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Old 2015-12-01, 03:05 PM   #46
Acrorebel
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Originally Posted by Leeway283 View Post
I’ve ridden in the Five Boro twice on a 36er (this year and in 2013) and three times on a bike. I hadn’t ridden a unicycle in years when I got a Coker in June 2012. That first summer my wife asked me if I’d consider riding the unicycle in the Five Boro, and I said no way. But by registration time in January I’d grown a lot more proficient and I began considering the tour as a possibility. So I signed up and figured if I wasn’t comfortable when May rolled around I’d just do the ride on a bicycle again. But it worked out – the event is very festive and lots of fun, and I strongly recommend it. The vast majority of cyclists are delighted to see a unicycle, and you will receive lots of attention and supportive comments.

Here’s a thread with some excellent advice I was given:

http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=108492

If you’re in decent physical shape, you’ll definitely have the stamina to finish. The route is pretty flat except for the bridges. I’ve seen 10-year-old kids complete the ride.

Good freemounting skills are crucial. It’s important to remember you’re going to be stopping and starting A LOT. During the ride up 6th Avenue in Manhattan, you will occasionally be required to stop for cross street traffic. Also, you will definitely encounter bottlenecks at some point – chances are in Central Park, Harlem, possibly on the entrance to the Queensboro Bridge, definitely in Brooklyn. Once you get on the BQE it should be non-stop riding to the finish. You will also probably pass many cyclists riding up the Verrazano Bridge (but then they’ll blow right past you on the way down).

Also, bear in mind you will be riding with lots of inexperienced cyclists (and lots of children) who think nothing of cutting to the right or left suddenly without looking, or they decide just to stop without giving any warning. So it’s important to have the skills to navigate crowds, to swerve quickly, and ride defensively.

I heartily agree with the people who’ve suggested handle bars. I didn’t realize how much I rely on handle bars until one of the bolts broke on my handlebar and it kept slipping during the tour. It definitely detracted from my enjoyment of the ride.

Finally, I recommend you register for the event and if in May you don’t feel your skills are quite up to the task, then ride the tour on a bicycle. The experience will definitely be valuable in the future because you’ll know exactly what to expect.
Thanks for the advice Leeway! It's great hearing from someone who did this race a few times. Awesome pics BTW! I'm used to how chaotic some race events can be due to all the marathons I've run, though I think it would be very different and perhaps more difficult as a unicyclist, especially if I am going fast and there are many kids around on bikes and other craziness. At least I'm used to getting a lot of attention(this was difficult for me at first).

Do they still have those rules against bags? What if someone violates them? Anyone ever try unicycling this event while juggling?

Last edited by Acrorebel; 2015-12-01 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 2015-12-04, 06:34 AM   #47
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Halfway in my groin and privates area started to feel like it was on fire. My legs were really tired by the end.
If you aren't wearing bike shorts, it's time to start getting acquainted. And don't buy the cheapest ones; the quality ones are well worth it. My favorite pair is from Pearl Izumi, but there are many good brands.

But mostly, getting used to distance riding is going to be about doing plenty of distance riding. I did 10 miles last weekend, after a long gap during which it was almost all shorter rides that were low on miles and night on climbing. The 10 miles made my crotch a little sore; our standard weekend ride was just over 20 miles and we used to toss it off like it was nothing. If I can get back to doing it regularly, it will be nothing again.

The tired legs will fade away as you gain experience. You are still building muscle memory, confidence and efficiency. Make sure you're sitting down all the way, and not using more leg tension than needed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acrorebel View Post
I'm used to how chaotic some race events can be due to all the marathons I've run, though I think it would be very different and perhaps more difficult as a unicyclist, especially if I am going fast and there are many kids around on bikes and other craziness.
First be aware it's not a race. This is a good thing, because tens of thousands of anything trying to race on city streets would be an awful cluster! Expect average speeds around 10-20 mph. Lead riders at the front of the pack hold the group to a moderate speed, but if you're in the middle somewhere you have room to go faster. You have to stay above a 10 mph average though, or risk being caught up by the sag support. By the time ride day rolls around, I imagine you'll have the confidence and skill you need to ride on a street full of bikes.
Quote:
Anyone ever try unicycling this event while juggling?
It's not the same a joggling, where you get a rhythm between between your steps and your throws. On a unicycle the juggling and the pedaling are usually separate, unless you find a speed where you can synchronize your throws to your cadence. It's a long way to juggle the whole thing; I recommend concentrating on the ride this year, and adding in the juggling for 2017.

This thread makes me want to fly out for that ride someday. How fun would that be? I haven't been back to NY since 2005!
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Last edited by johnfoss; 2015-12-04 at 06:36 AM.
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Old 2015-12-04, 07:47 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by johnfoss View Post
If you aren't wearing bike shorts, it's time to start getting acquainted. And don't buy the cheapest ones; the quality ones are well worth it. My favorite pair is from Pearl Izumi, but there are many good brands.
Out of interest, and I'm sure this has come up before, but do you find it worth going for the ones with padding? I'm wondering if either the padding is in the wrong place for us or it's just useless because unicycle saddles are cushier than most bike saddles anyway.
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Old 2015-12-05, 02:39 AM   #49
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Bike shorts without padding aren't real bike shorts. Or maybe they're some kind of outer layer? I absolutely recommend some padded shorts. The padding not only provides a bit of cushioning, bit is also protection against chafing. While we don't interface with unicycle saddles exactly the same way two-wheeled cyclists fit their saddles, it's pretty close, and nobody is making shorts for unicycles yet.
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Old 2015-12-18, 04:01 AM   #50
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Update:

Rode 8 miles a few days ago in 1 hour and 30 minutes on a moderately hilly bike path, and felt like I could have done a lot more. No falls, only a few dismounts because of cars at street crossings, and all free-mounts were successful.

When it comes to idling, my record is currently 16 cycles/idles without support, which I did today, but I could only do this once. I usually do 3 to 6 without support; after several minutes of idle practice, I can often do 8 to 10 idles, at least this is how it's been the last 2 days. I'm getting better at pivoting. After about 1 hour of idling practice my right/down foot feels like it is going to fall off. Is it okay to start practicing outside without any support?

Thanks John Foss, Vertigo and everyone else for your helpful advice. Thanks for sharing that Vertigo - I know you'll conquer idling and when you return to NY you'll do much better than last time.
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Old 2015-12-18, 08:39 PM   #51
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[QUOTE

My girlfriend did a 80km race (on a 24"/114mm) after only 8 months riding.[/QUOTE]

That is absolutely awsome!
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Old 2015-12-21, 02:59 AM   #52
Acrorebel
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Update:

Can now do 24 cycles without support while idling, another big breakthrough. I managed to do this in spite of being out very late last night(no drinking though), and I ran 16 miles in the morning. Only did this once but I can do 10 or a little more without much difficulty.

Unfortunately, I still can't go into idling while riding, I can only do it starting from a wall. I just can't figure out how to ride, stop, and do a half-revolution backward to get the idling started. I'll dig through this site for tips, and watch some Youtube videos, but if anyone has any advice please share.
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Old 2015-12-21, 12:31 PM   #53
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Something that's been called a "super idle" (really a lot easier than idling, I'd say) is to ride forward slowly, stop with the pedals near level, and ride backwards for either a half turn or a full turn; then stop again, ride forward, stop again, repeat. You can switch feet depending on whether you ride a full turn or half a turn. Search the site and you'll find a few threads discussing it.

It's a fun drill and good practice for lots of things. It definitely helped me with the transition from riding to idling.
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Old 2015-12-23, 02:06 AM   #54
Acrorebel
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Originally Posted by LargeEddie View Post
Something that's been called a "super idle" (really a lot easier than idling, I'd say) is to ride forward slowly, stop with the pedals near level, and ride backwards for either a half turn or a full turn; then stop again, ride forward, stop again, repeat. You can switch feet depending on whether you ride a full turn or half a turn. Search the site and you'll find a few threads discussing it.

It's a fun drill and good practice for lots of things. It definitely helped me with the transition from riding to idling.
That sounds like a good idea. That's why I tried to learn backwards riding first, before idling, though I had to stop backwards practice because my favorite fence now has Christmas lights on it, and idling is more useful anyway.
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Old 2015-12-23, 02:43 AM   #55
Acrorebel
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Update:

I rode for 12 miles today in the rain in 2 hours and 36 minutes, with minimal dismounts. If I was running this distance, this would be unusually slow for me. 1 dismount was due to a hill that was too steep(this was sort of a UPD, though I expected I was going to dismount), another was to take a bathroom break, and another because my crotch felt like it was on fire again.

Luckily I've figured out how to sit up off my seat for up to 30 seconds while riding to give my crotch some relief. If it wasn't for that, I would have had to dismount several times more. While riding, my right foot often shifts to the right off the pedal, almost coming off, but this seemed to get better toward the end. I'm getting better at correcting and preventing this.

As far as idling goes, my new record is 35 cycles without support, which I did yesterday(I still start from a wall, not from a free-mount or while riding). I did this only once. I haven't duplicated this; the closest I've come was 30. Doing 10 cycles is getting easier and easier. I did only 16 cycles today during a much shorter idling practice session(35 minutes) than usual because of the long ride earlier today.

The 40 mile bike tour looks increasingly doable for me. Now I just need to decide which 36er to get. Thanks everyone for your advice and support.
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Old 2015-12-23, 05:58 PM   #56
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For the transition to idle, especially if you've been practicing the actual idling and backwards riding, just try making stops while riding forward. Come all the way to a stop, or as close as you can, and then continue riding. You will see that to stop, you have to get the wheel out in front of you. But to get going again, you have to be in front of the wheel. With practice, you can stop for longer and longer periods (whole second, several seconds).
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Old 2015-12-25, 04:57 PM   #57
Acrorebel
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Originally Posted by johnfoss View Post
For the transition to idle, especially if you've been practicing the actual idling and backwards riding, just try making stops while riding forward. Come all the way to a stop, or as close as you can, and then continue riding. You will see that to stop, you have to get the wheel out in front of you. But to get going again, you have to be in front of the wheel. With practice, you can stop for longer and longer periods (whole second, several seconds).
Thanks for the advice John, and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year/Happy Holidays to everyone reading this; I hope you all enjoy your new unicycles!

I can sort of do what you recommend, John, but usually dismount when I stop for too long. But I am getting better, can often do 1 to 2 second stops, then continue riding. Need to work in that half-revolution. My new record for idling after starting from a wall is now 47 cycles without support, which I did 2 days ago. Problem is, I end up 20 feet away from where I started. It's been weeks since I've done any serious backwards practice because they put Christmas lights and decorations on the fence I was practicing on.

It's time to give up on the wall. I think I'm at the point where it may be interfering with my progress.

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Old 2015-12-27, 11:06 PM   #58
Acrorebel
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Update:

I don't mean to brag, but yesterday evening I had my biggest eureka moment ever with unicycling when I finally figured out how to transition into idling from riding. After dozens of failed attempts, I finally figured out how to do it and did several cycles before a UPD, and a little later did 26 cycles. This means no more wall! This is an even bigger deal than when I figured out how to free-mount.

Today I did even better: 40 idling cycles while riding, and 10 to 20 a bunch of times. I can transition into idling most of the time now, though sometimes screw up and end up doing 2 or 3 before a UPD, particularly when the ground is uneven. I can sometimes go back to riding after idling for several cycles. Transitioning back to riding isn't all that difficult. I can only idle with my right foot down though, not my left foot. As soon as I master my right foot, I will work on my left. It seems the general idea is that once you learn with one foot, you'll learn with the other much faster. I hope this is true of me. To those who have taught others or are very experienced in these matters, is this true?

I found John Foss's advice helpful(and advice throughout this forum and Youtube videos, thanks everyone!), but also started to find that transitioning slowly, gently, and gracefully into idling is the way to do it. When I kept failing at it, I was stopping too abruptly, and I was nervous. Very very little pressure on the pedals is the way to do it, at least this is how it worked for me. Then of course start applying pressure to the dominant foot to initiate the idle, however, keep most of your weight on the seat.

Maybe after a few weeks of regular practice I will be a competent idler. Now I just need to learn how to hop onto curbs, go backwards, and 1 or 2 other free-mounts. Though I'm still a novice, and my idling is sloppy, my advice to those struggling with idling is to not give up! I don't consider myself to be a fast learner, so if I can do it, you can do it. Practice a lot, but take breaks occasionally and breath deeply. Approach it like a meditation and make sure you have a lot of space, since learning to pivot is important for staying on the unicycle. Start from a wall, fence, or car, but give up your support as soon as possible.

P.S - Yesterday I ate a ton of mixed berries(blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) before my major breakthrough. I notice on this forum, and on some juggling and acrobatic sites, the topic of berries comes up sometimes because of some mostly preliminary scientific evidence that they may be good for the brain. My experience of course doesn't prove anything, but I wonder if they helped me in some way. Even if they didn't, you can't go wrong eating more berries.

Last edited by Acrorebel; 2015-12-27 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 2015-12-27, 11:56 PM   #59
elpuebloUNIdo
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It seems the general idea is that once you learn with one foot, you'll learn with the other much faster. I hope this is true of me. To those who have taught others or are very experienced in these matters, is this true?
Search the forum for threads containing "dominant foot". There are some differing attitudes on that subject.

I think the biggest danger of practicing, first, on one side, is that we make a habit out of performing techniques only on that side. Also, we may decide it's time to learn another trick after learning a trick on one side, and as a result, we may never really practice properly on the other side, because we've moved on.

I made it a point to practice all my techniques on both sides, from the beginning. It may have slowed me down. I hope, however, that it's made me a better rider (depth over breadth). I am still "better" at one side, than the other, and this is a reminder of where I need to keep practicing. For example, I currently land 180 unispins half the time counterclockwise, and 1/10 of the time clockwise. I first landed it counter-clockwise; it made me understand the trick better clockwise, but it was still much harder that way.

Something as basic as idling you should definitely learn both-footed. Please let us know if your theory (that learning it first with the dominant foot helps you learn it with the other foot) proves correct, in practice. And congrats on your awesome progress!
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Old 2015-12-29, 03:14 AM   #60
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Search the forum for threads containing "dominant foot". There are some differing attitudes on that subject.

I think the biggest danger of practicing, first, on one side, is that we make a habit out of performing techniques only on that side. Also, we may decide it's time to learn another trick after learning a trick on one side, and as a result, we may never really practice properly on the other side, because we've moved on.

I made it a point to practice all my techniques on both sides, from the beginning. It may have slowed me down. I hope, however, that it's made me a better rider (depth over breadth). I am still "better" at one side, than the other, and this is a reminder of where I need to keep practicing. For example, I currently land 180 unispins half the time counterclockwise, and 1/10 of the time clockwise. I first landed it counter-clockwise; it made me understand the trick better clockwise, but it was still much harder that way.

Something as basic as idling you should definitely learn both-footed. Please let us know if your theory (that learning it first with the dominant foot helps you learn it with the other foot) proves correct, in practice. And congrats on your awesome progress!
Way to go with the uni-spinning! 180 sounds very impressive!

All those "dominant foot" or "dominant side" discussions are interesting and sometimes confusing. Lots of conflicting opinions. They remind me of "horses versus mules" discussions. In general, I find you give a lot of good advice and interesting insights in the many discussions I've dug up on right or left dominance and other subjects. I will start learning to idle with my left foot as soon as possible, since I think you're right about how neglecting one side may lead to incomplete learning of certain skills. It's hardly my theory though that it's easy to transfer a skill from one side to the other; it's just an idea that I got from others that I wonder about and hope is true.

Anyway, it looks like it's perfectly "normal" to have a preferred or dominant side/foot/arm. In fact, according to some research, people with schizophrenia are more likely to be ambidextrous than people without it. I am not ambidextrous, but I come a little close due to all the juggling and joggling I've done over the years. It's still easier to initiate certain skills with my right hand than my left, and sometimes it's the other way. I'm right-handed, but I can perform certain juggling skills better with my left-hand than right. Good luck with your uni-spinning and other skills you're practicing.

Thanks for your advice and support, it's priceless.

Update: 59 idling cycles during tonight's practice session after transitioning from riding, all time best record, even beating my previous record when I started from a wall.

Last edited by Acrorebel; 2015-12-29 at 03:19 AM.
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