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struggling with speed

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  • #16
    I noticed this thing on my longer ride (around 5km total, so not even long). 29" with 152mm cranks. Now that I did 7.6km ride yesterday, there were couple things that I noticed causing rubberbanding of speed before, but which were smoother now;

    -Backback. I have camera, 840ml water, cellphone (well, smatphone, but whatever), and speaker for brake time loosening. Even this all small load added differential to weight distribution I was used earlier without backback at all.

    -Bumps on road (potholes and such). Quick accerelation of speed and then breaking bit due uneven road surface.

    -Going back to normal riding posture AFTER riding uphill. Since I need to balance differently when going uphill, this method caused havock to my normal ridng speed; way too fast. This is even worse in one place where there is downhill right after uphill, not normal surface.

    These all issues have gotten better by just riding more, along with downhill riding and dealing with road camber where I need to lean body differently.

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    • #17
      hmm good points as I have just started riding with a camel pack for water recently. I need add a strap between the arm straps in the front as it moves around quite a bit
      OK so I got the new cranks and yeah very little difference from 150 to 140
      but I'm going to ride with them some and see how it feels, I didn't raise the seat any so everything is going to be a little different. probably won't get to ride till later in the week if then as we are getting hammered with afternoon rains.
      24" Torker LX
      29" UDC Trainer
      32" UDC trainer

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      • #18
        Also, depending on terrain holding (pulling) saddle helps me on keeping more constant speed on rougher terrain. Takes a while to getting used to holding saddle during ride, but give it shot too. Like when going uphill and needing extra power to legs and to keep my ass better on saddle, as well as when going faster since I can bring my body more forward causing center of balance to shift more.

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        • #19
          No hands practice

          You know what no hands on a unicycle means, right?
          Yes, both hands on the seat and just using your legs(pumping pedal) for control. Your upper body helps but it's mainly the pedaling force(both down and forward). Have you ever tried to ride a trail or paved road with both hands holding the seat. How do you go straight? How do you correct when you start veering to one side? You handle bar guys know what I'm talking about. It's all in the pedaling.

          Pay attention to downward force and forward force. When riding super slow on grass it's all pumping down hard and slow on the pedals(4 to 8 o'clock) with very little weight on saddle and swaying side to side. When riding on smooth surface and you want to go faster without "swaying" it's all about fully "weighted" on your seat and subtle equal forward force on the pedals(like from 11 to 1 o'clock). For some reason I like to visualize what those lumberjacks do when they are balancing and rolling a log under their feet.
          Last edited by slamdance; 2019-08-07, 04:48 AM.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by slamdance View Post
            You handle bar guys know what I'm talking about. It's all in the pedaling.
            Not to get into a disagreement, because there are so many different riding techniques out there, but for me there's more going on than just pedaling.

            Handlebars can be used for steering, just like the handlebars on a bicycle. And, also like a bicycle, holding the bars allows you to shift the unicycle and your body relative to one another in a left-right fashion. Learning to hold on with one, then two hands, shifted the locus of balance from my upper body down to my hips. I sit on the back edge of the seat and place a lot of weight downward on the bar ends. In this position, the forward/backward motion of the unicycle is stabilized, and I can hit pretty hard bumps without being thrown off.

            I learned to ride short distances with both hands on the seat...before learning how to do anything really useful with my hands on the bars/seat. Over time, however, I learned the added forms of control with the hands (referred to above). At that point, taking a hand (heaven forbid both hands) off the handlebars started to seem like a loss of control.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by slamdance View Post
              You know what no hands on a unicycle means, right?
              Yes, both hands on the seat and just using your legs(pumping pedal) for control. Your upper body helps but it's mainly the pedaling force(both down and forward). Have you ever tried to ride a trail or paved road with both hands holding the seat. How do you go straight? How do you correct when you start veering to one side? You handle bar guys know what I'm talking about. It's all in the pedaling.

              Pay attention to downward force and forward force. When riding super slow on grass it's all pumping down hard and slow on the pedals(4 to 8 o'clock) with very little weight on saddle and swaying side to side. When riding on smooth surface and you want to go faster without "swaying" it's all about fully "weighted" on your seat and subtle equal forward force on the pedals(like from 11 to 1 o'clock). For some reason I like to visualize what those lumberjacks do when they are balancing and rolling a log under their feet.
              You also said this in another recent thread.

              We all have different techniques but I recon steering like you describe isn't what most of us do at all. I lean the unicycle using my hips with the pedalling being all about drive.
              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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              • #22
                Originally posted by OneTrackMind View Post
                [] I recon steering like you describe isn't what most of us do at all. I lean the unicycle using my hips with the pedalling being all about drive.
                Yep. It's all in the leaning!

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                • #23
                  I'm late to the discussion, but:

                  Your posture looks about OK. You will ride more smoothly, and therefore faster if you can hold the front of your seat comfortably with one or both hands.

                  If you worry about going fast, that will not improve your speed. Take your mind off speed by concentrating on something else.

                  Ride up hills: it is easier to pedal smoothly against some resistance.

                  Ride down gentle slopes: it is easier to learn to spin fast when you are not also having to push hard.

                  Concentrate on an objective, like doing a lap of your local park, or pond, or a particular section of a favourite track "all in one". Become familiar with a route then ride it lots.

                  Then try two things:

                  1) Short bursts (10 seconds?) of riding as fast as you possibly can. This is because increasing the speed that counts as "100%" will also increase your comfortable cruising speed call it 80% of maximum.

                  2) Timing yourself on a familiar loop, but without looking at the speed or time during the lap.

                  If your cranks are too long, your riding may be uneven and awkward. If your cranks are to short for you, you may be wary of going too fast in case you can't recover your balance when something goes wrong. The right length of crank for you will change as you gain in experience. Shorter is not always better.
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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Mikefule View Post
                    I'm late to the discussion, but:

                    Your posture looks about OK. You will ride more smoothly, and therefore faster if you can hold the front of your seat comfortably with one or both hands.

                    I do ride holding the seat with right hand, am getting better at using left but can't do both

                    If you worry about going fast, that will not improve your speed. Take your mind off speed by concentrating on something else.

                    I never think about the speed, other than the obvious issue of speeding up and slowing down rapidly at times

                    Ride up hills: it is easier to pedal smoothly against some resistance.

                    yep I have noticed this

                    Ride down gentle slopes: it is easier to learn to spin fast when you are not also having to push hard.

                    still struggle with this, sometimes I can cruise right along and other times I'm fighting the back of the pedals to keep control

                    Concentrate on an objective, like doing a lap of your local park, or pond, or a particular section of a favourite track "all in one". Become familiar with a route then ride it lots.

                    Then try two things:

                    1) Short bursts (10 seconds?) of riding as fast as you possibly can. This is because increasing the speed that counts as "100%" will also increase your comfortable cruising speed call it 80% of maximum.

                    good idea, I'll work on that

                    2) Timing yourself on a familiar loop, but without looking at the speed or time during the lap.

                    do it, I use cycle meter and never review it until the ride is over

                    If your cranks are too long, your riding may be uneven and awkward. If your cranks are to short for you, you may be wary of going too fast in case you can't recover your balance when something goes wrong. The right length of crank for you will change as you gain in experience. Shorter is not always better.
                    I hope to get to ride with the new cranks this weekend, see if I can tell a difference. I know the main thing is practice practice practice
                    24" Torker LX
                    29" UDC Trainer
                    32" UDC trainer

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                    • #25
                      I think stomping on the pedals to initiate turns is a learning habit. It does work but is abrupt and limits the turn to time with the downstroke.
                      This causes that nice snake like track and is usually done standing.
                      Or this is done to save a fall to the opposite side.

                      But I do think that weighting the pedals (no matter where they are) so you can force your centre of gravity to a more favourable position. (standing up)
                      Applying steady and relative force to the back pedal coming up too will cause your track to straighten up.

                      And then of course, once you learn to stay seated, pedal steady, and use both hands on the handlebars the steering seems to come from the handlebars (as ElpuebloUNIdo said) because most of the control is coming very precise body control.

                      My take on it.

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                      • #26
                        today I built a handlebar and put it on my 29, it's just a straight bar coming off the seat post just under the seat. I still haven't got to ride on the new cranks yet, hopefully I can get some seat time in be fore the weekend is out
                        figured I would try to use a handlebar and see if I like it or if it helps me as I ride longer
                        24" Torker LX
                        29" UDC Trainer
                        32" UDC trainer

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                        • #27
                          yesterday I got out and did just under 3 miles, now this was after playing tennis for a little over an hour so I was a little tired at the start, I have to say I am very happy with the results
                          first off this was the first ride since I changed the cranks and added the handle, also the weird thing is not only did I not raise the seat for the shorter cranks I lowered it a little more. the height didn't feel any different just sitting static on it but man what a difference it made, right off the bat I was riding faster and with more control than I have ever had so far. I went from an average speed of 5.6 to 7.2 and from a top speed of 9.8 to 11.27
                          I only had a couple of those sudden slow down moments I'll know better once I hit the park I like and get in a few more miles to get a better reading on how it feels. I may play with the seat height a little but I have to say it felt pretty good where it is now
                          24" Torker LX
                          29" UDC Trainer
                          32" UDC trainer

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                          • #28
                            I replaced the 140 cranks with 127 and went for a ride yesterday. managed to get right at 6 miles in. first thing I noticed was it was more difficult to get mounted and started
                            after a few tries I got going, second thing was I was all over the place, my balance it seemed was just all wrong and I couldn't ride a straight line for anything. after a couple miles I started to settle in but it felt like I was peddling 100 miles and hour and not getting anywhere ( not the case as it turns out) next I found I slowed down considerably when hitting an incline and had to lean into it more than I'm used to, then the decline was the hardest to control, it's like I had to use everything I had to keep from speeding up to the point of being thrown off ( which did happen once at the end of my ride)
                            the last thing was I found myself back to speeding up and slowing down constantly, (this issue had gone away when I went to the 140 cranks and lowered the seat). so after about 4 miles I started feeling better and gaining more control so I started to do slow to stall moves and twisting sharply left and right while basically at a stand still and then doing sweeping moves like serpentine around cones, only moving forward enough not to fall down then bolting forward only to slow down and do it again. I do this to my music so it's kind of like dancing, still working on learning to idle so I can incorporate that into it. the people walking that see me doing it seem to like it and it's helped me a lot on balance and saving myself from UPD's

                            so end results were even with my struggles to get used to the new cranks I went up to 7.82 average speed from my current best of 7.2 my top speed stayed about the same but I didn't seem as tired and didn't seem as sore as other rides. but I did have muscles sore from the extra work to keep from going too fast

                            hopefully after a couple more rides I'll really settle in and get back to smooth riding
                            Last edited by aj1500; 2019-09-18, 02:56 PM. Reason: adjust
                            24" Torker LX
                            29" UDC Trainer
                            32" UDC trainer

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                            • #29
                              so I have put just over another 20 miles on the 29 with the 127 cranks. I have to say I'm really liking the new set up. I did find I had the air pressure too low on that first ride so after bringing it up it rode so much better. I'm running right at 50 psi right now and it handles the paved as well as hard pack dirt/gravel good. I have got up to running an average speed of 8 1/2 MPH but my top speed is down to about 10 1/2. I think it's because I'm not bursting up to a breakneck speed and sort of loosing it and having to slow down to regain control. I'm still struggling just a little with declines if I'm running at a good pace when I hit them, it really takes concentration to keep the pace the same so as not to speed up beyond my comfort control zone, really works the back half of the legs to hold back on the pedals rather then pushing them or just riding smooth. I did do something yesterday that looking back was probably a bit risky for my skill level. I was coming to the end of the ride and was real tired and for some reason I decided to just throw both feet off the pedals and forward and using the handle I balanced rolling forward and gently started pulling back and as the uni was just about to shoot out I dropped off to my feet and walked out just as smooth as could be. I would be scared to try it again. I sure wish I had that on vid cause it was slick
                              24" Torker LX
                              29" UDC Trainer
                              32" UDC trainer

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                              • #30
                                UPD yet?

                                I think you're struggling days are over.
                                Your doing 20+ miles? 8.5mph! 10 mph?
                                Sounds like you are bicycling? or at least keeping up with them.

                                Here's the big question. Have you had your first UPD at these speeds, yet?
                                I hope that you are fully equipped/armed like the Unigeezer. You should be looking more like a BMX rider than a tour de francer.

                                Ride fast, but ride safe.

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