Adult Training Wheels: Learning to Cycle
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It can be easy to view cycling as something you learn while young and develop as you age, or you never touch it at all. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, cycling is a sport that you can pick up at any stage in your life, whether it be a tricycle as a toddler, or a starter bike in your sixties. As long as you have the will to learn, and the discipline to practice regularly, age is no major barrier.
All that said, you can’t properly learn to ride a bicycle without falling off a few times, or at least getting close. Understandably, you might not want to spend your first forays into cycling out of the saddle instead of in it. This might build your grit, but it certainly won’t be as enjoyable as cycling out in nature. Thankfully, there is a tool you can use to avoid this – adult training wheels.
Adult training wheels are great for beginner cyclists, and allow anyone to enjoy the brilliant activity that is cycling, regardless of when they decide to start. Fitting them to a bike can help soothe a beginner cyclist’s nerves, and act as a strong safety net should balance be a problem. In this article, we will cover adult training wheels, why you might want to use them, and what you should keep in mind before you buy a pair. Let’s get started.
What are adult training wheels?
Adult training wheels are exactly as they sound. They are a pair of training wheels, sometimes referred to as stabilizers, that are manufactured for use on adult bicycles. These additional wheels aim to add additional stability to a bike by adding another point of contact with the ground. This means the rider won’t need to put much effort into balancing on the bike, and can focus on enjoying cycling without the worry of tipping over. While certainly handy in some cases, it can be a double-edged sword, as we will cover next.
The pros and cons of using adult training wheels
Adult training wheels are a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the additional stability can be incredibly helpful, bringing with it a host of advantages that can make adult training wheels seem quite appealing. On the other hand, it brings downsides in equal measure. You’ll need to consider both the pros and cons, along with what you want to get out of cycling, before you make a purchase.
The pros of adult training wheels
Adult training wheels increase a bike’s stability, making it easier to ride and decreasing the likelihood of falling off. Naturally, this brings with it a series of advantages. Firstly, it can be great for reducing the nervousness that everyone gets when cycling for the first time. This will make cycling more enjoyable at first, and, hopefully, increases the chances of a first-time rider sticking with the activity in the long run.
Additionally, a bike with adult training wheels is a bit safer, as the rider isn’t nearly as likely to fall, given the extra stability and points of contact with the ground. This means the rider can practice turning, a crucial skill for cycling, without worrying about falling and hurting themselves or damaging their bike. This extra stability also lets the rider get on and off easier, and relax without having to steady themselves to prevent the bike from falling over. All in all, these advantages can help a new cyclist experience cycling for the first time if they have missed out before. However, it isn’t all positives, and adult training wheels might not be the best route to take.
The cons of adult training wheels
Although good in a sense, adult training wheels have a couple of downsides that you should mull over before deciding whether or not to use them. Firstly, although adult training wheels give the rider additional stability, it comes at the cost of maneuverability. Certain maneuvers will be more difficult to carry out, such as leaning to turn. This has the added effect of stopping the rider from experiencing certain aspects of cycling, which leads to the second major downside – learning.
With adult training wheels, the rider is essentially sheltered from experiencing cycling in full, warts and all. While this is great for extra safety and stability, it can and often does hamper learning. Even worse, it can cause the rider to develop a reliance on their adult training wheels, which can make it harder to take the leap into riding without assistance. At this point, they become more of a hindrance than a help.
What to keep in mind when shopping for adult training wheels
If you intend to purchase adult training wheels to help you get into cycling, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Firstly, you’ll need to think about the size of your bike. Adult training wheels aren’t one-size-fits-all, so you’ll have to make sure the ones you choose are compatible with your bike. You should look for two factors when considering compatibility – your bike’s wheel size, and the weight they are designed to take. Selecting wheels incompatible with your bike will make it difficult or impossible to fit them, and probably won’t get you good results.
In addition to compatibility, you should consider what your adult training wheels are made from. Generally, you should go for steel or another durable material, as you’ll want your adult training wheels to be sturdy. Carbon might give you a bit more speed, but you likely won’t find it enough to warrant the cost.
Lastly, you should consider why you are getting adult training wheels in the first place. If you’re doing it because you’d like the extra assurance while you cycle for the first time, it could be worthwhile to pick up a pair. However, if you think they will help because you have a medical condition, it could be more beneficial for you to use a tricycle instead.
All in all, adult training wheels can be beneficial to first-time cyclists, giving that extra bit of safety to get you going. However, they are likely to stunt your development as a cyclist, so you might be better off only dabbling with them if you intend to cycle seriously, or skip them entirely. No matter what you end up doing, be sure to enjoy your time cycling!