How To Ride A Two-Wheeler

Turning the handlebars to steer the bike under you is how you keep your balance. When you start to lean too far to one side, you steer the bike toward that side to keep it underneath you. The easiest way to learn how is like this:

Wear a helmet! Even if you never fall, it helps if you don't have to worry about hurting your head.

Put the seat where you can just reach the ground with your feet flat. Put the handlebars where you can reach them sitting straight up on the seat. Don't put the seatpost or handlebar stem up past the safety line! Make sure they are tight by trying to turn them while you stand in front of the bike, holding the front wheel between your legs.

Pick a spot that is flat, smooth, wide, and long enough.There are lots of good spots in school yards. Once you get started, a little downhill helps, and grass or dirt is softer to fall on than pavement. If your bike has only a coaster (pedal) brake, you won't have any brakes except your feet, so be sure you don't ride out a driveway into the street!

Sit on the seat with your feet on the ground. Turn the handlebars to see how they feel. Without moving forward (or backward!) pick up one foot, and balance on the seat until you start to fall toward the foot that is up: stop yourself from falling by putting your foot back down. Try this on both sides a few times, then try picking up both feet, and see how long you can balance. When this gets boring, start pushing the bike along with your feet on the ground. This makes it easy to stay up while you learn how to steer the bike under you to balance. You can use one foot at a time, like walking, or both together, like hopping. Be sure to sit on the seat — don't just walk on the ground — and look up where you are going, not down at the bike. Practice steering!

If the pedals are in the way, you can take them off. They are on tight, so use the right wrench, and be careful of smashing your fingers between the wrench and the bike. Hold the wrench all the way at the end, and try pushing down on it while you lean over the bike from the other side, so it doesn't roll away from you. The left pedal (on the left side when you sit on the bike) is left-hand threads, so turn it clockwise to loosen. The right pedal is right-hand thread so turn it counter-clockwise to loosen.

When you have learned to balance enough to glide a long way easily without touching either foot to the ground, put the pedals back on. They are marked "L" and "R" on the ends, for left and right. Be sure they are on tight. Now that you have your balance, you can learn to pedal easily. When you start, make sure one pedal is almost straight up, but just a little ways forward, so you can get a good first push. Have fun!

If you need help fitting the bike or taking off the pedals, you can bring it to the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op for free. Our number is 216 830 2667.

Created by: pgarver. Last Modification: Tuesday 11 of October, 2005 00:43:29 UTC by pgarver.
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