Scott & Kim Sievers's blog

How Long Does it Take to Learn to Ride a Cruzbike?

Submitted by Scott & Kim Sievers on Sun, 24/06/2012 - 13:40

If you have thirty minutes, you can learn to ride!

Lauren, a good friend of ours, had never ridden a recumbent bike before. She’d heard us talk about how much we love our Cruzbikes and wanted to give it a try. So, on a Saturday morning, we met Lauren at a school parking lot nearby to give her a chance to try our Sofriders. This location is perfect to learn to ride because there is plenty of open space, without having to worry about cars driving by. There is also a gentle downward slope in the parking lot, which is ideal for getting started and practicing balance on the bike. If you’ve never ridden a recumbent bike before, it is like learning to ride a bike for the first time!

To begin, we instructed Lauren to glide slowly down the hill on the bike with her feet off the ground, but not on the pedals yet, so she could get a feel for the balance of the bike. By the second trip down the hill, Lauren felt confident enough to put her feet up on the pedals and start pedaling. We were impressed, as the step from just putting your feet on the pedals to actually pedaling can take a little bit of time. It can be difficult to maintain your balance, as the weight of the bike will shift from left to right as you complete each pedal rotation with your left and right foot. In order to counterbalance this weight shift, your arms will need to hold the handlebars steady so the front of the bike will not turn in one direction or the other. Although this sounds complicated, once you are on the bike, it is really quite simple to get comfortable with this motion. And, if it does not come naturally to you, do not worry! If you start to feel like you are going to lose your balance (or if you are not feeling comfortable from the motion), you simply need to apply the brakes and put your feet down to stabilize the bike, as well as slow yourself down.

After several more trips, Lauren was comfortable with the pedaling motion and balance of the Cruzbike. It took a bit longer to get up the hill, but with each repeated try Lauren rode further around parking lot, until she completed the full loop minutes later! Now, we were ready to ride on the bike paths around the neighborhood. Although confidence making tight turns and navigating narrow spaces will grow with time, Lauren did a great job climbing hills and making turns with success. After our ride, Lauren was very pleased and is even thinking of selling her upright bike to buy a Cruzbike. We look forward to riding again soon!

Kim & Scott

Scott & Kim Sievers's blog
GaltJersey's picture

IIdiot article

IIdiot article

MichaelHilary's picture

I have purchased a cruzbike

I have purchased a cruzbike just 2 day before and was looking for some tips for the same. Also my friend told me that he would help me to ride it as he has been since 1year. So thanks for sharing.

MartinJames's picture

Hey your suggestion really

Hey your suggestion really seems to be good and as I have just buy a cruz bike and I am new to it ,Your suggestion will really help me to ride it but can you tell me if I will practice daily within how many months I can be perfect in riding it?

Sylvain's picture

After a couple of weeks... I

After a couple of weeks...
I still have problems starting. My SR sometimes wants to go where I do not want it to go,  and I cannot start while climbing or turning, even pedaling when turning with a small radius. Any hints?

Layedback's picture

I am 65 and had not rode a

I am 65 and had not rode a bike for about 30 years. It took me about an hour to get a steady ride, and about a month to really feel confident on it. I have since gone from a Sofrider to a Quest. I did my longes ride last Saturday of 47 miles with a bike club. I LOVE my Quest.

Scott and Kim's picture

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your story! It is an inspiration to others who are interested in learning how to ride a Cruzbike. We’re so happy you are enjoying your bike as much as we’re enjoying ours!

- Kim & Scott

Scott and Kim's picture

Hello! Thank you for your

Hello! Thank you for your message. Here are a couple of suggestions:

Bike Doesn't Go Where You Want

1.  Similar to driving a car, you want to look where you want to go.  That is, try to target where your bike will go.  Again, if you were driving a car and looked at a tree passing by on your left, you would most likely swerve to the left because that is where you are looking.  Without seeing you ride, I can only guess that possibly you are looking at your feet or hands while you ride.  So, my first suggestion is to make sure you are looking forward and are targeting where you are going while riding.

2.  If you are having trouble steering, try to push against the handlebars with equal weight.  When I was first starting to ride, I noticed I had a tendency to turn to the right.  Being right-handed, I realized that I was pulling harder with my right hand while I was pedaling.  Therefore, I found that I could stabilize the handlebars better while pushing against them, rather than pulling on them.  I find this technique especially helpful when climbing hills, because when you are working harder to get up the hill, you may unknowingly be pulling the bike in one direction or another.

Starting on Hills / When Turning

I must be honest, starting on hills is the hardest and last step to mastering the Cruzbike, but I promise it can be done.  First of all, make sure that you are in the lowest possible gear on your bike every time you stop, that way it is easier to start.  Furthermore, from what I know, there are 3 ways to start riding.  Since I cannot be certain what way you are getting yourself started, here are the 3 ways that I can think of to start going:

1. Simply starting to pedal (the absolute hardest and not recommended at any point in my opinion).

2. Taking several steps to get momentum before pedaling (effective, but not easy to do when starting uphill).  This motion involves you starting in the seated position with your feet touching the ground.  While seated, you simply begin walking (or waddling) for a few steps to get momentum before placing your feet on the pedals.

3. This last method is what I recommend, but, unfortunately, it is also the most difficult technique to explain without showing a video (which I can do this weekend or next weekend if you would like).  It involves you using one leg to push off against the ground, while the other leg begins to pedal.  For example, while seated on the bike, have your right leg on the ground and your left leg on the pedal.  Also, make sure your left pedal is rotated to be closest to you (i.e., your left leg should be bent at the knee and not fully extended, because this will give you the most leverage when you start pedaling).  Now, when you are ready to begin, push off with your right leg as hard as you possibly can.  As you push off with your right leg, start to pedal with your left leg.  The idea (purpose) of this motion is to give you just enough momentum forward that your left leg can begin your pedaling motion easier.  I would start practicing this motion first on a flat surface (or even slightly downhill) to get the hang of it.

Finally, this is my advice about your last question: starting to ride while turning.  The best way to get used to having to make quick turns while starting, is to practice really tight turns!  While you are already riding, slow down to a very slow pace.  Then, gradually try to make shorter and shorter turns.  If you have not practiced this before, do not immediately try to make the shortest turn possible, because it would be very easy to lose your balance.  Instead, try to find a cul-de-sac where you can begin by taking wider turns first.  Then, as you become more comfortable, gradually start to turn the wheel more while also shifting your weight until you are able to make tighter turns.

Let me know if you have any questions about any of the items that I discussed above or if you have any other Cruzbike questions in general.  I am happy to extrapolate or find other examples if you think it would be helpful for you. 

Thanks,
Scott