Yes, You Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle Now! – Learning to Ride Safely in the Era of COVID-19
Anecdotal reports say that bike sales are “through the roof” since the various states have told their citizens to stay indoors except for grocery shopping and exercise. Wenzel Coaching has received increasing numbers of Learn-to-Ride lesson inquiries from people who want the outlet of cycling added to their exercise routines and wonder if we are teaching during shelter-in-place. If your state allows people to meet outdoors in groups of two or more, with social distancing, the answer is, “Yes!”
Wenzel Coach Landi Saifer has been teaching Learn-to-Ride clients in Southern California for several years. She explains that certain categories of clients can safely be serviced while obeying new requirements: “When the rider is an adult, I don’t plan to hold on to the back of the bike anyway, making social distancing less of a challenge.”
Saifer finds that 100% of adult learn-to-ride clients are afraid (whether of falling and getting hurt or looking foolish or something else), so she spends significant time having them do ‘balance tests’ – standing on one foot and then the other with their weight in various positions over their foot while she talks to them and teaches them some basic facts about cycling to help ease their anxiety. “Now I wear a mask and have them wear one, too, and we stand outside of the six foot minimum during those drills.”
For most adult learners, it isn’t necessary for the instructor to touch the bicycle at all. “I get them on the bike, sitting on the saddle and scooting as though they had no pedals. If they can coast a bit, that is great because the next thing I do is have them put the brakes on, scoot, coast, brake so that they gain confidence in stopping themselves and learn to use the brakes. We then advance to putting one foot on the pedal and pushing off with the stronger leg (which we assessed during the balance test). I never have to touch them and we can stay six feet apart or more and we both wear masks. By the last 30 minutes, they are having fun, excited and feeling confident and that is when we put it all together with pedaling. I have them brake regularly so that they know that they can stop themselves before running into something – all the while giving them four to six tips about bikes and cycling/physiology/eating so that they are inspired about having learned something new.”
So, yes, Wenzel Coaches are available and enthusiastic to help new riders get comfortable on bikes, and we can do it in such a way that you should feel comfortable about your health as well!
Coach Landi Saifer works with beginning and returning riders to learn the joy and confidence of riding the bike. She also helps those looking to take their riding a step further to organized training and riding events such as gran fondos, centuries, and fun rides. Learn about our Learn-to-Ride lessons.