New to Unicycling ....

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:04 pm

btw Scarfy, you aren't from Perth by any chance? There is a forum (google perthunicycle and it'll appear near the top) where I have been trying to organise group rides. Had one last Mandurah.
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by BNA » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:31 pm

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby slarv » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:31 pm

Yay more Unicyclists.

Why I got one? Street cred.

What sort? A crane, bought cheap on ebay.

What the neighbours think? Not sure what they think.

What will I do with it? My goal is to get good enough to ride to work and back fluently.

So how are things going so far? I got good enough to ride about 20 meters and succeed with the occasional free mount. I may have been impatient and tried to learn to run before I could walk. I normally counterbalance by speeding up until I eventually fall off. I haven't touched it for a few months but am keen to get back on it.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:19 pm

Hi Slarv. A little tip. At this stage when you are practicing throw in a fair bit of step-step-step sort of riding for short distances.

By this I mean you push down with your right foot to the bottom and then almost pause, then the same with your left, then your right, then your left, then... As you get better at it, travel progressively slower. Like REALLY slow as you can.

This will develop some necessary skills that you will need later and give you an awesome ability to just hang for a second or two when you need it. Instantly! Also great for riding down really REALLY steep slopes.

And for your immediate needs it will improve your speed control far quicker than just repeatedly trying to ride longer and longer.

It breaks the boredom of practice anyway.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:54 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:btw Scarfy, you aren't from Perth by any chance? There is a forum (google perthunicycle and it'll appear near the top) where I have been trying to organise group rides. Had one last Mandurah.


No, east coaster.

Newcastle.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby find_bruce » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:46 am

Apparently you can now get training wheels for a unicycle :D

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:48 am

woohoo - dropped in at the local netball courts this morning after dropping the kids at school.

After a bit of practice I managed to go the full length (about 30-40m I guess) quite a few times. Starting to almost feel comfortable - then almost on queue a UPD. :)

Either way for the first time I really felt I was riding it and was a huge amount of fun. Turning is still quite an issue (like I can't!) and no free mounting yet but the netball posts were ideal to start from. Really happy with the progress made.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:21 pm

Scarfy96 wrote:woohoo - dropped in at the local netball courts this morning after dropping the kids at school.

After a bit of practice I managed to go the full length (about 30-40m I guess) quite a few times. Starting to almost feel comfortable - then almost on queue a UPD. :)

Either way for the first time I really felt I was riding it and was a huge amount of fun. Turning is still quite an issue (like I can't!) and no free mounting yet but the netball posts were ideal to start from. Really happy with the progress made.

That's great. Netball courts are perfect once you can get off following a wall.

As I said elsewhere, as you get even a small amount of control on turning and leaning, use the court markings as a directed practice line to follow. Your turning will improve way faster than in any other way.

It sounds a little early to worry about freemounts. It won't be long though.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:51 pm

Yep, no need to follow a wall, was able to aim the full length of the court and go from one goal post to the other. Sometimes I didn't quite get to it cause I had drifted to the side a bit and couldn't get back but was able to a number of times.

Was just starting to try turning when I realised on of the pedals had come loose so I had to call it quits as didn't have a pedal spanner with me. My first step was just to try and zig zag up the court a bit, and then to try and turn at the end in a broad arc and return to where I started but pedal issue stopped that. Will try following lines when I can start to actually turn the unicycle even remotely where I want to!
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby barefoot » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:41 pm

Scarfy96 wrote:Will try following lines when I can start to actually turn the unicycle even remotely where I want to!


Arms out - they are your handlebars.

I couldn't tell you exactly what makes me steer on the uni, but I know for sure it's much harder without the handlebars out :lol:

tim
who got the uni out for a bit of driveway rolling on the weekend... only manged one free-mount, but the 90° turn into the shed at the end of the drive doesn't require thinking an more.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:28 pm

I differentiate turning and steering a little. To get from one end of a court to another you need to be able to control a line to do it or to do more obvious changes of direction ("turn left at the corner). I am reading Scarfy'st as maintaining that line and not any more extreme.

I recall that I had a great deal of trouble doing that as my body wanted only to swing right. It was really quite a struggle to correct that. It probably arose because of the way that I learnt. And that was dictated by the inappropriate place that I learnt.

OK. Steering? Yes use the arms tp provide a little contra-rotation under your arms. You need those out initially anyway just to maintain a steady balance. However eventually maintaining and correcting your line will not use this at all, relying entirely on lean. It will be done in a completely unthinking natural way. Indeed not any different than you do on a bike.

Turning is little more extreme. I have found three distinct ways of turning, two of which I use and may describe later if the occasion arises. One of those putting an arm (or both) out and contra rotating under it.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:49 pm

Really! Why are you all having such a hard time? :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

You know, it seems odd that we discuss things about such fundamentals. You won't see a thread anywhere here that deals with such fundamentals for two wheeled bikes. I mean, discussing how to turn? :roll: How to stay upright? :roll: How to go straight? :roll: How to look over your shoulder? How to look left without changing direction? :roll: :roll:

The truth of the matter is that we all have a hard time with it. The only people who do not are those who have not tried it.

Riding a uni is a little like floating in weightless space. The most basic actions and reactions simply do not happen in the way you would expect. In the normal world subtle movements that we make have little consequence and we just progressively correct those little errors and idiosyncrasies with time. Certainly without need for any instruction or coaching.

But on a unicycle those little idiosyncrasies can actually stop you in your tracks. Or delay progress significantly. Or leave you with hard to correct problems. Almost without exception I see perceptible differences in symmetry in ALL unicyclists. NEVER in a bicyclist or a walker or a jogger or a driver or a swimmer.

So that is why you have a hard time. I have a hard time. I still consciously address my tendency to drop the right shoulder down and back. I still have a REALLY hard time looking somewhat normal on a giraffe.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:44 am

Well the cheap unicycle came back to haunt me by the right pedal working loose and wobbling in the crank and no longer able to be tightened due to the crap soft metal.

So ordered new cranks and pedals and just arrived so will fit those shortly and hopefully back on it after a few weeks enforced layoff.

I have a half ironman triathlon (Port Mac) in just over a week so probably nothing till after that then off we go again. So keen to get to the stage that I can ride on a cycleway while my wife jogs.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby norton75 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 10:10 am

About 2 months ago I also decided to give the uni a got. I'd read this post and got a bit of enthusiasm, there was an old plastic uni in someones shed unloved. Just what I needed or so I thought. I tried a bit and decided it was too small. The plan was shelved for the time being. A friend of mine bought an ordinary (penny farthing, I would like one of these too) I could ride the ordinary really easy. I love it BUT the uni was still in the back of my mind. After a few weeks would you believe another shiney chrome Crane uni turned up in my size 20" but much longer seat post. I seized it immediately.


Why. Because it's there.
What did I end up with. A Crane for $20 same as a couple of guys here. Ahhh Chinese quality :)
What do the neighbours think ? This guy is a nutter...but their three kids (7,5 & 3) love the nutter who takes them for bike rides and fix's their bikes.
What does wife think ? Nutter.
What do my kids (27, 29, 31 yo) think ? One is equally obsessed as I am to do different things and challenge herself. The other two think... Yep Nutter.

All of this makes me more determined to master the single wheel fixie.

My house has a rear walkway about 6' wide in the old lingo. A wall on one side a hand rail on the other. I do about 3 sessions per day of about 5 mins. I'm somewhere between 50 and 60 years so learning comes slowly. After about 2 months or so and gleaning tips from this forum, I can manage to ride the 7 metres or so with out touching the side for balance (occasionally) probably 50% of the time now. Great progress. I reckon it's very hard on the thighs.

I saw a photo of a bloke on a uni pushing a pram... now that could help to accelerate my progress. So I used my lawn mower up and down the drive. Then I had another idea. I held on to a bicycle by the head stem, alternating side so I didn't develop a bias. This also helped and (I believe developed different balance dimensions I'd never thought of before) Seemed to help. But best of all small glimpses of progress and always on the uni.

I came OUT earlier on in the week. Up and down the street. First time I got about 20 metres, second time maybe 50 metres or so. Then a massive 150 -200 metres before UPD. The neighbours kids were cheering for the nutter, one doing a commentary like the melb. cup. What a big step for me. The next 7 attempts ended in premature UPDs. Hmmmm. I liken it to surfing. Some days you are a star...others a disaster. But I'm having a great time and the kids next door are trying the old plastic fantastic I gave them. I am looking forward to the day I can just get on it and ride it .....like an ORDINARY bike.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:46 pm

Forget the pram - it won't do you any good. You have got way past the hump after which the distancesjust mount up rapidly. ie That hump before which you cannot put together a few metres in control and without furiously trying to catch the wheel up to you. Once that is passed and firmed up over a couple of days then progress is just T-I-T-S. Time-In-The-Saddle.

But why am I telling you? You have already discovered that.

Now, along with more distance and T-I-T-S you next work on straight line with some degree of symetry and less wild arm movements. And on cornering. And on freemounts.

You could also experiment with the seat height a bit, in the order of an inch or so from your current setting. When learning it is generally easiest to have a low saddle and,if so, it should be elevated sooner rather than later.

Congrats.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby norton75 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:16 pm

Thanks, your explaination/tuition has been most helpful. I did the streeet again today. my daughter captured it on video. I get the arms out like handlebars thing. But I looked like Peter GARRETT conducting the Australian symphony orchestra. So I'm happy with the progress, and thanks for the kind words. Iwill spend a few days or weeks consolidating (hopefully) and consider trying to improve more in due course. Keep the shiny side up.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby DentedHead » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:21 am

... I think trike number 3 is going to be delayed by a unicycle build...

This forum is bad for my wallet.

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:41 am

Great stuff! Love reading others attempts.

I took best part of a month off as I was preparing for a 70.3 Ironman but back on it again now. Definitely noticing improvement and working on turning now - still struggle to turn more than 90 degrees (with about 3 wiggles to get around) - tend to be leaning into the corner by then and tip over! But improving ....

Started trying to free mount last week, not there yet but no longer seems "impossible", just "bloody tricky"! My goal is still to be able to ride it along a cycleway next to the wife as she jogs. Not there yet.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:38 pm

Scarfy96 wrote:Great stuff! Love reading others attempts.

I took best part of a month off as I was preparing for a 70.3 Ironman but back on it again now. Definitely noticing improvement and working on turning now - still struggle to turn more than 90 degrees (with about 3 wiggles to get around) - tend to be leaning into the corner by then and tip over! But improving ....

Started trying to free mount last week, not there yet but no longer seems "impossible", just "bloody tricky"! My goal is still to be able to ride it along a cycleway next to the wife as she jogs. Not there yet.

A couple of suggestions on turning:

FIRST - great for turning not at speed:

Try turning without a lean. I will try and explain using a sharp right turn.

As you turn to the right, lean the unicyle off the vertical to the right. However do not move your centre of gravity. Rather sort of sideways pike your torso so that you are sort of banana shaped with the right hip leading the rest of your body. This will, if you get the hang of it, allow you to turn slowly, and to do it with less application of the properties of rotational inertia.

SECOND FOR LEANING-IN TURNS - this is tough to explain:

When leaning into a turn you will likely have a turn that is fine up to a point. But as it progresses the turn accelerates and you have to really pedal hard an dig the wheel into the pavement. Not a comfortable way, not always easy to control, somewhat hazardous in wet conditions and really REALLY bad for tyre wear.

(Again for a right turn) the trick to stop that rapid progression is, hmmm, how do I explain th is?

Normally when you turn to the right the turn will almost do itself as your right foot approaches the bottom. Try initiating a turn by accelerating the LEFT foot down and start the necessary other actions to get turning right at that time. ie Half a cadence early. That way the other foot will simply be catching up on the turn rather than trying to take the wheel away from and in front of you.

As I said, it is hard to explain so I wish you luck with this one.

Of the two turns I mostly use the first one as I am commonly riding among peds or on lumpy paths where it seems to be right. Leaning turns are more for continuous and reasonable speed and less than sharp turning.

With either turn you should work to rely less and less on wide-spread arms as you progress - amongst traffic of any sort arms out to the side are antisocial.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby barefoot » Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:48 am

I was having a ride the other day (wow, it doesn't take long off the uni to forget how to ride :oops:) and noticed the wear on my tyre.

The contact patch in line with each crank is nearly bald. The rest of the tyre is like new.

I guess that's the part of the pedal stroke I do corners. Pedal down, pivot, pedal down, pivot.

This will probably change as my skills improve - I'm guessing pedalling technique smooths out over time, and stops being so jerky.

I could rotate this tyre on the rim... or I could just get a new one with a more sensible pressure rating. 40 PSI is not a lot of air with the whole of me balanced over it.

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:29 pm

barefoot wrote:I was having a ride the other day (wow, it doesn't take long off the uni to forget how to ride :oops:) and noticed the wear on my tyre.

The contact patch in line with each crank is nearly bald. The rest of the tyre is like new.

I guess that's the part of the pedal stroke I do corners. Pedal down, pivot, pedal down, pivot.

This will probably change as my skills improve - I'm guessing pedalling technique smooths out over time, and stops being so jerky.

I could rotate this tyre on the rim... or I could just get a new one with a more sensible pressure rating. 40 PSI is not a lot of air with the whole of me balanced over it.

tim

It is. And it is really fast to happen when starting. It falls off to a farction - maybe 20% - with time. Learning really is far FAR more extreme on wear ona unicycle than on a bike.

Just rotate the tyre around the rim a few times before throwing it away.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby norton75 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:12 pm

For those lurkers who keep saying they will do it one day....but I don't have a uni. A supermarket chain is currently advertising uni,s for sale $69.99 or so. Seize the moment and have a go. Who knows it may be fun !
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby mikedufty » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:38 pm

I got one a year or so ago
Why. Always wanted one since seeing the guy on one in the opening credits for Welcome Back Kotter, thought it might actually be useful as a slow folding bike after reading Colin's exploits here.
What did I end up with. Cheap 20" from Torpedo 7, then got a similar 24" off ebay to go a bit faster, then put longer cranks on it so it can go slow too.
What do the neighbours think ? Get a few supportive comments from school kids when I use it for the school run.
What does wife think ? Dunno
What do my kids (6,8 yo) think ? They used to like me to chase them around the yard on it. Now are disappointed if I ride it to school because they have to carry their own bag.

I got to the point of riding to the bike to work breakfast last year, but still find it slower and more effort than going on foot, probably needs more practice still.
I left it to gather cobwebs for a couple of months recently but didn't forget how to ride.

For learning I just spent 20 minutes on it each evening for a week, slow progress at first but quickly starts to get better.

My best tip is for free mounting, I found a video on the web showing how to do this by putting a hand on the wheel to stop it rolling. No style points, but very effective.
Basically put the pedals close to horizontal, left hand holds the wheel in front, step on the rear pedal and push forward to get above the unicycle and other foot on the front pedal, the hand stops it rolling backwards.

Very easy after a couple of goes, and makes practicing much easier because you can go places and not have to find a pole every time you need to start.
I did learn to free mount the 20 with no hands, but didn't seem to offer any advantages, I don't think I can do it hand free consistently on the 24"
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:58 pm

norton75 wrote:For those lurkers who keep saying they will do it one day....but I don't have a uni. A supermarket chain is currently advertising uni,s for sale $69.99 or so. Seize the moment and have a go. Who knows it may be fun !

Any links? There area few things that can be assessed from pics. IT may or may not be a better buy than on-line which is also very cheap with some being better than others.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby mikedufty » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:43 am

I'm guessing it is this Aldi one
http://aldi.com.au/au/html/offers/2827_19732.htm
No relevance to west australians.
Looks similar to the ebay ones, although it appears to have a non-knobbly tyre which could be a plus, not that the knobs lasted long on mine while learning.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:38 pm

If indeed the Aldi is the one then there are two cautions:

As always, you need to be certain that it has a seat post long enough or even excessively long. You can buy unis that have a seat post that is inadequate for many. You can't do much if it is. Extra length can be cut down, short can't be lengthened. If it is too short than that is a deal-breaker. (Of course a second hand one is very likely to be short as the previous owner will likely have already cut to suit.)

The other point is that it has a rounded crown to the forks. thi sis cheaper to construct but, unless the buyer knows that they are not going to do tricks the rounded one precludes a lot of tricks. Nice to have but not a deal breaker.

I have seen unicycle for as low as $55 (without factoring in shipping) that DO have a square crown. So certaily shop around.

There is an earlier post of mine (Aug 22nd) on the half dozen things to look for in a bacie no-name unicycle. Other thanwhat I have just said, the Aldi coveres what needs to be covered. Not expensive either.
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