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Another beginner - Devon UK

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  • Hats off to anyone who can learn to ride a uni. I hear all the time that anyone can ride one, but that is not true--anyone can try to ride one. My neighbor and I have spent hundreds of hours trying over the last couple months and neither of us can go more than 5 feet. I am a professional race car driver and am considered to have great coordination and balance---until now. So kudos to you all, cause not everyone can.

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    • Originally posted by Phantham View Post
      Hats off to anyone who can learn to ride a uni. I hear all the time that anyone can ride one, but that is not true--anyone can try to ride one. ..................So kudos to you all, cause not everyone can.
      Believe me when I say if I was able to learn, anyone, and I mean anyone, can learn. Now if you are able to move ahead 5 feet (with the assumption you are not just falling off a 5' unicycle!) you are well on your way. At the beginning you need to embrace the small steps. Post a Youtube video and link it to this site. You'll get some good feedback but it all really boils down to getting back on that saddle time and time again.

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      • Originally posted by Phantham View Post
        Hats off to anyone who can learn to ride a uni. I hear all the time that anyone can ride one, but that is not true--anyone can try to ride one. My neighbor and I have spent hundreds of hours trying over the last couple months and neither of us can go more than 5 feet. I am a professional race car driver and am considered to have great coordination and balance---until now. So kudos to you all, cause not everyone can.
        Phantam: Persevere and I have no doubt that you will also be able to ride!

        I too was frustrated when I first started. It takes time for your brain to learn the new things you are throwing at it. Perhaps you could do a search for learn to unicycle on You Tube and then watch the clips - there are so many different ways...

        What I did (and this perhaps won't work for everyone) was: started in a hall (both hands able to touch the two walls) - practiced getting on the unicycle and going half a pedal rotation forward and backward.. getting the feel of the unicycle and finding my balance, then going a few pedals forward and turning around then going the other way. Then I found a great spot with a railing on one side (just above waist height when on a unicycle) and held onto it and mounted / got onto the unicycle and slowly went half a revolution at a time while holding onto the railing with one hand. As I felt more comfortable I went several rotations of the pedals each time and used the railing less and less. Then I tried to do more and more without the railing - doing a pedal or two between touches. Progress was slow. After this I asked my eldest son to let me hold his elbow / shoulder as I rode along beside him. As I started to actually feel like I was progressing I became more and more motivated - it seemed like this challenge was one I could conquer! Then I used my car as a starting point, mounted, used it to help me with a few pedal rotations, and then rode as far as I could down the street... many times initially I was counting only 2 or 3 rotations before my unplanned dismount - just letting the unicycle fall behind me and running out of it... but then as I progressed I would get further and further until I figured I needed to learn how to turn around... then next challenge.

        I was over 40 when I learned, and it was quite frustrating for me as my 3 sons just picked it up so quickly and easily. I needed to spend a lot more time at it to make any progress. I spent between 15 to 30 minutes every day for about 3 weeks before I was able to ride 10 meters comfortably.

        I am able to ride fairly well and enjoy being on a unicycle now. It is another activity I can share with my sons and a whole lot of fun. It remains a challenge, I have more to learn and much more I'd love to be able to do, but that is half the fun of it - at over 40 learning something new, trying to do something you have never done before...

        Persist, take up the challenge! I, for one, think it is worth it... and have fun along the way! =)
        Dave, Sydney Australia
        20" Nimbus Trials
        20" Impact Trials
        27.5" MAD4ONE Muni

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        • Originally posted by Phantham View Post
          My neighbor and I have spent hundreds of hours trying over the last couple months and neither of us can go more than 5 feet.
          The lack of progress suggests something fundamental about your riding technique is incorrect.

          The worst of common advice I've seen is to "imagine the unicycle as an extension of your spine" and sit straight up with all your weight on the saddle. Those who take this advice learn only when they forget to follow it.
          Triton 36" + 29" | KH 29" | KH 26" | KH 27.5" Muni | Nimbus eSport Race 24" | Torker LX 24" | Qu-Ax Luxus 20" | Qu-Ax Profi 20" | KH / Impact 19" hybrid

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          • Originally posted by OneTrackMind View Post
            The lack of progress suggests something fundamental about your riding technique is incorrect..
            Try riding the same 5 feet, but focus on riding more slowly. That might help! Good luck!

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            • Thanks for all your support. I will keep at it. I have joined a local club, but they aren't able to figure my problem out either----there are several of us who just cant seem to do it---one fellow has been trying for a year--that's dedication. At the local circus and aerialist school there a number of people who are great on trapeze but having trouble with the uni, so Im not alone. They don't brag about it so who knows how many people struggle. Thanks again

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              • Originally posted by Phantham View Post
                My neighbor and I have spent hundreds of hours trying over the last couple months and neither of us can go more than 5 feet.
                It took me three months of consistent failure (5 feet or less) but eventually it worked itself out. You're right to hang in there - well worth the effort. Nothing quite like the thrill of the wheel rolling beneath you.

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                • Just keep at it, Phantham, you'll get it eventually.

                  It took me nearly a month to learn to ride 100 feet or so unassisted. Some learn faster, some slower.

                  One thing I struggled with when I was learning how to ride is finding that sweet spot in terms of speed(in fact this is a big issue for many novices). It helps to ride a little on the "fast" side early on, but fast is scary when you're just starting out. Slow may not be as scary but it's difficult to stay balanced riding slowly. In fact, learning to ride very slowly is almost an advanced skill.

                  It's possible this is an issue for you. If it is, going a little faster may help, even if it feels uncomfortable. Obviously wear plenty of protection. Good luck!

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                  • Originally posted by Phantham View Post
                    I have joined a local club, but they aren't able to figure my problem out either----there are several of us who just cant seem to do it---one fellow has been trying for a year--that's dedication.
                    The techniques for riding beyond the very basics are quite different from starting out. After the initial learning, riders very quickly shift to much more integrated movements and weight distributions.

                    Consequently, advice from an experienced rider might not apply to a beginner. Take the following with that in mind.

                    For example, beginner steering is through inertial twisting of the uni but quickly develops into leaning the uni and counter-leaning the body to keep the centre of gravity over the contact patch and then to leaning everything into the turn once we learn how to get back up.

                    Similarly, weight on the seat works for efficient riding but it isn't stable when the novice rider is unable to keep the wheel under them, which is the most basic principle of riding a unicycle.

                    Riding is far less about balance and response (though of course these skills help) than it is about having the rider and adopt a stable geometry on the unicycle. Edgier performance enhancing techniques develop later.

                    My central advice to beginners is to put the weight on the pedals and grip the seat between their thighs. It takes a lot of energy to ride like this but it is about as stable as it gets on a unicycle, which is of course an inherently unstable system.
                    Triton 36" + 29" | KH 29" | KH 26" | KH 27.5" Muni | Nimbus eSport Race 24" | Torker LX 24" | Qu-Ax Luxus 20" | Qu-Ax Profi 20" | KH / Impact 19" hybrid

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by OneTrackMind View Post
                      Consequently, advice from an experienced rider might not apply to a beginner.
                      +1

                      Also, watching an experienced rider might not provide any good insight to a beginner. The impression they give off is of control. Beginners, on the other hand, need to be out of control. Don't try to skip the spastic arms flailing stage. As a beginner, I broke a lot of the rules listed by more experienced riders. I didn't sit up straight, and my seat wasn't high enough. Nothing I did as a beginner caused bad habits that stayed with me. To use the tool-belt analogy: All I had as a beginner were a few crude tools. Those were necessary to develop the more sophisticated tools I used later.

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