Reader Resources

If you’re an adult who wants to learn to ride a bike, you’ve come to the right place. This is the companion site to Like Riding a Bike: On Learning as an Adult. (What?!?  You haven’t read it yet? Buy it here.)  Below, find a bicycling teacher, learn how to teach yourself how to ride a bike, and learn more about the facts in the book.

Find a Teacher

  • The League of American Bicyclist’s “Find It” tool.  (If you’re looking for instructors, just uncheck all the other boxes.)

Teach Yourself

The Bicycle Riding School has detailed self-teaching instructions available for free on their website.

Learn More

Curious about where I got some of the info I share in the book? Here’s the notes section, with links.

  • My information on the physics of bicycling comes from“Tired of quantum electrodynamics, Brillouin zones, Regge poles? Try this old,unsolved problem in dynamics—how does a bike work?”,an article in Physics Today, April 1970, by David E.H. Jones. This is about as charming as physics can get—Jones designs three different bicycles before he finds one that he actually can’t ride. The vintage photos of him riding these odd looking bikes are worth seeking out on their own.
  • The number of skiers in the United States comes from a SnowSports Industries America fact sheet, with information from the 2008/2009 season. There were 10.9 million alpine skiers, which roughly works out to about 4% of the U.S. population, which according to the U.S. Census Bureau now stands at just around 308 million. I could have made that number higher if I included the 7.4 million snowboarders, and 4.2 million cross-country skiers, who of course also add to the perception that everyone is comfortable on the snow in a ski town like Aspen.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration commissioned the National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes & Behaviors, conducted by the Gallup Organization in 2002. It didn’t specifically ask about cycling know-how, but the survey did ask people who said they never bicycled in the summer months, or at all in the past 30 days, for the primary reason why they didn’t ride. (This was a large number, by the way, nearly three-quarters of all adults were non-bicycle riders.) Only 3% said that it was because they didn’t know how to ride. The way I arrived at the figure of “roughly 7 million” adults in the US who don’t know how to ride a bike, was, I admit, statistically ugly. The NHTSA survey sample was adults age 16 and over, and while it’s possible to get US Census data in that age range, it’s easier to get it for adults age 18 and older. There are about 227 million adults age 18 and over in the U.S., and so 3% is around 7 million.Although I blithely allude to the fact that this number doesn’t count what I call “the liars”, there could be more adults without riding skills among the 25% who said their primary reason for not riding was because they didn’t want to or didn’t need to, the 5% who said they preferred other transportation and the 7% who did not give a specific reason.

Part II.

  • The story about the trend on adult learners ran on the New York Times City blog, June 2, 2009, For Adult Learners, Bike Riding Isn’t as Easy as It Looks. In it, reporter Sewell Chan confesses that he did not learn to ride a bike until he was 19.
  • Start at Any Age, by Emma Brown, ran in the Boston Globe, June 30th, 2008. The web version includes video of adults learning how to ride.
  • Although Feeling Good (Harper 1999) and The Feeling Good Handbook (Plume 1999) by David D. Burns M.D. are primarily designed to help people with depression, the advice is helpful for anyone trying to overcome a mental block.
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