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Old 2018-09-04, 01:29 AM   #16
lowerstackmac
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Uni things are starting to happen and it is all coming together. Yesterday I remembered a nearby section of old unused highway, I tried riding on it instead of the gravel yard at home. At home the furthest I have gone with 22 hours of practice was 123 feet. In half an hour on the paved road I made some great progress by riding as far as 250 feet with lots of other good runs. I’m waving my arms like crazy for balance and weaving around the road like a drunkard, but it’s working.
Today I did another half hour on the road, and managed to get one run out to 325’. Lots of lesser rides too that were well over 200’. My arms are still waving but not as much as yesterday and there were a few fairly straight rides. My legs were absollutely worn out on the longer rides. I believe that to be from coming up off the seat and being so tensed up. So sit and relax as much as I can and get used to it I guess.
I tried the gravel for a half hour once I got home . I made it to the end of my course or very close to the end (which is 123’) ten times. Once the riding balance kicks in things seem to come together fast.
I have my tire at 20 psi which is good for the gravel. It seems too soft for the paved road, do you think I should pump it up to 25 psi (35 psi is max) for less rolling resistance? I’m pretty sure this also contributes to my fatigue. Ok, Thanks for the input.
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Old 2018-09-04, 02:18 AM   #17
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You could adjust your pressure. It would be optimal.
25lbs will be better for pavement like 20lbs is better for gravel.
I adjust mine depending on my ride. (climbing, dirt road, downhill, etc...)

Or while learning you could put at 22lbs and ride everywhere.
Learn to deal with that pressure on several surfaces. Get the control and then start playing with pressures.
Once you learn to ride you will prefer certain PSIs for certain conditions.

The fatigue thing will get incrementally better every day.
It's very hard in the beginning because you are very inefficient and unfit for this activity.
It has very little to do with tire pressure at this point.

First it's the end of the driveway, then it's there and back, then it's half way to the neighbours, then... eventually you will feel like Superman.

You already have it. Keep going.
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Old 2018-09-04, 06:07 AM   #18
lowerstackmac
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Thanks for the feedback Ted. I guess I just need lots of saddletime for some riding skills to develop. I won’t over think it and just ride. I’ll also give 22 psi a try. Cheers
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Old 2018-09-05, 12:55 AM   #19
lowerstackmac
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I checked my tire pressure this morning, I thought I had 20 psi in it. Nope, only 14, I put it to 22 and rode it several times and kept adjusting. 18 psi seems to be the number, for now. It worked well on the gravel and much better on the old Hwy I use. I had lots of good runs on it today, 250, 337, 357, 300, 196 and my last attempt was 553’. Gotta love range finders.
While I was riding, I could feel myself going from firmly seated to lifting off of the seat. As I lifted, I noticed that the uni seemed to move a bit backward underneath me. If I leaned more forward, I would feel myself settle back into the seat again. I’ll start to add freemounting into my daily practice now, as it was previously mentioned, it’s a long way back to my launch pad. Thanks again.
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Old 2018-09-05, 05:37 AM   #20
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553, nice progress, grats!
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Old 2018-09-05, 06:04 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by lowerstackmac View Post
If I leaned more forward, I would feel myself settle back into the seat again. I’ll start to add freemounting into my daily practice now, as it was previously mentioned, it’s a long way back to my launch pad. Thanks again.
You will be better balanced and get less tired if you sit up straight. Pull your backside forwards and keep your shoulders and head up.

Think about balancing a broom on your finger tip: with the head of the broom at the top, the centre of mass is high, and you only need to adjust the balance slowly and smoothly. Try to balance the broom the other way up, with the centre of mass low, and it becomes twitchy and you find yourself making lots of fast energetic corrections.

Maybe raise your seat a tad. Other than that, the more riding you do, and the more little challenges you set yourself, the more that you will find that you settle into the saddle in "normal riding".
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Last edited by Mikefule; 2018-09-05 at 06:04 AM.
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Old 2018-09-05, 12:09 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
You will be better balanced and get less tired if you sit up straight. Pull your backside forwards and keep your shoulders and head up.
Most accomplished riders give this same advice to novices, not realising the technique of an accomplished rider is very, very different from a beginner.

Beginners need inherent quasi-stability far more than they need efficiency. Stability comes from the rider leaning slightly forwards to make the uni lean backwards to keep the contact patch of the tyre under the rider's centre of mass. This geometry has a far greater tolerance to imprecise positioning of the wheel under the rider.

It is actually what accomplished riders also do to increase stability when negotiating an irregularity on the road surface. We lean forwards and transfer weight onto the pedals.

As riding skill improves we can bring the uni more upright and get weight onto the seat. Uprightness is a goal to aim for over time, not a technique to make riding possible for a novice.

Note that the forward lean is not very much and it certainly isn't about hunching over. Extend the body upwards but lean slightly forwards.
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Old 2018-09-05, 05:26 PM   #23
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Stability comes from the rider leaning slightly forwards to make the uni lean backwards to keep the contact patch of the tyre under the rider's centre of mass.
You're mixing up some ideas here.

If the unicyclist were doing a still stand, the contact patch would need to be directly under the centre of mass. The rider's posture and the angle of the unicycle would affect how high the centre of mass was above the ground, but it would still be above the contact patch. Leaning yourself forwards and therefore leaning the uni backwards doesn't make the centre of mass any more or less over the contact patch than if the rider were sitting upright.

However, you're correct that IF the rider leans forwards, the they have to lean the unicycle backwards to compensate.

When you are actually riding, the centre of mass needs to be sightly ahead of the contact patch. The unicycle is constantly in danger of falling forwards but this is prevented because the wheel is constantly chasing it. The combination of the two forces is dynamically stable.

Raising the centre of mass has the effect of slowing the period of oscillation, meaning that changes happen more slowly and can be reacted to more promptly. However, when the centre of mass is higher, if it does get out of control, ithas more leverage and is harder to recover. For this reason, lots of people doing balance activities tend to squat low because they feel safer. I'm a lousy rock climber (scared of heights) and I find myself crouching on ridges when I should stand up and walk naturally.

A further consideration for a unicyclist is that if they are folded up too much (low seat, stooping, backside stuck out) then it is harder for them to pedal smoothly or to respond quickly when a change of input is required.
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Last edited by Mikefule; 2018-09-05 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 2018-09-06, 04:01 AM   #24
lowerstackmac
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Mikefule and OTM, thank you both for your recent help on my quest to ride. I have to change my gravel route from my house to the woodshed, which is just over 120’. I am starting to go to the end with some consistency. I have an 800’ gravel driveway, I will try to start riding it as my home training route, potholes and all.
I raised my seat today about an inch, which is pretty close to just a slight bend in the knee. It has smoothed out my jerky peddling somewhat. I believe I am sitting up fairly straight after I get going a bit. My legs are still screaming at me after half an hour of just runs of a few hundred feet on the pavement. I’ll just keep at it as I have been doing. I believe you when you say soon I’ll start to relax, get more efficient and get some endurance. It will just occur, right? I tried freemounting for ten minutes tonight, not even close. Another impossible skill to learn lol.
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Old 2018-09-06, 06:38 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
A further consideration for a unicyclist is that if they are folded up too much (low seat, stooping, backside stuck out) then it is harder for them to pedal smoothly or to respond quickly when a change of input is required.
Could you expand Mikefule? I'm trying to visualise what you mean.
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Old 2018-09-06, 10:48 AM   #26
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Could you expand Mikefule? I'm trying to visualise what you mean.
Not sure if you're being ironic, so I'll take the question at face value.

There's two things going on:

1) Is the basic principle that keeping your weight high makes balancing easier. (The balancing a broom on your finger principle.)

2) Is that the act of lowering your weight because of a misplaced perception that it is easier or safer can result in you putting yourself in a position where the act of correcting your balance becomes more difficult.

Imagine the most extreme example to illustrate the principle. A learner puts his seat an inch or two to low so he's nearer the ground, and the result is that he's pedalling with his legs too bent. He then leans slightly forward and, to compensate, has to stick his backside out, so that the unicycle itself is leaning slightly backwards. His centre of mass is in the right position in relation to the contact patch, although it is lower than it should be.

Because the centre of mass is low, balance events happen more quickly. (Imagine balancing a pencil on your finger.) In addition to that, the rider is less able to respond quickly simply because he is in a bent over and scrunched up position.

Later in his riding career, a rider may choose to lower his seat, or to ride in a crouch for some legitimate reason. When learning, it is best to fight the urge to bend over. It's better to sit straight and tall in the saddle, with the saddle at a good height, and the uni will be more controllable.

(Female pronouns are also available.)

A unicycle is similar to a pendulum, but the other way up — a bit like the moving arm on a metronome. Slide the metronome weight up the arm and the arm moves more slowly. Slide it down near to the pivot and it moves more quickly. An inexperienced unicyclist will react more slowly and more clumsily, and therefore they need things to go wrong more slowly. Sitting tall in the saddle is the equivalent of moving the weight on the metronome up the arm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tV8RZOWc7E
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Old 2018-09-06, 11:40 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
A unicycle is similar to a pendulum, but the other way up — a bit like the moving arm on a metronome.
…giraffe

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Old 2018-09-06, 12:04 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
You're mixing up some ideas here.
I'm not at all mixed up.

As I said in my last post:
Quote:
Originally Posted by OneTrackMind View Post
Note that the forward lean is not very much and it certainly isn't about hunching over. Extend the body upwards but lean slightly forwards.
Quote:
Leaning yourself forwards and therefore leaning the uni backwards doesn't make the centre of mass any more or less over the contact patch than if the rider were sitting upright.
The backward lean of the uni puts it in a more stable geometry. When the uni is upright there is very little margin for error in getting the wheel exactly under the rider.

Quote:
When you are actually riding, the centre of mass needs to be sightly ahead of the contact patch.
Having the centre of mass in front of the contact patch is required to accelerate. At a steady speed on a level surface, the contact patch is directly under the centre of mass. Conversely when decelerating it is behind the contact patch.
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Old 2018-09-06, 12:48 PM   #29
OneTrackMind
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
1) Is the basic principle that keeping your weight high makes balancing easier. (The balancing a broom on your finger principle.)
Learning to ride isn't much about balance. It is about controlling the position of the wheel. Mastering the uni involves balance.

The balancing a broom analogy is not perfect and especially not for a learner. It assumes the rider's weight is in the seat. The position of the contact patch under the centre of mass must be near perfect to do this or the uni will pop out from under them.

The uni is far more stable with the weight way down low on the pedals and the saddle gripped between the thighs. In this configuration the uni becomes a wheel on a stick extending out from the feet and held in position at three places. Legs vertical means uni vertical. It is a lot more like walking than sitting on a pole.

Putting weight on the pedals is exactly what the experienced rider does to gain maximum stability in very rough conditions.

Quote:
2) Is that the act of lowering your weight because of a misplaced perception that it is easier or safer can result in you putting yourself in a position where the act of correcting your balance becomes more difficult.
Lowering is solely about removing the insecurity of falling sideways to overcome the fear of gaining too much momentum in a sideways fall before touching the ground wrong-footed to save the fall. The limitation going too low is that it becomes impossible to properly grip the saddle between the thighs because it is too far down where the thighs move too much or having the legs too scrunched up. Scrunched up legs are not fluent and they also move a lot of mass about.

Quote:
Later in his riding career, a rider may choose to lower his seat, or to ride in a crouch for some legitimate reason.
Later the rider has the skill to keep the uni in exactly the right position with their weight on the seat at any height. We learn to do things that are unimaginable to a learner. For me the ultimate crouch is my body virtually horizontal when passing under low hanging branches on my 36.

It is important to remember that the technique required for getting started on a uni is very different from accomplished riding. Failing to understand this and trying to copy the technique of experienced riders is why it takes most people so long to learn.
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Old 2018-09-06, 07:08 PM   #30
pierrox
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Not sure if you're being ironic, so I'll take the question at face value.
Thanks Mike!
Nope, no irony here - tried to find a "this is a genuine question" emoji but no such thing...

What was puzzling me is this line:
respond quickly when a change of input is required.
Bear in mind english is not my first language.
Your explanation cleared it thanks.

I was curious about your explanation for the crouched riding. I tend to crouch a bit, especially doing muni. I feel that if I hit a hole/root/stone/etc, I have a chance to straighten up and dampen, and therefore not fall. If I was all the way straight, the only way to get over the obstacle (especially if I hit it by surprise), would be to accelerate to compensate for the sudden block. Not easy if you're already pretty fast. Unless you have advice to do it better?
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