Want to learn to ride a bike, mama? It’s not too late! Here’s everything you need to know about learning how to ride a bike in Singapore… at any age
Have you met me? I was officially the last person on the planet who didn’t know how to ride a bicycle. Yes…tragic and unbelievable as that may sound, it was true. But lucky for me, all that changed a few weeks ago when I found Coach Kenneth Wee (aka Coach K) at the Singapore Bike School – Singapore’s only dedicated bicycle education school offering cycling lessons for all ages and all levels.
What I had presumed to be an extremely embarrassing experience for me (picture a 36-year-old mom trying to balance and pedal unsuccessfully for the umpteenth time in her life), turned into a truly gratifying experience thanks to Coach K’s infinite patience and encouragement.
“Don’t worry”, he said, “I’ve taught everyone from the ages of 6 to 69, so you certainly are not the first or the last adult that I would be teaching”. Seriously, this man has to be the most patient male I have ever seen, and he could give any ‘best mom on the planet’ a run for her money when it comes to patiently explaining the same thing for the 100th time!
Coach K and his team also teach mountain biking and regularly train avid cyclists for their next race. In a nutshell, they are your guys for any type of bike training! And he couldn’t make things any easier for bike newbies either – all it takes is two sessions of 90mins each (priced at $280 in total + $10 for bike rental), and you’ll be cycling solo in no time! Simply meet him at the East Coast Safety and Recreation Park dressed in suitable attire and flat shoes. I trained without a helmet, but if you are particular, Coach K advises to bring your own helmet for hygiene reasons.
Coach K started me off on a ‘pedal-less’ bike (yes, similar to those balance bikes that toddlers use!), just getting comfortable with the weight and the size of the bicycle, adjusting the seat and learning how to use the brakes properly. Alarm bells went off in my head – where are the training wheels?!
Next he had me sit on the bike and balance with one foot on the ground. A little time went by, and before I realised it, he was putting a pedal on. Mini-graduation! We trained for about half an hour or so, balancing with one foot on the pedal, and the other on the ground, going over what is the right starting position and how to ‘kick off’ successfully. Before long, it was time for the second pedal and after a couple of jerky starts, both feet were on the pedals and I didn’t fall straight onto the ground! I was actually riding on my own!
It is such a euphoric feeling not going face down immediately – mind you, Coach K assures me that it is not a matter of if I crash, but when I crash, because every bonafide cyclist must fall to the ground at least once to earn their bragging rights. And that was pretty much the end of the first class – well timed in my opinion, because you do come off exhausted, more mentally than physically, but it’s a great feeling to end on a high note.
The second class is usually scheduled 48 hours later, and this time, after practicing in the recreation park for a half hour or so, you get to ride with real people! So after a little practice, we headed out along the bike path. If you’ve been to East Coast Park, you’ll know that the path is pretty much a straight one, thankfully. Of course there were a few minor glitches along the way, but I didn’t cycle into anyone or fall off, either! And once I started relaxing and taking in the beautiful scenery, I wanted to kick myself for not having learnt how to ride a bike much earlier. It’s the perfect exercise and you can do it solo!
Luckily Coach K had recorded the momentous occasion on video, as I needed proof to show my 8-year-old boys (bike riding pros, of course), that ‘Even Mommy can ride a bike now’. I think I should tell you that on the morning of the first lesson, one of my boys nonchalantly asked “Why are you learning to ride a bike? You’re just going to fall straight off!” So much for confidence and encouragement when you need it most.
So now I’ve got one more thing I can tick off my bucket list. I still can’t believe it took just mere hours to learn how to ride a bike! So if you’ve got a little one at home, a helper or perhaps yourself – anyone who doesn’t know how to ride on two wheels – you know where to go now. Have a great time, mama. I certainly did!
Singapore Bike School’s “Learn to Ride” classes are for ages 6 and up. Total cost is S$280 for 1 student and S$460 for 2 students, with bikes available for rental at $10 per bike, valid for both lessons. Classes are conducted at the Road Safety Community Park @East Coast Park, 910 East Coast Parkway (Car Park B2), Singapore 449889.
Singapore Bike School, [email protected], Tel: (+65) 8188 9944