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Old 2016-04-18, 01:50 PM   #31
elpuebloUNIdo
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Originally Posted by sukie47 View Post
Plus, while out last Sunday, I injured my left foot.
Is that the toe you referred to in a previous post? Occasionally, I kick the ground pretty hard with the toe of my shoe. For this, I'm happy with my 5/10 shoes. For a while I experimented with some lighter-in-the-toe shoes, and I still have a black and blue toenail to remind me that wasn't a good idea.

I feel bad, considering your tag line (regarding new clothes), to be suggesting you get more gear. Good shoes are important, though. Stay safe!

Regarding your "dismal" mounts, I think that, as we get tired, our balance suffers. An example: It's hard for me to go from practicing strenuous techniques, like jumping ... into one-foot-riding, which is a delicate technique. I have missed mounts near the end of long mUni rides, when I'm feeling tired.

I suggest practicing mounting at the beginning of your workout, when you're feeling fresh. There's no shame in performing an assisted mount, later on, when you're getting tired. Over time, mounting will improve, and it won't take so much energy. It took me a long time before I could perform a proper static mount.

Good luck!
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Old 2016-04-18, 09:37 PM   #32
sukie47
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Ha ha, yes this unicycling has opened a can of worms for me. I'm a pretty frugal person, and I especially don't invest a lot in good clothes. I work in a cabinet shop and I build furniture in my own shop. I tend to ruin everything, even the good stuff I don't intend to wear in the shop. So, it is ironic the amount of gear that I have been purchasing to stay safe. And, in fact, I just opened the Five Ten high tops that I ordered after my foot incident. And, yes it was the base of the big toe...still a bit sore. The shoes are too small, so I am sending them back for a bigger size. I will be glad to get them. That will be the final purchase... except of course for the 26" Oracle which I am hoping goes on sale before I break down.

Yep, yesterday the freemounts were horrible from the beginning. They improved a bit. Then as I fatigued I started twisting again. I wanted to keep riding, but that's how I hurt myself last week. Couldn't get enough, so rode more, and fell in eyesight of my truck just before finishing. I have to remember that I am not a spring chick anymore. I've always been one to push myself more than I should, in work and play. I'm finding that I just can't do that anymore. Unicycling highlights the need to respect my limits while trying to push them at the same time. It's a fine line.

Thanks, your feedback is always spot on.
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Old 2016-04-22, 01:16 AM   #33
sukie47
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This week has been a good one for the uni & me. I finally got the Five Ten high tops I've been waiting for, as well as the shin/knee guards. Now that I'm really covered, literally from head to foot, I feel a bit more brave and have been trying things I wouldn't have without all my armor. The biggest thing that has changed is the fact that I am riding almost predominately on grass and easy trails of some sort. What a huge difference this is making. Today, I went back to Bent Creek with a friend who is also learning to unicycle. We rode the gravel/dirt road inside the arboretum. I have found large gravel the hardest of any surface to ride on, and that's what we started on. After a while, I started to get into a rhythm, and then the road changed to more of a hard packed dirt road mixed with small gravel. By the time we hit that, something just seemed to clique again. I found myself absolutely flying on the road. It was pretty amazing. I felt like I was balance perfectly, and the pedals were spinning with total ease, and fast. I don't usually experience this. I tend to be a bit hesitant. And when I'm going fast, I'm usually squealing a bit because it isn't intentional and I'm out of control. So, the biggest improvements I noticed this week was that I'm getting back to feeling good about the mounting. And, I can keep my hand on my saddle for pretty significant periods of time. Not quite sure what to do from there, but I can see that I'll figure it out with time.

I am interested to know how others started to learn how to come out of the seat to climb. My climbing is getting better, but I am going to be limited until I can figure out how to stand. I have a few acres across that street form me that a neighbor's kid rides his dirt bike on. Quite hilly, and I realized the other day, quite perfect for me to hop on and give it a shot.
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Old 2016-04-22, 02:35 AM   #34
elpuebloUNIdo
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Let's hear it for 47 year olds! I am glad to hear you're picking up the necessary safety gear, and that it's diminishing the fear of trying new stuff.

You mentioned getting in the zone on dirt mixed with fine gravel. There are some similar paths in my neighborhood, and I remember, when I was a novice, things feeling "right" on this type surface, as well. I think the reason is: Any left-right twitching of the tire causes the tire to skid forward a tiny bit, rather than steering you off to the right or left. The result is that you ride straighter.

Regarding coming out of the seat to climb, you might try the following: try sitting on the back of the seat, rather than in the scooped, central part of the seat. If you are sitting too far forward on the seat, the pulling force of your hand on the seat-handle is diminished. When your butt and hand are more in an opposite position on the seat, the mechanics of leverage work better. Also, sitting on the back of the seat with a hand on the seat-handle...more closely mimics what it's like to use a handle, which I strongly encourage you to eventually transition into. When I started using a t-bar/shadow-handle, I ended up tilting the seat-nose more upward, and now I consistently sit back further on the seat. To slide back on the seat, you're going to have to "push" down and forward on the handle, rather that "pull" it backward. I have wide-ish hips, and personally, sitting in the scooped part of the saddle created too much wiggle room, diminishing the control I could exert with my butt. Saddle sore is much worse when your weight has fallen into the scooped part of the saddle. I think the whole principle of KH's new Fusion Zero saddle is related to this logic. I am okay for now sitting on the back of a traditional saddle; works for me; but I suppose at some point I'll be trying the Zero.

I'm throwing a bunch of ideas at you, but, again, you're already doing great, and as long as you keep thinking about the mechanics involved and practicing, you'll be fine. It's great to read about your progress. Keep up the good work!
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Old 2016-04-23, 02:02 AM   #35
sukie47
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It's good to read the suggestion about where to sit on the seat. Once I was able to peddle unassisted for more than 20 revolutions, I attempted to adjust my seat as suggested, to get my weight on the back of the seat. So, perhaps my instincts are good. Tomorrow, I am going out for a mix of logging roads and a real single track trail. Yahoo! And, I also know that since I had such a good ride yesterday, that tomorrow may be a completely different experience. But, no matter what, it's all good. For the first 2 months of learning, I stayed in the same place...same tennis courts, day after day. Every time I ventured away to a different place, it messed with me and my riding suffered. So, lately I have been trying new places almost every ride. That has helped tremendously.

I have to laugh every time I start to ride. It's the same experience. I never freemount when I first start. I use something as an assist. I usually go a revolution or 2, come off, and remount. After about 2 or 3 tries, I'll get on my way. It's like I have to convince my brain that I actually know how to ride this crazy thing. So, tomorrow I am going to see what happens if I just act as if I know how to ride. Because I do. Now I just have to learn how to ride better
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Old 2016-04-23, 09:42 PM   #36
Setonix
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Originally Posted by sukie47 View Post
And, I can keep my hand on my saddle for pretty significant periods of time.
It is funny you say that. First I had to learn to keep one hand on the saddle and now I feel like having less balance when having both hands in the air. But sometimes for climbing I feel like having more control with both hands in the air and some de-weighting the saddle. I also try keeping two hands on the saddle, but I can only do that on flat asphalt and not for very long.

But it seems like you're going great, riding on grass and gravel. Uneven terrain is good training for balancing.
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Old 2016-04-24, 01:18 AM   #37
sukie47
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Yes, the hands on the saddle thing seems like such a difficult, almost impossible skill to acquire. I can't figure out which hand is best. Seems like my right one. Though, I am ambidextrous. Seems like that would be better, but it gets confusing.

I went out today and rode logging roads and a short single track section. I thought this would be the perfect trail for me. From the perspective of my mountain biker self, it is a virtually flat trail with absolutely no rocks or roots. However, from the perspective of a beginner unicyclist who is attempting to ride Muni, it might as well have been Long's Peak in Colorado. I was happy though, nonetheless with the fact that I stuck with it, and even tried several spots more than once. I think though, in the future I will go with someone instead of going it alone. I have been fortunate while learning to ride that I really haven't had too many spills. Before getting out on the trails, I can remember going down 3 times. Of course my unicycle has not faired so well. However, since trying trail riding, even as easy as I'm starting, I am falling, a lot. And in very strange ways sometimes. And, so far it's predominantly on downhills, and some uphills with rocks or roots. I feel that being able to hold onto the saddle will help with this. Like you, right now I have both hands in the air on climbs, and am somewhat de-weighted. But one little bump, and I'm off. I did notice today that there were a few times when I started to lose my balance, and without thinking, I reached down and corrected by grabbing the saddle and making an adjustment.

I watch tons of you tube videos to dissect what people do. It amazes me to see people riding so relaxed, with both hands resting on their saddle. I just wonder how long it takes to get that comfortable?
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Old 2016-04-24, 10:02 AM   #38
Setonix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sukie47 View Post
I watch tons of you tube videos to dissect what people do. It amazes me to see people riding so relaxed, with both hands resting on their saddle. I just wonder how long it takes to get that comfortable?
You should just keep at it. I really love unicycling. It is the one sport I've ever been addicted to and I first learned it in July 2015. I just rode 10km in 40 minutes this morning. That was just asphalt, but I changed to shorter cranks (127mm) and wanted to see if it made a difference in speed. When first testing it out on a parking lot, I could somehow keep both hands on the saddle for a few 100 metres. It felt much stabler.
The more saddle time you get, the more comfortable you will feel. I also noticed that when losing balance, you can actually do quite a lot to regain your balance again before UPD-ing.
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Old 2016-04-24, 04:19 PM   #39
elpuebloUNIdo
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Yes, the hands on the saddle thing seems like such a difficult, almost impossible skill to acquire.
When we learn to unicycle, our hands are flailing wildly in the air. We don't care, because we are so stoked to be riding on one wheel. Later on, the novelty of riding diminishes, and we are still left with the flailing arms. Now, we start to get annoyed. Later, we succeed in calming down our flailing arms, but we're still struggling with camber. Both these issues, flailing arms and camber, are related to hands on the seat/handle. I'm going out on a limb, here, but I seriously wonder if the above scenario...is responsible for many riders quitting, spending less time on, or relegating to novelty status...unicycling. Which is why I encourage everyone to work in the direction of hands-on-the-seat.

At a certain point in my progress as a novice, I learned to ride much more slowly. I'd essentially bought myself more time to respond to changes in pedal-resistance and changes in the landscape (I think John mentioned in another thread that learning to ride very slowly was an important skill). There are speed bumps in my neighborhood. Riding over them, slowly, helped me learn how to deal with uneven terrain. We need to learn how to respond slowly and deliberately, before we can do it quickly. UPDs frequently happed when we don't have adequate time to respond to some change.

I should spend more time watching riding videos. I have trouble processing what I'm viewing, and I have to rewind a bunch of times when someone does a trick. You can't exactly tell what riders are doing with their hands on the seat/handle, because it's mostly isometric, and it doesn't involve a lot of motion. If you see any videos which illustrate techniques you're struggling with, please post them.

Keep riding!
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Old 2016-04-24, 06:05 PM   #40
bungeejoe
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... It amazes me to see people riding so relaxed, with both hands resting on their saddle. I just wonder how long it takes to get that comfortable? ...
Riding without flailing will not usually come naturally. Some experienced muni riders still flail and swim down the trail. Many still flail with one hand.

Usually one needs to FORCE oneself to not flail or swim while riding. Try riding with first one hand and then the other on the seat handle, or on the thigh of your leg, and then in a pocket.

Then try clasping both hands together first in front, and then later, behind you.

I find it usually necessary to consciously ride without flailing or I'll start up again when in a challenging spot on the trail.

For instance I ride skinnies clipless. During the winter I got out of practice and was flailing with one hand. These last few rides I've been working on riding the curb with both hands on the saddle again. Now I'll ride the curb continuously for several hundred feet with both hands on the saddle again.

Try to find satisfaction in any small accomplishment. When we measure our accomplishments over a day or two we usually fail to notice how much we have changed over the weeks, months, and years. Remember that if you're looking for instance gratification the unicycle will not usually provide you with much joy. Try to find joy everyday in doing challenging things on your unicycle and it will provide a lifetime of new things to try and do. It's worked for me for over a dozen years of fun and challenges. I still am not a great unicyclist but I've done some great things. I've accomplished things I never dreamed of a few years ago. It all required persistence.

Enjoy,
JM
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Old 2016-04-24, 09:57 PM   #41
sukie47
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Thumbs up

The last thing I did today before heading out for another ride in Bent Creek was read ElpuebloUniDo's last post. Huge help, and was probably why I had a huge break through today. I went with my other newbie friend today, and we stayed on the gravel/dirt road leading from the entrance of the arboretum to the lake. It is a very gradual incline, barely noticeable, except when riding a uni. Thursday, my first time on this path, I came off my unicycle in the middle of every incline. The first thing I noticed today was that I made it up every single one. That felt pretty good. On the way back from the lake, being that it was flat to slightly downhill, I started trying to practice holding on to my saddle, today with my right hand. I kept having UPDs, always to the right and always on a slight downhill. I started riding slowly, as ElpuebloUniDo mentioned, really trying to be mindful of the mechanics involved with each of these UPDs. Finally, I realized that I was causing them and they weren't just happening. In learning to hold onto the saddle, I've literally just been hanging on, in a very passive manner. When I started to feel that I was losing my balance to the right, I would pull on the saddle, exaggerating the loss of balance. Once I figured that out, I took a different approach and that's when the break through occurred. I started actively holding onto the saddle. I used my hand to see what steering would feel like, and wow! What a cool freaking thing! After this realization, I rode the rest of the way back with the right hand on the saddle, and the left hand pointing in front. However, I did get the left hand on the saddle too, for more than just a moment. I see where this is going and it is awesome! So, now I have to check out, with more interest, the thread about homemade handle bars. Guess I'm going to need them for the unicycle that should be here by mid week! Yep, I took the plunge! And yes, I am all the way in. Do doubt.

Try to find satisfaction in any small accomplishment. When we measure our accomplishments over a day or two we usually fail to notice how much we have changed over the weeks, months, and years. Remember that if you're looking for instance gratification the unicycle will not usually provide you with much joy. Try to find joy everyday in doing challenging things on your unicycle and it will provide a lifetime of new things to try and do. It's worked for me for over a dozen years of fun and challenges. I still am not a great unicyclist but I've done some great things. I've accomplished things I never dreamed of a few years ago. It all required persistence.

I hope I have many years of unicycling in front of me. I do tend to get bogged down in the little day to day ups and downs of the learning process. The other day, I spent time with friends, and took my unicycle for the 14 and 18 year old boys to try out. It was a great reminder of how much I have learned in 3 short months.
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Old 2016-04-25, 02:40 AM   #42
sukie47
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[QUOTE=bungeejoe;1667556]

Try to find satisfaction in any small accomplishment. When we measure our accomplishments over a day or two we usually fail to notice how much we have changed over the weeks, months, and years. Remember that if you're looking for instance gratification the unicycle will not usually provide you with much joy. Try to find joy everyday in doing challenging things on your unicycle and it will provide a lifetime of new things to try and do. It's worked for me for over a dozen years of fun and challenges. I still am not a great unicyclist but I've done some great things. I've accomplished things I never dreamed of a few years ago. It all required persistence.

This quote came from Bungeejoe... good grief, I am learning to unicycle faster than I am learning to navigate this forum!
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Old 2016-04-25, 01:44 PM   #43
elpuebloUNIdo
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Glad to hear you're progressing, sukie47.

Yesterday was probably the biggest bummer for me in my 2+ years of unicycling. Long story short, I got a 3rd generation Schlumpf, and after four glorious days of riding, the thing is broken. One of the cranks worked itself loose, and in the process the shift button is frozen in place. I have to ship it back to the bike shop that put the thing together in the first place. Who knows, maybe it'll have to go back to Switzerland for servicing. I went to bed, last night, unable to sleep, obsessing over the whole thing, wondering who to blame, trying to figure out how it happened. Talk about first-world problems!

...Kind of off topic, but just a reminder to be patient with setup/mechanical issues. I have spent a lot of time adjusting and re-adjusting my handle bar setups, for example. I heard a great quote in a unicycling video. Someone said that unicyclists were "problem solvers". I think this is a super-important aspect of riding and improving. It' sounds like you're solving your own issues. Good job.
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Old 2016-04-25, 09:08 PM   #44
sukie47
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I'm sorry to hear about your Schlumpf. That is a bummer. I am hoping it isn't your only one? I guess that would be unheard of amongst unicyclists. First world problem or not, it's still a disappointment. I hope it's resolved soon. Well, that puts my really insignificant issue of worrying that I might not be able to ride for several days d/t scheduling issues.

Do you manage to get out most days, or just weekends?
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Old 2016-04-25, 09:42 PM   #45
Setonix
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Do you manage to get out most days, or just weekends?
Us unicyclists ride whenever possible, but just like with any other sport I do, when it rains I stay indoors Naturally inside you can learn to hop, if you don't mind having black tire marks on the floor and walls, which I have everwhere.

But yeah, I ride every weekend and if possible a few times during the week as well. It is nice that it is light again in Denmark until 9.30pm
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