Learning to Ride: How to Balance On a Bike

Learning to Ride: How to Balance On a Bike

Have you started learning to ride a bike but struggled at balancing it? Almost every beginner biker struggles with that, and it is no surprise that you are too. Balancing on a bike can be difficult, but you will eventually acquire this skill with proper practice and time.

Here’s how you can balance on a bike:

  1. Make sure that your bike’s seat and handle height is adjusted to a level that is comfortable for you
  2. Start by first practicing riding a bike in a straight line
  3. Then move on to learning how to turn your bike either left or right without losing the balance
  4. Finally, get comfortable with braking and pedaling to ensure proper balance

Continue reading as I give you some amazing tips that’ll help you balance on your bike like a pro!

Why Is It Hard to Balance On a Bike?

Balancing on a bike is difficult because you have to make and maintain micro-adjustments while riding it. Most importantly, you have to be careful about gripping the handlebar and steering your bike in the right direction. 

You should remember that balancing a bike is not a skill that you learn overnight.

Initially, you will feel the bike to be all wobbly, but eventually, your brain will catch up and synchronize your movements, leading to an appropriate balance. 

» You can also read my post: How Many Miles to Bike a Day?

How to Balance On a Bike?

If you have just started biking and you are struggling with balancing it, then here are some steps you can take to synchronize your movements and get in practice. 

Remember that these are just some steps to ease the process for you, and you would learn faster this way, but you still need to put in the effort to achieve effective results.

#1 Set Up Your Bike

Setting up your bike to your comfort level is a crucial factor when it comes to balancing on a bike.

To ensure that the bike is set up according to your comfort, you should observe if you stand over your bike whether the top tube is pressing into you, if it is, then you will have to find a smaller-sized bike.

Secondly, you should adjust the seat height appropriately. Your saddle seat should be in a position where when you sit on it, both your feet are touching the ground easily.

If that is not the case, please lower the seat and then begin practicing balancing.

Another thing that you should look out for is that your hands are comfortably grasping the handlebar and you are able to execute the brake easily.

Braking while learning balancing is important because it affords you more control over the bike. If the bike has a handlebar grip that makes braking difficult for you, then try replacing it.

#2 Practice On a Straight Line

Before you directly jump to balancing on your bike on turns and complicated pathways, you should first practice biking in a straight line. As a beginner, it is important that you take things slowly and build up confidence as you learn to ride.

The main reason for practicing on a straight line is because it is extremely simple and would remove the fear of getting hurt.

When you observe that as you pedal on a straight line without falling down, you would gain more confidence and wouldn’t be afraid to explore further.

You can use chalk to draw two long lines and aim to stay in the line. The lines should be drawn on a flat surface, and they should be straight.

This adds a further interesting challenge to biking, and you may learn and enjoy balancing your bike at the same time. 

#3 Learn How to Turn Your Bike

Have you gotten used to riding your bike in a straight line while maintaining balance? That’s awesome. You can now move on to a more complicated challenge i.e. balancing your bike while turning it left or right.

Initially, because you are consciously controlling the bike balance, turning the steering would be difficult for you.

This gets easier with time, but for starters, you can begin by slightly turning your bike handlebar slowly in either the left or the right direction. 

Turning your steering slowly is important because otherwise, you would risk losing balance and stability.

If you lose balance while turning your bike, you can instantly put your foot down to get support and then restart the process. 

#4 Get Used to Braking

Learning to brake at the right time is a crucial part of balancing on a bike. You would have to get used to braking to familiarize yourself with appropriate bike balance.

If you get used to braking, you will gain a lot of confidence because whenever you would fear losing stability, you can instantly brake and stop right there. After taking a moment, you can restart and continue.

One way to practice braking on your new bike is to just simply to walk it down the road while pushing and relaxing the brake levers.

This would give you an opportunity to learn about allocating even pressures on both brakes. 

However, this method is only effective if you are a beginner and you are just starting. You should directly practice braking while riding the bike if it has been some time since you started riding. 

#5 Be Ready to Pedal

You have learned the basics of balancing your bike. Now let’s focus on learning how you can maintain it. As soon as you have balanced the bike and you are in a comfortable position, you have to start pedaling instantly. 

Keeping your vision locked, start with one foot on the ground and the other one on the pedal in a 2’o clock position to allow you to gain some momentum as you push off and start pedaling.

Then, instantly push down on the pedal and position your other foot and the other pedal as well. Start moving your feet and pedals in a continuous cyclical motion, and you will observe that the bike is moving forward. 

You would also notice that the faster you pedal, the easier it gets for you to maintain the balance on the bike. To hone this skill, you should practice pedaling in circles in smaller areas.

Once you feel confident about it, you can position the saddle seat just high enough that your feet barely touch the pedals.

Now you can even challenge yourself to ride your bike while maintaining balance. To add to the mix, you can also put obstacles in your decided course and practice even better. 

#6 Practice Balance Exercises

If you want to fast pace learning maintaining balance on a bike, you can try these balancing exercises.

These exercises have been designed to strengthen your leg muscles and make it easier for them to adapt faster and maintain balance on the bike. 

These exercises would also help you to establish better coordination and build up your confidence. 

1) Single Leg Squats

Single-leg squats are highly effective exercises focusing mainly on your thigh and leg muscles.

Single-leg squats would strengthen your leg muscles and make it easier and more comfortable to sit and control the bike. 

These exercises would also help you endure longer durations of pedaling and allow you to practice for longer periods of time.

To perform a single-leg squat, you would first stand straight and then extend one leg forward in the air, and the knee of the other leg slightly bent. 

Now move down with your other leg while engaging your torso and lowering your glutes as much as possible.

Squeeze your leg muscles while performing the movement. Perform 5-10 reps for one side and then repeat for the other.

» This could also be something for you: Is Cycling Actually Good For Abs?

2) Plank With Leg Lift

Planking with a leg lift is a difficult yet effective exercise. It engages not only your core muscle but also your legs and glutes.

Planking can add muscle resistance and strength, leading to higher endurance and increased blood flow throughout the body. 

First, start in a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Your shoulder, hips, and ankles should all be in a line. 

With your core engaged, start raising your right leg off the ground and bringing it to your hip’s height while keeping the foot flexed. Now pause for a second and then lower your leg.

Repeat this 5-8 times, and then do it for the left leg.

3) Use a Wobble Board

A wobble board, also known as a balance board, is specifically designed for balance training and athletic training. This is a piece of fiber wood that is often used in rehabilitation services as well. You can make use of a wobble board to help you with balancing your bike. 

Many bikers used wobble boards to improve their balance on a bike by employing different exercises through it.

Some of the most common exercises to improve balance are:

  • Single-leg airplane exercises
  • Balance board squats
  • Squat holds
  • Glute bridges
  • Shoulder bridges

4) Use a Gym Ball

Gym balls, also known as stability balls, are an interesting yet important piece of equipment required for gymming.

They are made up of soft elastic and mainly function to improve balance, muscle tone, and core strength. Exercises done with the help of a gym ball can improve back and spine health, stability, and posture.

You can use a gym ball to increase your core muscles and back strength, both of which are important when it comes to balancing on a bike.

Moreover, gym balls can help you correct your posture, and the more upright it is, the better your biking experience will be.  

#7 Be More Confident While Riding

Though the technical areas are the main deciding factors when it comes to balancing your bike, confidence is equally important too.

You should build up confidence as you begin riding and balancing your bike. The more confident you will be in yourself and in your efforts, the easier it will get to learn to balance the bike.

To build confidence, you should start riding in small areas and then progressively move to more obstacle-laden and longer courses.

As stated earlier, learning to balance on a bike is not an overnight process, and you will face a lot of failures initially.

But if you are consistent with your efforts and confident about the results, you will inevitably learn to balance on a bike and become a pro rider. 

» Read my blog post: How Long Does It Take to Cycle a Mile?

How Can I Balance My Bike Without Moving?

You should apply pressure on the front pedal to keep yourself still. If it feels like you are falling to either side, push harder on the pedal and try to maintain balance. Balancing yourself on your bike when you are static is a bit tricky and difficult, but it can be mastered over time. 

If you are static, you should also keep your hand grip strength, and your body weighted exactly centered on the saddle seat.

Keep both the pedals lightly pressured and look up straight ahead.

With enough practice, you will be able to achieve this motionless equilibrium. 

How Can You Improve Your Bike’s Balance?

While you may have learned how you can balance your bike, there are also some external factors affecting it that you should keep an eye out for.

These external factors play a crucial role in deciding your bike’s balance. There are mainly three important external factors affecting balance.

#1 Adjusting Your Seat Height

The way you are seated on your bike matters a lot in deciding your balance on the bike. Your seat should be fixed at an ideal height such that you can fully extend your knees even when the pedals are at their lowest point. 

Another way to determine the right seat height is that it should be at the level of three to four fingers below the hip. 

Your seat height matters because you need to be moving your arms and legs while riding, and if you are not able to do that comfortably, your biking experience will suffer, and you will disbalance your bike.

#2 Fixing the Seat Angle

Another factor that can really affect your bike balance is the angle at which the seat is adjusted. A wrong seat angle would make you uncomfortable and cause you to slide forward or backward while seated on your bike. 

Whenever this happens, it exerts more pressure on your wrists and arms, resulting in an imbalanced posture on the bike.

To maintain proper balance, it is important that the seat angle is parallel to the ground. The seat should not be far back or forward because that would hurt your back and again, affect your posture.

» I have covered more in this blog post: Why Bike Seats are Uncomfortable?

#3 Appropriate Handlebar Height

The bike handlebar is an important component of your bike, and your position on the bike handlebar directly dictates your bike balance and posture. 

If your bike’s handlebar is not adjusted to the proper height, it will strain your wrist, arms, and back.

This would add a lot of discomfort to your ride and mess up your balance too.

You should adjust the handlebar to a comfortable height. That essentially means that you should be able to stretch your bike straight with your arms relaxed and feel no strain or tension in your body. 

If the handlebar is adjusted appropriately, you will not fatigue any of your back muscles, and your bike ride will be a pleasurable experience.

Conclusion

Learning to balance on a bike is undoubtedly a difficult feat, but you can achieve it with good practice, focus, and time.

Every biker initially struggles with maintaining balance but eventually gets better at it. Your bike balance dictates a lot of your biking experience, and the more balanced you are, the more likely you are to enjoy it.

There are some external factors affecting balance. If you adjust those and closely follow the steps I mentioned in this guide, you will learn to balance on a bike in no time.

Remember, it all boils down to the amount of effort you are ready to put into the process!

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