Unicyclist Community

home gallery forums webmail links map donate
Go Back   Unicyclist Community > Unicycling Discussion > General Unicycling Discussions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 2012-05-17, 02:39 PM   #1
MadFurai
Skateboarder to Marine to Unicycler
 
MadFurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Central Virginia
Age: 43
Posts: 540
Riding UNI like an Olympic Ski Jumper (MUNI tip)

So, yesterday, I had somewhat of a breakthrough during my Muni ride on a fairly technical singletrack in my area. The trail has a lot of rolling hills with a few steeper sections mixed in. Several of the inclines have a diverse system of roots which make climbing an even bigger challenge - especially on the hills with turns.

Yesterday I was able to clean 3 or 4 sections that were normally automatic UPD's for me. The trick is nothing new to experienced riders, but I've never read it described in enough detail so that I could replicate it. Basically, I would compare the feeling of the position to a ski jumper in the air:



The technique I'm talking about does not involve jumping, hopping or flying. But it does involve leaning your entire body (and your UNI) forward with commitment and extending your body almost straight while contracting muscles in your upper and lower body.

I've read before that you should pull up on your handle while climbing over roots/obstacles. However, I had never done it "properly" until yesterday. I'll try to describe as best I can. The arm grabbing the seat handle is used as an opposing force against your legs. On the steeper climbs, I had to lean over almost to the point of falling - standing up off the seat and extending my legs almost to the point of being completely straight. The force used to pedal is stronger than normal and your arm is used similar to a "rubber band" keeping you attached to the UNI (via grab handle). It really gives you the feeling described by others where "the UNI and your body work as one unit." By using your arm as an opposing force - pulling your body down as your legs push you up - you are able to exert much more force through your pedaling strokes than simply using the weight of your body. It also seemed to give me more control over the UNI's balance/tipping point. Most of the time when I felt the urge to fall forward, I was able to recover with an extra strong "leg pump" when a large root would slow me down or trip me up.

Anyway, hopefully this comparison/explanation will help someone else who is trying to tackle those difficult uphill sections...
__________________
MadFurai's YouTube channel

Last edited by MadFurai; 2012-05-17 at 02:41 PM.
MadFurai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-17, 04:16 PM   #2
magicollin
Unicyclist
 
magicollin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Arvada, Colorado
Age: 25
Posts: 84
Send a message via AIM to magicollin
Good description, I like the rubber band analogy. I am wondering what size uni you were rollin on, and also, is your handle a regular stock one or a modified post type handle?
magicollin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-17, 05:32 PM   #3
davidp
Unicyclist
 
davidp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Chelmsford, MA
Age: 35
Posts: 756
I went through a period where this was my primary technique for climbing and it does give lots of power but has a significant drawback. The Muni chapter of Kris's new book addresses this and since reading it I've changed my climbing technique with good results.

The problem is that putting most of your body ahead of the wheel puts you in a position where it is very difficult to recover if you are caught off guard. The technique Kris outlines is to keep your lower body over the axle, while bending forward at the waist. You are still using the handle to put additional leverage to the pedals through nearly straight legs, since you are standing, but in this position if the wheel is stalled you can simply straighten up to maintain balance and continue moving forward.

Since practicing this technique I've been able to climb steeper, trickier hills (climbing over roots and rocks) than I was able to previously and the majority of my UPDs while climbing involve me stepping off the back, rather than shooting ahead of the unicycle.
davidp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-17, 05:47 PM   #4
Nurse Ben
XC Muni
 
Nurse Ben's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Southeast USA
Age: 49
Posts: 4,537
Quote:
I went through a period where this was my primary technique for climbing and it does give lots of power but has a significant drawback. The Muni chapter of Kris's new book addresses this and since reading it I've changed my climbing technique with good results.
+1, you want to be in a neutral position, ideally, but as you learn there are things you can do to "cheat", but in the end a poor body position will always lead to either a correction or a UPD.

As I've gotten more experienced I find that I can ride a uni over bigger obstacles without hands that I could with hands even a year ago, it's become more natural and requires a less active riding position.

It's really all about time in the saddle, but it'd be worth watching more experienced people ride and maybe looking over Kris's book (I have not read it) for riding tips. I consider myself a decent rider, but find that I am constantly learning and improving on my riding, sometimes all it takes is a new approach.

Don't use excessive forward or backward lean, keep your body neutral, allow the unicycle to move under you, approach obstacles and gradient changes like you would on foot (hiking or running), get too far to any one side and you lose balance/traction.

The unicycle is not the problem, it "knows" how to ride, the rider is the one that needs to learn how to ride the unicycle
__________________
I dream of hamsters and elderberries
Nurse Ben is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-17, 06:39 PM   #5
MadFurai
Skateboarder to Marine to Unicycler
 
MadFurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Central Virginia
Age: 43
Posts: 540
No disrespect meant to anyone, especially Kris Holm. I think his book is amazing and I have learned several things from it already (I have a copy in hand right now). However, I read through his section about climbing hills and, for whatever reason, it didn't seem to help me much. So, I simply posted the technique that worked for me on the trail that I'm currently riding. I don't claim my technique to be new or improved or anything else. The images and details I described were what helped me overcome several sections of trail that had stopped me cold before.

Keep in mind, I'm not sure what my position actually looks like when I am doing the technique above. It's possible that my body is bent over at the waist and the UNI is closer to neutral than I imagine. All I can tell you is what it "feels" like. So, I described it as best I could. I would love the chance to ride with more experienced riders on the same trail and see how they tackled it. However, in the last 6 months, I have only seen 2 users post here that live within an hour of my location. I haven't been successful in contacting either user for a MUNI ride (or any type of riding) yet.

Since reading the KH book, I have started bending over from the waist more on bumpy downhills and flats. It does really help! However, while climbing hills that are so steep and long that all momentum is lost and you are literally moving one half revolution at a time it seems that I can't get the leverage required to power over the roots while keeping the UNI neutral with only my upper body leaning forward. Granted, I am probably trying to roll over roots that many people might just hop over, but the amount of energy required to hop up steep hills on rooty and slippery terrain is unbelievable. It takes me over an hour to complete the loop (with no breaks) and I try to conserve as much energy as possible. I am still completely exhausted when it is all said and done.
__________________
MadFurai's YouTube channel

Last edited by MadFurai; 2012-05-17 at 06:41 PM.
MadFurai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-17, 06:44 PM   #6
MadFurai
Skateboarder to Marine to Unicycler
 
MadFurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Central Virginia
Age: 43
Posts: 540
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicollin View Post
Good description, I like the rubber band analogy. I am wondering what size uni you were rollin on, and also, is your handle a regular stock one or a modified post type handle?
FYI, I'm riding a 24 inch Nimbus with a KH Freeride saddle. It has the stock grab handle. I have considered saving up for a 26 inch MUNI, but I'm only 5'7" tall and I'm not sure how much climbing power I would lose with the bigger wheel.
__________________
MadFurai's YouTube channel
MadFurai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-18, 01:41 PM   #7
munimag
Unicyclist
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Germantown, MD
Posts: 395
Falling uphill

A few years back I discovered the technique that you describing. I call it "falling uphill". If you are ever in the DC area let me know and we can schedule a ride together.
munimag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-29, 06:12 PM   #8
unibabyguy
In Gazz We Trust
 
unibabyguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Austin, TX
Age: 52
Posts: 416
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadFurai View Post
The technique I'm talking about does not involve jumping, hopping or flying. But it does involve leaning your entire body (and your UNI) forward with commitment and extending your body almost straight while contracting muscles in your upper and lower body.
I seem to have more endurance riding up hills if I focus on putting power into my forward leg and pedaling smoothly (not so much "tensing" it) and try to relax my back leg and other muscles as much as possible. If I tense my back leg, then my back leg hinders my forward momentum. Tensing my upper body seems to tire me out faster.

I sometimes ride up hills with the seat tilted way back such that the front part of the handle is right underneath me. This seems to allow my arm grabbing the (reeder) handle to lie flatter/closer to my body and I don't have to pull as hard on the handle to achieve the same power and balance, again saving me some energy. The resulting geometry also seems to allow my legs to extend farther instead of being more in a bent position, since my hips are further away from the pedals, and pedaling seems more efficient and not as tiring.
unibabyguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-30, 12:20 PM   #9
wobbling bear
GranPa goes-a-wobblin'
 
wobbling bear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: European Union (S-W)
Age: 65
Posts: 2,191
when going downhill I call this technique the "chimp" position.
I started using that because it is usual when skiing to "go with the slope"... So my torso is bent forward ... and my hands are dangling very low in front of me (just like a chimpanze walking)
The problem is that I cannot grab my handle that way ... So I just let the muni roll under me and it's ok.
For sure I would need a way to hold the Muni under me .. but what to do in this position?
__________________
One Wheel : bear necessity

Last edited by wobbling bear; 2012-05-30 at 12:21 PM.
wobbling bear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-30, 03:41 PM   #10
Nurse Ben
XC Muni
 
Nurse Ben's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Southeast USA
Age: 49
Posts: 4,537
Depending on conditions, when I climb uphill offroad I am often very light or completely off the seat, just like I would be on a mountain bike, same goes for downhill, I am only on he seat when the terrain is smooth enough that I won't get kicked off when I hit a bump.

This is what makes off road unicycling so challenging, your legs really need to be strong and durable.

I don't lean my body so much, more lean in the unicycle to maintain balance, body upright, otherwise with too much body lean a good bump will lead to a UPD.
__________________
I dream of hamsters and elderberries
Nurse Ben is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-30, 04:20 PM   #11
unibabyguy
In Gazz We Trust
 
unibabyguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Austin, TX
Age: 52
Posts: 416
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobbling bear View Post
when going downhill I call this technique the "chimp" position.
I started using that because it is usual when skiing to "go with the slope"... So my torso is bent forward ... and my hands are dangling very low in front of me (just like a chimpanze walking)
The problem is that I cannot grab my handle that way ... So I just let the muni roll under me and it's ok.
For sure I would need a way to hold the Muni under me .. but what to do in this position?
I started out riding downhill that way as a beginner, but then moved to sitting in a more or less erect position and pulling on the handle as I gained confidence in keeping my balance. If I get off-balance going either downhill or uphill, I will sometimes do a small rolling hop to the side to help keep my balance, instead of using my arms or "body english" to correct the imbalance.
unibabyguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-31, 06:17 AM   #12
Danni
Daniel Cormeau
 
Danni's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada.
Age: 22
Posts: 2,089
All that you're trying to do when you are climbing hills is to temporarily move your center of mass forwards, so that when you apply force, you move forward and back into a balanced position. Repeat and rinse. Due to the nature of having sweet spots for maximal force application in the wheel, it looks choppy.

It's the same principle behind walking...
Danni is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-31, 06:26 AM   #13
Danni
Daniel Cormeau
 
Danni's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada.
Age: 22
Posts: 2,089
The ski jump analogy is a little extreme, they lean that way for maximum lift (like putting your hand out the window of a car and feeling it push upwards). Not really unicycle related.
Danni is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-31, 11:37 AM   #14
MadFurai
Skateboarder to Marine to Unicycler
 
MadFurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Central Virginia
Age: 43
Posts: 540
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danni View Post
All that you're trying to do when you are climbing hills is to temporarily move your center of mass forwards, so that when you apply force, you move forward and back into a balanced position. Repeat and rinse. Due to the nature of having sweet spots for maximal force application in the wheel, it looks choppy.

It's the same principle behind walking...
While I get your point, there are several complications that differentiate walking uphill from riding a UNI uphill. While the theory is simple, the reality is not.
__________________
MadFurai's YouTube channel
MadFurai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2012-05-31, 12:17 PM   #15
MadFurai
Skateboarder to Marine to Unicycler
 
MadFurai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Central Virginia
Age: 43
Posts: 540
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danni View Post
The ski jump analogy is a little extreme, they lean that way for maximum lift (like putting your hand out the window of a car and feeling it push upwards). Not really unicycle related.
It's not as extreme as you might think. While the reason behind the lean is completely different, I still think my analogy is useful for certain hill conditions. Picture a skateboard half-pipe, where the transition from flat to vertical happens very quickly.

I'm not claiming to ride up walls or anything, but my point is that a trail that transitions from flat to steep in a very short distance requires almost an instant commitment. You must go from a relaxed, seated position to an extended, hard lean almost instantly.

If the hill is shorter and steeper, then you might stay in this extended, hard lean all the way to the top. If the hill climb is long and steady, then you will eventually need to relax as much as possible so that you don't expend all of your energy.
__________________
MadFurai's YouTube channel
MadFurai is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
jumper, muni, olympic, riding, ski, tip, uni


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
[For Sale: Australia] 20" Nimbus Long Neck Uni MAKE AN OFFER! winner Trading Post 5 2011-12-08 10:14 PM
It's just like riding...........a unicycle! patmoore General Unicycling Discussions 5 2011-07-13 07:55 AM
How to buy a 36" coker-like-uni for less than $350 danechka Unicycling Articles and Tutorials 1 2011-04-01 01:06 PM
They don't make uni's like they used to. Dane M General Unicycling Discussions 11 2011-03-19 08:18 PM
Muni or Trials as Olympic sport? leadpan General Unicycling Discussions 74 2008-08-20 05:48 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 01:04 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 2001-2013 Gilby
Page generated in 0.12909 seconds with 12 queries