Adult education: Learn to bike, drive or swim in NYC

Adults can learn to swim through New York City's YMCA.
Adults can learn to swim through New York City’s YMCA. Photo Credit: Flickr / mtaphotos

Summer is a time for scenic bike rides, taking a dip in the pool and going on long trips in the car. But for New Yorkers who never learned to ride a bike, swim or drive as a child or teen, they may be left out of these quintessential summer activities. Luckily, there are several options for adults looking to learn these skills.



Never hopped on a bike before? You’re not alone.

“There are a surprising amount of people in New York who do not learn how to ride a bike in their childhood,” said Samuel Slaton, director of communications at Bike New York. “Maybe they didn’t have the opportunity growing up, or they didn’t have room in their apartment for a bike.”

Through Bike New York, which offers 300 classes a year, you can learn the basics and be up and going in about an hour and a half through their free two-hour classes for adults and mature teens.

Richard Conroy, director of education at Bike New York, said teaching adults to ride is not unlike teaching children; as long as someone is eager to learn, they can do it.

For more information, visit bikenewyork.org.




According to the American Red Cross, 54% of American adults either can’t swim or don’t have all of the basic swimming skills. If you want to learn the basics or brush up, New York City’s YMCA offers swimming classes specifically for adults year-round in all five boroughs.

“We have classes to help adults become acclimated to the water, to learn basic swimming and safety skills,” said Lori Benson, vice president of Healthy Lifestyles at NYC’s YMCA. “We want to support adults in the water so that adults can be with their families.”

Classes range from $95 to $254, and the YMCA offers financial assistance to those who need it. For more, visit ymcanyc.org.




Thanks to a comprehensive subway, bus and taxi system, driving in New York often isn’t usually a necessity. In fact, only 23% of Manhattan households own a car, according to the latest Census data. But if you’re in the nondriving majority and want to learn, there are ways to do so.

The first step for New Yorkers is to go to the DMV to apply for a learner permit. Then, you can undergo supervised driving practice through a pre-licensing course, which lasts five hours, or a driver education course, which consists of 24 hours of classroom training and 24 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, before taking your road test.

There are many different driving schools across the city that offer driving instruction. To find those near you and learn more about obtaining a license in New York, visit dmv.ny.gov.