How to Ride a Bike: 3 Steps – Retrospec

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Girl on yellow Retrospec Beaumont Step Through riding through park

You know the old saying, “it’s like riding a bike”? It refers to the strange fact that bike-riding is a skill that’s never forgotten once learned. Learning how to ride is worth a lifetime of memories, yet doesn’t take a ton of time to pick up. Bikes are pretty intuitive by design, and once you get rolling, it’s hard to stop.

Biking is what you make it -a relaxing routine, challenging workout, or lively cruise through town.

The benefits that come along with learning how to ride a bicycle as an adult or a child are truly limitless, but the steps to doing so are simple. We’re here to help you every pedal push of the way, so let’s get rolling.

Why Should You Learn to Bike?

We could go on forever here, but we’ll cut to the chase. Biking has been shown to improve your mental and physical health. Whether you prefer slow and scenic rolls or fast-paced pedaling, any style of bike riding can help with weight loss and muscle gain while easing pressure on your joints.

Biking can also lower your stress levels by promoting endorphin production. Unwinding on your bike or going for an intense, heart-pumping ride is our personal favorite mood booster. Trust us, your body and mind will thank you.

Now that we’ve covered the benefits, let’s go over the steps. Ready to roll?

Girl and guy riding Retrospec Kinney on beach bike path

Step 1: Beginning to Brake and Balance

Our first step on the list is crucial to safe riding: braking and balancing. Balancing might feel unusual at first, but once you get used to it, the rest will follow naturally. If you’re teaching a child how to ride a bike, you can also check out our kids’ balance bikes and kids’ bikes with training wheels.

Let’s get started!

Braking It Down (Get It?)

Let’s take a closer look at how to master braking and balancing:

  1. Safety first! Put on your bike helmet. Make sure it’s nice and snug on your head. We cannot stress enough how important it is to always wear a helmet while riding, whether you’re going down the block or up a mountain.

  1. Now for a proper bike fitting! Hold the bike in a stopped position and swing one leg over the seat. Adjust the seat height to fit your height, then sit on the bike with both toes touching the ground. Check out our bicycle sizing guide here.

  1. Get a feel for the bike. Roll forward and backward slowly with your feet in contact with the ground to guide you. Start small and tackle a few feet at a time.

  1. Start using your brakes. Try lifting your feet off the ground and onto the pedals. Putting one foot on the ground, take the other foot and place it on the pedal. Start pedaling by swiftly pushing forward with the foot that is higher up and then the other to rotate the wheels in a clock position.

Once you’re up and almost off, engage the hand brakes on your handlebars or by pedaling backwards if your bike has coaster brakes. Practice this in short bursts until you’re able to balance and brake consistently.

Repeat these steps as often as you need to get the hang of them. Become well acquainted with your front brakes or coaster brakes in case you ever feel yourself losing balance. If you do start tipping over, brake and plant your foot in whichever direction you’re tipping. Your balance should start to improve after just a few rounds of practice. On average, it will take an adult two to three days to learn how to balance.

Now that we’ve got balance down, let’s move… on to step two.

Guy riding Retrospec Kinney City Bike on beach path

Step 2: More Movement

Good news: maintaining balance is by far the most challenging part of learning how to ride a bike and the rest should be a breeze! What’s “the rest,” you ask? Whether your goal is to cruise down the coast or just down your driveway, there are a few exercises you can do to perfect your coordination and confidence on two wheels.

Learning the Ropes

Here are some ways you can increase your confidence and dexterity:

  1. Switch it up with a new location. Find an empty, level, and quiet place such as a park, a parking lot, or neighborhood to practice distance, handling, and maneuvering. With fewer distractions, you can ride freely and without any added pressure.

  1. Take turns taking turns. Now that you can cruise a straight line, throw in some sharp and wide turns. This will help prepare you for the different types of terrain and routes you’ll be exploring. Eventually, unexpected turns or forks in the road will be no match for you!

  1. Speed up, slow down, repeat. Learning how to control your speed will keep you safe, so spend time practicing speeding up and slowing down in a wide, open area away from traffic. You can also bike behind or next to a buddy and attempt to match their pace.

Once you’ve mastered the movement phase, you should feel extremely confident and proud of yourself. There’s only one thing left to do now: practice!

Girl riding Retrospec Chatham Beach Cruiser on bike path in front of ocean

Step 3: Practice Makes Permanent

Nobody’s perfect, which is why we aren’t huge fans of the phrase, “practice makes perfect.” It doesn’t always, but in most cases, practice will help you master skills that will stick with you forever.

Practice, practice, practice until riding feels intuitive. Take every opportunity to ride in your free time, with friends, and in place of driving. Even in the practicing phase, you’ll still reap the benefits of riding: improved physical and mental health, exercise, and fun.

Now that you’re a pro, you deserve a bike that celebrates your milestone and reflects your riding style. Here’s how to find the perfect bike for you.

At Retrospec, we believe your bike should be an extension of yourself. It’s not just a bike — it’s something that speaks to your personality and style.

You should be proud of everything you have accomplished, and your bike should say the same. Peep our bike selection here, and pick the pair of wheels that best compliments you.

We’ll catch you on the trails. 👋