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  • slamdance
    replied
    More Adventure's in Backwards Riding

    So, I've been working on this almost daily, but I just had a breakthrough moment, recently. (I think?...no...I FEEL ITt!!!!)
    I was riding backwards and focusing on the ground and my feet, as usual. Then all of a sudden, I just simply "looked up". What?????
    Did I fall, as I would expect. Nope. I stayed up and I kept on going. Backwards, Pedaling, backwards,....who hoooo!!!!

    Yeah so, up until now I "always" look down when I am doing it. Otherwise, if I look away crash boom. Keep your eyes on the ground, right? Look away = fall down.
    I look down and concentrate on..."8 pedals, idle, 8 more,...etc.", and also I'm watching/thinking...."...extend leg & lean same side, rub knee against frame, pull pedal/keep weight on pedal,...again...again.
    Watching and thinking. Watching and thinking. So, I don't know why, but all of a sudden I took my eyes off the target and looked up. I didn't fall. I kept going. Wow. What? Wow.

    It was an amazing feeling, because I was doing it. At the same time, three things were happening:
    1.) My mind never lost "concentration" of the details of my backwards pedaling action elements, and my pedal count.
    2.) My body could "sense/feel" each component(feet, knees, seat and upper body) doing everything it was supposed to be doing without looking.
    3.) My eyes no longer looking at what I was doing, but I could now see the rest of the world behind me.

    It was an amazing feeling, and it was kinda like watching me doing something on 3 screens at once.
    Basically, I was just "thinking it" and "doing it" and at the same time watching the world "moving away from me".
    Most importantly, I didn't freak out and jump off. I do this when "sometimes I get into the backwards pedaling groove" where it comes natural and I start pedaling faster/faster.
    That's a feeling of "false confidence" and zero control, when you rely on the faster/faster pedaling(fwd or back) action keep you up. Eventually, you crash. Best to jump off when you feel it coming.

    I'm sure a few of you(probably most) "born unicyclist's" are thinking no big deal. I always "keep my eyes" off the ground and focus on something in front of me, and then control the balance. Just like a perfect circus/slackline/tightrope walker. Seriously? Is that how you do it or learned it? Just focus on something stationary, and "just do it"? I'm glad you never taught me, because I would fail 100%.
    The standard advice: sit perfectly balanced + pedal perfectly backwards = unicycle backwards didn't work for me from the get/go.
    I need to know what is my feet doing? Which way do I lean? How do I counter that fall? What does each pedal feel like? Where is the feeling of two point balance?

    Anyways, hope this helps/inspires some of you out there that have already tried it/given up. Just know that it's not just a matter of "superior" balance or holding your breathe and "just doing it". There is a simple sequence of pedaling action that you have to re-teach your feet. Then when you become competent, it feels just as stable as when you are pedaling forwards.
    Last edited by slamdance; 2020-05-16, 09:54 PM. Reason: Tell the people the reason for editing.

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  • Mikefule
    replied
    Originally posted by Setonix View Post

    Is it possible to ride such distances along quiet roads without speeding traffic? Especially on bigger unis I feel less secure with trucks and cars flying by.
    Yes, the entire distance was on roads. They are quieter during Covid lockdown, but I regularly ride for an hour or more on local roads and have done for many years.

    I'm in a fairly rural part of Lincolnshire UK. The roads I ride are country lanes, sometimes only wide enough for one vehicle, usually wide enough for two.

    By listening, looking ahead, timing junctions carefully, sometimes almost to a standstill, but never idling, and by giving clear hand signals, I am able to negotiate pretty much every cross roads or T junction without dismounting.

    I seldom have trouble with other traffic. I figure if I dress like a "responsible cyclist" (helmet, shorts, hi viz) and behave like one (make good progress, give clear signals, wave people past, thank them if they give way or slow down) they will treat me like one.

    Very rarely, I will get a hostile reaction. Maybe once every couple of years.

    I ride a KH36 with the cranks on the long setting, and no brake. I also sometimes ride a KH29 or my 28 (700c) on the road.

    Years ago, I used to ride a 24 on the road, and that did provoke hostility. I suppose it didn't look like it was a "legitimate vehicle".

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  • Setonix
    replied
    Originally posted by Mikefule View Post
    24.82 miles without a dismount on the KH36 with 150s. Blood in my shorts.
    Is it possible to ride such distances along quiet roads without speeding traffic? Especially on bigger unis I feel less secure with trucks and cars flying by.

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  • Mikefule
    replied
    24.82 miles without a dismount on the KH36 with 150s. Blood in my shorts.

    Discovered this morning, after phone had synched that I actually did a small amount more. My app had started to record the distance in the middle of a field at the side of my route, half a mile or so from the start. So that's 25 miles without a dismount: my second longest "done in one" ride ever. The last was 27 miles, on the eve of my 50th birthday, over 7 years ago.
    Last edited by Mikefule; 2020-05-09, 07:04 AM.

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  • Mikefule
    replied
    Well, at "only" 57, I can't possibly compete with JimT but I was quite proud of my ride until I saw his! I don't get to ride much these days, but just did 22 miles/2 hours on the KH36 without a dismount. I climbed our biggest local hill without ever having to stand on the pedals (I normally have to stand up and mash for the last 1/3 of the climb).

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  • Quax1974
    replied
    JimT Congratulations!

    An thanks for the nice report.
    It deserves its own topic, it should not be hidden in here.

    Absolutely stunning!

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  • lightbulbjim
    replied
    Nice going Jim! I hope to follow in your footsteps some day. I did promise my wife that I would outlive her...

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  • aj1500
    replied
    Jim all I can say is Wow I am impressed. you continue to be an inspiration to me and I'm sure many others out there. I can only hope at this point I'm still able to ride a uni at 70
    Good job on your 100 mile day
    Last edited by aj1500; 2020-04-13, 05:56 PM.

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  • JimT
    replied
    Slamdance,
    Thanks for the comment. I have not really crashed in about a year. I have had some UPD's where I just step off but no hands, heads, knees or elbows to the pavement. For this ride I did have knee pads (under my long pants) and elbow pads just because when I get really tired some unusual things can happen, nothing happened.

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  • slamdance
    replied
    To Jim T:
    Congrats you ironman. You should give Ed Pratt a call for your next ride. I'm scared to get on a 36", what's the worst UPD you've had recently?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Now My Latest Update on Backwards Riding:
    I am getting quite proficient and have developed some "feel" like it's a more "simpler motion".
    I just read my previous post, and I think those elements that I described still apply but now my body speaks a different language...if that makes sense.
    The "feedback/control" that I am focusing on when going backwards is simply this:
    1.) Stay "tight" at the 3 and 9 o'clock position.
    2.) Drive both feet with "equal" tension.

    That's actually all I need to concentrate when going backwards at this point of my progression.
    I am not obsoleting my "previous tips", but rather my body has been able to combine those elements.
    So, that's all I think when going backwards.

    It makes sense, right. If you can be stable between each down pedal (6 and 12 o'clock position) then you can keep going, because it's just another 1/4 revolution to another stable point.

    One great practice to get better at the 3 & 9 o'clock holding skill is to do simple idle, but with your butt off the seat.
    Yes, that's right. You will be virtually standing on the unicycle and doing idles. Every pound of body weight is on the pedals.
    Of course, only try this if you have already mastered the idle. My legs get stronger and so does my backwards riding skill.

    Stay Safe from Corona. Always Ride away from public.
    Last edited by slamdance; 2020-04-13, 03:50 AM. Reason: Reasonably: Reasonable: Reasonablation: Reasonality

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  • JimT
    replied
    My 100 mile day

    I don’t know of any septuagenarians that have done a 100 mile ride but I’d bet there are a few that could if they wanted to. After being able to ride as a kid, I starting to ride a 36” unicycle nearly 3 years ago. One of my goals was longer distance road rides. I just completed my fist 100 mile day ride.

    With the idea that a smoother and flatter route requires considerably less effort on a unicycle, I had originally thought about finding a location that was as flat and smooth as possible for a 100 mile attempt. However with the current restrictions on travel, lodging and such, the logistics just did not work out. I did my 100 mile ride on country roads right at home. During my ride I never got more then a few miles from home and just rode back and forth all day long. The dead end road I live on has very low traffic and as paved roads go, it is quite bumpy. The average road grade is about 1.25% with short sections up to 10%. Over my 100 mile day I figure I gained and lost about 3300 ft of elevation.

    I used the entire period of daylight by starting at the beginning of civil twilight and riding till the end of civil twilight. That gave me about 14 hrs of riding time and I used ever minute of that. I rode my 36” Nimbus with a UDC trainer saddle and cranks set at 109mm. With very soft boxer briefs and lightweight flexible fabric pants (with lots of handy pockets) I had absolutely no problem with the saddle and was quite comfortable the whole day. I rode no more then 15 or 20 minutes between short one or two minute “butt” breaks. The 109mm crank setting was fine most of the day but I did think that a little longer length would be nice when I got to about 90 miles. By that time I was getting slower and slower but did not want to take the time to change the pedals and adjust the saddle height. Because I was close to home I packed no water or tools on the unicycle.

    The weather was good with temperatures ranging from 34 to 62 F. I ate a big breakfast (oatmeal mush) before I started and had snacks and a P&J sandwich during the day. Overall I drank about a gallon and half of sports drinks or water with electrolytes during the day. My muscles were tired at the end of the day but I had no muscle cramping or burning.

    My moving average speed for the day was 9.1mph and overall average with breaks included was 6.9 mph. I started at with a moving average of over 10 mph and by the end of the day I was down to below 8 mph with longer breaks between riding sessions. I was pretty well spent at the end of the day.

    Other then a little muscle soreness I had no adverse effects from the ride and am ready for the next one. (A video is in the works)

    Click image for larger version  Name:	170614035.3q7TruQA.Z99A8864a3.jpg Views:	0 Size:	118.5 KB ID:	2803130

    Click image for larger version  Name:	170614034.lTKfo4Pw.Z99A8838a2.jpg Views:	0 Size:	170.8 KB ID:	2803131
    Last edited by JimT; 2020-04-13, 04:04 AM.

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  • Setonix
    replied
    Not a big boast, but I haven't posted anything in a while. Today I rode 20km without getting numb on my seat, after the trick I took from here to regularly ride while standing, to let the blood flow. I took the 32" for a spin and gave me a nice ride. Now that this works I can also take longer trips.

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  • spottyh725
    replied
    - 5 meters back cycling
    the hardest thing now is "where" i have to look at. I keep looking at the same point until is too far, if i change reference i loose balance :-(
    - jumping a small manhole in the garage.
    I just do not understand why the hand I use to grab the saddle has to be the same of the front pedal when hopping. practice probably will make it...

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  • aj1500
    replied
    congrats on making the connection to riding backwards. nice post and good description on your observations of riding backwards. I found it interesting that you mention pointing knees inward to reduce wobble, I will have to try that on my next ride to see if it will help me, I'm still struggling with wobble when I try to ride with both hands on the handlebars.

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  • aj1500
    replied
    congrats on making the connection to riding backwards. nice post and good description on your observations of riding backwards. I found it interesting that you mention pointing knees inward to reduce wobble, I will have to try that on my next ride to see if it will help me, I'm still struggling with wobble when I try to ride with both hands on the handlebars.

    Leave a comment:

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