Friday, July 18, 2008

Adults Learning to Ride

I can't decide if this is depressing or inspiring.  What do you think?


  1. I think it's absolutely brilliant.

    Ten years ago, the healthcare industry released dozens of reports about "people approaching midlife" who had difficulty incorporating exercise and fitness into their lives because they hadn't been taught to do so as children. Bikes-as-Transportation would surely suffer as a result of that problem, too, and this woman has actively chosen to do something about it.

    It's a fabulous niche market -- building a business around filling an actual need (rather than developing and marketing a need in order to sell a solution). She's providing a space where people are able to learn new skills among their peers, and adding to the diversity that Bike Culture needs in order to become more widespread in America.


  2. Yeah, I'm leaning that way, too, now. For a moment, I got depressed trying to imagine these people's childhoods without learning to ride a bike. It's so fundamental to childhood in my view that just the thought of growing up without riding a bike got me wondering about people's values and priorities. I can't think of anyone I know who learned to ride a bike as a child who doesn't still ride as an adult. But super-kudos to people who, as adults, decide "hey, I'm going to change that!" That's awesome. I'm not depressed anymore.

  3. We rented bikes on Martha's Vineyard we had to sign a legal statement that we knew how to ride them. Apparently that's a particular problem with tourists. I was dumbfounded. Before that I couldn't imagine not knowing how to ride!

  4. @Thom,

    Fundamental for childhood in some cases, but not necessarily in others. Example: some of my cousins grew up deep in the country. They had horses, and learned to ride ponies as wee tykes. When they moved to the suburbs I was amazed that I had to teach them to ride bikes as tweens, but they were equally stupefied that I couldn't ride a horse by myself.

  5. I completely see your point. I grew up in the country, too, and learned to ride first bikes and then horses. Aside from wearing helmets and trying not to fall off, I never found much in common between the two, so I can see how the skills might not transfer so well.

    Incidentally, I think everyone should know how to ride a horse, too!

  6. It's fantastic. Anytime more people turn to cycling as aregular form of transportation, I think we're doing well. My own father is 59, and never really ridden a bike, but recently he's been dropping hints that he wants me to help him find one that suits him. Maybe I'll build him one for his birthday. I think the next step on our end would be to convince the holier-than-thou urban hipster cyclists not to shun these people or make them feel silly. Their bikes may not be fixed gear, or whatever else, but they are to be applauded.

    It's awesome

  7. Giuseppe, you raise a really fantastic point. I think as the "bicycling community" becomes more diverse, we're going to see some growing pains.

    I watched a middle-aged couple cruise through a stop sign today, totally oblivious to the fact that they needed to stop, too. They didn't even turn their heads and look around as they blew through a busy four-way stop. Drivers see these people and say "cyclists don't respect the rules of the road" and cyclists come back with "drivers don't respect cyclists." In the meantime, though, people who ride and who don't know the rules and don't consider themselves "cyclists" are left out of the conversation.

    The broader cycling community has to embrace these riders, rather than being embarassed by them, or blaming cars and drivers without acknowledging the need for better education for new riders.