My name is Jason and I love sharing bicycling. I started mybikeskills.com inspired by Carol Dweck’s work on Growth Mindset and the idea that we can more easily learn new skills through practice, repetition, and a mindset that elevates our learning process higher than the immediate result. Dynamic Mindfulness, a practice of mindfully becoming aware of our movement, breath, and focus is are the foundational elements of my process.
A recent meta analysis/study by Professor Adel Diamond from the University of British Columbia shows that mindful movement practices have been shown to be the most effective way to build “executive functioning” and our ability to learn in connection with others. This has been missing from education, bicycle education, and social movements. What would the world be like if our world was filled with people who had a greater tolerance to the viewpoints of others, could dream of a better world, and go through life in deep connection with themselves? What if learning to use bicycles could train these skills? This site is my attempt to answer these questions in a way that can bring you and others deeper joy, confidence, and resilience. Yes, it is about bicycles, but it is about something greater.
We are at a pivotal time for caring for our earth. We are at a pivotal time for caring for ourselves. I believe that having enough clean water to drink, food that can heal our bodies, and clean air to breathe is a human right. Would I want to serve myself or the people I care about poisoned water, food, air, or living conditions in the future? If the answer is no, then caring for the earth is really only caring for our future selves and the people we love. In this way, I see care for the environment as self-care. I also see the support of social justice and liberation as a part of our caring for ourselves. Learning anything new can be uncomfortable. When someone starts to learn to ride a bike and takes a deep breath while noticing their feet on the ground, they are connecting to their body and feelings while also calming their nervous system. They become more relaxed and aware of themselves while doing something difficult. They become more integrated while becoming more stress-resilient. Similarly, listening to the unjust experiences of others around race, class, gender, sexual orientation to name a few can be challenging and difficult. It takes the ability to choose wisely “executive functioning”, stress resilience, and the ability to understand one’s internal experience while it is happening. If I can as Stephen Covey, wrote in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, it is through the skill of “Listening to Understand” that we may see our own story reflected in others. Through this experience of empathy, there can be a gradual shift “from me to we and us to them,” as one of my mentors BK Bose likes to say, When I find resources in the challenge and discomfort of learning, I become more resilient. When I interact with my communities I am able to learn and lead in new ways that create more space for others to be more of who they were meant to be.
Who are you meant to be?
What would help you get there?
This site is my ongoing effort to share life skills that come with biking through in-person and virtual programming. Along with our other instructors, I hope to bring your closer to biking, for yourself and those you care about. – Jason Serafino-Agar
Mybikeskills.com exists to share training for individuals, parents, and organizations to use bikes as a tool for personal and collective transformation. We achieve this by ensuring that:
1) Learning to ride or teaching someone to ride is a positive, transformation experience.
Around the world, learning to ride a bicycle at any age is a “rite of passage.” The feeling of freedom and flying on wheels is thrilling, beautiful, and can remind us of what we are capable of. Unfortunately, the old way of teaching someone to ride relies upon learning habits that need to be unlearned while trying to learn new ones, at a speed the rider is not in control of while stressing and straining the teacher. Let’s try pausing here and taking a deep breath. Yes, it can work, but there is a much smoother, easier, less traumatic way to learn that works for more learners. Developed by John Waterman in the 1990s, what we will call the “glide, then ride” method works incredibly well and we love sharing it.
2) We share the essential skills for safe and confident road riding.
We recognize that people figure out how to balance a bicycle one way or another. And yet, we notice that very few people who learn to ride are able to make the transition to enjoying the freedom, confidence, and easy parking that comes from being ready to ride on the road. The “Rite Of Passage” falls short of becoming a “Ride of Passage” into greater self-confidence, discovery, and transformative change. The truth is that a limited number of confidence-building skills stand between you, or your rider, and a world of amazing bicycle possibilities. Starting, stopping, signaling, riding in a straight line, scanning/looking behind you, and riding at slow speeds are the physical skills to master and we can guide you through learning them. We can teach you the foundations of safe travel and sharing the road with others. If you already drive a vehicle, we can translate your knowledge to sharing the road when driving and clarify how to confidently and safely travel by bike.
3) We share with you in a way that makes it easier to learn.
Frequently Asked Questions
Training wheels have been used for years however using them can be more stressful and difficult for the learner and teacher compared to learning to glide without pedals first.
We forget skills we don’t practice. Modern neuroscience tells us that the more we practice a skill, the more automatic it becomes. Learning or remembering how to ride a bike is a matter of repetition in a learning environment that works for your unique circumstance.
You are not alone. Come to a workshop or class and learn the essential skills for confident and safe bicycling at your own pace before you ever get out on the road. You will learn the skills for yourself and ways to teach and assess others. You may find that the skills and confidence that come with practice make riding on the road easier to imagine. If and when you are ready, you can join us for a short neighborhood ride.