the 1 or 2 o'clock position, press it hard and fast, and coast as far as possible. After some single push practice a new rider's balance usually improves to the point where they feel confident enough to to coast til they get the 2nd foot up and positioned properly.

    L
     
  6. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

    1,223
    0
    0
    A simple way to remember which way the pedals turn is that to loosen the pedal, it always turns away from the front wheel. If you were sitting on the bike, to take a pedal off you would always pull the wrench toward you, not away from you.

    Jahanas please post what you find works for you. I am sure there are a lot of people that are 1. in the same boat and are wondering how you came out, 2. Have someone else to teach to ride and might learn something from your experiences on how to work with them, 3. you just might post something that will generate other ideas on how to help you get better.

    This group is incredibly patient, and as long as you are seriously trying to improve, you won't be flamed. The admins will take care of anyone that flames, not the new cyclist trying to learn. They do a great job. There is a ton of experience here, from casual riders, to people that do not own a car and are on a bike about 200 miles a week or more. Some use a bike for their vacations, and there are lots of people that rediscover cycling as we get older. I'm one of those. What ever your challenge, and there will be some along the way, there is at least someone if not everyone here has likely been through it before.
     
  7. dpeters11

    dpeters11 New Member

    66
    0
    0
    My wife never learned at all growing up, but I started working on how to do this with her. After a couple failed attempts, I found the solution for her was a certified instructor from the League of American Bicyclists. Over the course of a few weeks, he got her riding. At that point we had a pedal forward cruiser as I thought it would give her some more confidence. Now, she's trying to sell that and has a hybrid, road and mountain bikes.

    I looked at their site, and there are two listed for Des Moines itself. Our instructor asked for a donation to a local bike program as payment, so it's not necessarily expensive. Generally, this isn't their day job. Not all of them have experience with teaching adults how to ride, some concentrate on teaching adults how to ride properly in traffic but might be worth a look.

    I'm assuming the bike you got is your size, at one point my wife bought one cheap on Craigslist, and I don't think it was the right size for her, which compounded the difficulty plus the safety issues.

    https://members.bikeleague.org/members_online/members/findit.asp?action=search
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
  8. jahanas

    jahanas New Member

    3
    0
    0
    Thanks for the advice. Once the weather improves I will try the tips and repost.
     
  9. jahanas

    jahanas New Member

    3
    0
    0
    I finally got it going. I had to use the driveway and started pedaling with one foot and was able to get going with the other one. I went up the street a little. I will have to get used to it again. Thanks for the advice about the seat it appears to have worked. Thanks for everybody's advice. I hope to be able to ride longer.
     
  10. SprocketGirl

    SprocketGirl spin... spin.. spin

    1,579
    173
    63
    Way to go! that is awesome, you will have it in no time at all.
     
  11. LarryM

    LarryM Eocyclist

    742
    15
    18
    jahanas,

    Congratulations on getting back up and riding again!

    After you feel comfortable with the balance and steering, and are ready to go on longer rides, you will want to adjust the seat height.

    The bike will be much easier to pedal. Check the instructions for proper seat height at this page from the League of American Bicyclists
    League of American Bicyclists * Tips and Techniques
    And click on the Bike Comfort link.

    edit: here is another description on basic settup from REI
    http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/bike+fit.html
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  12. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

    1,223
    0
    0
    You might not believe it but the hardest part is already over. You see the hardest part is to get the courage to get up and try. The object at rest is the hardest to get get moving. Now that you are moving, the rest will come. Congratulations see you can do it.
     
  13. TxCyclist

    TxCyclist Administrator Staff Member Admin Staff

    2,475
    11
    38
    Congrats on getting up and moving!