You never forget how to ride a bike.
But for others, it may not be that simple. For some, there's some fear and anxiety about riding a bike. Let's take a look at "who" some of those people might be.
The Overweight Individual
The overweight person is afraid that their overly large bottom will swallow the saddle, and that can't be comfortable. Or that their thighs will rub together like sandpaper, leaving red uncomfortable patches. Or that people will look at them like they have no business riding a bike. Or, that they will literally die while trying to ride a bike. To them, I say, "Get out and ride anyway!" I am always impressed by people who make an effort to live a happy healthy active life, regardless of size. Size is not an indicator of fitness. It's just the body we live in. There are ways around those uncomfortable thoughts. You can get a larger softer saddle, bike shorts to prevent chafing, and even recumbent bikes may be a good option for the overweight person. You have to start somewhere, so it might as well be on your bike today!
The Individual with Bad Knees
Biking has been shown to actually help bad knees because it strengthens the muscles surrounding the knee joint. People with bad knees can often ride a bike painlessly, yet cannot walk a mile without pain. If biking makes your knees creak with pain, try adjusting your bike. Raise your saddle to the point where your knee is "slightly" bent, but doesn't feel overly stretched at the bottom of your pedal stroke. Then, check to make sure that your knees do not extend beyond your toes when your foot is at the "3 o'clock" position. If your knees extend beyond your toes, this would give you pain at the front of your kneecap. Move your saddle back until you can just see your toes. A recumbent bike is an excellent option for the person with bad knees because it puts less downward pressure on the kneecap. Finally, a strength training program which includes squats, leg extensions, straight leg raises and hamstring curls will help improve the strength of the knee joint. A knee replacement may be necessary at some point, if the joint has deteriorated, but these exercises can not only delay surgery, but will speed in the recovery process if exercises are done prior.
The Individual with Bad Balance
Bad balance can come from numerous problems, including a general lack of strength, disease such as Parkinson's, or a combination of both; think of the person who just underwent cancer treatment, and is now weak and unsteady. The person with bad balance may be able to ride a bike, and this determination should be done on a case by case basis. It may be helpful to have a professional help assess the situation before putting an unsteady person on an outdoor bike. Individuals with bad balance can actually improve their balance by riding a stationary bike. There are even stationary bikes out there that sway and move side to side. General movement, and low intensity aerobic exercise can improve the center of the brain that affects balance. If an individual with bad balance still wants to get out and ride, I might suggest finding a partner to ride a tandem bike. This will enable the person to actually be outdoors riding, but with the added stability of a partner. On the bike, speed is your friend. If you go too slow, your movements on the bike are magnified and balance is made worse, so try to pick up your pace and keep your feet moving. It doesn't have to be fast, but it should be steady.
Here's your workouts. Now, get out and ride!