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Old 2018-09-17, 09:02 PM   #16
finnspin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneTrackMind View Post
Forget fences if you want to learn to ride.
Strongly disagree. One of the key mechanics someone who wants to learn how to unicycle has to get, is how to balance forward and backward. Fences (or similar) allow one to isolate that direction of balance. Of course, after a while, a rider should stop only training at the fence, and ride into more open space in order to get turning and side to side balance down.

I've been giving workshops for beginners for quite a while, and not a single person has had the difficulties OneTrackMind described, all of them learned on mostly a railing/fence.

It doesn't occupy one arm if you ride at arms length, and let go of the rail once you have found a bit of balance. Your arm is then free, unless you fully extend it to grab the rail. The rail will not be in the way of your balancing arm, and if you get close to loosing your balance, instead of falling of and needing to remount, you grab the rail and stay on the unicycle.

It does of course limit the riders choices where to go, and that will be a hinderance at some point. But I believe that point is very late. Learning the mechanics of going forward and backward is the most difficult concept to get for most riders, side to side balance by steering is very similar to a bicycle. I also don't think it's as important, I have seen many people managing to ride straight(ish) lines before they figure out how to turn intentionally.

The one thing I have seen hinder peoples progress however is grabbing a single rail with both hands, which is why I pointed that out in my first post. It's a horrible twisted position that will keep you from getting better, and should only (if ever) be used to mount the unicycle. After that, keep only one hand on the rail, with your arm fairly extended, the other hand free.
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Old 2018-09-18, 12:02 PM   #17
OneTrackMind
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Location: Murwillumbah, NSW, Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finnspin View Post
One of the key mechanics someone who wants to learn how to unicycle has to get, is how to balance forward and backward. Fences (or similar) allow one to isolate that direction of balance.
That almost universal assumption is the most common impediment to learning. Basic riding has far less to do with balance than leaning forwards and steering the wheel under the fall. Juxtaposition of forward and backward forces is very complex and comes later.

Quote:
I've been giving workshops for beginners for quite a while, and not a single person has had the difficulties OneTrackMind described, all of them learned on mostly a railing/fence.
"Difficulty" is related to expectation. I don't have much teaching experience but my learners have averaged one hour to achieve basic riding skill. The fastest learner was riding ten metres under control across grass from a backstop start after about twenty minutes in the saddle. (He stopped at ten metres because he ran out of space.)

Quote:
The rail will not be in the way of your balancing arm,
Two arms balance more than twice as well as one.

Quote:
and if you get close to loosing your balance, instead of falling of and needing to remount, you grab the rail and stay on the unicycle.
And miss out the most important lessons about dismounts. Fear of falling is one of the greatest inhibitors to learning. I start learners on grass and tell them that they will fall off a lot so they had better get used to it straight away.

I promote the step on with the wheel against a backstop takeoff. It commits the rider's momentum forwards, greatly reducing the likelihood of falling backwards. It also contributes to learning to free mount.

Quote:
[A fence] does of course limit the riders choices where to go, and that will be a hinderance at some point. But I believe that point is very late.
Steering is the very first thing that needs to be learned. Riding will not be possible until basic steering is achieved. I start my learners on a rail or post with the specific instruction, "work out how to steer the wheel". A few minutes is usually enough to learn how to do an inertial twist.

Quote:
Learning the mechanics of going forward and backward is the most difficult concept to get for most riders,
Yes, that is why it is not where to start learning.

Almost every aspect of riding is completely different between learners and accomplished riders. So many learners struggle because they try to emulate the techniques offered by experienced riders. "Weight in the seat" when they need to be virtually standing on the pedals. "Back straight up like an extension of the uni" when they need to be leaning their body forwards to stabilise the geometry.
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