The bicycle industry and the marketing of bicycles are driven to some degree by fad, fashion, and arrogance. Racing is high up there and winning races is the prize that some of the elite are interested in. If it isn’t racing it is perhaps the vigor and thrill in competing in some contest or even personal challenge to ride 100 miles or whatever. If riding is even casual, some degree of social status is often implied as to who has the nicest bike, or the lightest bike, or whatever. The science of riding a bike and keeping a bicycle upright are considered as non-problems by those who can ride bikes. In short, balancing and riding a bike are taken for granted by the bulk of persons. Learning how to ride a two-wheeler without training wheels is considered as an accepted rite of passage for children. For the minority who can’t manage to ride a bike, or to balance, they have been relegated to some sort of leper, outcast, or second class citizen status. Something is wrong with them – and nobody has ever previously approached the question by asking what we can do to make it easier to learn to ride a bike?
To be frank and to the point, the work and research described herein and taken on by Dr. Klein, and in this web site in particular, is incredible in impact and even its conception. No one previously, and we mean no one, except Dr. Klein, was even thinking about looking beyond a status quo mindset as regards those unable to learn how to ride bikes. We at Lose The Training Wheels™ have exhaustively researched the literature and practices related to bicycling instruction for beginning riders, and we have found nothing that can even claim to approach our degree of demonstrated success. We have adhered to the rigors of science and the professional community, by subjecting our work to blind peer review, with the result that the article by Klein, McHugh, Harrington, Davis, and Lieberman (2005) has been published in the educational journal Teaching Exceptional Children, July 2005 issue. Our scientific findings have in a similar manner been subject to scholarly peer review, and we are pleased that the article by Astrom, Klein, and Lennartsson (2005) has been published by a learned society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, in the IEEE Control Systems Magazine, August 2005 issue. Our successes in teaching children, especially children with special needs, to ride conventional bikes serve as our validation, peer review, and reward.
The Final Test – Fact or Fiction?
Browsing this web site has hopefully been enjoyable for you. Another possibility is that you might be fatigued. In that regard, a former student in engineering in one of Dr. Klein’s classes once commented that taking a course under Klein was akin “To trying to drink from a fire hydrant!”
Whether you are exhausted or relaxed, thirsting and yet unable to drink, or possibly indifferent, or satisfied, one vital question remains – Are the contents and claims made in this web site valid and truthful, or are they fiction, flawed and just uninformed guesses or ramblings?
We can’t answer that question for you. You have the right and obligation to determine what is right and what is wrong in terms of any information before you. What we can do is provide a suggestion for a guideline – a guideline or a Final Test for Fact vs. Fiction. As a scholar and member of the scientific and academic communities, Dr. Klein often has to evaluate information to determine if the information before him is authentic or a fraud?
Our usual test is to look at grammar and word usage in any document. This web site contains in excess of tens of thousands of words. Now here is a test. We assert -- it is impossible to author a comprehensive document containing tens of thousands of words focused on one topic without the author having a proper understanding of the topic or subject matter. We assert that if a document is riddled with mistakes, inconsistencies, and even outright contradictions, then the document is flawed, as is the writer’s level of competence. Conversely, if the document is harmonious, that is free of contradictions and errors, and capable of presenting a consistent message, then the message as a whole has passed the credibility test. We allow you to be the judge in the case of the bicycle material presented in this web site.
Some readers may feel overwhelmed to think that it has taken tens of thousands of words to, in essence, explain how and why a bicycle works. With that in mind, we'll come back to two shorter versions:
Noot Kuhls, age 10, Fond du Lac WI summed it up in just fifteen words:
"If you want to ride a bike, you must have faith, believe, pedal, and look forward."
Our friend Dr. Jim Smith, physicist emeritus, University of Illinois, said it in a mere seven words:
"A bicycle works because you pedal it."
Should you feel that any statement made within is false, we urge you to notify us so as to allow us the opportunity to respond.