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From novice to 40 mile bike tour in 7 months?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by janvanhulzen View Post
    I did a few long tours in the 20km-30km range on a 24 inch when i was a beginner. The problem is that once you get tired the energy spent on maintaining balance increases. So all is going well up to a certain point and then performance drops rapidly. Also a good saddle is absolutely essential. I used the standard saddle that came with my qu-ax uni and it took me a few days to recover and be able to walk normal again.
    It's so super that you did that as a beginner! Will keep this in mind while training; even after doing a bunch of circles getting close to 1/2 a mile my legs feel a little spent, and I run marathons. Though I don't think my saddle is defective, there are times when training with my uni that I wish I was a girl.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by UPD View Post
      I agree with Tholub, after 20 miles, 40 miles is not that much bigger deal. I did 26 miles the other day and it is only that I ran out of trails, rather than being tired. If it's going to be mostly flat then it's relatively easy.

      I would say train with the 24" for the first 2 weeks , for one hour at least. Graduate to the 29" by the 2/3 month, train for minimum 2 hours, yes, you are fit, at least 2 hours. By the 4/5th month grab yourself a 36er. The 29er will do, but if you really are insistent on distance on this one wheel thing (by now you should know if youre good for it or not ), the most efficient is the 36er, for the roads and not too terribly steep stuffs. Start off with 165s, then 150's, then with 125s (still with good control). First one hour, then 2, then 3hr training, after 3, 4 and 5 hours is cinch.
      Be sure you get a saddle thats kind to your butt, most importantly. But the only way you can tell is by taking it on long rides. So far, the Qx 11 works for me

      I believe you can do it!
      I appreciate the support. So cool all that distance you regularly cover! Leaning on a 36 inch, though I do like those 29 inch hybrid unis that can be used for distance or trails.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Acrorebel View Post
        Though I don't think my saddle is defective, there are times when training with my uni that I wish I was a girl.
        Hmmm. Think it's easier with female equipment? Maybe, but I've had days when my saddle is my worst enemy. And monthly there's a female specific challenge that has to be tolerated.

        Good luck on your training. I'd love to do that ride some day.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Vertigo View Post
          Hmmm. Think it's easier with female equipment? Maybe, but I've had days when my saddle is my worst enemy. And monthly there's a female specific challenge that has to be tolerated.

          Good luck on your training. I'd love to do that ride some day.
          To be honest, I have no idea if it's easier in general with female equipment, but I know that certain very painful, embarrassing things wouldn't have happened if I was a girl or if I had been castrated.

          Good luck with your riding too! I hope you get to ride the 5 Boro Bike Tour some day.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Vertigo View Post
            How much time do they allow?
            Imagine 20,000+ cyclists all in one place. They don't fit in one place. They use about a mile of road just to get packed in before the start. But at some point, not sure how they determine the start, the sag support starts along the route, at a speed of 10mph. Behind the trucks and buses the street is open to regular traffic. One year there was a group of riders that included some kids on 24" wheels. 36 miles is an awfully long way to maintain a speed of 10mph or better. My friends and I traded with them and rode their 24's back up past the trucks and buses a couple of times, but it was inevitable that they weren't going to be able to stay ahead. Not saying it can't be done, especially with short cranks, but it would take a lot of fun out.

            (DISCLAIMER: The last time I did the ride was, I think, in 1993. We cut out part of Brooklyn and all of Staten Island (and the ferry ride) by taking a shortcut over the Brooklyn Bridge. As seen in Vertigo's avatar. Actually, they had changed the route to 42 miles several years before that, but we usually took a short diversion in Queens that cut off most of the "added" section and kept our ride around 36 miles.

            It's NYC streets, so you're going to want to get comfortable riding on random pavement, some of which is pretty bad. Even some bricks or other unusual textures.

            Originally posted by Acrorebel View Post
            I find it easy to turn left but not right; I suspect it's because my left leg is dominant, though I also suspect a problem with the unicycle.
            Dominant leg could be a factor; the equipment being at fault is unlikely. You just need to practice more on the other side. Everybody starts out with an easier direction of turning. At least you're not Zoolander. Just practice making circles to the right. If your body knows how to do it one way, it can teach the other side how to duplicate that.

            A 29" wheel should be able to do the ride without too much trouble. You'll just have to keep moving, and not take any long breaks. In a crowd of 20,000, most of the riders are not super fit, and some are very ill-equipped to complete the ride. You'll see every kind of person riding every kind of human-powered conveyance. If they do it like they did back when I was doing the ride, people with unusual cycles were invited to come to the front of the lineup, to get seen and to have a bit of a head start on the larger pack. After our first year (1985) we always made our way to the front, got to see some really interesting bikes/cycles, and got to start right at the front of the pack. The front was also limited to about 10mph by a bunch of ride marshals up there as well.

            My ride of choice was my 45" Big Wheel. Cokers didn't exist yet. 36 miles on a hard rubber tire? That's a long way.

            I got curious about what the ride is like today. It has gone through some changes over the years; for us it started out as being sponsored by American Youth Hostels, then there was a gap with a new route that included the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. This website shows a map of the route. The route looks about the same as what my friends and I rode back in the day. You get to cross the 59th St. Bridge and the Varezzano Narrows Bridge, which are both big and pretty spectacular. And they list the ride size at 36,000 riders, and say it's the biggest charity bike ride on Earth!

            I found a scanned image from our first ride, in 1985. We're riding down the FDR Drive toward the 59th St. Bridge. Notice that there is some climbing on the ride; from sea level up onto that and the even higher Verazzano Bridge. Oh, and look close. Note that the bridge in the picture is packed with bikes on top!
            Attached Files
            Last edited by johnfoss; 2015-11-11, 06:50 AM.
            John Foss
            www.unicycling.com

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

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Acrorebel View Post

              So the question is this: If I train every day for an hour, will I be ready for the 40 mile 5 Boro Bike Tour in May 2016?
              Hi Acrorebel,
              I learnt to uni age 54 after long distance "trail" running for a few years, and many years of mountainbiking and bushwalking. Got addicted and since then muni every day I'm not at work. My longest run though was 25km of dirt road, the Woodford to Glenbrook fundraiser for Careflight that happens every year in June. I'm no athlete, I've never won a race in my life. I'm consistently somewhere at the back end.
              I managed to muni the whole of that course (there's a mountainbike option which is very popular) 6 months after first ever getting on a unicycle. I rode a 24" Q-Ax with a Wildlife Leopard tyre.
              How did it go? I am much much more efficient riding now: that ride was hard cardiovascular work. I had to stop to breathe quite a lot. Only had one UPD though. Walked up a couple of hills and down one notorious rocky descent. I averaged 11 k per hour.
              It was a bit of an epic, but very achievable. So I reckon you can do what you propose for sure. I wonder if you would enjoy it more if you worked up to a 29 inch wheel.
              One thing about the seat: I never notice the seat at all riding muni, but I get sedentary saddle syndrome badly riding roads for long. Unweighting obviously prevents that riding muni. There must be a solution there for road rides.
              Live the Dream and good luck!
              Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. Dr. Seuss

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              • #22
                Originally posted by johnfoss View Post
                I found a scanned image from our first ride, in 1985. We're riding down the FDR Drive toward the 59th St. Bridge. Notice that there is some climbing on the ride; from sea level up onto that and the even higher Verazzano Bridge. Oh, and look close. Note that the bridge in the picture is packed with bikes on top!
                Thanks for the tips and the pics John Foss! I think it's very doable with proper training. I'm really loving this unicycling community so far.

                Good news: I can finally free-mount! Not every time, but I did it 4 times today after attempting it maybe 175 times(rough estimate). After successfully free-mounting I rode around for a few hundred feet before dismounting or falling off.

                When I first started this thread I was still riding along a fence or wall most of the time, now I hardly ever do that. This is my 4th week of training.
                Last edited by Acrorebel; 2015-11-12, 01:46 AM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by frillneck View Post
                  Hi Acrorebel,
                  I learnt to uni age 54 after long distance "trail" running for a few years, and many years of mountainbiking and bushwalking. Got addicted and since then muni every day I'm not at work. My longest run though was 25km of dirt road, the Woodford to Glenbrook fundraiser for Careflight that happens every year in June. I'm no athlete, I've never won a race in my life. I'm consistently somewhere at the back end.
                  I managed to muni the whole of that course (there's a mountainbike option which is very popular) 6 months after first ever getting on a unicycle. I rode a 24" Q-Ax with a Wildlife Leopard tyre.
                  How did it go? I am much much more efficient riding now: that ride was hard cardiovascular work. I had to stop to breathe quite a lot. Only had one UPD though. Walked up a couple of hills and down one notorious rocky descent. I averaged 11 k per hour.
                  It was a bit of an epic, but very achievable. So I reckon you can do what you propose for sure. I wonder if you would enjoy it more if you worked up to a 29 inch wheel.
                  One thing about the seat: I never notice the seat at all riding muni, but I get sedentary saddle syndrome badly riding roads for long. Unweighting obviously prevents that riding muni. There must be a solution there for road rides.
                  Live the Dream and good luck!
                  Hi Frillneck! LOL had a good laugh at "I'm no athlete". You're very modest. I'm very impressed with what you've accomplished. I appreciate the tips, and I can't wait to try muni some day; I've done tons of trail running and trail joggling over the years, but it looks like I'm really missing out.

                  Keep living the dream!

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by MUCFreerider View Post
                    I agree that it's doable, but it's different than training for running...

                    You don't just need to be fit (sounds like you already are), but you need to be skilled enough to be efficient enough to do the distance quickly and without wasting too much energy in extra motions or UPDs... There's so much skill/balance to be learned.

                    I think it's probably doable with your current setup, but ideally for that distance you would want to do one or both of the following: learn to ride on shorter cranks (as it's faster and more efficient) and get/learn to ride a bigger wheel. i.e. riding a 29er with <125s would be ideal. If a second unicycle is doable then this would still be lots of training as you would need to not only learn how to unicycle but also shorter cranks and a larger wheel are both harder to control. First learn on the 24 and then transition to shorter cranks and/or bigger wheel as you get better. But the 24 is doable, it'll just be slower and take you much longer.
                    Thanks for all the advice. Definitely need a bigger wheel.

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                    • #25
                      Update: Just rode 2.8 miles unassisted on a bike path today, though I fell once due to bumps and dismounted a little later due to my legs getting tired. However, I did manage to ride 1.4 miles of this ride without falling or stopping which is a new record for me. First time ever riding 1 mile or more. My overall pace is slow, kind of like fast walking or very slow running(14 min miles). I run much faster than this.

                      I'm still struggling with free-mounting. I can do it maybe 20% of the time. Can't do sharp turns yet. Working on idling, though it's very difficult. It's probably not a good idea to work on too many skills at the same time, so I'll skip the idling practice until I can free-mount 80% of the time. I wish I could ride round my neighborhood but it's too hilly for a beginner like me. Maybe by early December I'll be ready.

                      Overall, I feel more comfortable and more in control of the unicycle than ever before.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Acrorebel View Post
                        It's so super that you did that as a beginner! Will keep this in mind while training; even after doing a bunch of circles getting close to 1/2 a mile my legs feel a little spent, and I run marathons. Though I don't think my saddle is defective, there are times when training with my uni that I wish I was a girl.
                        It does not really matter i guess. The biggest problem i faced was that i did not really know what to expect. The standard saddle was banana shaped and reasonably wide. To add to the problems the cranks were relatively long. So my legs moved about a lot. The day was hot and i started to sweat a little along my legs. I will not go into details but i learned that avoiding friction is key. Modern saddles are much better. Especially avoid the overly soft ones.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Acrorebel View Post
                          Working on idling, though it's very difficult. It's probably not a good idea to work on too many skills at the same time, so I'll skip the idling practice until I can free-mount 80% of the time.
                          I recommend you keep mixing in the idling (and a little backwards) practice. Idling will make the freemounts better, and vice-versa. Right now you are probably doing static mounts with your bottom foot getting stuck there, and having trouble riding away from that. Roll that wheel back.
                          John Foss
                          www.unicycling.com

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

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by johnfoss View Post
                            I recommend you keep mixing in the idling (and a little backwards) practice. Idling will make the freemounts better, and vice-versa. Right now you are probably doing static mounts with your bottom foot getting stuck there, and having trouble riding away from that. Roll that wheel back.
                            I notice from a lot of unicycling videos, whether they're tutorials on free-mounting or not, they often seem to do something similar to idling very briefly before riding off. So it makes sense that knowing how to idle should improve free-mounting ability. Glad you pointed that out though I've been thinking that very thing for the past several days.

                            I was a little better with the free-mounting today(after dismounting, I successfully free-mounted on my first try a few times though not every time), and rode around my block several times for the first time ever, even on the hilly portions. I've been delaying this because of how hilly my immediate area is; I used to have to drive to this park several miles away to practice on the flat bike paths. Sharp turns are still a bit of a struggle especially when it involves going up or down hill.

                            Thank you so much for the advice again. I've found the advice you've provided to be very helpful, and the same goes for everyone else who has commented.

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                            • #29
                              Update:

                              Yesterday my successful free-mounting rate improved while riding in the park though it's difficult to put a number on it.

                              Today I rode my unicycle for the first time on a dirt trail. It's a mostly flat trail, in some small sections it is paved and in others it's rocky. Had a lot of trouble free-mounting on it. Was easy mounting on smooth or paved areas. Often fell or dismounted due to rocks I had trouble avoiding and dips I mistakenly thought I could handle. It also started getting dark about halfway in. I rode for about 2 miles.

                              I got my first "you're missing a wheel!" today. The kids seemed pretty impressed.

                              I hardly got any idling practice in. It's bewildering all the different methods there are for learning how to idle. I'm trying to figure out which is the best approach. Some Youtube idling videos are useless. Would appreciate any advice.

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                              • #30
                                Here's some.

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