New to Unicycling ....

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:44 am

Looking a bit more at the tutorial though, the bloke may not have good advice on how to mount. He is mounting with the pedals at 3 and 9 o'clock and doing it stationary. Not the way to do a freemount. Freemounts generally should not require the rider to climb, it should instead lift the rider off the ground (requires movement of the wheel).

Mike, you also commence your mount from that alignment, and hold still for a moment before riding directly forward. Holding the wheel still while one foot and then the other is put onto the pedals is therefore required regardless of aids like a wall or post.

The exception (there is always an exception) is the jump mount for those who like a little risk (or just want to break a unicycle). In that case no one foot is weighted onto the unicycle before the other. But even that is not a stationary mount, the rider launches immediately forward - an improvement of sorts over a standard freemount which initially moves in the opposite direction you wish to go.
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by BNA » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:12 am

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby foo on patrol » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:12 am

Thanks Colin, I think I will just stay with two wheels, I get into enough trouble there. :lol:

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:52 am

Thanks for the link John, interesting thoughts.

I have had zero time on my uni over the last week or so, just too much else on and every free moment I am training for an upcoming triathlon. Will be back on it soon however :)
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby John Lewis » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:07 pm

I have a Uni out n the shed. Plastic 20" wheel one.
Haven't tried it in ages as it gave my knees curry. I think the seat is a bit low. I may weld a bit on the seatpost and try again.

I got to the stage I could ride in a straight line but never mastered turning.

Now that I'm almost 72 I wonder whether its even prudent to try it again. I only need to pump up the tyre.

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:27 pm

John Lewis wrote:I have a Uni out n the shed. Plastic 20" wheel one.
Haven't tried it in ages as it gave my knees curry. I think the seat is a bit low. I may weld a bit on the seatpost and try again.

I got to the stage I could ride in a straight line but never mastered turning.

Now that I'm almost 72 I wonder whether its even prudent to try it again. I only need to pump up the tyre.

John

It is prudent. And it is very low impact exercise suitable for old joints like mine.

The risk of injury when learning to unicycle is not like on a bike. Most people never have a fall onto the ground until post-learning when they are either doing tricks/offroad/muni/street stuff or travelling at max speed (and most times you still don't go to ground). I know very few who have lost any skin when learning.

I would be a little concerned abut the seat post though you have the best idea of your welding skills.

20" is perfect. However learning is quite hard, torquewise, on a unicyle. So with a plastic wheel comes the possibility that the crank shaft will lose it's bind with the plastic. If this does happen than you may still get some life out of it with a pair of stainless steel threaded radiator-type clips, tightened to the absolute max around the collars of the hub.

Good luck.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby norton75 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:34 pm

I agree with colinoldncranky. get out and do it. I'm 56 and now ride the uni 3k most days. Freemounting heaps after not worrying about intensive sets of free mount starts. I'd like to hear how isabella24 is going and encourage others like john lewis to get on it. Or are you going to wait a few years, then realise 'I should have done this years ago ???' BTW till get the odd UPD on change of ground conditions or wind can upset me if strong enough. But then I free mount and off I go.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby mikedufty » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:42 am

ColinOldnCranky wrote:Mike, you also commence your mount from that alignment, and hold still for a moment before riding directly forward. Holding the wheel still while one foot and then the other is put onto the pedals is therefore required regardless of aids like a wall or post.

Yes, I played around a bit with foot positions, starting with something more like recommended for a free mount. My technique does work for other positions, but I've found flat pedals a little easier and more consistent, and easy to remember the position.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:52 am

Surprise surprise I got 20 minutes on my uni last night when I had to take the kids to music lessons. Now riding 200 - 300m at a time between UPD in a carpark. It is an industrial estate with the car park having undulations in it so while it is nice flat concrete surface there are rises and falls as well. Starting to feel a little more relaxed on it and not constantly 1 second from disaster. Still finding it quite tiring (which is interesting because I ride a bike 100km no problems!) but I think that is because I am still a bit tense. When I concentrate on relaxing the body and not holding my breath and remaining in the seat it is nowhere near as tough on the quads. I am a lather of sweat after 20 minutes however.

Happily turning left 180 degrees in an arc of about 10m but can only sort of veer right at this stage but definitely making progress.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:47 am

Scarfy96 wrote:Surprise surprise I got 20 minutes on my uni last night when I had to take the kids to music lessons. Now riding 200 - 300m at a time between UPD in a carpark. It is an industrial estate with the car park having undulations in it so while it is nice flat concrete surface there are rises and falls as well. Starting to feel a little more relaxed on it and not constantly 1 second from disaster. Still finding it quite tiring (which is interesting because I ride a bike 100km no problems!) but I think that is because I am still a bit tense. When I concentrate on relaxing the body and not holding my breath and remaining in the seat it is nowhere near as tough on the quads. I am a lather of sweat after 20 minutes however.

Happily turning left 180 degrees in an arc of about 10m but can only sort of veer right at this stage but definitely making progress.

It pays when you are ready to do lots of riding on lumpy surfaces, and among lots of moving peds. It builds u p skills ina way that is not boring.

Idealy you should have almost no force on the trailing pedal and only enough on the lead pedal to keep you moving. But on lumpy surfaces and when negotiating obstacles you will tend to put weight on both pedals and that will work those legs a little harder. While I try to ride with light pedals all the time, even now I work harder under those conditions. And I've been doing it for thousands of hours!

I find those conditions less tedious than riding on ideal surfaces in straight lines. The time goes without thinking so much about the long ride ahead.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:06 am

On a roll now ;)

So rain held off last night and while son was at sports training I was able to get some unexpected riding in. Along a footpath under big overhanging fig trees. The footpath was covered in bitumen but still very lumpy from the tree roots deforming everything. I managed to ride about 2km all up (not in one go) with longest effort being nearly 500m a couple of times. Got caught out having to cross a quiet street at one stage and had to check over my shoulder - ahhhhhhhh, no. Even did a right hand turn :D Also had some pedestrians on the lumpy footpath that I had to not hit at one stage.

All up very happy.

Didn't try any freemounts, more interested in getting mileage up at the moment. Each time I did have a upd I was able to use a street sign, a fence or a tree to re mount with no issue. Twice (from trees) was on grass and then back onto the footpath and managed that OK as well (just).

Skills definitely improving now. Very very happy with progress and absolutely loving every second of it. :D
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:48 pm

Scarfy96 wrote:Got caught out having to cross a quiet street at one stage and had to check over my shoulder - ahhhhhhhh, no.


Yeah, looking over shoulders is a lot tougher than on a bike, yet, as you have to spend so much time on the path, is an absolute necessity.

Not much I can say other than, IME, it does get better and that as you learn to hold up/pause/stall you will also find that you get better at it. So always work and practice at stalling (no forward motion while balancing for a moment or two) and at riding really REALLY slow.

A trick to really REALLY slow is to be able, when required, to do a step-step-step forward movement (as opposed to a smooth continuous cadence as you do on a bike). Half turn, hold, half turn,hold, half... a bit like exercising on one of those hydraulic steppers that used to be popular for exercise freaks or walking up stairs one step at a time.

Practicing this has so many benefits on so much of riding, not just over-the-shoulder checks.

You are obviously establishing your ability now. Which on my personal straw poll puts you in a minority. Congrats.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby mikedufty » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:55 pm

I had a go at proper hands free freemounts on my way to vote today on my 24". Succeeded on my 3rd go. Next time got it first go. I guess this shows the using your hand method doesn't interfere too much with learning to freemount properly. I have to stay it still feels much safer using a hand though, still can't see any safety hazard from that. Either way you end up upright and stationary within a fraction of a second and surely both are the same from that point.

Obviously the hands free mounts will get better lots with practice.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:57 pm

mikedufty wrote:I had a go at proper hands free freemounts on my way to vote today on my 24". Succeeded on my 3rd go. Next time got it first go. I guess this shows the using your hand method doesn't interfere too much with learning to freemount properly. I have to stay it still feels much safer using a hand though, still can't see any safety hazard from that. Either way you end up upright and stationary within a fraction of a second and surely both are the same from that point.

Obviously the hands free mounts will get better lots with practice.

THey are disimilar enough that it is probably not a worry. People who mount in the usual way still may be mounting with a hand hold on certain unis.

Until I finally got to doing the freemount with minimal rear travel it still required me to make adjustments as I took the first half turn. But don't rush to that stage, use the rear travel as you need it. It just means that as you mount you have to pretty much set off immediately forward. Possibly you will have a predictable movement to one side that requires immediate forward movement to get back on course. Somewhat disconcerting.

However there is NOTHING like knowing that you can freemount with as little movement back behind you as you choose. I'll emphasise that - some day try and develop an almost zero amount of travel of the wheel behind you.

That reduced travel lets you hang for a while if something gets in your path. It means that you get to choose if you start forward lazy and languid or start fast. It means that you do not have to worry about peds walking close by you. (Indeed that is why I reduced the rear travel - and surprisingly it required nothing except to make the effort.) And it is also easier to go straight to an idle if need be.

While I do little in the way of tricks and skills development, I am quite pleased with a rock solid freemount which mostly developed with little effort. I wish that I had the same on the giraffe.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby barefoot » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:11 am

I took Ms barefoot Jr (5yo) for a lap around the block on Sunday afternoon... she on her 12"er bike, me on my 20"er uni.

That's the first time I've really ridden somewhere, rather than just laps up and down the driveway or around a school playground. A bit under a km, flat-ish.

Damn that's hard work.

Only two UPDs around the way - related to broken/potholed sections of footpath upsetting my stability - although I managed to cross the road twice without stacking. Our roads are standard old-school inner-country-town residential backstreets, with a bluestone spoon drain, then grass, then gravel, then tarmac... so I'm pretty impressed at my efforts getting across all that.

At the 3/4-way corner, I leant on a fence post for a rest. I almost couldn't start again because my legs were shaking so much.

A day and a half later, and I can still hardly walk. Thighs are killing me. Went for a family ride across town and back yesterday and a fast 30km bunch ride this morning to try and spin some life back into my legs, but they're stuffed :lol: :oops:

I haven't ridden the uni at all for quite a while, so it was probably a bit silly jumping back in with a "big" ride like that.

I got a couple of freemounts early in the ride (out of the shed to the gate, then from the gate across the road and off down the street), but didn't bother trying later in the ride when I was getting tired. Easier just to use a fence to lean on.

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:46 pm

LOL - that is fantastic!

I haven't been on mine for a couple of weeks for a range of reasons. Primarily because I had a long triathlon a bit over a week ago and was in final prep for that. Unfortunately I strained a calf muscle a week prior to it so rested up big time (well lots of massage at least) in the hope of getting through it.

As a result no uni time. However with that out of the way (and no the calf didn't get through it) I haven't been back on the uni because upd's I have previously noted can stretch the calf and need to give it time to recover now.

I have noticed that it uses LOTS of core and quads to uni, I expect a winter of uni'ing and mountain biking will do wonders for my road biking come Spring ;)
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:59 pm

I trust that at 5 years old your daughter is not embarassed to go for a ride with her dad on a unicycle. :lol: Enjoy it while you can because it won't be like that for long. :?

I do lots and lots of kilometres. I do them in all weather and all conditions. I cross roads and ramps all the time. No drama.

But spoon drains? I do NOT like spoon drains. :x I found spoon drains everywhere in Adelaide. To a unicyclist they things of the devil - evil things.

Well, maybe I will get to like them if I have to ride them more. But that depression between controlling your drop down and then pressing back up is very discomforting.

So, for the ride out in public, well done. And the lumps, bumps and holes become normal after a while.

However, when it comes to those damned spoon drains, well done is just not adequate. But well done anyway.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby barefoot » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:14 am

ColinOldnCranky wrote:However, when it comes to those damned spoon drains, well done is just not adequate. But well done anyway.


We may be talking about different things we we say spoon drains. Mine are big things about a metre wide by half a metre deep, made of bluestone cobbles. When you put a driveway in, you drop a concrete slab over the drain so it's possible to get the car out. It's difficult riding across our drains on a MTB... I don't think any mortal would try riding them on a uni. I only mentioned them at all to put some context around our style of road. I rode from one driveway, across the slightly eroded gravel, on to the tarmac, and across to another slab driveway.

I'm now wondering about bigger wheel unis and whether they'd be nicer to ride rough surfaces than my 20"er. Kind of like the 26"er v 29"er argument in mountain biking, a bigger wheel should roll over stuff better. But on a direct drive unicycle, that implies higher "gearing", and I've never ridden a bigger wheel to know what challenges that would bring. Anyway, I anticipate I'll eventually be riding a 26" unicycle... so I might have to start dropping hints to Santa.

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:03 am

ColinOldnCranky wrote:I trust that at 5 years old your daughter is not embarassed to go for a ride with her dad on a unicycle. :lol: Enjoy it while you can because it won't be like that for long. :?


At 5 he should have plenty of years left yet. Daughters and sons are totally different. My 10yo daughter thinks it is awesome I ride a uni and loves being seen with me on it (and has just hinted in the last few days she also would like to ride one!). My son however thinks I am an embarrassment in every aspect of life ;)
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:51 pm

barefoot wrote:
ColinOldnCranky wrote:However, when it comes to those damned spoon drains, well done is just not adequate. But well done anyway.


We may be talking about different things we we say spoon drains. Mine are big things about a metre wide by half a metre deep, made of bluestone cobbles. When you put a driveway in, you drop a concrete slab over the drain so it's possible to get the car out. It's difficult riding across our drains on a MTB... I don't think any mortal would try riding them on a uni. I only mentioned them at all to put some context around our style of road. I rode from one driveway, across the slightly eroded gravel, on to the tarmac, and across to another slab driveway.

I'm now wondering about bigger wheel unis and whether they'd be nicer to ride rough surfaces than my 20"er. Kind of like the 26"er v 29"er argument in mountain biking, a bigger wheel should roll over stuff better. But on a direct drive unicycle, that implies higher "gearing", and I've never ridden a bigger wheel to know what challenges that would bring. Anyway, I anticipate I'll eventually be riding a 26" unicycle... so I might have to start dropping hints to Santa.

tim

We are talking different beasts. Yuors seem a lot touugher again.

Large wheels will soak up bumps better and also travel better on softer surfaces such as Melbournes sludgy lawns. However, when you DO have a problem it is harder to power out of it.

If you use a larger wheel then a longer crank will help. Ignore all the posts by unicyclists that they can go faster with shorter cranks (often claiming speeds in esxcess of world records), predicated on the fact that shorter cranks give a greater mechanical ratio. However the limiting factor in cycling (uni or bikes) is not so much the linear speed of the pedal but the rotational speed. ie Cadence. At the same cadence a long lever will give the same speed as a short one. And it will give you more torque at the wheel when you need it.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Sun Apr 14, 2013 8:28 am

I hope not to depress the rest of us plodders here. But have a look at the video.

Other than his age, just note what a fall is when learning to unicycle. No skinned bits, not blood, no hitting the ground. It is why we call it a UPD, not a fall.


It be really difficult to fall to ground when riding normally in normal conditions.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby barefoot » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:45 am

First thing that stands out to me in that awesome little video is how he really doesn't have far to step down to the ground when he UPDs. With the little 16" wheel, his crank length is only marginally shorter than wheel radius! That seems to allow for trouble-free... almost graceful... UPDs.

Then again, on my 20" with (I assume) somewhat longer cranks, I probably don't have a whole lot further to step down. I'd hardly call my UPDs graceful though :lol:

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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:09 am

LOL - but he can't free mount ;)

That is so awesome, most kids would scream at the thought of not having training wheels on a bike at that age, that is so fantastic :)

At 24" I have a fair bit further to come down as well but still rarely go to ground. Did get another short session the other day, first one in quite a while and managed to ride 1.2km on cycle path through a park. Was so much fun. Had to stop after about 700m cause my thighs were about to explode but that was the only stop and had right angle turns and pedestrians etc so quite happy.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:41 pm

Continuing the theme of adulating young riders, I had a couple of kids helping out at a family biking event yesterday. I had not met them previously but I knew they were 6yo and riding a little distance regularly and, though a stretch for them, they both managed the 12km that everyone else did, albeit finishing last. They also helped out with getting a few strangers onto unicyles after the ride.

They had both been looking forward to having a try on the giraffe. So after all our obligations had been met I found a spot that fulfilled the requirements and set up the first guy.

Five minutes after starting my standard newbies routine the tallest one left my shoulder and rode it away from me, turned back in a fairly tight semicircle (not a wide path) after ten metres, came back most of the way. He was chuffed despite his thoroughly UNspectacular UPD (unplanned dismount) to finish.

I have had 100% success with my routine for getting any capable rider onto it (approaching forty so far), but this was , by a long shot, my youngest to date. My method allows me also to know before they take off that they are OK so I was not shocked when he nailed it so easily.

The other guy couldn't follow suit only because his feet could not reach the pedals.

The mum in charge took a video of the whole process. When I get a copy I'll post an edited version of it. Just to prove to y'all that any one of you guys can do the same.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby Scarfy96 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:03 pm

Awesome, look forward to it.
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Re: New to Unicycling ....

Postby norton75 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:59 pm

Awesome footage of the little uni rider Colinoldncranky. Loved every minute of it. Loved his determination (much required to succed) He is 50 years younger than me and seemed to learn in half the time. Loved it.
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