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Old 2018-01-24, 03:45 AM   #1
Up Rite
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Falling

So far, I have been lucky as a wall hugging beginner and have always landed on my feet. I always wear a helmet, KH leg armour, QU - AX elbow pads. I am just using work gloves as I still need to be able to grab the rail. I find the wrist protectors interfere with that. I will use them and get better KH or Hillbillies hand protection after I break free from the wall for good.

I am aware that I probably cannot always count on this, hence I always wear the gear.

Is there is anything in the world of falling to be aware of? In Judo and gymnastics, parkour etc. they have ways of breaking and folling out of falls. Anyone learn of or use these or anything else for those UPD's?
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Old 2018-01-24, 05:14 AM   #2
johnfoss
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I'm not an expert at any of those other disciplines, but from my own experience, I'd say practice falling. This accomplishes a number of things:
  • The more you do, the more experience you get in how things will end up
  • Practice specific types of fall, to figure out how best to make it to the ground without over-stressing things like wrists
  • The more comfortable you are with falling, the less stress there will be about if/when it actually happens
  • Because you're going to fall sometimes, so be ready!
Back in the days when I was learning Track racing, and just riding to the absolute limits of how fast I could go, I got a decent amount of experience with tumbling (figuring out which shoulder to roll over), though this is not likely to be as useful for low speed riding. But I remember that, in doing it, I developed a set of reflexes that became very handy in crashes that might have caused injury.

I always tell people to practice falling off when they get into Giraffe riding. Which does not mean falling down, but how to land when the unicycle falls over in different directions. Like to the side. Where do your feet go? Practice it a few times, and you'll know what to do when it happens and you haven't planned it.
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Old 2018-01-24, 05:28 AM   #3
elpuebloUNIdo
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It is natural to reach out with the hands and fingertips when falling. I wear wrist guards when riding. They don't interfere with me grabbing the seat in a variety of ways. Today I had a pretty good fall on a rock garden. I went down onto my hands. I recall a couple threads in the last few years where riders discussed falling techniques.

I do a lot of seat-in-front riding and I use handlebars. Once I got a single hand on the seat handle, the days of the unicycle shooting out from under me were over. Think about the difference, physics-wise, between a fall where the rider and unicyclist, coupled together, tip over...vs. the unicycle shooting out from behind (or worse, in front of) the rider. The former happens fairly slowly, giving the rider time to react, and the latter happens almost too quickly to respond.

The truly awkward stage of unicycling is when we are just learning, when our arms are flailing madly. Not only that, but also we're not putting a lot of weight in the seat (which, imo, is natural and should not be rushed). So, we take the advice of more advanced riders, and raise our seat. This takes some of the weight off the feet, but it puts the beginner at greater risk of slipping off one of the pedals. Then there's a second of sheer terror, when the rider is stuck on the seat and bailing out of the pedals. Then, crash!

UpRite, I'm glad to read you're sticking with unicycling. Be patient. People who're not kids any more need to think a little bit harder about learning to unicycle, perhaps even "over-think" things, rather than merely "going for it". I suggest you invest in some wrist guards in preparation for riding out into the open. Also, since you're a bigger rider, maybe sticking to the 20" is a good idea; you fall with greater force, so you don't want to fall so far down. UPDs are a lot easier on a small unicycle. Also, I'm curious to know what cranks length you use. Since you're a bigger rider, longer cranks will provide you with greater leverage. In my 4 years of unicycling, I learned many techniques on longer cranks. Hopping and seat-in-front techniques were much easier for me with longer cranks. If you're using 125mm cranks, now, I suggest getting a pair of Impact Eiffel 140mm cranks. Very durable. Less chance of the unicycle shooting out from under you with longer cranks.

My 14 yr. old neighbor learned to ride 50 feet in almost no time. Made me want to vomit. Interestingly, he always, from the very beginning learning stage, held the seat handle with one hand. Yes, you lose the balance in one arm, but I think it's made up for by the stability and steering potential of one hand on the seat. You might consider trying this. The more you can couple yourself and the unicycle, the easier riding is going to be.

Good luck!
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Old 2018-01-24, 05:30 AM   #4
JimT
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Here is a past thread:
"How to fall and avoid injury"
http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/showthread.php?t=74930

And some generic ideas:
"How to Fall Safely"
https://www.wikihow.com/Fall-Safely

And one of a number of videos on the subject:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bdr2j5oD2dU
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Old 2018-01-24, 06:05 AM   #5
Mikefule
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Always fall forwards. Generally, a backwards fall, where the unicycle shoots forward from under you, is dangerous, with the risk of hitting your coccyx or the back of your head. The way to avoid falling backwards is to ride confidently.

I used to wear wrist guards all the time, and found that I came to rely on them. I would come off the 36 at high speed and put the heels of my hands down and sort of skate along on them until I came to a halt. When they wore out, I couldn't find any new ones that I liked. Now I ride without (although usually with gloves) and I rarely put my hands down.

I own some KH leg guards and I used to wear them a lot for Muni, but not any more. I have found them useful when learning UW.

I have hurt myself badly in UPDs 4 times in 30 years:

1) Low speed fall forwards on grass. I somehow managed to chip a bone in my wrist and needed to attend A&E. Wrist guards may have prevented this. I bought some after.

2) Low speed fall forwards on rocks. Cut my chin. 7 stitches required. I bought a full face helmet afterwards and used it for a while but found it uncomfortably hot and noisy so I no longer use it.

3) Backwards fall on a short steep slope. I got tangled in the uni and got a pedal bite on my calf which required stitches. It was after this that I bought the leg guards.

4) Recent "high" speed face plant on tarmac from a 24. I failed to roll and bruised or cracked a rib.

General advice is ride confidently, approach obstacles in such a way that you will fall forwards, and try to dissipate the energy of the fall by rolling if you can. Body armour etc. can be useful but it can also be counterproductive if it teaches you to rely on it.

I used to go out on the uni dressed like I was facing the Australian pace attack. These days, my only protection is cycle gloves and a cycle helmet, and some abrasion resistant MTB trousers.
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Old 2018-01-24, 06:36 AM   #6
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If you're going to reach out to catch yourself then try and use your palms or clenched fist (like hitting the bottom of your fist on the table).

Ideally it will be just a light tag of the hand, quick plant of the elbow, and some sort of roll.
Follow that with feet and fingers digging in the dirt as you slide backwards like SuperMuniMan clawing your way back to your ride.

I'm thinking of moving falls with some forward momentum.

Get the right gear and use it.
I use it all for muni and just a helmet for walking the dogs

My problems with falling now are that my reflexes keep me on the uni longer than I should be and I end up making spectacular saves or spectacular wipe outs.
On the bright side, without practicing, my one foot riding and coasting are slowly coming to my skill set.
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Old 2018-01-24, 10:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Up Rite View Post
I am just using work gloves as I still need to be able to grab the rail.
I strongly recommend you get away from the rail and start riding away from a backstop. You will learn a lot more useful skills, instead of learning to grab the rail which is ultimately a pretty useless skill.

Riding away teaches you how to dismount and how to fall. You will also learn how to deal with greater out of balance situations because you don't have the rail. Learn on flat grass until you have mastered low speed falling. With your weight you should use full wrist guards even on the grass.

When I teach unicycling, I let the learner spend a few minutes on a rail to get a feel for the uni then straight into ride away from a backstop. All my learners have achieved basic unsupported riding with under two hours in the saddle.
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Old 2018-01-24, 11:29 AM   #8
Setonix
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Originally Posted by OneTrackMind View Post
When I teach unicycling, I let the learner spend a few minutes on a rail to get a feel for the uni then straight into ride away from a backstop. All my learners have achieved basic unsupported riding with under two hours in the saddle.
I wish you were my trainer. Took me nearly 3 weeks to learn to ride and away from the wall.
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Old 2018-01-24, 01:11 PM   #9
MrImpossible
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I think the most important non-obvious thing is to get away from the unicycle. If you go down with the ship it's a lot harder to control your landing.

- So bail out early; learn to recognize when you're going to crash, and get off.

- Practice getting off. Even if you can only ride a couple of revolutions first.

- Push the unicycle away from you. If you ride with a hand on the saddle (a more advanced technique) it's easier. But you can also push it away with your feet as you step off the pedals.

- Don't ever worry about the unicycle. It's designed for crashes.
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Old 2018-01-24, 02:10 PM   #10
song
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How to Fall

Falling is what unicycling is all about. While riding, you are constantly falling but never hitting the ground.

You and your unicycle must fall forward (not backward) simultaneously on flat pavement with no obstructions. Riding while holding a rail, wall or car may be educational for one or two minutes, but after that, all it does is build fear. You get comfortable in the saddle, and the idea of falling off becomes more and more terrifying, partly because you recognize -correctly- that the object you are clinging to could really fuck you up.

Falling on unobstructed flat pavement, on the other hand, is quite safe. 99% of the time you will land on your feet. If you just push off and start pedaling across open pavement until you fall, and do it again and again, you will be riding very soon. The two-hour maximum mentioned above by OneTrackMind is about right, or even perhaps overly generous.
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Old 2018-01-24, 03:58 PM   #11
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When i started riding I slowly bought all the gear usually after falls shin bites etc. Now i mainly ride 36" and always wear a helmet and wrist guards. I think wrist guards are the single most important item. When you do fall you will instinctively put your hands out and it is so easy to break or fracture your wrist.
I wear Demon wrist guards and i find they do not impede grabbing holding etc. I think they are intended for ski'ing but i am not sure.
I have found i need to go a size up from what i would normally expect.
I have lost count of how many times they have saved my wrists and palms of hands when coming off at speed.
Like others have said practice stepping off ie ride away half a rev and step off let uni fall or catch behind you, then progress to a full rev etc, you will find your confidence will improve because stepping off will become second nature.

Good luck Phil
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Old 2018-01-24, 10:10 PM   #12
Sanne.Kj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrImpossible View Post
I think the most important non-obvious thing is to get away from the unicycle. If you go down with the ship it's a lot harder to control your landing. (...)

- Push the unicycle away from you. If you ride with a hand on the saddle (a more advanced technique) it's easier. But you can also push it away with your feet as you step off the pedals.

- Don't ever worry about the unicycle. It's designed for crashes.
This is exactly what I would have written, but you were quicker! It is also my experience that getting rid of the unicycle is important, so you don't land upon it. Push it backwards between your legs or jump forwards from the pedals when you feel you are going to fall.

Happy riding ...
Best regards, Sanne
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Old 2018-01-25, 01:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Setonix View Post
I wish you were my trainer. Took me nearly 3 weeks to learn to ride and away from the wall.
It took me two weeks to ride ten metres from a backstop. I had nobody to guide me, a unicycle that was too small, with a narrow tyre on grass that was too rough.

My students used my trials with a 2.5 inch tyre on smooth grass. The seat is set at an appropriate height. It also has Onza cranks with a wide Q-factor but I'm not sure if this helps. I have a second trials uni with an Impact wheel and zero Q cranks now so I will be able to compare next time I teach someone.

Rather than a wall, the ideal backstop is a step. This provides somewhere to stand with a bit of extra height making the mount easier. Aerobic exercise steps are great because they are mobile and not quite as high as a full step which is a bit too tall.

My fastest learner needed about twenty minutes in the saddle before he could ride ten metres, but he was exceptional.
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Old 2018-01-25, 01:18 AM   #14
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I absolutely agree about actively dismounting. Leap off and run when you feel it going wrong before you lose control of the dismount. The uni won't go far on its own but you must get away from it. It is a much bigger risk to you than the ground.

My worst injuries came from trying to stay on too long, feet coming off the pedals and having the uni run into the back of my leg as my foot got to the ground. Ankles really don't fit well between the crank and the spokes.

Shoes with covered ankle protection are important. Ankles are bony and swell up like balloons when hit.
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Old 2018-01-25, 11:51 AM   #15
Setonix
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Originally Posted by OneTrackMind View Post
Shoes with covered ankle protection are important. Ankles are bony and swell up like balloons when hit.
Oops I always wear sneakers that are below my ankles. I have never had a UPD where I hurt my ankles though. Most UPDs happen with forward motion and the wheel blocking, so I fly off the front. I did once manage to get entangled between the frame and spokes, but as you say there is not so much space, so certainly can't get in so deep that my ankles get near it.
The only gear I wear is a helmet and wrist guards (before I had hard plastic ones from rollerblading, but I couldn't wear gloves together with them) Now I have KH gloves with wrist protection, but they feel too soft I doubt they will protect my wrists from breaking if that would be the case.
Over time I will get new gear based on new falls I will make > not quite the proactive way ^_^
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