“Who’s Mike Boyd?” I hear you ask. Mike has a YouTube channel named Learn Quick, where he’s documenting teaching himself all sorts of different things, and occasionally those things are bike skills. Mike’s approach is really interesting, because instead of “I’m a pro and here are my top ten tips on how to be like me”, he shows all the frustration and hard work that goes into learning anything in the first place.
Last year he taught himself to wheelie a hundred metres, and it took him just under seven hours in total – though importantly, that’s the time split across many days of practice and occasional breaks. This time, he’s been learning that much coveted bike skill, the manual, with a target of fifty metres:
(No video? Try this link).
We really like Mike’s way of documenting this, as he not only has a snappy editing style, but shows all of his failures and frustration. That exasperated fork bounce during the final attempts is quite familiar to us…
Recently, he also pointed out that most of the time spent on learning a thing isn’t spent learning it at all, but on all the faffing that comes before and after those periods. You get ready to go out on your bike, you ride out to the place you want to practice (it can be hard to find exactly the right spot, particularly for those of us who live somewhere very hilly), and then you spend maybe half an hour to an hour practicing wheelies, manuals, cutties, bunny hops or whatever before you get quite tired. Then you have to ride home, take care of your bike, get out of your bike kit, have a shower and get ready for whatever’s next. All of that can add up to way more time than you spend actually practicing the thing, meaning that on one hand, learning something new is quicker than you think it is, on the other, making the right space and time to learn is in itself time consuming.