Why do we need to learn to ride a bicycle? We just need to pedal and move the handle. I don't think balancing needs to be learnt. What is the thing we need to learn to ride a bicycle or is it just telling the brain that it is ok? And why do we not forget cycling? Thank You.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you walk on your hands and walk on a cord? Can infants walk the moment their legs can hold them physically? They're just balancing acts according to your reasoning... $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ You should do some research on how balancing works. It is not just about holding your head straight. You can start here: Balance (ability) $\endgroup$
    – user3169
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 5:20

1 Answer 1


Riding a bicycle is the clasical example of procedural memory.

Procedural memory guides the processes we perform and most frequently resides below the level of conscious awareness. When needed, procedural memories are automatically retrieved and utilized for the execution of the integrated procedures involved in both cognitive and motor skills, from tying shoes to flying an airplane to reading. Procedural memories are accessed and used without the need for conscious control or attention.

Procedural memory is created through procedural learning or, repeating a complex activity over and over again until all of the relevant neural systems work together to automatically produce the activity. Implicit procedural learning is essential for the development of any motor skill or cognitive activity.

When we learn to ride a bicycle, the brain is learning the motor movements necessary to maintain balance. This learning occurs mostly at the unconsious level, and this is probably the reason why you have the illusion that nothing is learnt.

Motor control is the process by which humans and animals use their brain/cognition to activate and coordinate the muscles and limbs involved in the performance of a motor skill.

The procedural memory is a type of long term memory which has a long lasting effect.


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