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Which hand do you use when holding onto the seat?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by finnspin View Post
    I'll just highlight this so it doesn't get lost, I have had to break the news that they have to relearn hopping onto things to too many people. Always hop towards your free hand, it's better for balance, and for your own safety, since you already have your hand free on the side you are most likely to fall onto.
    Interesting - I can hop either way, but far more confident hopping towards the hand holding the saddle. I suspect this may be more to do with the way round your feet are - as mentioned above I have the "wrong" hand holding the saddle for the way I have my feet (ie left hand holding the saddle, left foot forwards).

    I'm not sure I want to be saving a fall with my hands whichever way round I'm hopping.
    Unicycling: great for your thighs.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Canoeheadted View Post
      I believe every skill should be learned ambidextrous and in progressive order.
      Originally posted by MrImpossible View Post
      And I haven't seen any reason to learn to use both hands on the handle, anymore than I would want to learn to switch hit in baseball, or whatever. I'd rather spend time learning something else.
      I am better at hopping up stairs while hopping to the left with my left pedal back. I decided I needed to practice hopping the other way. After several unsuccessful attempts to hop up the stairs on my weak side, I sketchily succeeded. On my next attempt, I went back to my strong side. I made it up the 17 stairs with less effort than on any previous attempt, there were no corrective hops, and I kept both hands on the seat (SIF) the entire time. The success I had on the strong side would not have been possible without struggling on the weak side.

      When I first practiced one-footed riding, I identified a dominant, strong side. I was more successful practicing on that side. I forced myself, nevertheless, to alternate practicing on my strong and weak side. I had to think a lot harder about what I was doing on the weak side. This improved my technique on the weak side, and at a certain point, the strong and weak sides had switched.

      One reason to practice using either hand holding the seat is to learn using both hands simultaneously on the seat/bars. This has been a real game-changer for my riding in general. With practice, I have learned to keep both hands on the handle as things get steep and uneven. My typical braking technique is having two fingers of each hand on the brake and the other fingers of both hands on the bars. I can remove either hand while still maintaining braking pressure with the other hand. This would not be possible if I hadn't first practiced holding the seat with either hand.

      You can probably guess what side of this debate I'm on...

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      • #18
        Originally posted by aracer View Post
        Interesting - I can hop either way, but far more confident hopping towards the hand holding the saddle. I suspect this may be more to do with the way round your feet are - as mentioned above I have the "wrong" hand holding the saddle for the way I have my feet (ie left hand holding the saddle, left foot forwards).
        The way your feet are is relatively irrelevant. When you watch trials riders, you'll see roughly the same amount of people hopping to their backfoot, as people hopping to their front. But you don't see high level riders hopping towards the hand that is holding the saddle (or using both hands on the saddle, for that matter).

        Originally posted by aracer View Post
        I'm not sure I want to be saving a fall with my hands whichever way round I'm hopping.
        It tends to happen when you are getting serious about trials.

        Onto the whole ambidextrosity debate: There are serious advantages in being to able to jump with either foot forward, at least for Muni, which is why I'm dedicating some time to getting better at that. (Only the Muni specific jumps, for trials I don't care)

        The advantages of being able to use either hand are much slimmer, and I personally have decided to just leave it. I can use the left hand on simpler stuff to give my right arm a break on longer downhill rides, but for anything technical, I am fine with only being able to do it with my right on the saddle.
        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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        • #19
          I'm right-handed, and I most often have my left hand on the saddle for mUni.

          However, on long road rides, having both hands on the handle can provide a little saddle relief and smooth out pedaling.

          I've also recently been experimenting with using my free hand as a counterweight to combat road camber and cross winds. A free hand flying into the wind, or on the high side of the camber, really seems to help in both cases.

          Finally, I've started using a free hand as a counterweight on the outside of fast turns, but I'm still figuring out if this is a good idea or not.

          Short answer: Either hand, depending on what I'm doing.
          Unicycling makes things better

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          • #20
            Originally posted by finnspin View Post
            But you don't see high level riders hopping towards the hand that is holding the saddle (or using both hands on the saddle, for that matter).
            I use the both-hands technique for hopping up stairs, where the gapping distance is less than 1 foot. I understand that, for longer hops/jumps, holding one arm out makes sense.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
              I use the both-hands technique for hopping up stairs, where the gapping distance is less than 1 foot. I understand that, for longer hops/jumps, holding one arm out makes sense.
              Almost everyone does use two hands at some point (including me). But I am 90% sure that as you progress, you will switch to one handed again. You just don't need much force from your arms when your technique is good.
              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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              • #22
                Interesting question and answers.

                I use my dominant hand (right) to hold the bars or saddle most often. It feels the most natural. I ride a 29er and 36er. I've only been riding for 10 months though so maybe my riding will change.

                I'm currently working on riding with both hands on the bars / saddle.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by aracer View Post
                  ...I hop with my front foot on the same side as the hand I hold the saddle, which is the wrong way round...
                  --- Realizes he's been doind it the wrong way round for almost 40 years --- Maybe that's why I never got very good at Trials? Nah, I think the real reason is still that I haven't spent enough time on it.

                  But it makes sense for the foot opposite the saddle-holding hand to be in front. This makes a better-structured "triangle" of support. I did always jump to the right, which seems obvious enough with the free hand being on the right.
                  Originally posted by Geolojas
                  I've also recently been experimenting with using my free hand as a counterweight to combat road camber and cross winds.
                  I use my free hand (arm) to counteract "wobble" on uphills. I swing my right arm back as I push down on the right pedal, and bring it back as I push down on the left. This helps keep the power directed in a somewhat straighter line than otherwise.
                  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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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by johnfoss View Post
                    --- Realizes he's been doind it the wrong way round for almost 40 years --- Maybe that's why I never got very good at Trials? Nah, I think the real reason is still that I haven't spent enough time on it.

                    But it makes sense for the foot opposite the saddle-holding hand to be in front. This makes a better-structured "triangle" of support.
                    There has been an attempt to name the two stances: Hopping with the foot forward on the same side as the hand on the saddle is asymmetric, and with the foot forward opposite side as the hand on the saddle is symmetric. (I hope I got it the right way around, but that naming is barely used anyway).

                    You will find both with good trials riders. Mark Fabian has the right hand on his saddle, and right foot forward (and hops to the left). Mike Taylor uses the same stance. Tim Desmet has the left foot forward, and the right hand on the saddle. Aidan Teleki actually learned to ride with either foot forward (while keeping the same hand on the saddle). All of these guys hop well over 110 cm. I forgot what Aidans reason was exactly for switching, but I believe one way is supposed to be higher over a bar, and the other onto an obstacle.
                    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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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
                      I am better at hopping up stairs while hopping to the left with my left pedal back. I decided I needed to practice hopping the other way. After several unsuccessful attempts to hop up the stairs on my weak side, I sketchily succeeded. On my next attempt, I went back to my strong side. I made it up the 17 stairs with less effort than on any previous attempt, there were no corrective hops, and I kept both hands on the seat (SIF) the entire time. The success I had on the strong side would not have been possible without struggling on the weak side
                      I've seen this sort of claim a few times - that practicing something like mounting on your "bad" side will help with the "good" side - but I just don't believe it.

                      With muscle memory skills like this, you get better by doing something correctly, over and over. You won't get better by doing something poorly and backwards. Nobody coaches e.g. right-handed tennis players to work on their serve by practicing serving left-handed. If skill transferred so easily, all that practice on your good side would have made you pretty good already on your other side, but it doesn't work that way.

                      --

                      There are some skills like mounting and hopping that I practice on both sides because they're useful for muni, which is pretty much all I ride. My earlier comment about not bothering to learn both sides was just about which hand I use.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by finnspin View Post
                        There has been an attempt to name the two stances: Hopping with the foot forward on the same side as the hand on the saddle is asymmetric,
                        In boxing it is called Southpaw.
                        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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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by MrImpossible View Post
                          I've seen this sort of claim a few times - that practicing something like mounting on your "bad" side will help with the "good" side - but I just don't believe it.

                          With muscle memory skills like this, you get better by doing something correctly, over and over. You won't get better by doing something poorly and backwards. Nobody coaches e.g. right-handed tennis players to work on their serve by practicing serving left-handed. If skill transferred so easily, all that practice on your good side would have made you pretty good already on your other side, but it doesn't work that way.
                          If I understand correctly, you are arguing that practicing on your good side doesn't make you better on your bad side, so why should practicing on your bad side make you better on your good side?

                          My answer is this: Our bad side is also referred to as our weak side. Whereas we rely on strength for our good/strong side, success on the weak side is contingent more on improved technique and efficiency of motion. Once we learn that on our weak side, we can apply it to our good/strong side. However, the strong side cannot teach the weak side to be stronger.

                          Regarding your comment "You won't get better by doing something poorly and backwards." Applying that logic to practically every skill I've learned on the unicycle, I might question how I ever learned to ride in the first place, considering how awful and sketchy my technique has been on new skills.

                          Glad to hear you're into muni. We have awesome riding trails here in SoCal.

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                          • #28
                            "If skill transferred so easily, all that practice on your good side would have made you pretty good already on your other side, but it doesn't work that way."

                            This is the problem. You concentrated on one side to begin with and learned asymmetrically.
                            Skills don't transfer, they're developed.

                            Some sports and activities support asymmetry. Ping pong, tennis, shooting...
                            Some sports and activities support symmetry. Biking, paddling, climbing, etc...

                            I think muni is a contender for symmetry. (why wouldn't you want to be able to handle anything that's in front of you without stopping?)

                            I think trials is a contender for asymmetry. (quick learning and advancement is priority)

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
                              After several unsuccessful attempts to hop up the stairs on my weak side, I sketchily succeeded. On my next attempt, I went back to my strong side. I made it up the 17 stairs with less effort than on any previous attempt, there were no corrective hops, and I kept both hands on the seat (SIF) the entire time. The success I had on the strong side would not have been possible without struggling on the weak side.
                              Finnspin is right about SIF hopping with only one hand -it really is better- but you are right about practicing on both sides, at least for this particular skill. Though I never have the patience to practice hopping with a reversed stance, and couldn't even get up one step if I did, on a few occasions I have practiced hopping up steps to the left instead of to the right, and it did make me a lot smoother. I never went up 17 steps without a corrective hop, except one set of steps that is very gentle and smells like pee. For normal steps, I think my record is five without a correction, and to do that, I have to have done some fairly serious stair hopping in the last few days.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by song View Post
                                Finnspin is right about SIF hopping with only one hand -it really is better- but you are right about practicing on both sides, at least for this particular skill.
                                I'm not sure what your basing "being right" on, but I can sidehop 95cm over a bar, and I have never seriously practiced using my weak hand...

                                I'm not saying you should not bother with practicing your weak side, and can't care less about the will it help you with your strong side debate (just try it out, and if it helps you, that's cool, if it doesn't, probably didn't hurt you to exercise the muscles on your opposite site). But what I can definitely say is that it's certainly not necessary to progress on your strong side.
                                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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