You've heard the saying, "it's as easy as falling off a bike," but bicycling really is simple and learning to ride isn't just for kindergartners. Bicycling provides great no-impact aerobic exercise and green transportation. Here's how to make cycling for beginners fun, safe, and easier than falling off.

Getting Started:

If you didn't learn to ride as a child, it's not too late.  Many sites offer simple suggestions on learning to ride. Some are aimed at kids but are usually easily adaptable for adults. Or you can consider taking lessons from your local community cycling center or a patient friend. 

Safety First:

Once you've tackled balancing, steering, and stopping, the next step is basic bike maintenance and safety.  The League of American Bicyclists advises every rider to do an ABC Quick-Check for Air, Brakes, Cranks, Chain and Cassette and Quick Releases before every ride.  Take a quick ride to check if deraillerus and brakes work properly.

Once your bike's ready, follow the Ten Commandments of Bicycling:

1. Wear a helmet for every ride, and use lights at night.

2. Conduct an ABC Quick Check before every ride.

3. Obey traffic laws: ride on the right, and remember that the slowest traffic is farthest to the right.

4. Ride predictably and be visible at all times.

5. At intersections, ride in the right-most lane that goes in your direction.

6. Scan for traffic, and signal lane changes and turns.

7. Be prepared for mechanical emergencies with tools and know-how.

8. Control your bike by practicing bike handling skill.

9. Drink before you are thirsty, and eat before you are hungry.

10. Have fun.

Go The Distance:

Once you're beyond "cycling for beginners," take your bike out of town.  Log on to for mountain biking trails in hundreds of countries.  Check out the American Cycling Association and find out about local cycling activities and programs. Head to your local cycling shop, and ask about velodrome (track racing) clubs lessons and races for cyclists of all levels. Bump up your bike workout with uphill routes and longer distances.  Contact your city department of transportation for bicycle-safe commuter routes and make your "other car" a bike.  

Pick destinations and distances that aren't too challenging for your fitness level but offer great scenery.  Ride with family, friends, or cycling groups.  Invest in cycling clothes (how often can you get away with wearing bright colored spandex with a padded behind?).  Add fun bike accessories like a bell and basket.  Pretty soon, you'll be cruising around with the wind at your back.