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  • #31
    My recollection is that it took me a few months to get to the "burning quads" stage of learning, and another few weeks to get through it. It was about refining balancing to the point where I could safely unweight the pedals between pushes enough to actually sit down--to make one small correction rather than lots of larger corrections, over-corrections, and corrections for the over-corrections. Another big factor was having the experience to trust that I could get my weight back onto my feet for a quick dismount if I needed to, from having done it many, many times. Basically lots of "keep on riding" IOW.

    Riding upward on gentle slopes was where I made the most progress, where I could control front-to-back balance just by putting more or less forward pressure on the pedals. Having to use back pressure to correct for when my weight got behind the wheel was harder to do smoothly and took longer to master. I would even sometimes ride up a hill and then walk back down because I wasn't comfortable limiting my speed on the descent, which people thought was somewhat strange.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by LargeEddie View Post
      I would even sometimes ride up a hill and then walk back down because I wasn't comfortable limiting my speed on the descent, which people thought was somewhat strange.
      But in reality is not strange at all, especially during the "burning quads" phase. Braking, and even moreso riding downhill, requires you to apply lots of back pressure. That is, pressing on the pedals while they are coming up in the back. This is harder than in the front for three reasons:
      1. Your leg is more bent, which lessens your leverage and requires more "power" for equal output
      2. If you're like most people, you may have pedaled backwards a lot, but never with resistance. Your legs aren't trained for it, so you're weaker back there
      3. I'm not a physiologist, but I'm pretty sure that working a muscle while it's extending, rather than contracting, is harder to sustain. What I know for sure is when you do huge downhill rides without brakes (like the Downieville Downhill), your quads are generally destroyed, and may be sore for a week or more!
      Last edited by johnfoss; 2020-02-02, 01:23 AM.
      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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      • #33
        You're quite correct. Marathoners and trail ultra-distance runners talk about how downhill running causes more fatigue than going up.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eccentric_training

        And yes, I'd done some fixed-gear bicycling and could stop without using the brakes so it wasn't totally unfamiliar, but having to do it and also maintain front-back balance was new, another thing that had to be learned.

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        • #34
          Well, tremendous progress over the past 2 weeks. Every day my distance increased, and today I made it a full block in my neighborhood which is about 1000í. I can really now feel the difference between weight on the pedals vs weight on the seat. I also am now able to adjust my foot pedal position at the 12:00 top stroke, that sure comes in handy...
          Chief

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          • #35
            Riding Efficiency..get some coffee...this is long.

            Okay experts riders(90% of you guys...who learned by sitting straight up), this is where I concede and agree about the following:
            1.) Ride fully weighted on your seat.
            2.) Back straight.
            3.) Raise your seat.
            4.) Get shorter cranks.
            5.) Look at a distant object in front of you...Nah...bad idea...it ain't a bicycle and any bump/raised ground = UPD. Keep eyes down.

            It's curious most beginners(me included) at the earliest stage can barely do 50 ft. It feels like we just ran a 400 meters in 45 seconds, or did a hundred squat and our quads are pumped.
            Why? This is what we do:
            a.) Max weight on our pedals, both front and back(of course). So very little resting our butts on seat.
            b.) Hunch forwards and bob our upper body(maybe even swing arms).

            Yes, I "hear" everybody saying the total opposite, but guess what we tried that at first. No good. You do that=you fall=you can't ride.
            So a few of us are "stubborn/rebels/frustrated" enough to just do the total opposite. Then bingo. We got it!.
            Fact is this is how we "ride" the unicycle when we first "get it". So, thus the "extreme physical exertion".

            Anyways, so this is where I finally concede. Warning this is only for "intermediate" riders, if you haven't already figured it out...but this is advice for the "almost" there riders.
            So yes, follow those steps 1-4 above. So let's just do it you say?
            But....here's the kicker. It ain't easy.
            Do you remember high school physics? Action = reaction?

            To ride fully weighted: You must do a few new things:

            6.) Lean your upper body/shoulder back: Until you start feeling your whole body CG directly over the seat and the tire. Now, you feel like your on the middle of a teeter-totter. Ooops. Leaned back too far. Get back over. So, at this point because you have been leaning forwards(as you should during learning) it now feels like you are leaning/falling backwards. In actuality, you are straight up with slight forward angle, but it "don't feel that way", right? Anyways, now you must maintain this, but what happens if you need a quick forwards tilt? It's your hips. Buck em up. Yup, just like riding a mechanical bull. You've got to learn to use them with lightning quick timing and exact forward force plus retract back. A good way to know how this feels is to try to do some one foot or even no foot idling. Also, I'm sure you beginners have periodically inadvertantly "leaned back" or "bend your hips forwards", and what did you feel? It felt weightless, right? Then your pedals sped up..then =crash. Well that's what "fully weighted/seat" feels like.

            7.) Now, change your pedaling action: What!!!!! You finally learned to ride a unicycle, and a big key was fully weighting the pedals and now you tell me not to do this!!! Yup, here's why. Now, that you are sitting on a "pin point fulcrum" the slightest down force on each pedal = lateral rotation or wobbling. Just try it you'll see. What the heck? So what do I do. If you haven't figured it out, here it is:
            a.) You must first learn to "lighten" the pedaling force.
            b.) You must learn to "raise your knees" don't just let it come up to follow your pedal rotation. The knee adds weight to the pedals. You must activate your ab/core muscles to lift your whole leg during the highest point(apogee) of the pedal rotation.
            c.) You must learn to "push" the pedals "gently" forwards in a straight line. Easier said than done right? As your pedals are rotating, you must accurately delivery forward force at around 11 o'clock to 1 o'clock. If you do it too early or "dwell" too late, it translates to rotation or wobbling. Imagine yourself sitting on a pier at a lake, and there is a log under your feet. If you want to "make it roll" you don't stomp down on it, but rather lightly kick it forwards. That's exactly what it feels like, when you do it right.
            Last edited by slamdance; 2020-02-11, 06:11 AM. Reason: ..

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            • #36
              Bungeejoe, wow, wow and wow. Gems of inforfmation!
              Originally posted by bungeejoe
              Odd but now I never move my feet around anymore. ďFixedĒ to the pedals is even more efficient. Now, occasionally, Iíll ride 50 - 60 miles between dismounts.
              Wow #1. Though oddly, I am a little different on the foot movement. I always move my feet around a bit, but just as I'm getting going. Get the feet into the right positions, and they mostly stay there. Except if I need to shift (Schlumpf), or maybe reposition to go up something steep, for example. Otherwise, the feet stay put, and the 5.10s help them do that.
              óNo, I donít like the front of the saddle high. No, I donít use a handle bar. Yes, Iíll stand on the peddles out of the saddle 30 - 45 seconds every 5 minutes to let the blood flow. Then Iíll take all the weight off of the pedals for another 30 - 45 seconds to let the blood flow to the feet. Iíve learned to do these while pedaling at a 90 - 100 cadence.
              Wow # 2 and 3. That's gold. I have tried both of those circulation-enhancing things, but not really worked at it. This is a reminder to work on those techniques, because I do get the foot numbness (depends on the shoes), and of course the crotch needs help after a bunch of miles.
              I did my first unicycle century in my fourth year after learning to unicycle.
              Wow #4. I actually had a plan to try a century about 2.5 years after I learned to ride, but then I had to wait a year for Tom Miller to build my Big Wheel. By then, the century speed record had dropped from 10.5 hours down to 9:20, and I was intimidated. I set my attention on the short races, and didn't do a century until more than 31 years after I learned to ride, and had a 2-speed Road uni with a nice, cushy tire.

              Joe, please keep being an inspiration to us all!
              John Foss
              www.unicycling.com

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

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by bungeejoe
                Yes, Iíll stand on the peddles out of the saddle 30 - 45 seconds every 5 minutes to let the blood flow. Then Iíll take all the weight off of the pedals for another 30 - 45 seconds to let the blood flow to the feet. Iíve learned to do these while pedaling at a 90 - 100 cadence.
                Do you really stand on the pedals 30-45 seconds or do you push yourself off the seat with your hands? Your legs must be made of iron by now.
                I don't stand up to let the blood flow after 5+ km or well when my crutch starts to feel numb, which can also be after 10km, but then it is always too late, because I don't manage to ride upright that long. That is also why I hang on the seat with my hands. Occasionally I make a jerky move and tumble off.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by slamdance View Post
                  To ride fully weighted: You must do a few new things:

                  6.) Lean your upper body/shoulder back: Until you start feeling your whole body CG directly over the seat and the tire. Now, you feel like your on the middle of a teeter-totter.
                  This is the phase I just entered. I am starting to get enough balance control where I can deal with the higher COG, and my hips are doing more of the corrections. When I get too far out of control, then bang! The weight goes back on the pedals until I can settle myself down...

                  Originally posted by slamdance View Post
                  7.) Now, change your pedaling action: What!!!!! ---
                  a.) You must first learn to "lighten" the pedaling force.
                  Somebody else mentioned that to get the weight on the saddle they focus less on actually trying to sit "more" on the saddle and instead they focus on less pressure on the pedals. That concept really helped me.

                  Oh, also you mentioned where you look-- I was initially trying to look way out towards the horizon to avoid "looking down", but now I find the natural looking point for me is around 10' in front of the uni.

                  Chief

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by BHChieftain View Post

                    Somebody else mentioned that to get the weight on the saddle they focus less on actually trying to sit "more" on the saddle and instead they focus on less pressure on the pedals. That concept really helped me.

                    Chief
                    My tip getting weight in the saddle is to think of it as "lifting the knee" on the up-stroke.

                    Although I now sit pretty much upright I definitely do not sit as Slamdance suggested: "Lean your upper body/shoulder back".

                    Perhaps the pro freestyle riders do this but otherwise a slight forward lean (not hunch) is preferred.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by BHChieftain View Post
                      Oh, also you mentioned where you look-- I was initially trying to look way out towards the horizon to avoid "looking down", but now I find the natural looking point for me is around 10' in front of the uni.

                      Chief
                      Yeah I also look at the ground in front of the uni at around that distance. You need to see what bumps to anticipate. Though occasionally I wonder how much my wheel wobbles and I look down straight at the wheel, but then I get confused and lose my balance.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Setonix View Post
                        Do you really stand on the pedals 30-45 seconds or do you push yourself off the seat with your hands? Your legs must be made of iron by now.
                        ......
                        Yes, I'd say Bungeejoe's legs are made of steel. He is one of only two unicycle riders that I know of that have completed over 200 miles (I322 Km) in one 24 hour period.

                        On longer stretches between stops I stand up on pedals, but for only only a few seconds and that seems to do the trick.

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                        • #42
                          Saturday when riding my Hatchet, I wanted to give it a try to stand up off the seat for 30-45 seconds. The first few tries I could barely hold 10 seconds, but nearing the end of the trip, I guess I had warmed up enough and was more stubborn, so held out the 45 seconds (counts). Right after it is very nice to be allowed to sit again.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Setonix View Post
                            Saturday when riding my Hatchet, I wanted to give it a try to stand up off the seat for 30-45 seconds. The first few tries I could barely hold 10 seconds, but nearing the end of the trip, I guess I had warmed up enough and was more stubborn, so held out the 45 seconds (counts). Right after it is very nice to be allowed to sit again.
                            Then two questions come to mind. How long do you need to stand up to give your butt a rest? And what impact does riding with no weight on the saddle have on the maximum distance ability of the rider?

                            For the first question, about 10 seconds seems to be long enough for me to get he blood flowing and a new lease on life.

                            The second question, assuming that a rider can exert a certain amount of effort before their legs/body is "used up", it follows that keeping the time with all the weight on the pedals to an absolute minimum would be best. Taking this to the extreme, assume that a rider can do 100 miles before being fully spent when riding with full weight in the saddle and that same rider could ride maybe ride 5 or 10 miles before "using up" their legs with no weight on the saddle. If you ride with no weight on the saddle for 45 seconds every five minutes it seems like that extra effort would have an impact on the maximum distance.

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                            • #44
                              Another question would be "why do you stand?"

                              I stand for power and stability when I ride.

                              For my cross country riding the standing is a much higher percentage.
                              Downhill section - standing percentage 10%?
                              Level section - standing 5%?
                              Uphill section - standing 50-75%?

                              Even in town when I ride I'm up and down in the saddle so saddle soreness isn't an issue with me.
                              But then I haven't tried anything long distance on pavement yet either.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Canoeheadted View Post
                                For my cross country riding the standing is a much higher percentage.
                                Downhill section - standing percentage 10%?
                                Level section - standing 5%?
                                Uphill section - standing 50-75%?
                                True enough, when offroading, especially when it is very bumpy, I tend to put more weight on the pedals, but it isn't quite the same as standing. I think it is half sitting, half standing. Maybe when going downhill, the braking with my legs, instead of a brake, lifts me more up from the seat. I get saddle soreness roughly after 10km, which is mostly when sitting and difference in saddle also has an impact.
                                Standing up every 5 minutes I think is overkill. If I could do every 15 mins it should be enough.

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