Learn to ride

a woman stands over a bike

It's never to late to learn to ride a bike. Our bike instructors can give you a private lesson to get you going in no time. Send us an email at bicycle@colorado.edu to set up a time. We can even set you up with an adult-sized balance bike, that is a bike without pedals, to practice on. This service is for CU students, faculty, and staff.

If you are learning to ride on your own, try to find a bike that you can straddle without the top tube pressing against you. When learning to ride make sure to lower the seat so that you can put both feet on the ground while sitting on the saddle. Make sure you can easily reach the handlebars and brake levers.

When learning to ride, it's best to find a nice quiet area, an empty parking or large court can work well.

Practice getting on and off

To get on, lean the bike toward you while pulling the brake levers so that it stays still. Pull the brake levers again when dismounting.

Get used to the brakes

Next, walk the bike along side you and practice stopping it by applying even pressure to the brakes.

Learn to glide

It's extremely difficult to balance a bike while it's standing still. When it gets moving, it's a piece of cake. Kids often learn how to glide with bikes that have no pedals. If you can, remove the pedals from your bike.

You can learn to glide with the pedals on, but you'll need to make sure that your feet are out to the side and away from the pedals. And you'll need to make sure to stop with the brakes, not your feet. Even at a slow speed, stopping with your foot can be dangerous as all your body weight and momentum will pull the pedal into your leg that is braced on the ground. So stop with your brakes and then use your feet to balance as you come to a stop.

Push off gently and practice gliding with your feet up until you can glide for about three seconds without your feet touching down.

Look where you want to go

Look ahead where you want to go, not at the objects you are trying to avoid. Practice this while gliding and braking.


A woman stands with one foot on a pedal in the 2 o'clock position

Start with one foot on the ground and opposite at the 2 o'clock position.

Push down on the pedal and lift your other foot up to its pedal. The faster you get going, the easier it is to balance. Be ready to take your feet off the pedals and move them out to the side when you come to a stop. Remember to stop with your brakes, not your feet.

Try pedaling in circles and infinity loops. As you get the hang of it, you can raise your seat up so that there is only a slight bend in your leg when it is fully extended while pedaling.

Congratulations, you are riding a bike!!!