New to Unicycling ....

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:20 pm

And just further encouragement to all finding free mounts difficult to nail. It is the first really cool thing that you get to do. Once it can be done with some degree of reliability, then to anyone watching it is REALLY worth loads of cred. Even one that is not particularly pretty. Almost worth it to do a UPD just as an excuse to show off.
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by BNA » Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:34 am

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:34 am

LOL -"UPD" so you can remount to show off!
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:47 pm

OK so it is decision time now.

No Torkers in stock in Australia till end of April or early May. Not waiting that long and from the questions I have asked of the supplier there is bugger all difference in build quality. He has suggested I may even consider a 26".

So now I have to decide between this 24":
http://www.municycle.com.au/View.php?ac ... =UNICLUB24

and this 26":
http://www.municycle.com.au/View.php?ac ... =UNICLUB26

Hmmmmmm, do I just flip a coin?
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby norton75 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:17 pm

Scarfy96 I have been riding my uni about 3k's everyday lately. The bigger wheel makes a lot off sence to me if your ride speed is faster. The reason I bring this up, is I measured my crank length to see why I seem to pedal like mad to achieve walking pace. The Crane has 150mm cranks. Reading the post from you, one of those uni's has 125mm or so. The other has 150mm. Maybe wait for Colinoldncranky for some "better informed" advice. If you already noted this, ignore my post. I look forward to seeing which way you go and what your opinions are of the differences. Norton75 OOOps make that 127mm cranks. Sorry watching idiot box at the same time. Getting much better percentage of free mounts as a result of doing more K's. But as soon as I brag, I'll miss the next ten.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:46 am

Scarfy - I wouldn't be waiting either for a respectable uni. I see around quite a few of those that you link to and seem just as good as the torkers. Unicycle dot com is reputable and established. I have bought a couple of things from there and ridden with the one guy on Australian site that is a unicyclist who resolves issues and stuff.

26" to 29" are pretty standard choices for using it to get places if that is where you are heading. 24" is bit light for lots of distance (though that is what I ride).

When you move up a size it may feel a bit awkward for a short while, even feel like a mistake. But pretty quickly it feels right. And any time you jump on someone else slightly (or greatly) smaller, is easy.

As regards crank length, you really need to uderstand the error in many riders thinking. Many (most?) unicyclists have a belief that you can go faster on a shorter crank. I think it is from a fundamental misapplication of high school level physics - levers and mechanical ratios sort of things. However - and a bicyclist may appreciate this more - the major limiting factor for speed is cadence, NOT the linear velocity of your foot through a circular path.

If you do chase that extra speed with shorter cranks all you will get is:

  • Less control when you need to stop, adjust speed up (as in having to resist a UPD), slow down or prop us as a ped steps in your way, etc
  • a lot more difficulty climbing hills and curbs
  • more difficulty with and less places you can freemount
  • When you DO do a UPD you will be landing on the ground with a shorter step length. This makes is far more likely that you will wind up face planting than if you had left the contact of the unicycle with a longer length of step.

None of these are to your advantage.

And btw when unicyclists (online) start quoting speeds they achieve to justify their short cranks, ignore that info unless you get to witness it yourself. There are hundreds who claim (online of course) speeds that exceed an extremely hard-worked world speed record that has stood for a couple of decades and for which an already recognised sports person planned, sought advice, technical assistance, diet and two years of highly specific training just for that record. I'll link to the story sometime.

Stick to a comfortable length crank. And err on the long side, not the short.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:27 pm

Thanks guys, I am thinking I will go the 24" at the moment for a few reasons.

1) It isn't a commuter! (I work from home)
2) I plan to ride it where other people are around so smaller, more maneuverable etc I see as an advantage
3) Top speed means little to me, if I want to get somewhere fast I will go with 2 wheels and if I ride with my wife jogging - well she jogs at 7min km's so ...
4) Less of a step up from where I am now
5) If I decide later that I want a bigger one then the 26" is only a couple of hundred bucks and even the 29 is under $400 so wont break the bank.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:57 pm

I would concur fully - control is considerably enhanced, speed is marginal. If yo go the 24 then if and when y ou do desire more distance in shorter time then a bigger jump to 29 will give a worthwhile benefit.

The ultimate for speed and distance is a 36"with a Schlumf hub gear - effectively increases your wheel to around 2.3 or 2.4 times the 24" but only if you go beyond beign able to ride it to being able to master it. I would think, quite a challenge to do so. The increase in gear inches will be even greater but other factors conspire to bring it down a bit. Full armour required. Addition of bars and a good quality disk brake, with hydraulics. Costs quids though. Around three grand at the moment with 2/3 of it in the geared hub.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:09 am

24" has been ordered. Should get it next week :)
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby norton75 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:30 am

Thanks for the reply Colinoldncranky. I didn't know the answer but get frustrated by not checking things out properly and finding they don't fit, suit or is the wrong thing for one reason or another. Your answer will help keep us all better informed. I'm still interested in how Scarfy96 finds the change. Keep us posted.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:23 am

Will do.

This weekend I will get my first chance to do some real distance on my old uni before it retires. I am going away for a few days and where I am going there is a nice big open area that I can ride around. I plan to get in a fair amount of time on it.

I think one of my biggest issues is that I have got to a point where I need more distance to improve but where I live I am on a steep hill so only have the driveway which is about 12m long and that is it. I am hesitant to take it elsewhere as I need a pole etc to start or someone's help so want to get to freemount before I take it elsewhere. However because I am not getting enough distance riding I am struggling to nail free mounting. Hence it is a loose loose situation.

So hopefully 3 days of good riding will help a lot, then the new uni next week and ................
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:56 pm

Hey Scarfy - if you have any marked asphalt courts around they are good places to do basic steering skills work without getting too bored. Getting to control of both line and location - you ride the lines in whatever order you wish. Those like netball and basketball have some curves as well as straight lines and right angle turns. But tennis is fine too.

If you work out sequences over the various lines it be less tedious while keeping you at it for a decent amount of time. And even a single loop around the perimter of a tenis court in both directions will give you eight right angled distributed equally to both sides and a fairly long bit of straight line riding.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:25 am

Yes I have a netball court about 2km away but it is quite hilly to get there, some busy roads and no sidewalk, so it is a long walk pushing/carrying my uni or it is a car trip.

Not the same as ducking out for a 5-10 minute ride out the front of the house.

Have been there a few times but it isn't trivial.

Once a week I get to go here for an hour or so.
https://maps.google.com.au/?ll=-32.9185 ... 6&t=w&z=19
My son plays badminton and the training goes for 1.5 hours. The little park in the middle of this is about 50m wide and has since had a kids playground built in it with a wandering cycleway around the playground. So I have to stay on the cycleway and weave around the playground. I can also cycle up and down the car park (John St - it is just a car park!) and even out and along the footpath if I want. That is good practice.

Weekend went well got some time on my uni every day for 4 days around the car park of a quiet resort complex. 150m easily before looping back on itself, gentle speed humps, some variation in the road angle etc, all good practice. Barely any UPD's but had to stop after about 200m because my thighs were killing me and cramping up. Having trouble sitting on the seat as I keep rising out of it and "standing" just off it. Hopefully this will be helped when I get my 24" one (hopefully tomorrow - been shipped from Melb to Sydney, now just needs transfer to Newy and delivery!) so it is the right size for me.

Didn't bother trying any free mounts, there were car ports every 10m or so so easy spots to start from and just wanted to take the opportunity to ride as much as possible.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:00 pm

OK got the 24" yesterday and built it in about 20 minutes. Took it for a ride yesterday in a car park while the kids had music lessons. Spent most of the time fine tuning the setup, slowly raising the saddle with each ride and ending up with it 10cm higher than my old uni! I think I have settled on that height but may tweak a little more.

First impressions - awesome :)

Easier to ride I think and much less pressure on my quads, so riding longer distance should become easier.

Did try a couple of free mounts at the end but didn't stick any but not concerned by that at this stage. Feels like I am a LOT higher and looking down on the world ;)

Haven't had a chance to ride it today and have a crazy weekend ahead so probably only chance to ride again in the next few days may be Thursday evening weather permitting, however at this stage very very happy!
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby mikedufty » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:57 pm

Have you tried the hand method for free mounting I posted above? If it works for you it is great to free you from hanging around posts, even if you eventually want to master a hands free mount.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby outnabike » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:35 am

I think unicyclists have a little subliminal fan in Google. This is from the latest caption. :D
I had to look closely to see the unicycle.

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:57 am

mikedufty wrote:Have you tried the hand method for free mounting I posted above? If it works for you it is great to free you from hanging around posts, even if you eventually want to master a hands free mount.


Not yet, only had 1 20 minute session on it so far. During that time I just sorted the seat height and got a general feel for it. Weather was against me last night so didn't get my hour I was hoping for. This weekend is a write off with other commitments so hope to get some more time on it next week.

I have worked out why I feel so tall on it, I am sitting higher than I stand on this one, on the other one I wasn't.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:50 pm

Scarfy - I'd urge against the hand-hold except as a fall back. Try first hard (very hard) to do a normal upright rolling mount. You can use it easily with with both hands loaded, with a loaded back pack, unlimited loads strapped to you, with a rain coat or pancho draped over you in the rain, on down slopes, on up slopes on lateral slopes. Though naturally most of these will require some time to develop.

While I have seen a small number of riders who do use it for normal use, I have yet to see any of them that I feel are safe enough to mount, for example, on a bike way or busy ped mall with lots of passers - likely to be the constant requirement. And from the couple of times that I have seen someone have to cancel from a hand-held mount at the last moment it has been a mess, taking out a couple of surprised walkers in one case.

I have yet to see someone do the mount on a slope.

There are just a lot of limitations. Try your utmost to develop a normal upright freemount. Only if that proves impossible after a long term effort would I suggest a hand-mount.

(Other than on a 36" where it seems to be have some advantages.)

When all else fails then try using the hand as SOME sort of freemount is needed.

Give me a couple of days and I'll have a look back over your recent posts on it and see if I have any useful tips.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:17 pm

Thanks but not concerned on free mount just yet, after just a short session on the new uni and now sitting 10cm higher everything feels different (better but different). I plan on just logging some km's at this stage. I can easily free mount of even my 10yo daughters shoulder (she stands there, I free mount with one outstretched hand on her shoulder and ride off). So I can get out and about now, just not solo.

What has become apparent to me is I need time in the saddle. With a short drive way onto a VERY steep road (read 20%) I can't put any distance in at home so need to ride some places where I can get more time just cruising around. I have 2 perfect locations for this (1 when the kids are at music, another when son is at badminton) and possibly some weekend time as well.

Happy to work on that for a little while and adjust over to the new uni THEN revisit free mounting. In the meantime I will probably try a few each time I am out just for the heck of it.

In the meantime I have 3 triathlons in the next 5 weeks that I am training for, first one this weekend then a few weeks prep for the next 2 so focus is more there at the moment. Once the Batemens ultimate tri is over in late March then I have nothing on my radar till probably October which will free up time from training to put in on my uni.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby mikedufty » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:38 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote:Scarfy - I'd urge against the hand-hold except as a fall back.
I have yet to see any of them that I feel are safe enough to mount, for example, on a bike way or busy ped mall with lots of passers - likely to be the constant requirement. And from the couple of times that I have seen someone have to cancel from a hand-held mount at the last moment it has been a mess, taking out a couple of surprised walkers in one case.


Can you elaborate on these limitations, I can't see why using your hand causes any difficulties, I'd have thought it was safer because you have the wheel under control. It seems to work as well on slopes as on the flat, and I don't understand what problem it would cause with cancelling, it it because there is one less arm to wave?
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:35 pm

mikedufty wrote:
ColinOldnCranky wrote:Scarfy - I'd urge against the hand-hold except as a fall back.
I have yet to see any of them that I feel are safe enough to mount, for example, on a bike way or busy ped mall with lots of passers - likely to be the constant requirement. And from the couple of times that I have seen someone have to cancel from a hand-held mount at the last moment it has been a mess, taking out a couple of surprised walkers in one case.


Can you elaborate on these limitations, I can't see why using your hand causes any difficulties, I'd have thought it was safer because you have the wheel under control. It seems to work as well on slopes as on the flat, and I don't understand what problem it would cause with cancelling, it it because there is one less arm to wave?

You imply then that there is a lack of control in riding upright which is not the case at all. You can't get much more control than total control and, in time, upright freemounts are almost totally in control. (I can't recall the last time that I lurched to the left or right as I took off, that I strayed into passing riders on the PSP, that I could not take off straight and at the speed I want, of having to take up excessive roll forward or rear or not being able to mount and then hold up while a ped steps in front at the last instant or having to stop the mount because a ped walked to brush past my rear. It has certainly not let me down in the last year. Ever. Most riders can't manage a mount onto cleats with cars next to them at the the lights as well as a competent unicylist will with a freemount.

If you do try a mount from a slight crouch/stoop (hand-held mount) with a wet pancho adhering to your body you will understand what I am referring to there.

There is a clear difference in one over the other in a host of common and not so common situations. Which is probably why the vertical version became the most common. And why those who do start with the hand-assist way usually still seek advice on how to do it upright.

So my point to Scarfy and anyone beginning is to go straight to the vertical freemount if they can manage it. And in most cases they will.

The only place I have seen the hand-held version being as effective, is on a 36". Some say more effective and, from what I have seen, I would not dispute that. However I have only stepped on one of those a few times. Certainly I can't freemount one. :oops:
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby mikedufty » Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:21 pm

So it's the lean forward that causes difficulties? I still can't quite see how it would. Maybe it just lets gumbies with less skill achieve a freemount? I've never got good enough at the hands free one to compare them properly. I think I have more control with the hand, but probably just because I have more practice that way.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby foo on patrol » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:59 am

Hey Colin, what's the go with these? :shock:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... =1&theater

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:12 pm

foo on patrol wrote:Hey Colin, what's the go with these? :shock:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... =1&theater

Foo


They are Nmbus 36" unicycles. Possible the Nightrider, the bee knees and less than 10Kg which is quite remarkable with a rim that size and so much rubber. AFAIK 36" is the largest pneumatic wheel you can get. (Yes, other manufacturers also make them to various levels of spec.) Of course, with the tyre added you get around 40" diameter. These are used purely for distance and speed. If I was to have one I suppose this would be the one I'd want. With the extras.

I don't ride one so my comments are only from what I have seen and discussed with those that have them. They are not rare.

The Aero bars are extra but commonly fitted. Without them all you have to attach things to is the seat tube -and on a 36" that is really short. But mostly they make it a lot more steerable. Without them they really are very difficult to steer around corners or at slow speed - lean turns are only good for keeping a predominantly forward direction, not really for significant turns. Without bars turns are ugly furious twisting and gyrating.

I've hopped on a small few so I know they are possible to ride. But, without working at it, it really feels weird and is not easy - and you need to do a lot of pelvic thrusting in place of pedal control as pedal control is pretty hard with short little cranks against a 40" diameter. Occasionally you will see a dual length crank to make it a little easier ( two pedal-spindle holes in an alloy crank).

Another common extra is brakes. Best to be disc - disc not for power but for quality in terms of no grabbing, predictable gradual effect. Indeed, the Nimbus have been just started including a hydraulic option to further reduce any inconsistency and unpredictability.

I think a Nimbus with hydraulic disks and bars are around $850 online.

You can also have them come with (or add later) a Schlumph hub. It has an epicyclic hub gear that gives two choices- 1:1 and 1:1.5. The change is done by stalling for a moment and kicking a little button that comes out of the crank-shaft. Kick with the opposite heel to change back again. On 36" I think it would be quite a difficult skill but some manage it. And with it you get 60 gear inches - small by bike standards but way better than my 25".

Add around $2,000 for the hub gear. (They were originally around $3,500.)

I don't know what the bars cost.

Armour is also recommended - I'd be looking at helmet, gloves with wrist-bracing and knee guards. A fall is gonna be quite hard from a good height and the unicycle is going to offer no protection like a bike can. Except at low speed, you are going to do a lot of face plants and risk your wrists as the speed you get to the ground will be considerably greater than your cadence. I would think they would occur a lot too.

It is the sort of beast that comes up second hand a lot as it is not easy to master by all accounts.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby John Lewis » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:28 pm

Came across this.
Haven't read it yet but it may be of use.
John

http://www.instructables.com/id/Unicycl ... gs-import/
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:14 am

Hmm. Interesting. I know that some people use a stick, pair of poles or similar to learn to ride, but never before come across someone using a walking stick for a mount. It looks like a sound tactic. And he quite rightly suggests it as a not-first option. And if I ever decide I want to get a 36" then I may indeed take his advice.

I notice that the guy is learning on a 29" (or thereabouts). So, the first advice he should give is to get a smaller wheel.

Youtube, it is a great resource. I had no one and no idea of how to go about it but Youtube taught me, in four days, how to freemount the giraffe. I am just thankful however that I found useful ones as there are some shockers out there. But even those are worth a look as, despite what the author is saying is a hppening, the video does show you what really is happening.

(I'm curious about the thing over the crown/brake that looks like a cut down water bottle.)
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