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  • riding slowly

    I was so happy last weekend that my kid learned to ride her bike. Because that meant I could ride my uni and she wouldn't need to sit in the children seat on the back of my bike.
    Now I've run into the problem that she is too slow on her bike. When riding behind her, I have to slow down all the time, which often results in UPDs because I can't go that slow. I've tried all my uni's. First day rode on the 32" coz I came home after a trip, but that is naturally too big. Then the 29 and 26" which are still too big to near her speed. Her wheels are only 16" I think. Aside from riding slowly she also zigzags, making her go all the slower. I don't like riding 5-8 km on my 20 inch, on which Id also go too fast.

    How can I hold my balance for a long time, riding slowly. Any tips are welcome.

  • #2
    Honestly, practice. There is no special technique to riding slow and holding your balance, other than riding slow and holding your balance. Of course you can employ the little trick of riding zigzags like she does. Why exactly do you not want to ride the 20"? It would be the least difficult to ride that slow. I think if your kid has a bit more practice, she will likely go about the speed that is comfortable on a 20" even kids bicycles are usually geared through the chain.

    I imagine overall she is going at what would be a good walking pace, and whenever I have my 20" and go along with people that are walking, I just walk with them and push my uni, since while I can slow down to their speed, it's annoying and I don't see the point of it. Maybe just walk along with her for a few weeks until she has found more speed, and the issue solves itself.
    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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    • #3
      Originally posted by finnspin View Post

      I imagine overall she is going at what would be a good walking pace, and whenever I have my 20" and go along with people that are walking, I just walk with them and push my uni, since while I can slow down to their speed, it's annoying and I don't see the point of it. Maybe just walk along with her for a few weeks until she has found more speed, and the issue solves itself.
      Yeah prolly ur right. Her riding muscles just need some time to grow. I once rode 10km on a 20" and since then I have a painful knee. Yesterday I alternated between fast walking beside her and riding uni. Tonight I will take out the 20" again. Probably having the seat a bit higher will also make it easier on my knees and less wobbly.
      I found it mostly frustrating to UPD all the time when it was going too slowly.

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      • #4
        All of what finnspin says - I can ride at walking pace on any of my unis (well maybe not the Schlumpf in high gear!) but that's because I've practiced. The technique is a little different than riding fast, because you are pausing between each half rev and wiggling to balance and it takes a while to master. I also can't see why riding the 20" would be an issue - the only advantage of a bigger wheel is that you go faster, if you're going slowly there isn't any real downside to one - the only reason you don't like riding a 20" that distance is that it takes longer! Though I do also wonder if your daughter is really going to be riding 5km+ at walking pace!
        Unicycling: great for your thighs.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by aracer View Post
          All of what finnspin says - I can ride at walking pace on any of my unis (well maybe not the Schlumpf in high gear!) but that's because I've practiced. The technique is a little different than riding fast, because you are pausing between each half rev and wiggling to balance and it takes a while to master. I also can't see why riding the 20" would be an issue - the only advantage of a bigger wheel is that you go faster, if you're going slowly there isn't any real downside to one - the only reason you don't like riding a 20" that distance is that it takes longer! Though I do also wonder if your daughter is really going to be riding 5km+ at walking pace!
          Clearly I don't ride so slowly on my weekly rides so it needs more practice. I should be happy that my daughter who is 4 now, gives me the chance to practice it. As she grows older, she will be better at riding and get bigger bikes along the way. I don't like of the 20" that it requires a lot of pedalling. I do like that it doesn't go too fast. Maybe I should have a schlumpf in the 20" (I sold my schlumpf last year, which I had in a 29". I just couldn't get the hang of it)

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          • #6
            I think you will not be bothered too long with the 20".

            1.) Children have a way faster learning curve than we have. She will be faster on her bike very soon anyhow.
            2.) Hills. Even small ones, she will be waiting at the bottom for you as she has a freewheel on her bike.

            Take it positive: Go for the 20" for the time being and improve a skill. You can join slow riding competitions...

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            • #7
              You can also use your brake to ride slow. I' m training in using brake for your same reason (mine has 6 y.o): while breaking I can keep pedalling very slow and I found it easier than going slow without any brake

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Vogelfrei80 View Post
                You can also use your brake to ride slow. I' m training in using brake for your same reason (mine has 6 y.o): while breaking I can keep pedalling very slow and I found it easier than going slow without any brake
                That is a good one. I was thinking "Oh no, the brakes-guy", but as I was riding downhill last weekend, which was fairly steep, I noticed I had much more control with my brakes than a few months ago. Being able to keep continuous pressure on my pedals, even though I'm going slowly helps with balancing. Same as riding a semi-steep uphill and taking half pedal strokes at a time. That also goes very slowly. I can't do that on flat, because then there is no force pushing me back. Thanks for the tip.

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                • #9
                  Riding against the brake on flat is a waste of brakepads, rotors, and your energy.
                  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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                  • #10
                    Only a personal opinion, but there are two separate things here: your child at a crucial stage of her development, excited to be learning and exercising a new skill and spending time with her dad, and your desire to be doing your hobby of unicycling.

                    Your child will only be this age and at this stage in her development once. Enjoy that for what it is: precious moments. Follow on foot or on a bicycle if necessary. Talk to her, listen to her, encourage her, then go for a unicycle ride later.

                    In a few weeks or months, the mismatched speed problem will have resolved itself.

                    But for riding a unicycle slowly, the drill is just do lots of it in short sections of a longer ride, or practise in a confined space, and get good at idling.
                    My first novel, Bridge of Otherwhere, Michael Wilkinson, on Kindle. A tale of subtle magic, mystery, friendship and love. Tinyurl.com/Bridge-of-Otherwhere For US$ page: TinyURL.com/OtherwhereBridge

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                    • #11
                      Some of my slow riding ability started out from riding up steep hills where I simply couldn't go any faster.

                      Lots of riding in as much variety as possible develops a whole lot of skills.
                      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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                      • #12
                        practice. Idling, riding slow, stopping, riding backwards only comes with more seat time. And to me they're all related. In order to idle, or stop, you need to ride slow, in order to ride backwards, you need to ride slowly and idle and stop.
                        Same thing with bunny hops. Use the 20".

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Setonix View Post
                          Yeah prolly ur right. Her riding muscles just need some time to grow. I once rode 10km on a 20" and since then I have a painful knee. Yesterday I alternated between fast walking beside her and riding uni. Tonight I will take out the 20" again. Probably having the seat a bit higher will also make it easier on my knees and less wobbly.
                          I found it mostly frustrating to UPD all the time when it was going too slowly.
                          Riding a 20 with much more than a slight bend in my knee at the bottom of the peddle stroke kills my knees. Definitely try raising the seat.

                          10K on a twenty is really far!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mrfixit View Post
                            practice. Idling, riding slow, stopping, riding backwards only comes with more seat time. And to me they're all related. In order to idle, or stop, you need to ride slow, in order to ride backwards, you need to ride slowly and idle and stop.
                            Same thing with bunny hops. Use the 20".
                            Today I rode with the 20" and she can easily keep up if she wants. When mum rides in front she rides quite fast and I have to work to keep up, but then she gets tired and slows down again. Also some places with a strong wind, I notice she needs to grow a muscle. It is fairly easy to stop and start hopping on the 20" as well. Also upped the saddle some more, which made riding a few kilometres more comfortable.

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                            • #15
                              Put the little guys away.... get the 29 out again.

                              Practice very short stillstands with every half revolution.
                              Similar to what you would do while muscling up a steep or long incline. Pedal...Pause...Pedal...Pause...etc...

                              Soon the length of time in your stillstand will increase.

                              If the balance to go slow isn't there while riding, then try it while not.

                              Slow riding is a great teacher.

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