By Nigel Wynn published
For some, learning to ride a bike was a breeze: they just got on and pedalled away. For the other 99.9 per cent of us, we've got the physical and mental scars to prove that conquering two wheels was something slightly more tricky to master.
We recently asked Cycling Weekly readers to recount their formative moments in the saddle, and you came up with some absolute gems.
Here we collect together some of the most memorable accounts of your experiences in learning to ride a bike.
How did you learn to ride a bike? Tell us in the comment box below.
I was five years old. My grandmother sat me and my bike at a top of hill. And let go. My grandfather was at the bottom to catch me. Unfortunately, when he did, I headbutted him in a delicate area. And that was the end of that outing.
My dad bought me my first proper bike, think I was about five or six and was left out on a large balcony to learn how to "handle" it as it was safer than the road. I proceeded to cycle off the balcony 12 feet into the neighbour’s garden and ended up in hospital for the night!
I learned to ride without any stabilisers at the age of four in 1976. My dad took me to a park in Belmont, Lancashire. The classic dad-holding-on-to-the-saddle and said he would stay holding on, then he let me go. It’s one of my very earliest memories as I still remember the fear/elation once I realised my dad had let me go.
In the early 70s on a Raleigh Chopper trying to emulate Evel Knievel by jumping over some of the other kids on the estate.
When I learned to ride I thought I was being clever and tried it with my eyes closed. I ended up riding over the neighbour’s prized roses and geraniums. He was not a happy chap!
My first bike was put together by my granddad from parts he had in his shed. He said he'd bring home some stabilisers after work, which he did – in the meantime I'd learned to ride it without. I can still remember the brief look of disappointment on his face.
I learned to ride from a very early age as you can see in the photo (above): my dad teaching me the correct brake feathering technique at the age of two.
My dad set me off in a big circle, which then continuously decreased in size till I crashed in the middle.
I was about five or six. I told my dad as he left for work that by the time he got home I'd be able to ride down the drive without stabilisers. I had a packet of Parma Violet sweets (big in the 70s) and I had one as a reward every time I made it all the way without falling off. And I could do it by the time he got home – he was so proud.
I was two years old and had a tricycle in 1975 that I used to ride around our cul-de-sac. My older sister who was six at the time had just got her first 'two-wheeler'. Apparently, I turned to my dad and said "I can ride a two-wheeler", grabbed the bike with no stabilisers and just rode it down the street and back. My dad wad flabbergasted!
Dad gave me a super-high folding bike to learn on... Unsurprisingly I fell and my balls hit the quick release of the folding joint. Of course, I got a smaller bike later and learned how to ride it.
The day I learned to ride a bike (aged seven), I saw my mate who had given me his old bike, and started to wave at him, completely forgetting what the brake levers were for. So as I hit the neighbour's garden wall I promptly catapulted over the handlebars and the wall. Thankfully, it didn't put me off cycling.
Raleigh Grifter... Rode it through a greenhouse... stayed on though.
I took all the accessories off my first bike (marginal gains) including the stabilisers, I rounded the first corner and fell sideways into a massive rose bush. They had to cut me out.
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Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, n exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.
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