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Old 2015-08-06, 10:29 PM   #31
Engineer on a Unicycle
Learning to say "on your left"
 
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Got one reply on the FB page from someone who did the section of Park Ave North from Grand Central Terminal last weekend, and recommended going early to avoid crowds, so I may see if I can get myself out there a lot earlier than I had planned.
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Old 2015-08-07, 02:34 AM   #32
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Got one reply on the FB page from someone who did the section of Park Ave North from Grand Central Terminal last weekend, and recommended going early to avoid crowds, so I may see if I can get myself out there a lot earlier than I had planned.
I'm in Brooklyn, so I'll probably join that street from the south.
It's saturday so probably won't be there that early, but not too late either as I have some afternoon drinks.
I have a 29" - don't remember if I mentioned that.
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Old 2015-08-07, 02:57 AM   #33
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I'm in Brooklyn, so I'll probably join that street from the south.
It's saturday so probably won't be there that early, but not too late either as I have some afternoon drinks.
I have a 29" - don't remember if I mentioned that.
You'd probably fly by me on a 29" but if I stay out for a while or get a late start it would be nice if we cross paths - will send you a pm with contact info. I'm torn between heading north and maybe trying the park again (depends on if freemount percentage gets any better tomorrow - tried it without that capability a week ago to great frustration), or heading south as my office is by Union Square. Ultimately, I don't really know if I'll be in the mood to try to get comfortable covering distance, or try to find a quiet, wider spot and work on technique and transitions... being new means it's all a challenge!
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Old 2015-08-07, 07:58 PM   #34
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Learning to say "on your left"
 
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GOODBYE PILLARS

I think I got it!

1) Handle in left hand, left foot on rear pedal halfway down

2) Launch right foot onto front pedal, landing leveling the cranks

3) Hop a few times to establish balance

4) Release handle and ride away.

The balance hops and needing to release the seat and get both my hands out to the side are hopeful temporary aids... but they seem to make a huge difference in success rate and stability of the early revolutions.
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Old 2015-08-07, 09:44 PM   #35
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Congrats!
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Old 2015-08-08, 01:57 AM   #36
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Congrats!
Thanks, but I think I spoke too soon.

Accomplished just one successful freemount in the great outdoors tonight, relatively early on with a lot of failures after. Wasn't getting my feet into positions I liked, or getting a fold of sweaty jeans between me and the seat, or umpteen other excuses for not making the hop to travel transition. Did manage my longest distance yet riding a few blocks from an assisted mount, and some real progress on relaxing, riding slowly, and making some of my dismounts by stepping off backwards.

Unfortunately my final "I'm going to nail one before I quit for the night" resulted in spraining the *other* big toe. What seems to happen is that on a rare occasion I'll land a hop with my foot touching only *behind* the pedal spine rather than spanning it, and so my full weight catches on the toe as the pedal spins to vertical. Ouch! As this was my right foot I don't know if I'll have any "spring" for free mounts at Summer Streets tomorrow, or if I'll be coveting lamp poles.

Want to age 30 years in an hour? Try unicycling. You'll pull muscles you never knew you had, and limp home hurting everywhere.
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Old 2015-08-08, 02:03 AM   #37
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The balance hops and needing to release the seat and get both my hands out to the side are hopeful temporary aids... but they seem to make a huge difference in success rate and stability of the early revolutions.
In the early stages the arms are involved a lot in sideways balance. The key to relieving your arms of this task is for your hips to take over the job.

A good exercise to help develop this control is slalom. You don't need actual poles to ride between, just ride sharply to the left and right in a rhythm. It will also help your steering which is primarily in the hips too especially at low speeds.

Steer by keeping your body more or less upright and leaning the uni. This will make it turn and you can easily come out of the turn by pulling the uni upright again.

Leaning the body into the curve with the uni comes later once the skill to reliably get back up again has developed. This sometimes involves doing a controlled "high side" where you momentarily go slightly harder into the turn and use your momentum to lift you upright.

A variety of basic skills is required to ride a uni at all but there are so many more aspects to learn that are not immediately obvious to the novice. But you can intellectualise all this too much. In the end just ride whenever you can and you will be amazed at what you learn to do without actively pursuing that particular skill.

The real fun is riding. You can think about these things while you ride if you like. Believe it or not you will eventually learn to ride without thinking about it at all, leaving the mind free for daydreaming. However most of us seem to prefer taking on more difficult terrain to focus our attention.
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Old 2015-08-08, 07:17 PM   #38
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spraining the *other* big toe.
I land pretty hard on my feet, and sometimes I kick the crap out of large rocks and such during dismounts. I have been using 5.10 Impact lows for the last year and have been super happy. I think a stiff shoe like the Impacts would have saved you from the sprained toe. At the same time, the psycho-grippiness would probably exacerbate your foot placement issues. Anyhoo, shoes are something to think about. Since you don't appear to be giving up, the investment might be worth it. Check out the footwear threads. I just bought a pair of Gyro 'Jacket' shoes which were on sale (my 5.10s are wearing out). They have many of the same good qualities of the 5.10s, but they were a lot cheaper.
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Old 2015-08-08, 10:29 PM   #39
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New shoes are a possibility (I have, rather absurdly been wearing the pair of beat up rubber soled ecco leather dress shoes I wear everywhere). But they will need to be something suitable for miles of urban walking, and as I use the full length of my foot I find anything inflexible quickly becomes uncomfortble to walk in. It looks online like there's a local place which carries 5.10's and I may go try some on out of general curiosity but don't necessarily think they are right for me, especially until I get better about foot placement and repositioning.
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Old 2015-08-09, 10:12 PM   #40
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Gave up on mounting to hops... too much work.

With pierrox's patient encouragement worked instead on mounting with my torso forward, then sitting up to ride. Need to get a lot better about putting my feet in positions I'm willing to ride with, as I can't shift them yet. A bit tempted to get another pair of cheap plastic pedals and file off the plastic pins, if only to learn what they are there for.
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Old 2015-08-10, 01:58 AM   #41
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A bit tempted to get another pair of cheap plastic pedals and file off the plastic pins, if only to learn what they are there for.
I would not do that. I did it on my 20" sun I bought last year when I got back to riding and was back at the bike shop getting new ones with pins two days later. A better purchase would be a good pair of Knee and shin guards if you don't have them already. I know you get tired of hearing it when you are learning but just practice, practice, practice. It will come to you.
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Old 2015-08-10, 02:21 AM   #42
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Guards of course have many benefits. I've been lucky not to have meaningful injury from the plastic pins (yet) but am frustrated by the way they make it hard to adjust my feet out of bad positions.

I know that will come with time - did manage one intentional shift today but the subsequent position was worse than the initial so I had to dismount after that.
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Old 2015-08-10, 03:55 AM   #43
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Guards of course have many benefits. I've been lucky not to have meaningful injury from the plastic pins (yet) but am frustrated by the way they make it hard to adjust my feet out of bad positions.

I know that will come with time - did manage one intentional shift today but the subsequent position was worse than the initial so I had to dismount after that.
Regarding the suggestion you get new shoes...maybe a cheap set of less aggressive pedals would balance things out.
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Old 2015-08-10, 08:26 AM   #44
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but am frustrated by the way they make it hard to adjust my feet out of bad positions.
Pins also resist your feet moving out of good positions which is far more important.

When I first started moving my feet I would tilt and rotate them around one point then another and so on, allowing them to progressively shift across the pedal.

I remember some times where I would be concentrating really hard on moving one foot only to have the other foot which I was ignoring move instead.

Eventually it becomes possible to lift your foot on the upstroke and move them. However without the pins you won't know when you have lifted the right amount and that will ultimately delay your learning.
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Old 2015-08-10, 02:51 PM   #45
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smooth vs. pinned for beginners?

It may be better for beginners to start out with smooth pedals, then move to pinned pedals later. With smooth pedals, the rider learns how to keep their feet on the pedals, rather than having their feet locked-in by the pins. When a beginner slides around on the pedals during the pedal-stroke, this provides the feedback necessary to make an adjustment, eventually resulting in a better foot placement. Conversely, with the pinned pedals, the feet are held in place, there is no feedback to the feet, the technique of foot placement is not improved, and invisible lateral forces on the pedals may cause strain in the legs/knees/feet.

If a rider is having trouble repositioning the feet on pinned pedals, perhaps it would be helpful to first learn to reposition them on smooth pedals. With smooth pedals, the repositioning is initiated from a relatively static position, whereas with the pinned pedals, it may be difficult to reposition if there is latent, lateral force being applied on the pedals.

Just my thought process on the subject...

Anyway, here's a suggestion for adjusting you foot position on the pinned pedals: Rather than lifting your foot off the pedal (this is, imo, too difficult for beginners), try achieving the correct foot position by rolling your foot around its perimeter as you gently pull/push the foot into the right position. This allows you to maintain connection with the pins with some of your foot while the rest of your foot slowly finds the right position. Worked for me...
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