Sunday, April 28, 2013

Learning to ride a bike

Uneasy riders: Adults trying to get steady on 2 wheels is the title of a front page article in today's Washington Post (with a different online title). Many adults never learned to ride a bike. Now that cycling has become more popular, many of those adults are signing up for "learn to ride" classes. This spring WABA is holding 14 very popular adult-only Learn to Ride classes in DC, Arlington, and Alexandria. Similar classes are also offered at local REI stores.

The technique used involves removing the pedals and lowering the seat so that students can gradually learn to balance and steer the bike. Once balance is learned, one and then both pedals are replaced. It takes a surprisingly short amount of time for adults to learn this skill that can be used throughout their lives.
Photo: Washington Post
The instructors talk about the glow that comes over the faces of adults who finally break through, vanquishing a secret fear that has dogged them since grade school. Hoagland had a woman burst into tears the previous week at an Arlington class. Another student bought his training bike as soon the session was over.

“It’s the best part of my job,” Hoagland said.

Anthony Mansell, 25, a climate change activist who lives near U Street in Northwest Washington, grew up in a rural part of Wales where he never learned to ride.

“It’s such an oddly good feeling,” he said, beaming, as he pedaled slowly by. “It’s not been fun to dread the day someone says ‘Let’s go on a bike ride.’ ”

Mansell plans to sign up for Capital Bikeshare, which allows users to check out bicycles from stations around the region. Several students mentioned the wildly popular program (it passed 4 million rides earlier this week), as well as other spokes of the bicycle boom that has enveloped Washington in the past decade. The District has gone from three miles of dedicated bike lanes in 2001 to 56 miles today. The percentage of workers commuting by bike has tripled in that time.
With several FABB members trained as League of American Bicyclist Cycling Instructors (LCI) I'm hoping similar classes can be offered here in Fairfax in the near future. Private lessons are currently available.

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  Bike to Work Day 2015 at Wiehle Station

  Transportation choices

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