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Old 2018-09-16, 07:40 PM   #61
Dingfelder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vital Wombat View Post
I've sprained an ankle and cracked a rib, but the only fall which scared me was I went off backwards when trying to start against a curb. I landed smack on my back on the gutter.
That's the kind of fall I worried about most, not falling flat on my back but on something raised, which could be a real vertebra-smasher or hip-breaker.

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I bought a stack of 10 or 12 EVA foam floor mats, and practising starting against those. The wheel doesn't roll back, and it makes it easier on the knees because you're not stepping up so much each time. Once I could launch from those each time, I just started reducing the number of mats.
That sounds pretty perfect. Good idea!

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If you don't have a fence/wall at home, you could try using a thin clothes-line rope stretched out at the right height. I think that works better than a wall, it provides a reference but you can't really lean on it too much.
I agree; anything overhead sounds better than something that would tilt a person off to the side. Clothesline sounds like a nice cheap solution. I found a spot that looked good for that; I may go ahead and get that working.

Thanks for the ideas!
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Old 2018-09-16, 07:55 PM   #62
Dingfelder
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Originally Posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
Here are a few suggestions you can take or leave:

Try to think of pedaling as reactive, rather than proactive. Initiate forward movement by putting your center of mass in front of the contact patch, not by pedaling. Eventually, the feet will understand they need to pedal to keep you from falling forward.
This sounds like a good way of thinking about it. And it has made me realize that I really do tend to think of going forward as something I do with my feet rather than by a lean. Even when I lean, it tends to be just to try to balance myself rather than to start any momentum going.

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Second, take all the advice about sitting up straight and flush it down the toilet. At this stage, your control in the feet is poor, and you must compensate by bending forward and backward with your hips/waist/shoulders to stay balanced.
I will try to keep that in mind.

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Third, ask yourself, seriously, how many of these backward falls are attributable to holding onto a crutch? One of the problems with crutches is the complacency of thinking things are okay...until they're not. With no crutch, the body stays in alert mode and you're more ready to land on your feet. Also, if you hold onto a crutch, then practice pedaling forward, you're already putting yourself in a position to fall backwards. If you're going to keep using crutches, consider how they may promote forward leaning.

Good luck, and keep practicing!
Thanks!

I have fallen backwards with and without support, so I know at least some of the time, it must be due to a bad habit or simply poor riding. If anything, I try to barely touch the support anyway rather than cling to it. I can't really grab it anyway, only lean or fall against it.

I think part of it may be what you mentioned above, that I am using my legs too much to get myself going and not leaning forward enough. It often feels like my legs are doing okay but my upper body is going all over the place. Perhaps I'm putting the two halves of my body at cross-purposes with each other. I do feel that when leaning forward, my body feels more compact and unified with my legs.
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Old 2018-09-17, 01:26 AM   #63
lowerstackmac
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Dingfelder
In the video I sent you. Notice when I am ready to take off, I am lightly touching the sawhorse while sitting upright. You can see some backward tilt to the uni, it just happens. When I go, I lean forward quite far as I lift my right arm off the sawhorse and pedal. Once I get moving I sit more upright than I was, but with still some forward lean. You can see the uni is still tilted back as I pedal. I hope this helps.
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Old 2018-09-17, 04:29 AM   #64
Dingfelder
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Thanks mac, I'll watch it again.

I am watching and rewatching videos all the time, same with reading and re-reading posts. It's hard to keep more than the tiniest fraction of it as a mental resource when actually on the uni, where my thoughts tend toward more limited things like "WHOA!" and "YIKES!" with the very occasional "Ahhhh..."
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Old 2018-09-17, 04:45 AM   #65
Canoeheadted
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Less reading, posting and leaning on things.
It's a very counterintuitive sport to learn so throw what you think out the window and trust what everyone's telling you.

Everybody rides and falls. Learn have to learn them both.

Don't think so much, it's not helping.
More falling with attempts at riding.
Your brain will sort it out eventually. I promise.

Ask Mac how many times he's fallen.
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Old 2018-09-17, 07:21 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Canoeheadted View Post
Less reading, posting and leaning on things.
Agreed!
There was a guy here who kept posting about how his uni was weak and needed a fix or a new one, how he needed to build protections, how the saddle was this, the tire was that. And then he disappeared and stopped posting. Not even sure he tried to ride.
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Old 2018-09-17, 04:06 PM   #67
lowerstackmac
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Yup, Canoeheadted and the others are correct. Lean forward and pedal, thatís all there is to do. Practice stepping over a lot with some momentum, youíll fall forward. Then practice mounting remember to lean forward when seated, your uni will automatically tilt slightly back, sit there and set your pedals. Do that a lot till you get it. Once you can mount and set your pedals, lean a bit more forward, let go of your support, pedal and fall off forward. I have literally fallen a couple of thousand times learning to ride. At least that many times also trying to free mount. My ankles got pretty sore from all the impact. That improved once I learned to ride and figured out to stop before dismounting. Because I am always leaning forward Iím always falling forward. None backwards so far. I think Iím just reiterating what all the experienced riders have already stated, just not as well. Good luck.
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Old 2018-09-18, 01:56 AM   #68
elpuebloUNIdo
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Originally Posted by Canoeheadted View Post
Don't think so much, it's not helping.
Yes and no...

Thinking is not really a problem, except when it tries to be a substitute for necessary experience. Studies have shown (don't ask me where I read this, but 4/5 doctors agree) that improvements in physical activities such as playing a musical instrument can be made by thought/imagination. However, subjects only improve when there is previous applied knowledge to build upon.

The best form of thinking related to the unicycle is reflective thinking. On a particular launch, you ride a bit further. You reflect on how that felt, then form a half-baked theory about what you might have done right. Then you focus on trying to implement that one thing for the next umpteen launches and trying to determine if you're more successful. The only way to get any benefit from this form of thinking is to do what lowerstackmac did. Fall off (landing on your feet, please) thousands of times. Sure, you can ask others on the forum to describe it, but you really have to experience it yourself.

Dingfelder, happy to hear you rode a couple feet. Next, go for a full revolution!
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Old 2018-09-18, 05:16 AM   #69
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Thanks elpueblo!

Re thinking or overthinking or whatever, I am thinking about my experiences, after all.
I can't not think about them. But I'm not trying to learn without doing. Sometimes I ride every day, sometimes more than once, sometimes I skip a day or two, but I'm keeping at it and enjoying it.

I'm very happy with both my unis, by the way. I think the 20 is pretty much perfect for learning. It's much less nerve-wracking than the 24, and I love the big fat tires on both.

Regardless of how good a rider I become, I wouldn't blame my set-up either way. If anything, I think I lucked out by making pretty good picks early on.
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Old 2018-09-18, 11:15 AM   #70
OneTrackMind
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Originally Posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
Studies have shown (don't ask me where I read this, but 4/5 doctors agree) that improvements in physical activities such as playing a musical instrument can be made by thought/imagination. However, subjects only improve when there is previous applied knowledge to build upon.
The effectiveness of mental analysis really amazed me when I was learning to sing. The very next time I sang I was incorporating very complex theory I had only learned mentally without the slightest conscious effort or practice.

However singing is a special case. Actions involved in singing are almost entirely controlled by some of the twelve cranial nerves coming straight out of the brain, mostly the Vagus Nerve which enervates very low level functionality of life. Singing is very deeply integrated into the most primitive part of our being.

The spinal nerves used in motor control seem to need repetition to learn, not the least because of the distances involved in sending the signals. Unicycling continues to be a struggle until the reflexes develop. No amount of analysis will substitute for just doing it.
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Old 2018-09-19, 12:16 AM   #71
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When I was learning machine shorthand, I mentally practiced drills all the time. When watching TV, listening to the radio, even surreptitiously when listening to people talk face to face, I would "type" out the right key combinations to try to follow their speech. It helped a lot. I did the same thing when learning sleight of hand magic, more or less. I became the best student in both classes.

I think that's different than unicycle learning is until you establish a base to work off of. Right now, there is little or nothing to practice mentally because I don't know what I'm doing. if anything, I'm worried that mentally practicing something that I don't understand might firm up bad mental habits/neural pathways that could make it much harder for me to learn the correct way later.

I'll try all that sort of thing later, but it's too early now.
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