Adults who can't ride bikes

(98 Posts)
LikeDylanInTheMovies Wed 21-Sep-16 12:03:45

To find it unusual when adults have never learned to ride a bike? (Health/disability isdues aside)?

I was out for a walk with a friend and his baby daughter. The path also doubles as a cycle path and several people wizzed past with toddlers on bike seats. 'Another few years and they'll be you and [baby name] I commented.

He then sheepishly admitted that he couldn't ride a bike. He'd never learned as a kid as he'd never been interested. His older brother's hand me down bike had been kept for him, but he'd never shown any interest and his parents never forced the issue.

He's quite sporty and active and has been since he was a kid, so I was slightly surprised, more so that his parents didn't encourage him more. Bombing around with your mates seems such a big part of growing up and I didn't know anyone who couldn't ride a bike even if they didn't own one themselves or ride that often.

Now he has a daughter he regrets not learning as he won't be able to teach his daughter. So odds are it will fall to me to teach her how to ride or teach him first.

Out of interest, would an adult need to 'learn' to ride a bike in the way a child needs to work on their balance, confidence and coordination? Or would a reasonably competent and fit adult be able to just hop on the bike and pedal away despite not learning as a nipper?

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Wed 21-Sep-16 12:06:11

I can't ride a bike.

I never had one as a child, although a both my brothers did, it was important for them to learn as they are boys apparently, by the time I was able to afford one myself I felt like too much of a twat to learn at that age.

It didn't stop me teaching my kids though.

melibu84 Wed 21-Sep-16 12:07:24

I have never learned to ride a bike, and the same for my sister. We had bikes with stabilisers when we were kids, but stopped using them from early on as we weren't very active. We were more interested in reading and other sedentary activities (we were nerds lol). My sister recently started learning - she found someone nearby doing lessons for adults. As far as I know, it sounds like you need to learn the same way as a child. It's a skill that's not been developed, so it's highly unlikely he'll be able to just jump on a bike and ride off into the sunset.

CruCru Wed 21-Sep-16 12:12:42

I didn't learn until I was ten (as that was when I got a bike). If you didn't have a bike, there would be no way to learn.

Yes - you would have to learn in the same way a child would. In fact, it may take longer as adults tend to be more frightened of falling off.

BorpBorpBorp Wed 21-Sep-16 12:12:54

I didn't learn to ride a bike as a child. I wish I had. It would have given me a huge amount of freedom as a teenager, but by that point I was too self conscious to learn to ride. I've ridden a couple of times as an adult and I could learn now if I wanted to, but don't have a need to at the moment.

RunningLulu Wed 21-Sep-16 12:16:02

I never learned as a child, but am learning now. Dad was a prick and refused to buy a bike until my brother was old enough to use them. So by then I was 16 and far too embarrassed to learn.

YoungBritishPissArtist Wed 21-Sep-16 12:16:30

Possible reasons for adults not learning would be parents having no money or inclination to buy a bike or growing up in inner city, i.e. no garden or safe area to be taught.

SimonLeBonOnAndOn Wed 21-Sep-16 12:17:31

My mum can't ride a bike. Her family couldn't afford one.
My BIL can't either, never been interested.

RunningLulu Wed 21-Sep-16 12:18:31

Crucru - it actually takes most adults less time to learn as they have a better sense of balance than kids. My instructor says most of his adult students just need 1 two hour session and then they're off. As I have dyslexia, however, it's taking me a bit longer.

LikeDylanInTheMovies Wed 21-Sep-16 12:20:44

you would have to learn in the same way a child would. In fact, it may take longer as adults tend to be more frightened of falling off

Oh great, I can say goodbye to Saturday afternoons in 2019 then.

It didn't stop me teaching my kids though
That's impressive, I don't know how to knit, so I can't imagine teaching anyone to do something I can't. Was it hard?

RebelRogue Wed 21-Sep-16 12:21:58

I never learned to ride a bike. Never had one,and when i asked for one i was told i'm too fat for it(same for roller skates etc.). As an adult I don't want to learn anymore and my balance is pretty shit anyways. Dd has a bike with stabilisers and I helped her learn how to use it. I'll teach her use it without as well, I just won't go riding with her and just walk instead.

SquirrelPaws Wed 21-Sep-16 12:22:07

I can't ride a bike, I just don't have the balance. I had one as a kid and was fine with stabilisers on, but once I decided I was too old for stabilisers I just couldn't do it. I was desperate to do my cycling proficiency with the rest of my class, and a family friend took me out into the countryside and tried and tried to get me to do it - he's the kindest, most patient man, and big and strong enough to hold me upright, which my mum wasn't, but even he couldn't overcome my clumsiness. There are not many things I've put my mind to and failed, I'm pretty determined when I want to achieve something, but balancing on 2 wheels defeated me.

EssentialHummus Wed 21-Sep-16 12:22:10

I grew up in Johannesburg and was 10 before I learnt to ride - and only then because we had a garden I could do laps in. Nowhere safe to ride, basically.

Canyouforgiveher Wed 21-Sep-16 12:22:45

We didn't teach 2 of ours until they were 12- we just forgot really as we are not a big biking family. They learned in a couple of sessions.

They recently volunteered at week long thing teaching children and adults with disabilities to ride bikes. The participants were all riding by themselves at the end of a week (90 minute sessions). Mostly kids but one 30 year old man who was thrilled.

LikeDylanInTheMovies Wed 21-Sep-16 12:23:31

young British neither applies in the case of my friend.

Again, health/disability/finance issues aside, has anyone consciously not taught theor child how to ride a bike?

BorpBorpBorp Wed 21-Sep-16 12:26:16

Just to add - when I tried out a friend's bike as an adult, I did pick it up quite quickly. I don't think it would take as long for an adult as for a child, because able bodied adults already have good gross motor skills.

Hygellig Wed 21-Sep-16 12:26:37

My dad only learned to ride a bike as can adult. He didn't have one growing up as he lived in a very hilly city in a country with less of a cycling culture. I think it is much easier to learn as a child.

Bountybarsyuk Wed 21-Sep-16 12:29:03

I learned as a child, but hate riding a bike as an adult, I don't feel confident at all, just wobbly. Not everyone is a natural bike-rider although on cycle only paths I think I'd be ok, it's the traffic I hate (and then wobble!)

RhodaBorrocks Wed 21-Sep-16 12:33:36

I've just got back on a bike after 20 years. I was a bit wobbly at first, but after 10 minutes it all came flooding back.

You can now get bicycle instructors to teach you to ride. They are often great for kids with SEND who want to learn.

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Wed 21-Sep-16 12:37:25

It wasn't too hard to teach them. I know how your supposed to do it so could give advice to them.

Push them on the bike, let them go and shout stuff at them was my method, it worked too grin

givemushypeasachance Wed 21-Sep-16 12:38:30

How to teach an adult to ride a bike from CTC

givemushypeasachance Wed 21-Sep-16 12:43:06

I'd flag up with your friend, should you decide to teach him, that there is a difference between being able to physically ride a bike, and cycling around on the roads. If he wants to accompany his daughter in the park and on cycle paths it's a pretty quick thing to learn, but if he wants to venture out on roads in a busy town/city then he might want to consider additional formal lessons with someone qualified to teach him about road position, defensive cycling and so on.

NotCitrus Wed 21-Sep-16 12:47:47

I can ride a bike, but never do on roads - I can't turn my head, can't hear, and can't lift a hand to signal. So outside of cycle paths and quiet residential roads, I've never done it.

I have a bike for ds but he doesn't want to learn and I can't physically do the running back and forth up the road which my dad did with me when I was 10 - he never took stabilisers off previously.

Chrisinthemorning Wed 21-Sep-16 12:52:22

I can't ride a bike. My Dad can't so never taught me. My mum can but wasn't into doing outside stuff with me. We also live in a very hilly area.
The only time it bothers me is places like Centreparcs but I have enjoyed adult tricycles at such places. It isn't an essential life skill like swimming.
DS is 4 and I really want him to learn though so DH is teaching him. At the moment he has a bike with the pedals off and we're working on balance. He's getting it I think.

doleritedinosaur Wed 21-Sep-16 12:54:54

My family never had the money to give me a bike. I was 11 when given one by a neighbour but was too old plus my balance is appalling.

Friends tried to teach me a few years ago but I struggled a lot.

It's not going to stop me teaching DS though. My OH can't ride a bike either as his family didn't bother.

But will get a small bike for DS with stabilisers & make sure he knows how to ride as I want him to have the option to know how to ride.

It is common though, to not know.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now