You get to be an economic, environmental and social winner when you learn how to ride a bike! And now, you can be a Schwinner in a Pedal Power with Pattie class, thanks to my friend Hannah. Here’s why.
I keep getting contacted by women who want to learn how to ride but they don’t have a bike. This is especially an issue in my very favorite place to teach, which is in Clarkston, GA (the most diverse square mile in the USA with a large refugee population). Also, many people living in apartments (which is more than 50% of the people in the Metro Atlanta city where I live) have nowhere to keep them. (This is the reason I’ve been pushing for bikeshare in more parks around Metro Atlanta.)
They often borrow one for our class (often from a husband or boyfriend) and it’s too big, or they show up on one that’s broken. (My friend Jon has saved the day a few times. He may open a Facebook shop with his bikes — I’ll let you know if he does because these will be great bikes at great deals.)
What I really have needed for awhile is a bike to teach people on (I often let them use mine), specifically for those who have never ridden a bike in their lives. It needs to be small enough that they can put both feet flat on the ground while learning to balance, and have a low enough bar so they don’t fall over it.
Here is a photo of one of the lessons in my TikTok series of basic bike skills tips and inspiration. You can see all of them on TikTok @pedalpowerwithpattie. Here are links to my text-based and PDF versions of the class. My free in-person class for March is booked already, but let me know if you are interested in April. I may open that class for up to three people.
Without knowing this, my friend Hannah (pictured at the top of this post) contacted me yesterday to tell me she had exactly that size bike to donate to me. It’s a sweet little Schwinn Mesa that I test-rode yesterday and really enjoyed. Thank you, Hannah. Your generosity will make a difference.
As you can see, the seat goes all the way down and makes it easy to feel safe and secure while doing something super scary to many adults who never learned to ride (or who had a bad experience for some reason).
If anyone has another bike to donate (a bit bigger, preferably upright like a 7-speed cruiser), I am still trying to match a friend of mine with one. She has experienced some hardship, and we know the positive impact a bike can make. The previous match fell through. (Update: Meet Daisy!)
Here’s my Leap of Faith with test-riding this new -to-me bike, which I named Schwinner (probably soon to be nicknamed Scwhinny).
Schwinner (its temporary name) is the third Schwinn in the fleet, by the way. Schwinneola is in Mineola, the village where I grew up (where my dad and stepmom live, whom I haven’t seen in almost a year and half).
And Attica is a Scwhinn LeTour, circa 1989, gifted to me by my husband when we got married. She’s named Attica because she was in my attic for twenty years as our children grew up and I rode to schools and camps with them on a $79 bike from Target named Mulie (whom you met in my book). You can hear about that first glorious ride on Attica after all those years here: