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Old 2003-08-11, 03:12 AM   #1
Mc
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Question i have a dumb question

hi, i'm new to the forum. i was looking around on the internet and found you guys, so i signed up. i'm really green, so i hope you don't mind.

here's my dumb question: i've finally gotten to the point on my unicycle where i'm riding more than falling (yippee), but i've got a problem. i tend to turn to the right slightly no matter what i do (sometimes so badly that i make a lovely arc around the parking lot . . . heh). i had a friend watch me a few times to see if we could find out what i'm doing wrong, but we're lost.

i don't know a whole lot about unicycling yet, but i'm having fun. if you have any ideas or helps for me, i'd be most grateful.

thanks.
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Old 2003-08-11, 03:37 AM   #2
Borges
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Drifting to one side is a fairly common problem for beginners. Practicing leaning turns (as opposed to twisting) in both directions should help.
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Old 2003-08-11, 05:08 AM   #3
Mc
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thanks for replying. now my question is how do i turn? i've found that it is really hard for me to turn "on purpose." i only turn because i'm a novice---and i always turn right (never to the left). will i just learn to turn as i keep trying, or is there a trick?
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Old 2003-08-11, 10:44 AM   #4
Borges
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I can't offer any trick for lerning to turn but i've tried to reverse-engineer a description from how I turn.
It's one of those things that's really difficult to explain but easy to do once you get it. So I don't know if this will help at all, but here goes:

The idea is that you lean a bit in the diredtion you want to turn, and turn your upper body in the direction you want to go.

Imagine that you're about to open a large door in front of you. The door is a bit heavy so you're going to pull with your body as well as your arm.

If you want to go left, try to reach with your right hand for the imaginary door knob in front and to the left of you. Keep reaching for the handle for as long as you want to turn.

The important thing is the not the precise position of the arm but how you lean and turn your upper body.

The reason this won't just do the "trick" is that your instincts is probably going to be against you for a while and fight against leaning into the turn.

Keep working on it, you'll get it eventually.


Morten


PS
You can also turn by turning your upper body and quickly twist the unicycle into the direction of you upper body. Some find this to be the easiest way to turn, but it will never become as effortless and controlled as leaning turns.

Last edited by Borges; 2003-08-11 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 2003-08-11, 02:37 PM   #5
GILD
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Re: i have a dumb question

Quote:
Originally posted by Mc
i tend to turn to the right slightly no matter what i do
u're right handed, right?

as borges pointed out, the gentle, yet irritating, curve to your riding is a normal developmental stage and u'll get thru it before u know it
the jury is still out on the causes of this phenomenon
initial indications point toward a slightly stronger pedalling action of your dominant or strong leg
hence my guess that u're right-handed

this is another clue in the mystery of turning the unicycle and worked for me
once u've gotten the body leaning in al the right ways, give a slightly more forcefull pedal with the pedal on the side u want to turn to
whether this actually 'works' on it's own or simply gets your body positioned in the way borges described above i do not know
what i do know is that it worked for me and i pass it along happily

let us know how u get on
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Old 2003-08-12, 04:52 PM   #6
Mc
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i thought the awesomest thing in the world would be to be able to stay up on my unicycle by myself. now i think it would be being able to stay up and control where i'm going at the same time. i suppose in a little while, i'll think it is being able to ride over a mountain.

yeah, i am right handed. i'll pay some attention to how much more i work my right leg than my left.

thanks so much for the descriptions and the reassurance. the visual metaphors really help. i'm going to go give it a try. i'll let you both know how it goes.

thanks again. this really is great. i never thought there would be somewhere that a bunch of unicyclists got together and talked.
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Old 2003-08-12, 05:02 PM   #7
paco
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If any of their descriptions or instructions confuse you, another way to learn to ride straight or turn is to just practice. Then practice some more.
Unicyclist.com really is a great site. Just remember that soon, you're not going to be satisfied with your unicycle, so you'll spend hundreds of dollars getting a better one. The only solution to not spending all that money is to RUN! RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN!
If not, welcome, and we'll all be glad to hear your progress.
And speaking of progress, here's a thread that you can contribute to. Good luck!
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Old 2003-08-13, 01:15 AM   #8
gerblefranklin
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I just got back from camp where I helped to teach about 10 - 15 people to ride. All but one of them could only turn left for a very long time (this happened to me when I first learned to ride and whenever i learned a new riding style like wheel walking and one footed wheelwalking) mostly because the learning bar on the track only turns left. A temporary fix we came up with (until they learned to just ride straight) was whenever they started to accidentally turn left to rotate their right arm as if they were trying to balance on the edge of a cliff. Other than that we just rode until riding straight seemed the only thing we had ever done.
One thing that I've also noticed about how I rode when I first began was that when I saw my tracks through light dust I made a snakelike track that swiveled over the same distance as one complete pedal stroke. I've seen this phenomenon present in almost every other beginning rider who has passed through the unicycle track at camp- and yes I there really is such thing as a track devouted entirely tounicycles and their kin. I also remember being unale to turn a smooth circle because I ethier rode "strait" or made sharp 45-90degree turns. My ride smoothed out with about 2 weeks of earnest riding.
The only explanation I've ever come up with for the snakelike tracks made by beginners is that when you ride you make a slow turn right when your right pedal is forward and a slow turn left when your left pedal is forward. This will definetly go away if you just keep riding. It's like when you're first trying to ride from point a as far as you can, you may just charge as far as you can go until your feet just fly off the pedals. That also eventually changes. Finally, if you ever learn to wheelwalk (ride by pushing the tire with your feet instead of your pedals) you'll also notice the same trend as when you first learn to ride.

My advice is just spend a weekend or 2 riding around and you'll notice nearly everything about how you ride will have greatly improved. As for turning, you can just sharply twist your torso in the direction you want to go (tiring version) or just slant your hips while keeping your back straight in the direction you want to turn (harder to learn but easier and more graceful in the long run).
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Old 2003-08-13, 07:40 AM   #9
GILD
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Quote:
Originally posted by gerblefranklin
This will definetly go away if you just keep riding.
dont bank on it
there was a massive thread on that exact phenomenon quite a while ago
i cant find it with the search function now
as i recall, the final consensus was that it's impossible to ride PERFECTLY straight
as u improve, it simply becomes less like a slalom track and more like a slightly wavering line

anybody remember that thread?
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Old 2003-08-13, 11:11 PM   #10
Mc
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all this response is so great. i was working at my unicycling last night and i had a "breakthrough." i rode "straight" for the first time. i mean, straight for a longer distance, on a slight uphill even. it was awesome! so the straight stuff is going better and better.

as far as turning, at least understanding more of the theory of turning helped me to ride straight. tonight i'm going to work on my turns. i've got a friend who's going to help me out by watching me.

i'm also going to try to do some extra time on my uni this weekend--we'll see if i have any breakthroughs.

i've been looking at the excitement about california---how good do you have to be on your unicycle before mountain unicycling is possible and fun?
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Old 2003-08-14, 07:44 PM   #11
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All you really need to be able to do before attempting mountain unicycling is know how to free-mount and how to ride in a straight line. Then it all depends on what kind of trails you are trying. It will be fun as long as you can ride for more than ten seconds without falling off. As your skills increase, the types of trails you can ride will become harder. That's what I love about MUni. Anyone can MUni; just not necessarily on the same trails.
Good luck!
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Old 2003-08-14, 10:44 PM   #12
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One way to get a turn in a particular direction going is just to stare hard at something in that direction and tell yourself you want to go there. Forget all the mechanics and mechanical thinking.

This technique has worked pretty well for me, especially with seat behind.
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Old 2003-08-15, 07:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mc
i rode "straight" for the first time. i mean, straight for a longer distance, on a slight uphill even
something i quite forgot to mention
it's been noted that excesive side to side twisting is an indication that u r not leaning far enough forward (i think this is from dancey's book)
when riding uphill, u find yourself having to lean forward more than u normally do and u may have connected with the 'ideal angle'

if u do find yourself twisting side-to-side badly while riding on level ground, try leaning a lil' further forward
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Old 2003-08-15, 05:22 PM   #14
Mc
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Red face

so, the night i was going to practice my turns . . . i had a pretty bad unplanned dismount. i hit the ground hard and hoped that my wrists weren't broken (i broke my left wrist in two places a little while ago trying to learn to free mount). luckily, nothing was broken, and the rest of me will heal.

as i sat there on the gound, i tried to figure out what i could have done to prevent my unhappy meeting with the asphalt. it was then that i realized that i don't know at all how to dismount.

instead of dismounting, i just sort of fall off the front or back of my unicycle and stand up---but this, i've discovered, leaves me too tangled up with my unicycle---so that there is the possibility of going down with the unicycle.

with all this prelude, here's my new question: how do i dismount---especially when i suddenly feel like i'm going to go down with the unicycle and smash myself on the ground? (maybe i should also add that i am rather more accident prone than other people.)

any ideas?
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Old 2003-08-15, 05:50 PM   #15
slugbath
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This is sort of a natural thing for me, having copious amounts of experience in unicycle emergency landings (I, too, am a klutz). When you feel yourself loosing control, jump off the unicycle forwards and try to land on your feet with your knees bent to cushion the landing. If you are going fast, leap off the unicycle and continue running forwards. Try to follow through on your falls...if you are falling, roll with it to cushion the landing.

Don't worry about holding onto the unicycle - let it crash to the ground. If you are concerned about the seat becoming scratched, put a bit of duct tape on the ground contact points until you are falling less.

Regarding your wrists, you might want to pick up some wrist protection for your hands and wrists. If you fall a lot, consider just getting a safety pack of inline gear (wrist guards, kneepads, a helmet) which you can use while your learning and beyond (if you are into safety gear). While you are learning, it certainly beats smashing yourself all the time. I found the the safety gear relaxed me a bit, so I wasn't worried about cracking my hands (which I rather need for work and play) and I fell more gracefully .

Good luck!
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