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Old 2005-11-24, 02:25 AM   #1
dudewithasock
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Journal of a New Unicycler

Well, 300+ posts into this forum, and last night, I finally got my first unicycle. I've decided to keep a day-to-day journal for the days that I do anything unicycle-related, just to share a little of my experiences as a raw beginner to the sport. I think this might end up helping out other new unicyclists.

My first day with my unicycle was last night, but I didn't do any actual riding. I ordered a Torker CX 24" from UDC, and put the kit together. I still haven't gotten around to pumping up the tires any more, but they're fine for grass, which is what I will be practicing on in the early days.

Next post will be my first real day with my unicycle (today).
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Doing good doesn't make you good any more than doing a girl makes you a girl.
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Old 2005-11-24, 03:00 AM   #2
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Learning to Unicycle: Day 1

As I explained in the above post, my unicycle was put together (and ready for me to fall of it numerous times) last night. I printed out Klaas Bill and Andrew Carter's online guide to help me out with initial mounting.

As soon as I got home from work at around 2:30, I rested my feet for about 10 minutes, but was soon just itching to start learning. I brought my uni out into the backyard to look for a prime support.

Now, this is a very rough portrayal of my backyard:



Imagine a 7'-8' wooden fence as the border of that image.

I first decided to try using the fence at the area marked as A. I put the right side of my body facing against the fence and put the right pedal at around the 5:00 position. I strictly followed the method drawn out in Klaas and Andrew's guide, which is basically to hold your strong foot sturdy on the corresponding pedal while you hold onto your support with both hands. I then lifted my body up and my body (and the unicycle) seemed to automatically roll back about 1/8 a revolution, and my left foot found itself on the other pedal.

As soon as I was about 7 inches higher in the air, I was gripping for dear life onto my fence support, and it didn't take long for the unicycle to pop out under me and fall to the grassy lawn. I thought about how it felt, and wound up loosening the clamp and lowering the seatpost a little. I mounted a few more times and adjusted the height a few more times, and found a level that was comfortable.

I wasn't falling off right after mounting any more, so I started to slowly pedal half rotations, both forwards and backwards, and then fall off again. I repeated this for another 20 or 30 minutes until I stopped falling off every time, and then pushed myself to ride a couple feet forward before falling off. It was about this time that I noticed what most new male unicyclists notice fairly quickly; boxers weren't going to cut it. I changed into a pair of briefs and went back to my little rocking exercises, and found the extra support very helpful.

The next hour simply consisted of me riding in those little 2-3 foot bursts, and I felt my body rapidly conforming to the rather foreign demands of a unicycle. At one point, I switched my practice area to the area marked 'B' on the map, just to make sure I wasn't just getting used to my practice area, as opposed to the unicycle.

I did my little support rides for another half hour, switching between the two practice areas occasionally. After a quick 30 minute break, I decided to start trying to ride with less dependence on my support. At first, this didn't turn out too well, and I had a few falls. But I eventually found myself with only one outstretched arm holding on to the fence while riding. I also tried to force myself to ride a little faster, which surprisingly helped a great deal.

The remainder of my day unicycling was spent with me practicing short bursts of riding without the support, and I managed to make it a few feet several times before falling. But I was getting tired, and we were going out to eat that night, so I decided to call it a day. I think I'm going to take my practicing out to the front yard tomorrow morning.

Important tips I learned from today:
1. If you think the unicycle seems too tall and you're almost stretching your leg to reach the pedal when in the 6:00 position, simply lower the saddle post; you won't get anywhere if you're too high up for your legs.
2. For guys: don't wear boxers for unicycling. 'Nuff said.
3. This may have been just for me, but I think it's helpful to learn in at least 2 slightly different environments, so then you don't develop too much of a comfort zone in your practice areas
4. If you find yourself still falling very often when riding a few feet or more, try pedaling a little faster. I think this will also be important to gather enough momentum when I start riding longer distances from my support.
5. Above all, do not give up! Unicycling seems very difficult at first, but after you pass the very first hurdles, it gets progressively easier to control yourself.
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My Unicycling Journal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spazdude222
Doing good doesn't make you good any more than doing a girl makes you a girl.
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Old 2005-11-25, 01:59 AM   #3
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Learning to Unicycle: Day 2

Ok, I'll admit, I only spent 30-40 minutes practicing today, but come on, it was Thanksgiving day, one of the biggest family days of the year!

First thing I did this morning was drive out and buy myself an actual bicycle pump. I highly recommend to all my fellow beginners that you shell out the extras 4-5 bucks for a built-in gauge, because it's important to get the tire pressure at the right amount of air. I also picked up a little all-purpose bike tool with different wrench sizes and such, just for the future.

I pumped up my unicycle and went back to section 'A' to practice again, and man, the thing felt a lot different when it was actually pumped up to the correct capacity. I still mounted successfully with one hand gripping the fence at about a medium firmness. My night of sleep between my first day and my second seemed to force me to relearn a bit of the balance techniques I had thought I developed the previous day, so I spent a while just doing similar things as I did yesterday.

Unfortunately, my help was needed preparing the Thanksgiving feast, and the rest of the day was spent off the unicycle with my family.

Although I didn't do much today, I still learned a couple valuable tips:
1. If you don't have a bike bump and accompanying pressure gauge, invest in one (they're very inexpensive) before you get too far into learning; otherwise, you will develop a feel for a unicycle that is not even performing like it was meant to be, and it will probably mess you up in the long run.
2. Don't feel intimidated by having to relearn things. This is just your body's way of telling you that it forgot something, and the more times you remind it, the longer amount of time it will be able to perform to the capacity you need it too.
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My Unicycling Journal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spazdude222
Doing good doesn't make you good any more than doing a girl makes you a girl.

Last edited by dudewithasock; 2005-11-25 at 02:01 AM.
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Old 2005-11-25, 02:56 AM   #4
forrestunifreak
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Wow, your really determind!

I'll place a bet, that you'll be riding that thing up and down your driveway within 3-4 days of practicing.


Good luck, and have fun!
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Old 2005-11-25, 04:05 AM   #5
THE dave
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i second forrest, well written journal too, i think its really cool
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Last edited by James_Potter on 2005-10-5 at 3:58pm

Last edited by Unitik908 on 2005-09-06 at 04:12 AM

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Old 2005-11-25, 02:22 PM   #6
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Don't let it throw you if you experience a couple of "off days" when you can't seem to relearn the things you could the day before. You'll learn to ride eventually anyway. Some peoble (e.g. me) take more time to learn than others.

But, so far it seems you're doing great.
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Old 2005-11-25, 02:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dudewithasock
Learning to Unicycle: Day 1
Now, this is a very rough portrayal of my backyard:
.
Are you telling us that you don't have a dog?!?
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Old 2005-11-25, 04:08 PM   #8
dudewithasock
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Quote:
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Are you telling us that you don't have a dog?!?
Hah, there were actually 3 dogs at the house at the time of that map, but they all stayed on the porch because my family was hanging out there talking while I was over on the other side of the yard.

And I probably won't have a Day 3 up until Saturday night, because I'm going to be in Waco most of today for my high school's third playoff game.

Oh, and another question; I originally posted this thread in the Articles and Tutorials section; why did it get moved?
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My Unicycling Journal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spazdude222
Doing good doesn't make you good any more than doing a girl makes you a girl.
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Old 2005-11-25, 11:22 PM   #9
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dude, [withasock] i hope it goes well for ya man. im sure youll learn quick. my advice is dont (after you can ride) wait to start doing tricks. jump right in to em after you can ride. i woulda had a lot more tricks than i have if i wouldnt uh waited like 6 months to start.
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Old 2005-11-26, 05:00 PM   #10
Tim Morin
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Smile Newbie 2

Hey man.. I'm pretty new at riding too. I started a little over 2 months ago, on a 24 inch freestyle. Your journal is a really good idea, and I think you're right, it will help other new riders (probably more experienced ones too).

I started out about the same as you described, falling, falling, falling... it was only a few days before I was riding down my driveway. By the end of the week, I was able to ride it a couple hundred feet plus.

I just bought a Muni, and I had my first ride in the trails last weekend (and had a blast). I'm going for my third ride in about an hour from now.

Have fun.
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Old 2005-12-02, 02:29 PM   #11
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I'm sorry but we have to talk. Your swimming pool doesn't quite meet code and those steps to the deck really need to be addressed. Have we talked lot coverage or property line encroachment yet? When can we meet. I'll be bringing my citation pad...
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Munipsycho on the art of raising children: "My job is not to keep them from falling. It's to teach them to always get back up."

Always give lots of credit and take very little. Seems to make everyone happier. Conversely, take as much responsibility for mistakes as one can assume! - Dr. Bobo

unicycledude93: Steve Dekeokeok
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Old 2005-12-02, 11:10 PM   #12
dudewithasock
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Learning to Unicycle: Day 9

Extremely short practice day today.

I got out there and did my usual at area 'B', heightening the post at one point just because I'm still working on finding that "sweet spot" with the post height. I noticed that I wasn't really putting much heart into today's practice, and after I got my foot stuck in the pedals and rammed the seat into my crotch, I decided I just wasn't in the mood today. I probably need a little break so I don't get too burned out, anyway.

One tip from today:
1. As is evident from my post, if you're not really into unicycling that day, then don't force yourself. The entire point of riding is to enjoy yourself, after all.
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My Unicycling Journal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spazdude222
Doing good doesn't make you good any more than doing a girl makes you a girl.
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Old 2005-12-03, 12:21 AM   #13
Tim Morin
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Congrats on your 20+ foot rides man. It's very exciting when it starts to feel more natural. Keep on keepin on.
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Old 2005-12-03, 12:33 AM   #14
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my tip: Just git on that one wheeler and give'r, and of course try not to fall
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Old 2006-11-15, 12:14 AM   #15
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Enjoyed your journal

Looking forward to unicycling myself. Might try 26" and would like to write about it too.
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