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Family Fun

Pedal Perfection

Bicycling is a sport the whole family can enjoy. It’s also a practical exercise that can take you to nearby shops, schools and parks – or around the world!

Teach yourself or your child to ride a bike with confidence and you’ll all have plenty of outdoor fun and exercise. Start with a recreation or “comfort” bike before moving on to mountain or racing bikes. There are many ways to learn to pedal efficiently; this is our favorite technique.

Ready, Set, Go
Choose and adjust the bike
Make sure the overall bike height is correct
The rider should be able to stand over the top tube with both feet planted on the ground
•  There should be at least 1” of clearance between the body and the top tube for both
    men, women and children on straight tubes
      Allow for 2” - 4”of clearance on sloping tubes
•  The rider should wear the same shoes they intend to ride in when checking the bike
•  Adjust the seat height
      The rider should be in an almost fully upright sitting position with a slight bend in
       the elbows while griping the handlebar
      There should be some bend in the knee at the bottom of the pedaling motion

Stay safe
Wear safety gear
•  Helmets should be worn at all times, no matter the age of the rider
      Keep the helmet level on the head
      Buy a new helmet after an impact
      Check for correct fit especially after a haircut
•  Young children should wear knee and elbow pads to protect during falls
•  Wear bright clothes when riding near traffic

Find a safe place to practice
•  Whether you practice in a driveway, park path, playground, empty parking lot, look
   for these essentials:
      Large area
      Flat, even surface
      Even pavement

Review riding rules
•  Let someone know you are riding if going alone
•  Stay in control of the bike
•  Stay a safe distance from other bikes
•  Let pedestrians know you are approaching (remember, pedestrians have the
   right of way)
•  Look both ways at driveways, intersections, gates
•  Keep to the right on any path

Scoot, coast, pedal
Start with scooting then coasting
•  Lower the seat a few inches so feet easily touch the ground
•  Remove the pedals so they aren’t in the way
•  Scoot the bike with feet touching the ground until comfortable
•  Lift feet and coast for 5-10 seconds, then increase time and distance
•  Add turns while coasting
•  Use feet to stop the bike
•  Evaluate the rider before reattaching the pedals.
      Rider should be able to:
•  Look where they’re going (rather than down at the bike)
•  Coast the bike with their feet up
•  Make turns while coasting
•  Pedaling skills
      Start moving the bike from a stopped position
      Stand over the bike with one foot on the ground and the other on the pedal
      at the 2 o’clock position
      Push down on the pedal and then use the other pedal
      Stop anytime by putting the feet on the ground
      Learn to turn with large circles then add figure 8’s
•  Draw chalk lines or place soft leaves to create a pattern to follow
•  Start braking gently with foot coaster brakes
      Raise the seat to the standard height (see beginning of article)
      Practice slow stops without wobbling
      Use hand brakes for racing bikes, not beginners
•  Get out and enjoy your ride. The more often you ride, the more confidence
    you’ll have.

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