Mo McCanna

“It was life-changing!”: Learning to ride with Bicycle Colorado

When was the last time you thought about how much you love riding a bike? Probably the last time you rode. But when was the last time you thought about how lucky you are to know how to ride? One of the most rewarding programs Bicycle Colorado offers is our Learn to Ride lessons, through which we’ve helped more than 400 kids and adults learn to balance and pedal over the last four years. 

Before we share the impact of Learn to Ride, we need to give a big shout out to our program supporters who make the lessons possible. We have Team Evergreen Cycling as a lead sponsor in 2019 and 2020, substantially supporting our program operations. CLIF BAR has fueled our new riders with snacks and Quality Bicycle Products has donated accessories over the last two years. Finally, the City of Arvada, Alchemy Bicycles and Elevation Cycles have partnered with us to provide safe places for our students to learn. 

Check out some photos from our 2019 Learn to Ride lessons

2019 was our biggest Learn to Ride season yet. We were able to offer a third location in Highlands Ranch and teach more than 130 students—twice as many as our first year in 2016!

2019 Learn to Ride by the numbers: 

  • 83 youth taught in 11 lessons (7 sold out!)
  • 49 adults taught in 7 lessons (5 sold out!)
  • Students traveled from far and wide, including all the way from Colorado Springs! 
  • 30% of students had previously attempted to ride a bike “a lot” without success
  • 93% of students were happy or very happy with their Learn to Ride experience
  • 90% of students were satisfied or very satisfied with our educators and volunteers
  • 90% of students were pedaling by the end of their first lesson (students who don’t get pedaling are always invited to join a second lesson at no cost)
  • 88% of students are now riding at least once a month for fun, for exercise and even to commute! 
  • 100% of participants have or would recommend Bicycle Colorado’s Learn to Ride lessons to friends or family

Ready to smile?

We just can’t do our students’ stories justice so we invite you to read these testimonials about their experiences. We bet you’ll be grinning and remembering the power of learning to ride for the first time. We’re proud of our fantastic educators and staff, quick technique and life-changing impacts … and, of course, these courageous new riders! 

I think of you guys often because you really opened up a door for me. I have continued to practice riding in our alley at home and took our first family bike ride! We are in Kauai and are planning on taking a bike ride here too! You gave me a gift with my kids and husband that I didn’t know I was missing out on. Thank you!  

The instructors were absolutely amazing. These professionals had my son zooming around in under an hour (after my own attempts at teaching him how to ride a bike had failed him). It was life changing! I was really ready to give up and just label my 9-year-old son as a scooter rider forever.

The people there were AMAZING!! In 10 minutes you had my son riding his bike, no training wheels, and we haven’t looked back! We literally got home, took off the training wheels and he was off! Thank you!!

Learned to ride within a few minutes of the class after weeks of frustrating and unsuccessful attempts with her parents. Now she is biking multiple times a week and over the moon that she can do it! Class was well worth it!!

Our son has an anxiety disorder and we worried about how he would respond to a bike lesson. The lesson was arranged in such a systematic and progressive way, that he seemed able to remain calm and confident. He was riding around the parking lot when we returned and has told us many times now how much he loves riding his bike! We couldn’t be happier.

My daughter picked it up right away. My son did not. So, I was offered a chance for my son to retake the course for free! I was very impressed by that 🙂 He got it the second time around. I could not be happier!

My son can now join me and my daughter on bike rides and have worked our way up to 12 mi rides in less than 6 months. I couldn’t be happier with our experience.

You guys are amazing! You gave me the gift of time with my family doing an activity that they already loved and that I am now starting to really love too!

The team was extremely professional, encouraging and kind during the lessons. As an adult learning to ride, I had no inhibitions. The encouragement helped to ease my fears, and it was great learning to ride with other adults.

Thank you for letting my 11-year-old son join the adult class. We had been trying to teach him to ride since he was 3 and he never listened to us and became more and more frustrated! He was riding after an hour with you guys! He’s totally obsessed with bike riding now. My 7 year old will be attending next year for sure! Thank you so so much!!!

Meet Earl!

Earl joined us this summer to get back on the bike for the first time since crashing and feeling anxiety riding. Earl conquered the lesson with his prosthetic leg and is now one of our most passionate supporters. Earl even dropped by our booth at this year’s VeloSwap to tell us about the impact our Learn to Ride lesson had on him.

“You guys saved my life,” Earl told us. “You don’t know what it’s meant to me to be able to ride again.” Stay tuned for Earl’s incredible full story and post-lesson adventures in a 2020 blog post. 

Want to help spread the joy of riding? 

Mo McCanna

About the Author: Mo McCanna

Mo leads Bicycle Colorado's Bike School programs and education services that support kids and adults on bikes and help build a culture of safety on our streets. Her role combines her passions of teaching, active transportation, health equity and sustainability. Mo enjoys seeing live music and taking in great scenery, commuting and exploring the city by bike.

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We’re thrilled to see so many people out enjoying (and often rediscovering the joy of) riding a bike right now, and we’re asking ALL bicyclists to do their part to prevent the spread of #covid19 by wearing a mask or other face covering when out for a ride. Doing so keeps you, your loved ones, those around you, and all Coloradans safer while helping reduce stress on our medical system. If you still need a mask, click the link in our bio to pre-order one now and support our advocacy work! Thanks so much to everyone who has already purchased, and to @primalwear for supporting our efforts over the years. Ride on.
  • #BicycleColorado volunteers and staff members spent time today helping @denverurbangardens and @denverfoodrescue deliver “Grow a Garden” food boxes to home-bound families in Denver—via bike! Supporting our community on two wheels makes for a great way to spend a sunny day. Many thanks to our friends @ddchen47, David M., and @juggernautcargo for your help! Head to denverfoodrescue.org or dug.org to learn more about these great local organizations. #rideyourbike
  • Tonight the #BicycleColorado team celebrated Stacey, our outgoing Development Director, with a virtual happy hour. Stacey has been an absolute rockstar for BC. We’re sad to see her leave, but thrilled for her as she heads out on a new adventure (hopefully in the #BikeAdvocacy space!) in North Carolina. Please join us in wishing her well!