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Old 2018-12-27, 08:14 AM   #1
unijohn
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A little bit of history of me

Hello, I am Anne, man, 51 years old from the Netherlands and it has been a year since I wanted to start unicycling. The background to this is a long story, but to keep it short: I wanted to start a new hobby and unicycling was an alternative to skateboarding for me. During the year I also discovered this forum, with a lot of great tips.

In January of this year (2018) I started on a Friday evening at one of the few unicycle clubs here. I started practicing along a wall rack in the gym and later along the wall with a borrowed unicycle. And so the Friday night became my regular unicycle night. I noticed that practicing only 1 hour a week was too little to really get ahead, so I wanted to buy my own unicycle to practice outside the club.

In April I was able to pick up my unicycle bought at a webshop during the Dutch Unicycling Championships event in Breda. Then I searched in my neighborhood for a suitable place to practice. In May I discovered that I could practice well on a public basketball court: flat and with a fence around it. There I first started along the fence, but soon I tried to drive completely loose from the posts. Almost every day I practiced a small hour there and at one point I managed to cross the field in length without support.

After a while I start practicing directly in front of my house, starting from a post. That turned out to be a lot trickier, because the walking path in front of my house is not perfectly flat, but that also went better. As a first step towards free mounting, I started to try starting from the curb. In the end, that worked smoothly, but it was now summer and by now it was too hot to practice because of a heat wave and so I stopped for a while.

After this forced stop I continued from the curb. Unfortunately, things got worse and due to lack of motivation I started to practice less. A few weeks before the unicycling club would start again on Friday night after the summer break, I wanted to practice at home again. Unfortunately, I injured my left wrist after a terrible fall, which I have suffered for a long time.

The days were getting shorter, I practiced always in the evening (because of my work during the day) and eventually I found a few places where I could practice in the dark. In the meantime I have not been on the basketball court for a long time, but I use this new place to practice, both during daytime and in the evening.

I can now ride very short distances without support. I am also able to make left and right turns. I do exercises to learn how to freemount, but it seems that I have to practice a lot, maybe months. There are videos on the internet with step by step instructions how to free mount, but none of them seem to work for me.

I still enjoy unicycling, and although I am a very slow learner, I will continue practising for the time being.
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Old 2018-12-29, 04:22 PM   #2
elpuebloUNIdo
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Welcome to the forum. Sorry about your wrist injury. I hope you are wearing wrist protection. As a beginner, I decided to buy wrist guards after falling hard onto my hands. I was also a slow learner, but I devoted a lot of time to learning. As a beginner, I typically practiced 1.5 hours at a time, and I forced myself to keep practicing after initially getting tired. Learning took a lot of work, but the joy I feel while unicycling made all practice worth it. And there are always new techniques to learn. Congratulations on riding short distances and learning to make turns. Learning to mount is going to be important once you are able to ride longer distances. As a beginner I used the tire grab mount. It is not very elegant, but it gets the job done. Now it is harder to practice because the days are shorter. That may be easier when the days get longer. Keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 2019-04-30, 07:08 PM   #3
unijohn
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Here is a small update of my practice on the unicycle. I still do that regularly and with varying success. On some days I really get the feeling that I am getting better and then I drive a little further. On other days it just goes bad, where sometimes I hardly even manage to ride away from the post.

I signed up for two parts at the Dutch Unicycling Championship: the 100 and 800 meters. My main goal is just to reach the finish and that is hard enough for me. Until the moment of writing, I have never managed to drive 800 meters in succession. The championship is on May 18, 2019 so I have a little more time to get a little better.

After the championship, I will continue practising freemount, but it is very, very hard for me. That would above all give me the freedom to practice in many more places, instead of always riding a few hundred meters from the exact same place.

Unfortunately I only get better with unicycling very slowly. It continues to cost me a lot of effort, so I don't expect that I can do nice tricks on my unicycle in the short term. If it comes to that, I think it might take years to do things like freemounting, idling, hopping and riding backwards.
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Old 2019-05-01, 10:13 PM   #4
LargeEddie
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Good to see your update, unijohn.

Quote:
Originally Posted by unijohn View Post
On some days I really get the feeling that I am getting better and then I drive a little further. On other days it just goes bad, where sometimes I hardly even manage to ride away from the post.
Yes, that's my experience too. Some days it's "two steps forward, one step back." Other days it's "one step forward, two steps back." Many times I've had a good day of practicing where I did some skill easily, and when I tried again the next day it was as if I had only dreamt that I could do it!

Only a few incredibly gifted unicyclists will learn every skill, but working on unicycling is unicycling. That's what we signed up for.

There are many worse ways to spend an hour than practicing unicycling, and no matter how well or badly it goes, I try to remember that I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to do it.

Quote:
I signed up for two parts at the Dutch Unicycling Championship: the 100 and 800 meters. My main goal is just to reach the finish and that is hard enough for me.
That sounds like it will be a lot of fun!

If you look at some of the ancient topics on this forum, there seemed to be some "I'm better than you" attitude in unicycling a couple of decades ago, during a little "boom time" when it looked like it might become very popular and there was something to gain from it. But I haven't run into any of that myself in the 6 years (today is the anniversary of my first day practicing!) I've been riding. I think you will find that you get a lot of encouragement and acceptance and positive responses.

Quote:
After the championship, I will continue practising freemount, but it is very, very hard for me. That would above all give me the freedom to practice in many more places, instead of always riding a few hundred meters from the exact same place.
Yes, it really does help a lot. Here's the thing though: No freemount is ever perfect, or not for me at least. Every time, my weight will be a little bit too far forward or backward, or I've turned myself to the wrong direction or I'm leaning to one side or my foot isn't in the right place on the pedal, or some combination of these. The key is to be skilled enough at low-speed riding to recover from any/all of these things when I get on the saddle and ride off anyway.

Short way of saying that: Keep riding and working on your balance and recovery skills, and you'll eventually find that freemounting isn't so big of a challenge.

Quote:
If it comes to that, I think it might take years to do things like freemounting, idling, hopping and riding backwards.
I can do those things now, and yes it did take years to learn them. But learning has been the fun part anyway. Enjoy the ride!
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Old 2019-06-16, 08:16 PM   #5
unijohn
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I tried to post this in the thread 'Eli Brill and Chris Huriwai Beginner Tutorials', but for some strange reason I am not allowed to post there, so I tried to post it here.

I have been practicing for over a year now and I still consider myself a beginner. For me, this type of video tutorials mainly means inspiration and both videos are beautifully made. The problem I have with almost all of these videos is that they mainly show how well the maker masters the skills and not the troubles that a beginner experiences. A number of things I see in the two videos are impossible for me, for example how Chris shows in his video from the second minute on how he gets on with the pedals horizontal and a hand against the wall.
At this moment I am practicing freemounting separately. No video seems to help me with that. It seems that the only way is to try it endlessly in the hope that I will one day succeed.
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Old 2019-06-16, 10:07 PM   #6
elpuebloUNIdo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unijohn View Post
The problem I have with almost all of these videos is that they mainly show how well the maker masters the skills and not the troubles that a beginner experiences.
Not to pick on Eli Brill, but he basically demonstrates the beginners' mount the way he does a mount, not a beginner. He suggests that he's putting very little weight on the first pedal (demonstrating the principle by stepping on his friend's stomach while unweighting). But, my impression from the video is that he's performing a static mount, counteracting weight-on-the pedal with weight-on-the-seat...which is somewhat different from a jump with one foot on the pedal.

Most of my own learning process involved using "disposable" techniques. The way I initially learned was fundamentally a dead-end but acted as a bridge towards proper technique. Examples: Using a crutch, tire-grab mount, 6:00/12:00 mount, roll-back mount, and hands-flailing in the air. Arguably, it would be easier to learn the "right way" from the beginning, but this may not be possible for not-so-terribly-talented riders such as myself.
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Old 2019-06-22, 09:56 AM   #7
unijohn
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I still practice as often as possible and try to add some variation to the way I try to free mount. Now and then I manage to get on top of my unicycle, but not yet to ride away. I have the feeling that, among other things, that is because, when I start from the post I give myself a push and I only let go when my wheel is already moving. I am now also practicing starting from the post, where I do not push myself off.

There are many more details that I am discovering that are important to me, but that are not covered in online tutorials.

During these exercises I also notice that riding my unicycle in general is still going better. That gives hope for the future.
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