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Learning Unicycle for Big Guy

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  • #46
    I decided to revive this old thread. I stopped posting progress, as I came off the back of my Nimbus and hyperextended my knee pretty bad. This took a month or so before it didn't hurt and over a month more until it felt back to normal.

    My Nimbus has sat unused, as just after I went to China and work started piling up. I decided that I wanted to pick up a 20" to start again, just to make the drop a little less when I UPD. I think part of it is a confidence thing about getting injured again.

    I found a good condition 20" Sun Flat Top for $35 on Craigslist that I picked up. I may need to add a 400mm post on it, but I'll see after a little time. It was strange to have such a small movement when I tried to back pedal it under me. I've definitely lost something in the balance department in 2+ years off.

    I've been also doing very well with watching my nutrition and dropping weight. I will probably wind up ragging out this wheel, but hopefully it will take a while. We have a 1.1 mile trail through the woods and many acres of space off trail that would be a blast to Muni at lunch, once I get to the point. But, I'm not planning on letting anyone know that I'm working on this, until I can jump on the uni and bust around the parking lot and roads a bit.
    Last edited by sacherjj; 2017-09-14, 04:57 PM.


    • #47
      I've forgotten how much energy it is to suck at unicycling. Starting to get it back. Only have a few feet of flat around, so doing the garage door walk. Next week I'm back to where I have access to a tennis court.

      This is about an inch too short at full extension, but ridable. The 20" wheel is much less intimidating.
      Last edited by sacherjj; 2017-09-16, 04:08 AM.


      • #48
        Put in about an hour of good practice. I started in a hall with walls on both sides. This felt good to get back a feeling for the balance. I wish it was longer than 10 feet.

        I moved to the tennis court and was using the net wire to work along for a few cranks. A few times I could feel my mind telling my muscles to make the correct inputs and did a under control 2 revolutions. Other times, I felt out of control after half a crank.

        I could feel my coordination start to fade as some leg muscles started to fatigue. Coming back to the hall helped a little, but finally called it a night.

        When I mentally go back through my practice along the net, I am replaying images of my wheel and the bottom of the net a bunch. This means I was looking down, instead of forward. I'm also not sure if I was really keeping my posture well, or just flopping. I wanted to capture both of those points in here, so I can remember as I review this before going out for my second practice.

        I wish I had gotten a 20" to start. For me, it seems like the 26" was just too big of a jump and to intimidating. I'm really happy with this $35 uni, even if I trash it just after learning. It is much less intimidating and I'm feeling more comfortable with UPDs without injury.
        Last edited by sacherjj; 2017-09-20, 01:22 AM.


        • #49
          I remember when I was learning, that I wouldn't make much progress while riding, but I would come out the next day, hop on, and I would be a little bit better.

          Persistence, time, and practice is what it takes.
          Keep up the good work.
          If your not sore, your not ridin' long enough!


          • #50
            Agree with Uni Klein. Even if you can't say what you took away from a practice session, it adds up. Maybe you're just a little more comfortable being on the uni, or a little bit quicker to make a correction when your balance gets off to one side. You'll be riding as far as you want before too long.

            And sacherjj, I agree about the 20", even with it being just a couple of inches closer to the ground and moving a little less distance with each turn of the pedals. For those of us with more mass to move around, it makes a difference. At six feet tall I got by with the stock seat post on mine for a couple of weeks before putting on a longer one. It wasn't a night and day difference but it helped as I got better and thought more about keeping weight on the seat.


            • #51
              Originally posted by Uni Klein View Post
              I remember when I was learning, that I wouldn't make much progress while riding, but I would come out the next day, hop on, and I would be a little bit better.
              I've read that many times. When I was learning to fly, even time away would allow you to replay scenarios and how it felt and what you would change. I think this helps to visualize and get your mind working on the problem.

              I broke down and ordered a 400mm seat post and a set of KH Percussion Leg Armor. Because the front of my shin and back of my calf don't HAVE to be the colors they currently are.

              Adding a United Black Pedal to get to $100 to take the $20 off. So it wasn't too bad. The pedals on this 20" are pretty ragged and bearings are shot, so these are useful.
              Last edited by sacherjj; 2017-09-20, 07:41 PM.


              • #52
                I won't be back to the tennis court. I'm too tall to use the net wire. This was screwing me up yesterday (I now realize), and what was keeping my head down. So I started to walk my hand along the fence. The fence was so wiggly that I didn't have support.

                I could get what felt like a smooth one and a quarter revolutions, but got a hitch there at the bottom. It really felt like when you were trying to spin on a bike and are not smooth. I could not get past this. The fence was so loose that it didn't really help.

                This is located right next to a pond. I have to take my helmet off every once in a while, because I can't get my finger into the little slots to kill the mosquitoes that won't stop crawling into my hair sucking blood out of my head.

                But at least it was hot and sweaty, so while making absolutely no progress, I was getting soaked. And turning my hands black from the hillbilly gloves.

                I could not get past that hitch. It got to where I was assured that I would fall after 1.25 turns. I packed it up for the night.

                Even though this is 4 blocks, I've been driving there so I can take water and such. Instead of going back to the house, I decide to drive around an see if there is a better place to learn. I search for 10 minutes over a couple of places. I get to my old high school and see nothing. But around back I find learning gold.

                This beautiful piece of shoulder high handrail that is perfectly level with the pavement.

                Totally solid. Confidence inspiring. I was able to just let my hand slide and grab immediately if there was trouble. This let me get past the stupid mental block that kept thinking about how I got hurt before. Whatever was screwing my mind up.

                20 more minutes of work and I ended the session really happy, instead of really annoyed. I was able to get a couple 3+ crank runs with my hand hovering, but not touching the railing. It was good progress. I had to stop, because my legs were burning.

                And nothing was biting my head.

                The pavement continues after the railing ends, so I should be able to shoot off, when I build up confidence. I'll be back tomorrow after work.

                Maybe I can find something like this up where I am during the weekend. I shouldn't need it for long. Much better post than I thought I would be writing tonight.


                • #53
                  A bit more on this fence and you won't need it at all soon!


                  • #54
                    That change of scenery might be all you need. I'd hit a block with the fear of the transition from the bridge I use to just the path as there's a bit of uneven flooring that has caught me a few times and now I just stop before I get there, almost magically!

                    Went up and down the bridge last night (it's only like 10 revolutions long) 10 times consecutively with no holding and feeling really comfortable. Now if I could just have the fear levels of my 13 year old I'd be sorted!

                    Can't use my favourite place as the fair is in town and using the car park!
                    If you haven't grown up by the time you're 50 then you don't have to...


                    • #55
                      I first learned riding in the living room. I was living alone and put all furniture to the side. When I managed to do 3-4 rotations and away from the wall, I took it outside and pushed off from the car.
                      I kind of wonder since you say you are big. I have gained some wait (I'm 1.86m and about 85kg - working on losing weight again), but anyways my thighs are the first to get fat and after riding my 6-8km the jogging pants I wear rub too much on my thighs so it becomes quite sensitive. Do yous wear proper stretchy biking pants or don't you have that problem?


                      • #56
                        I have a fairly low padding bicycle short that I used when I rode recumbents.

                        I've been wearing these as underwear under jeans, mainly for the fabric shin protection (which sucks.) At least after the nice hit last night, both my shins match in color.

                        I could use a much better pad than I needed on the recumbents, but it definitely keeps things in place better. At my very start, in normal underwear, I managed to sit hard on one of balls. That was unpleasant. I haven't been without the support since that time.

                        I will probably switch to a lightweight nylon hiker pants over them, once I get my Leg Armor.
                        Last edited by sacherjj; 2017-09-21, 07:41 PM.


                        • #57
                          I had not realized the similarity between learning to drive, or fly, and riding a uni.

                          It is about having to deal with too many inputs and outputs, at once. As you learn one part of it until you can put it in the background, you can't deal with other parts yet. At least not well. It is interesting to see those levels peel.

                          I felt pretty confident along the railing. But man were my legs sore. I gave entertainment to around 100 cars and 2 buses that drove past, as they cleared out for the finished football game.

                          I got comfortable enough on the uni to really see that it is still way too short. I'm pushing my toes up at the bottom to try to get leg extension. It is kinda messing me up. It is also making me use my leg muscles too bent, which is even more effort.

                          I'm whipped, but further along than yesterday. Not sure how much further along, but it seems like you don't know until it "clicks". I'm really glad the seat post will be here on Monday. I think I'll let my legs regenerate until then.
                          Last edited by sacherjj; 2017-09-22, 02:32 AM.


                          • #58
                            Your making good progress.. Keep it up!
                            If your not sore, your not ridin' long enough!


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by sacherjj View Post
                              I felt pretty confident along the railing. But man were my legs sore.

                              Easier said than done, yes. But reminding yourself to sit down in the saddle (even though it's too low) will allow you to last longer on your practice sessions. Later on it will help you ride farther!
                              John Foss

                              "Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"


                              • #60
                       box arrived today and I installed the new seat post and pedals. Both are a nice improvement. I raised the seat almost 2 inches without issue. I though I was decently high before, but now I'm there. Good decision on ordering this.

                                This is making it easier to keep more weight on the seat. I had one run that felt good, with six or seven revolutions with some speed variations. Not where I would like to be yet, but the comfort is coming. I wish it wasn't so hot. I was soaked in sweat after 40 minutes of effort.

                                It isn't moving as fast as I'd like, but I'm seeing improvement each time. I'm using the railing a little too much as a crutch. I'll try to start shooting off on the next session.