The Best Excuse for Not Bike Commuting

We spend a lot of time overcoming the excuses people come up with not to bike commute, or to not even give it a try.

Some people–adults–don’t know how to ride a bike. Never learned.

Adult Bike Class
Adult Bike Class | Photo: Bike New York

Who hasn’t heard the statistics on adult literacy. Something like 21 percent of American adults could look at this majestic prose that I write and have no appreciation of its sublime beauty. And because of the social stigma associated with illiteracy, people who can’t read find all kinds of ways to hide and mask this fact from their family and peers.

But there are able-bodied people out there who never learned to ride a bike.

Could this be the hidden shame behind all of the other excuses that we hear?

Bike Chalkboard
Art: Spencer Starr of Chalk Chalk | Photo: Sharon Montrose

I couldn’t find any statistics on this, but the nonprofit Bike New York is holding classes for adults who never learned, or have forgotten how to ride a bike.

I honestly never even considered that there might be enough un-biked adults out there to justify a bike class. Okay, maybe if you scoured the country you might be able to find a dozen and fly them to a bike reeducation camp just once and be done with it. But Bike New York has more than 20 classes scheduled throughout the summer. Each class can accommodate up to 30 students, and most of the classes are already booked full.

I know New York City is a big place with almost 19 million people. But I would not have guessed that there were enough adults in the city who never learned to ride a bike that 600 of them would take up the opportunity.

Think of what a small percentage those 600 must be of the total number of people in New York City who don’t know how to ride.

Smack me in the head. I’m wearing a helmet.

If you know someone who wants to learn to ride a bike, here’s a pep talk:

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