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Old 2018-01-25, 12:26 PM   #16
OneTrackMind
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I rode in low shoes until I was badly injured. Now I try to institue protection before injuries.

When the wheel runs between your legs because you didn't get away fast enough, the crank can rotate down the outside of the calf. It stops when the crank reaches the outer ankle bone with the leg firmly wedged between crank and spokes.

The last time I did it was on the 36 when I lost control down a hill while dodging low vegetation and ran off the narrow footpath and into the gutter at a sharp angle. Fortunately I had high top boots by then, preventing serious injury.

I have also had simple ankle hits on badly executed UPDs.

Another vulnerable location is the Achilles tendon which can get whacked by the nose of the seat. I have been hit there a few times. One poster on this site had their Achilles ruptured in this way and another had their heel bone smashed.

I have had a few occasions where I was grateful for that well padded section of my Puma boots.

http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/sho...5&postcount=80

It really depends on the kind of riding you do and how far you push the boundaries. I have to deal with many obstacles so it is unusual for me to not have at least one UPD on a ride. The only time I can remember riding the whole route without a UPD was my last ride where I took it easy because I had been sick.
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Old 2018-01-25, 01:52 PM   #17
Mikefule
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Setonix View Post
I have never had a UPD where I hurt my ankles though.
Try getting the beak of the seat in the back of your Achilles tendon some time! Other than that, I agree, except I have occasionally clonked my ankle bone on the handlebars as I've flown past them.
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Old 2018-01-25, 02:40 PM   #18
elpuebloUNIdo
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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.
I've conditioned myself not to let go with the hands, too soon, during a UPD, however. If the first reflexive motion in a UPD is to throw the hands up in the air, there's more chance of getting caught on the seat when the feet bail out. One hand on the seat, for an extra split second, helps to guide the unicycle away from the rider.
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Old 2018-01-25, 03:31 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
Try getting the beak of the seat in the back of your Achilles tendon some time! Other than that, I agree, except I have occasionally clonked my ankle bone on the handlebars as I've flown past them.
Ah yeah I got that once. That was a very pleasant feeling
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Old 2018-01-25, 03:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
I've conditioned myself not to let go with the hands, too soon, during a UPD, however. If the first reflexive motion in a UPD is to throw the hands up in the air, there's more chance of getting caught on the seat when the feet bail out. One hand on the seat, for an extra split second, helps to guide the unicycle away from the rider.
This will only be in the forest right. You don't want to push away the uni when riding in the city with traffic or even just with cyclists behind you, who might tumble because of crashing into your flying uni.
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Old 2018-01-25, 10:13 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Setonix View Post
This will only be in the forest right. You don't want to push away the uni when riding in the city with traffic or even just with cyclists behind you, who might tumble because of crashing into your flying uni.
Sure, but Up Rite describes himself as "a wall hugging beginner", and in this situation I wouldn't recommend to ride in the traffic. I think that getting rid of the unicycle is good beginner tactics. The better you get later on, the better you will be grabbing the uni behind you in an UPD.

Best regards,
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Old 2018-01-25, 10:15 PM   #22
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Most UPDs I catch the unicycle behind me.

The high speed exits I focus on saving myself, pushing off with a big leap into a sprint which both helps me keep upright and get away from the falling uni. I have come off at over 20 kph and I can't run that fast so it is left hand superman slide after the first step.

Never been seriously hurt from a high speed crash but they have never involved collisions. As they say, it isn't the speed that is the problem but the sudden stop.

The low speed ones are more often a problem. Falling straight down from a failed takeoff was among the worst. (A very sudden stop.)I didn't have wrist protection on because I was only on the 20 inch going to work after dropping off my car for a service. Plus I injured a rib. I hurt for weeks.
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Old 2018-03-06, 04:03 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
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!
Thanks!

I have helmet, wrist guards, QUAX elbow, and Kris Holm leg armour. My stamina and recovery ability is better but still very limited for this unicycling activity. So for now I put in as much pre planning and strategy as possible to make my training sessions count. The main thing is that I need to be as fresh and rested as possible before I take on a unicycling practice session. Otherwise I just fall off. In contrast, I can take on weight training, hiking, callisthenics etc. while tired and sore.

I know that as I get leaner and lighter I will be able to train longer and more frequently. I am also certain taht somewhere on the way it will just click and I will be able to ride unassisted in a straight line. Once I get to that point where the ability is internalized it will be much less of an energy drain regarless of my level of conditioning.

After that I will start to work on getting better at other unicycling skills.
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Old 2018-03-06, 04:47 PM   #24
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Don't underestimate the benefit of spontaneous training. I actively tried working on riding backwards for ages with little improvement.
I'm still not very good at it, but one day last year all of a sudden I could just do it.
This was on the first day riding after a break of months (I mean a break from unicycling, not just a backwards-riding-break)!

~~~~~~~~

After I was pretty good in a straight line the next biggest fall-avoidance improvement for me was riding with one or both hands on the handle (and then on a handlebar setup).
It forces you to transfer some balance control to your hips and gives you extra leverage for 'surging' the pedals if you need to pedal hard to avoid falling forwards.
Pushing with my full strength on a pedal just unweights the seat unless I'm also pulling hard on the handle.

I'd never tell an absolute beginner to hold the seat before they developed a good arm flailing action though!

Last edited by rich; 2018-03-06 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 2018-03-07, 02:43 AM   #25
elpuebloUNIdo
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I'd never tell an absolute beginner to hold the seat before they developed a good arm flailing action though!
I don't think there's such a thing as a good arm flailing action. It may be necessary for beginners (and for me while wheel walking), but it seems more like an act of desperation rather than a proper technique.

My neighbor, an athletic teen, learned to ride 30 feet in less than 30 minutes of practice. His technique was consistent; he kept one hand on the seat and flailed with the other arm. He sacrificed the balance of one of his arms flailing for the stability of one hand on the seat. And he learned very fast. Granted, he was learning on a cheap unicycle that didn't help keep his bottom stable. So, he was compensating for a less than perfect setup.

Mounting, in my experience, is more difficult when the mount starts with both hands in the air. I think it's easier to start with one or both hands on the seat, then once I establish weight-in-the-seat, one or both hands can be removed for balance. My acquisition of a proper static mount happened when I started placing both hands on the seat during the mount. Mounting without a hand on the seat seems more dangerous to me. A failed mount may cause the unicycle to go shooting out in front or behind.

Hands on the seat is a game changer. I encourage beginners to take whatever baby steps they can toward riding this way. I suggest trying to balance with the elbows pointed out, rather than the hands. That puts the hands closer to the seat.
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Old 2018-03-07, 04:42 PM   #26
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I don't think there's such a thing as a good arm flailing action.
I suppose you're right. I certainly didn't mean elegant flailing! Just being able to ride while making large arm waving corrections was my first step. This is how I teach people. Controlling the desperation and then pursuing the calm, handle holding stance (where most of the balance comes from the hips) came later for me.

I tell beginners that the key is to bias your arms roughly in the middle of their movable range and use this as the neutral position. This way when you expose yourself to the feeling of being unbalanced you have a really good range of motion available and can make large corrections in any direction.
This is why I think holding on to something while learning is counterproductive after about the first ten minutes. I learned to freemount no hands straight into riding.

It's also a lot easier to help a learner if you can get them to employ the arms because you can see how they react once they start to tip. If they keep falling to the right, telling them to punch an arm out hard to the left instead of just stepping off really starts to join up the synapses! They'll probably still fall off but now they have felt the effect of a rapid shift in weight and will have learned a new tool to control their CofG.

The next step is calibrating the effect caused by this weight shift:
Once riding, you can see what happens when you move your arms to one side or the other when you don't need to. A corresponding opposite weight shift is then required at the hips to compensate.

I think this is the bit that was 'good for the core'. Non-riders always seem to mention this. For me, simply riding is now no better for the core than walking. It all just happens automatically!

I think I've gone off-topic here. Back to the original question:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Up Rite
Is there is anything in the world of falling to be aware of?
Yeah. Don't!

Last edited by rich; 2018-03-07 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 2018-03-07, 07:31 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
I suggest trying to balance with the elbows pointed out, rather than the hands. That puts the hands closer to the seat.
Before I could with both hands on the seat and elbows sticking out, I focussed on having my hands on my chest. Once that went ok, I moved them downwards to the seat. I don't balance so much with my elbows, but more with my hips now. Also handlebars help against flailing, but that shifts the balance point somewhat, which is not something beginners will get into yet.

As for mounting, I always mount with one hand on the seat, but occasionally I mount with both hands in the air and at those moments it seems easier somehow. When holding the seat with my right hand especially on a 36", I tend to hang too much to the left. With both hands in the air, I will automatically be more in the center.
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Old 2018-03-08, 12:31 AM   #28
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Some good ideas here, thanks all for contributing.
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Old 2018-03-08, 12:39 AM   #29
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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.
I guess for 30 years, that is pretty good overall. Interesting that most were low speed, and you went for teh safety gear after most of the injuries. So far I always wear Kh leg armour, QUAX elbow protection, and a helmet. When I attempt to get away from the rail/ wall, I wear wrist guards, I find they interfere with grabbing the rail.

After I can ride away from the wall, I will invest in KH gloves. Somwhere along the way, probably when I am leaner I will get some good padded cycling shorts and spine protector.
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