I've been riding a bike since I was six. Please help me learn how to ride a bike. Apologies for length.
, with subsequent links to braking, made me realize MetaFilter might help.
My parents bought me a tricycle and then a little bike with training wheels and then a "real" bike, pushed me down a tiny hill and said "ride." I did, always in totally flat places, never in traffic, never usually on any surface harder than a dirt road, always VERY cautiously because I guess somehow I knew I didn't know what I was doing.
I eventually got a bike with 21 gears. No one ever really explained how to use them, so I usually kept things in the middle most of the time. Shifting "up" and shifting "down" sort of confuses me. Does "up" mean 3? Does "down" mean "the pedals are harder?" I was embarrassed to tell people I really didn't understand when they tried to explain. But hey, flat dirt paths. No problem.
I moved and my bike was in storage for 2 years. When it arrived, SO excited, so happy to have my bike. The brakes squealed every time I pressed them (annoying and embarrassing!) but my friend insisted they were fine. (Post-crash bike shop inspection also said they were fine. Except now they don't squeak. This is also confusing.)
Less than an hour into the ride I was on a concrete path, not going fast (I never go fast), very very very slight slope downwards. Not what most people would probably even describe as a slope. Around a corner there were people with dogs, weaving kids. I didn't feel panicked, but I thought I should slow down. I don't think I locked my brakes. I guess I locked my brakes. Over the handlebars, pancake on the concrete. Arm broken in three places, broken teeth, bruises for miles. No health insurance. Lucky me. No, really. LUCKY
me. I didn't have to have surgery and it could have been so much worse.
So, now. I have insurance. I would like to ride my bike again. I had higher handlebars put on, for a more upright position, because leaning over the bike made me scared and I cried. please don't laugh
. How do I learn not to get hurt or even more terrible, hurt someone else? This sounds so dumb but I am actually crying now. (Needless to say, I lack confidence in this area. I feel old and stupid.)
tl;dr I really need help learning how to ride a bike.