BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE: Confidence on wheels: Brooklyn’s bike classes for grown-ups

This story ran on June 3, 2019 in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 

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Here’s an excerpt:

The instructor spoke in choppy sentences that made little sense out of context.

“Two feet. Two feet. Going forward. Stronger. Pushing that forward. Back.”

But John LaPolla’s words worked the way a snake charmer’s might on a group of 20 adults in McCarren Park wearing bright green helmets, awkwardly teetering atop bicycles.

“Eyes forward. Don’t look down,” he said to a large man sitting astride a much smaller bike. The man stopped wobbling and streamlined forward.

LaPolla teaches an adult cycling class to those New Yorkers for whom the hackneyed phrase “it’s like riding a bike” does not apply. This Sunday class, hosted in northern Brooklyn, is one of a series put on by Bike New York, a nonprofit aimed at broadening the city’s network of cyclists.

People of all ages and sizes biked wobbly laps on a closed street. Some were completely new to bike riding. Others were trying to recover from past trauma.

LaPolla, shown demonstrating how to properly wear a helmet, has been a bike instructor for x years. Eagle photo by Rachel Rippetoe
John LaPolla, shown demonstrating how to properly wear a helmet, has been a bike instructor since 2015. Eagle photo by Rachel Rippetoe

 

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