How to learn to ride a bicycle with dyspraxia?

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Stasiya
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How to learn to ride a bicycle with dyspraxia?

Postby Stasiya » Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:30 am

I have Dyspraxia, and up until now (I am 24) I still haven't learned how to ride a bicycle.
Since I have done numerous balance exercises, I can handle the balance part. But I still haven't managed how to successfully start and stop it.
What is a simple process of getting up the bike and starting to pedal is very complicated for me. I can successfully put one foot on the pedal but frequently fail when I have to put another. Either I hit the pedal wrong, or I miss it, or I can't find balance in the same moment while trying to put my feet on the pedals right.
As for the stopping part, I know how to brake. The problem is that when my bicycle stops and I have to put one leg down, my bike often falls down or I fall.
What exercises would help me to get that process right'
Has any of you found a way to do it? How? What did you find helpful?
If anyone has any useful information I would be more than thankful as I reaaally wish to finally be able to get on that bicycle and go wherever I set my mind to...
Thank you!

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Re: How to learn to ride a bicycle with dyspraxia?

Postby Tom fod » Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:38 pm

Hi Stasiya and welcome

It's hard to know what to suggest here. It's very much an individual thing and while there is theory and physics involved it has to be done until it becomes second nature. I can do it but would not be keen to ride on the roads in Britain as some drivers seem to have no regard for cyclists

I assume you have made every effort to ensure the bike is a good size for you so you can comfortably sit astride with your feet touching the ground?. You have to be going at a certain speed to balance so if you're too keen with the brakes as at very slow speeds balance becomes a lot more difficult. The other thing is conquering the fear of falling off and trying not to think too much about the difficulty involved.

Can anyone else here suggest any ideas?
Tom
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Auron
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Re: How to learn to ride a bicycle with dyspraxia?

Postby Auron » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:14 am

My experience in trying to learn new things, is mostly to create an environment where you can keep messing up until you do it right.

My mum and sister were on the case when I was young to teach me to ride. Luckily when you're little, a fall isn't as big a deal so I was OK flopping down helplessly over and over again (not that I enjoyed it) until I eventually got the hang of it.



One piece of advice is try and get yourself in a situation where its safe to fall over, safety gear, soft surface, light bicycle or whatever.

Another, and this might sound suicidal but my "lightbulb" moment happened for me thanks to a hill.

If you can find a gentle hill to roll down, you won't need to pedal to stay upright and that'll be one less physical job to have to mentally delegate and manage.
With a hill you just need to lift your feet and put them back on the ground at the bottom. It takes the pedalling out of the equation long enough for you to concentrate on the parts your having trouble with.

One trick I always do (from when I was young) is 'reset' the pedals to the same position all the time when stationary, i.e., whenever you stop, bring a pedal to the top of it;s cycle, and when you kick off all you'll have to do is step down on it to get the circle motion going, rather then having to quickly fee around for where either pedal is.

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Re: How to learn to ride a bicycle with dyspraxia?

Postby Simon » Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:58 am

Hi Stasiya

First of all I want to say that really want to help you but I don't know how well I can convert the movements into writing instructions .
Hope this post will be helpful

"Disclaimer" :)
Look for a safe environment (maybe somebody to walk beside you that can catch you)
Your bike has to be the right size and the seatpost not to high (maybe lower it a bit for practicing)

I don't know which leg you prefer to be on the pedal to start (and stop) en wich one to be on the ground, so maybe you have to switch left/right in my explanation.

To start: put your right pedal to the top of its cycle (like Auron said)
Your left foot is on the ground and your right foot on the high pedal resting
Then in one motion you push the right pedal down and use the counterforce of the pedal to lift yourself onto the saddle.

To stop: lift your but of the saddle with your right pedal/foot down and remove your left foot of the pedal en let it hover over the groundsurface, now gently apply the brake.
As soon as you come to a complete stop you can put your left foot down on the ground and go back to the start position. (Once you get the hang of it you don't have todo the hovering part anymore)

If something isn't clear, don't hesitate to ask
Please be careful
Good luck
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FiloZofo
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Re: How to learn to ride a bicycle with dyspraxia?

Postby FiloZofo » Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:03 pm

I learned to ride when I was 7/8.
I'm not hugely sure how I learned.
All I remember is the many times I fell off due to my dad just pushing me off expecting me to balance myself out, and all the crying due to him getting angry.
I know I used to practice almost everyday since I was around 2/3. Stabilisers were a big help for building confidence with using a bike.

When I have children, the strategy which I hope to try out, will be to lock the brakes (or get on of those wooden bikes) and make them learn balance without stabilisers once they've got confident enough, as movement of feet and balance are not easy feats.

You could try this. Adult stabilisers look silly, yes, but I've seen people in the UK with them, as they certainly look quite cool.
FiloZofo, son of Zofo the Philosopher.

Jim
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Re: How to learn to ride a bicycle with dyspraxia?

Postby Jim » Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:22 pm

This won't be very helpful but I taught myself how to ride a bicycle when I about four years old. I managed it completely on my own.

I rode round in small circles until I developed the balance and coordination, it becoming second nature. At one point I could even ride without holding the handle bars.

I think the fact that I did it alone without help or interference is maybe why I managed it relatively early and quickly.

I've always performed best when left to learn in my own way.
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R1ch8rD
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Re: How to learn to ride a bicycle with dyspraxia?

Postby R1ch8rD » Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:40 am

Jim wrote:This won't be very helpful but I taught myself how to ride a bicycle when I about four years old. I managed it completely on my own.

I rode round in small circles until I developed the balance and coordination, it becoming second nature. At one point I could even ride without holding the handle bars.

I think the fact that I did it alone without help or interference is maybe why I managed it relatively early and quickly.

I've always performed best when left to learn in my own way.


I think Jim makes a very good point here. I have found learning on my own in my own time much easier than trying to live up to the usually unreasonable expectations of non Dyspraxics trying to help.
Keep persisting with the bike and you'll find your own little ways of making it work.

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Re: How to learn to ride a bicycle with dyspraxia?

Postby otis_b_flywheel » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:57 pm

Hi all,
I think Simon has written a good set of instructions in his post. I cycle quite a lot (have toured through France and Italy and rode the Lands End to John o' Groats in 2011) but all too well I remember how long it took me to learn. I reached the age of 10 before I could "go bike" as the Scots put it, and it seems to me that for most neurotypical people, someone, usually a parent or elder brother / sister, plonks them in the saddle, gives them a push and off they go. Sounds so simple, doesn't it?
Not for me, nor for a lot of folk on this forum, I suspect. It was a case of ride 1 metre, fall off; ride 2 metres, fall off; ride 3 metres, fall off ... you get the jist. Fortunately I had a nice grassy garden to practice this in and also a patient friend who kept an eye on me throughout the process.
If you do conquer the difficulties and wish to ride on the road, learn to ride assertively and get training for this if you need it. There are some great courses out there and also some good guidance on the internet. I can understand the choice of not cycling on the road because it's dangerous, but the more people who take this option the more car drivers there will be, and the so the roads become more dangerous - ad infinitum
Power to the pedal :-)
Tim

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