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Idling and riding backwards

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  • Idling and riding backwards

    Can you do both or just one? I can't idle but I've been practicing riding backwards. When I get competent at riding backwards, will idling be easy? Right now I can ride backwards about 30-40 feet as long as there is a railing to grab if needed. When I try away from a railing I can only go 5-10 ft. It's a mental thing! I haven't really tried to idle too much. I like to practice one skill at a time. My mind can only handle one new thing.

  • #2
    I have been practicing idling for some weeks now with a 20" and a 24" and not that regularly. I started by just doing one step back and then continue forward for several hours, without even trying to "idle", on both sides. When it felt good enough I went for idling. Every now and then I try how far I can go backwards without actually practicing it. My record pedaling backwards is maybe 6-7m, idling with left foot down ~50 and ~20 with the right. It feels like when I learn to idle comfortably on both sides going backwards is just behind the corner.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Djphelan01 View Post
      Can you do both or just one? I can't idle but I've been practicing riding backwards. When I get competent at riding backwards, will idling be easy? Right now I can ride backwards about 30-40 feet as long as there is a railing to grab if needed. When I try away from a railing I can only go 5-10 ft. It's a mental thing! I haven't really tried to idle too much. I like to practice one skill at a time. My mind can only handle one new thing.
      lol you must be a guy. Only women can multitask. The furthest I rode backwards was 2.5 pedal rotations. Can you ride backwards when first riding forwards? Or.... when you ride backwards, can you stop and continue forwards again? Then you're practically there with idling.

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      • #4
        I can idle (have done over 100 reps, but I get bored and tired), but my best backwards riding is about 10 pedal revs - have been able to idle for years, and trying to learn to ride backwards for years too (though I've got to be honest I've not been that consistent at practicing it). Not sure how much one helps the other - maybe riding backwards will help more with idling than the other way round, but they're kind of different skills.
        Unicycling: great for your thighs.

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        • #5
          Funny to me they seem pretty close to each other; going forward is repeating one step forward (and then you smooth it out), idling is repeating one forward one back and going backwards is repeating the one step back. And then I suppose it will get smoother I think when I go practice riding backwards I will start by walking backwards some first..

          I'm quite new to this but to me it seems to work like this and to me idling seems to be a simpler task than riding backwards, I suppose for some people it might be the other way around!
          Last edited by kalervo; 2016-05-21, 05:43 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by kalervo View Post
            [T]o me idling seems to be a simpler task than riding backwards, I suppose for some people it might be the other way around!
            Very much so for me.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by kalervo View Post
              Funny to me they seem pretty close to each other; going forward is repeating one step forward (and then you smooth it out), idling is repeating one forward one back and going backwards is repeating the one step back.
              In terms of the pedalling maybe, but we all know it's about the lean and the balance, and the difference is that when you finish your one step back when going backwards you're leaning (and falling) backwards, whereas when you're idling when you finish that step you're leaning forwards. Which is where I find it difficult to translate from one to the other - when trying to go backwards I find it hard to keep leaning backwards (not only due to being used to idling where you don't do that, but also a bit of fear of falling backwards still - which is one reason why idling is easier for me). Also the mechanics of sideways balance is a bit different - with idling you can always correct on the forwards step!
              Unicycling: great for your thighs.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Djphelan01 View Post
                Can you do both or just one?
                What size unicycle are you practicing these on? I first learned to ride 50 ft. backwards on my 26" mUni, and that involved pretty hard falls a few times. Then I got a 20" and riding backwards got a lot easier. I had less distance to fall, and I was able to make corrections in balance at more extreme angles (which would have otherwise caused upds on the bigger wheel). So, step one, if you don't have one already, get a 20".

                I learned to idle and ride backwards around the same time. It's hard to say which one of those techniques was more difficult. Learning to ride backwards involved overcoming fear, whereas idling involved overcoming some counterintuitive physics.

                If you're struggling too much with idling, I'd suggest experimenting with the following: Learn to ride slowly, practice roll-back mounts, practice coming to a sudden stop with the wheel out in front of your center of gravity. Also, it's necessary to pivot madly and uncontrollably when learning to idle, and holding onto a fixed object inhibits this pivoting. I started practicing idling at the wall, but at some point I needed to "lose the wall".

                For backwards riding, I first practiced on a baseball diamond near my house. Falling backwards and sliding on the dirt is much nicer than hitting the pavement with your rear, then sticking.

                Good luck!

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                • #9
                  My way of thinking comes from juggling and patterns, once you can do one round of a pattern then it's just a matter of keeping it up and merging it with other patterns. And I see walking as repeated pattern of one step with right followed by left, same goes for unicycling and walking backwards. Now try idle while walking As mentioned above there's more fear involved in riding backwards and I figure it is easier for me to overcome that fear if I have the skill to do "one round" of the pattern and the ability to handle whatever I am fearing. I have practiced super-idle (two-step-idle?) a bit after doing it by accident a few times, is it considered to be closer to idling or riding backwards?

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                  • #10
                    (having not read the whole thread)
                    The best way to learn idling and backwards is together. Take turns. Each feeds the other, and each reinforces the other. First step is to just ride to a complete stop, then continue. Meanwhile, practice idling with something to hold onto. This will teach you where in the pedal stroke your power is, and where it isn't.

                    If you've mastered one of these skills and not the other, have at it. You're already most of the way there, so finish it off! And these are foundational skills that lead to lots of other fun stuff you can learn. Like freemounting, for any of you that haven't yet tackled that....
                    John Foss
                    www.unicycling.com

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

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Setonix View Post
                      Can you ride backwards when first riding forwards? Or.... when you ride backwards, can you stop and continue forwards again? Then you're practically there with idling.
                      I do have trouble with the transitions. Right now I've been riding up to a wall then go backwards as far as possible. It's getting easier and I no longer do it near a railing. When I practice I have been trying some transitions and some idling but like I said I can only focus on one skill at a time.

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                      • #12
                        What is meant by a "super-idle"or a "two-step idle"?
                        "I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes" Henry David Thoreau

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sukie47 View Post
                          What is meant by a "super-idle"or a "two-step idle"?
                          By super-idle I mean going full revolution back and forward instead of half while idling, a wide (long?) idle. Then you take and stretch it and boom you're riding backwards

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                          • #14
                            thanks
                            "I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes" Henry David Thoreau

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                            • #15
                              I think idling and riding backwards are non related tricks, so yes, you can learn either one without learning the other. Unfortunately that does also mean that knowing one doesn't directly help the other (e.g. knowing how to ride backwards and onefooted, helps to learn riding onefooted backwards directly, but knowing idling won't improve your backwards riding.)

                              But of course, you will improve overall balance and unicycle control, especially as a 'beginner', so you will probably find idling easier once you learned riding backwards.

                              For learning how to idle, I usually suggest staying away from "super idle", just practice stationary with a wall to hold on to at first, later free handed and starting from riding and then stopping to idle. Just focus on having one pedal at the bottom, one on top, and moving roughly an eigth rotation forward and backwards from there (meaning the wheel will only do a quarter rotation forward, followed by a quarter turn backward, with your cranks being vertical in the middle of each stroke.)
                              In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. -Douglas Adams.

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