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Old 2019-10-16, 10:17 PM   #16
Gockie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard C View Post
I've been practising today on my 26", on grass, a dirt area with a gentle slope, and on a paved road. This is the 4th time I've been on it. I'm still finding it very tough, and my track is very snake like. I'm getting about 30% of static mounts, and can't manage to hold the seat yet when riding off-road. I know what I should be doing: holding the seat, and applying smooth pressure throughout the rotation. I just have to let go of the seat to save my balance. I'll just have to work through this with more seat time. I'm a lot happier on paved road, and I can hold the seat and ride much straighter there. I have the stock 150 mm VCX cranks. I've also got a Schwalbe Crazy Bob tire (2.35" wide) to try out, but I haven't fitted it yet. It was just GBP 20, and was the most road-like tire available that was the right size. I'll report back when I've tried it.

At the end of my session, I made a pleasant discovery. I can mount with much less energy like so: start with a foot on the back pedal in 6 or 7 o'clock position. Roll the wheel forward, when the back pedal gets to 9 o'clock complete the mount like a normal static mount. That little bit of momentum from the rolling wheel makes a big difference. Now that I've (re)discovered this technique, I remember seeing it described here. It's not a walking mount, which I can't do yet, but it's part of the way there, and I have one foot and the seat in the right place before I start.
Very good! I think you are a quick learner, very well done!
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Old 2019-10-17, 01:21 PM   #17
Richard C
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Originally Posted by Gockie View Post
Very good! I think you are a quick learner, very well done!
You're too kind! I'm far from quick, but happy to be improving however slowly.
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Old 2019-10-18, 01:38 PM   #18
elpuebloUNIdo
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Originally Posted by Richard C View Post
I know what I should be doing: holding the seat, and applying smooth pressure throughout the rotation.
Those two things are not really, IMHO, compatible. Smooth pedaling will come eventually. If you practice riding, rather, in a jerky fashion, slowing and speeding up, pivoting randomly, taking weight off the seat...those are the conditions where holding the set really makes sense and helps keep you on the unicycle. If you hold the seat and pedal smoothly, then there's really no point in holding the seat.
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Old 2019-10-20, 08:32 AM   #19
Richard C
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Originally Posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
Those two things are not really, IMHO, compatible. Smooth pedaling will come eventually. If you practice riding, rather, in a jerky fashion, slowing and speeding up, pivoting randomly, taking weight off the seat...those are the conditions where holding the set really makes sense and helps keep you on the unicycle. If you hold the seat and pedal smoothly, then there's really no point in holding the seat.
Thanks EpU! My track seems to be straight on pavement, but on grass and rough ground it looks like a wounded snake. I attribute this to riding too slowly (pause, push, pause ...), which is due to fear and rolling resistance. I can hold the seat when things are going well, but have to let go to recover my balance (which of course is exactly wrong).

I've fitted the Crazy Bob tire, and on short runs on pavement it seems very nice, incredibly smooth.
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Old 2019-10-20, 06:12 PM   #20
elpuebloUNIdo
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Originally Posted by Richard C View Post
I can hold the seat when things are going well, but have to let go to recover my balance (which of course is exactly wrong).
Not wrong...just appropriate at this point in your learning process. I remember when I could barely reach down and touch the seat with one hand...without causing a upd. Baby steps!

A transitional step towards riding with hands on the seat is pointing your elbows outwards to the left and right and using them for balance. You will look like a chicken, but that will put your hands in a position closer to the seat handle.
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Old 2019-11-16, 09:24 PM   #21
Richard C
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Progress!

There hasn't been very much progress to report recently, I've been on my plateau for a while. Then yesterday I managed a couple of hops! (That is, transitioned from riding to a few hops, though not back to riding). I'm also feeling a bit more comfortable and positive in my movements.

Here's where I am at the moment:
  • I haven't ridden any great distance yet (longest run about 1 km with many dismounts).
  • Riding any distance on the 26" is a real workout.
  • I can't turn sharply at all (radius > 2m). (Lack of practise, I don't have space to turn in my main practise area).
  • I'm not riding hand on saddle very much yet.
  • I can stop and pedal backwards for one or occasionally two revs.
  • I'm freemounting the 26" between 10% and 60% of the time, depending on gradient, tiredness and mojo.
  • I'm freemounting the 20" 95% of the time (and after the 26", it feels like I'm already on top of it and just have to step on).
  • No luck with idling yet, maybe a couple of revs at most, with no feeling of control. (I practise by starting from holding to a support, and I think the support imbalances me).

I also find that I can't ride the 20" at all after riding the 26"! I push way too hard on the pedals, and go into a death spiral of oscillation. I adjust after a couple of minutes, but I'm going to fit some shorter cranks (currently 114mm stock). I'll get shorter cranks for the 26" too, I'll need them eventually.
I've experimented with a 2.35" Schwalbe Crazy Bob road tire on the 26". It feels very smooth compared to the stock Duro Leopard. I can't really judge how it is for autosteer. It was unrideable at low pressures, collapsing sideways.

So progress is slow at the moment, but not zero. I know what the problem is: fear. I bale out at the first sign of trouble, so I don't get to practise new things. (On the plus side, I haven't injured myself for a long while). The main thing is, I'm still enjoying it!
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Old Yesterday, 09:57 PM   #22
elpuebloUNIdo
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Originally Posted by Richard C View Post
I know what the problem is: fear.
Maybe the solution is fear. Trying to stay on past the point of no return could cause an ugly upd and an injury. The solution is to keep practicing. That is not possible when you're injured.

If you can ride 1Km without dismount, I think that qualifies as being able to ride arbitrarily long distances. If you are dismounting shy of 1 Km due to exhaustion, then there is still beginner's inefficiency in your technique. More time in the saddle will fix that.

I suggest you focus on riding shorter distances with a lower cadence. When I was able to ride slowly, I felt like I wasn't a beginner any more. Riding at slow speeds emulates the slow speed of idling, so it could be a bridge skill of sorts.

Idling and riding backwards involve getting your center of gravity behind the hub. This can feel freakish. If you can ride, stop then pedal backwards, then you are already getting used to this. Try stopping more suddenly from a greater speed to get the unicycle even further out in front of you.

If you can stop and back up a rev or two, it seems you're on your way to idling. You mentioned no feeling of control with idling. I think you need to embrace the out-of-control-ness in idling before you can expect to get any control. Try to make the idles larger. Pause at the end of each stroke, and do not reverse direction until you have pivoted. This way, you are separating the pivot and the pedaling. Even if you upd after pivoting, the important thing is that you have pivoted in the right direction. Later on, pivoting and pedaling will become more integrated in your idling technique. The above technique could also unlock the secret to turning within a radius of < 2m,

You're doing awesome!
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