Learn to Ride a Bicycle,

you’ll not regret it…….if you live. -Mark Twain

I’ve always loved the idea of riding a bicycle. You’re moving fast, the wind is rushing in your face. You feel invincible. In control, but so vulnerable to almost any outside force. The thing is…I never quite got past the training wheels phase as a kid.

Okay, now that you got all the laughs out, let’s continue.

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Now that I’m older, it’s become sort of an obsession of mine. How is it possible that 5 year olds can get the hang of this and I can’t? I consider it a life skill that I need to master. It’s somewhere between becoming fluent in another language and learning how to make an entire meal from scratch, but it’s on the list.

That’s why I was so excited to see this awesome video by Minute Physics explaining how a bikes stay up. I’ve always assumed that it was the rider who did all the hard work of learning to balance themselves on the moving wheels, but it turns out that, once you get up enough speed, the bike naturally keeps itself up. The front wheel makes micro-adjustments and steers into the direction that the bike leans as it goes along and stays upright as long as it doesn’t begin to slow down too much. That’s totally counter-intuitive (at least for me), but it’s pretty cool nonetheless.

To be honest, I do have a handle on the basic mechanics of how to ride. With the help of my awesome local bike advocacy organization, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, I’ve pretty much mastered staying upright and coasting along. I’m just terrified of actually using the bike among other people. The thought of using it as transportation, even on short trips in the neighborhood, is nerve-wrecking. In short, I need much more practice, and perhaps a riding buddy or two to keep me motivated.

Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to take on longer rides. I just read about a guy that once rode his bike from Oregon to South America. I don’t think that I’m going to ever get to the point where that sounds like a good idea, but I’d like to be able to imagine that I could do it, if I wanted to.

I’m also thinking of buying a folding bike to minimize the hassle of getting it back and forth to my practice sessions in the park and on biking trails. (Have you ever tried to get a full-sized bike into the back of a small car? I have. It’s not fun.)

Here are the folding bikes that I’m considering:

1. Mini Folding Bike

2. Dahon Vybe C7A

3. Citizen Bike – Barcelona 

4. Tern Link C7

5. Speck Folding Bike

If I do decide to purchase one (hopefully used and at a decent discount…), I’ll be sure to report back. Hopefully, I’ll be like this kid in the end…

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