Manual for Bicycle riding

Subject: Manual for Bicycle riding
From: "John Locke" <mail -at- freelock -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 07:48:02 -0800

Jonathan Soukup wrote:
> I would kind of relate it to riding a bicycle. It's not really
> that difficult, but I would have liked to have a lot more
> instruction than just my father running behind me yelling at me to pedal.
That begs the question: How do you write instructions for tasks that usually
require hands-on training?

I'm trying to picture a manual instructing users on how to ride a bicycle.
Seems that any attempt would fall flat...

And somehow, I don't think a sticker on the seat showing you how to put your
butt there, and others near the handlebars or pedals would help.

Seems like a great illustration of the biggest problem of technical writing:
the media are limited to, at best, two dimensional moving pictures. None of
that can capture all of the sensory information you put to use riding a

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Describe how you would
approach the problem of teaching someone who has never seen a bicycle to
ride one--with contemporary technology, a limited budget, and no personal
contact with the end user.

Bonus points: do it on paper.

John Locke

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