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Old 2010-12-09, 12:03 AM   #151
kickstand
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Dipping my toe in

Just a shout out hello to my friends on the Learning Journal to let you know that I am still really enjoying the learning lessons, stories and hearing about everyone's accomplishments. What a terrific thread!

Have not been posting, having no lessons of my own to share of late, other than perhaps some on patience as I wait out what has been a longer and more painful healing process than I expected for my dislocated and broken toe... Who knew? Coming up on some 8 weeks off the UNI and I am going a bit extra crazy. Good news is that I am no longer in a boot and my foot is coming back to motion fairly quickly. Just no running or jumping yet - so no UPDing either. Hope to be back posting and trying to catch up with you all in the New Year if not sooner!!

NSYO: Soooo cool that you are already counting your progress in miles! Keep the inspiration coming!!

DD: Happy to see you posting that you are back to riding again when you can. How's that shoulder. Great I hope.

Happy Peddling & Posting All! Cheers, KS
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Old 2010-12-09, 04:08 AM   #152
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Hey KS good to hear from you again, and great that you're thinking about riding again soon!

I did a couple hours of moderately hilly XC trail riding today, had a lot of fun, got the legs burning on the hills, and had my share of frustration.


Some things I noticed today:

My ability to ride up a hill is highly dependent on keeping my speed up.

Riding off a 1" drop is much easier than hitting a 1" rise; I'm learning to pedal a little faster and lean back a little before hitting a rise.

Free-mounting a 29" uphill on dirt/leaves/rocks is hard! The successful mounts were those that started the pedals near 3/9 o'clock; I had to really throw myself up there so there was no roll-back, and push hard right away. On a couple of steeper hills I had to cheat and walk to a level spot or the top.


It was a beautiful sunny day, chilly but pedaling kept me warm. Photo attached.
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26 x 3.0 Duro (actual 27.5 x 2.7) or 26 x 2.3 WTB Stout
20 x 2.0 ?
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Old 2010-12-09, 06:46 AM   #153
NotSoYoungOne
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Yo Kickstand, great to hear from you! This has been a long recovery, but it is good to hear that you have retired the boot! As difficult as it is, taking it easy and letting the toe heal completely is the best.

MAW - Nice photo! There are no trails here that we can ride because everything is covered in snow. It is impressive that you are already riding trails, especially for a couple hours. Mounting uphill...yeah, it is really tough! And no doubt about the bumps - going up is WAY more difficult than going down. Tough to fight the frustration , but expecting too much is, well, expecting too much

I was tight on time this evening so I only went out for about 15 minutes. I did an up-and-over on the pedestrian bridge, all without a touch or UPD. That is my second time ever. Coming back though I was not able to get all the way, but had to make a couple touches and even a UPD . I finished up with some circle-turns and figure 8's out front of the house. I had my tightest turns ever, so that felt great.

Key learnings:
1. Adjusting your foot on the pedal after a mount that ends up in a strange position can be done without a UPD! - you just have to make small adjustments as the pedal comes up because there is not much weight on that foot. After a couple rotations you can get it right where you want it, even with grippy pedals. This is cool! Of course if you completely unweight it...happy UPD'ing (until you are much better and can ride single-footed)
2. Tight circle-turns require a lean in the direction of the turn along with a lean forward. I need to take a video of myself to make sure, but it seems like what I am doing is leaning the lower torso more into the turn while the upper torso stays more perpendicular to the ground.

So much to learn, so many things to try

Oyasumi nasai (Japanese for Good Night)

Brian
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Old 2010-12-09, 07:22 AM   #154
ezas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thorvald View Post
After six months of riding I can...

Ride
Ride backwards
Ride with seat out front
idle with left and right foot
one footed idle with foot on crown and out front
ride one footed
do hops

and the mounts I can do are

Freemount
Suicide mount
leg wrap mount
mount to one foot
kick up mount.



So am I still a beginner or am I intermediate now?

Moving pretty firmly into intermediate I would say.

I mentioned this above, I think the basics of uni control are: (in no particular order)

Riding (duh)
Circles/figure eights
Free Mounting
Riding over a speed bump type obstacle/dropping off curb
Riding Backwards
Idling
Hopping

The legacy IUF skill level have metrics for the tightness of turns and circles. But as an old guy with a very stiff back (for twisting) those metrics are lofty goals for me.

The above are the basics of controlling a unicycle. You have forward and backward riding, hopping/idling to stay in one place. Hopping can also be used for moving sideways. Bumps/curbs show a basic ability to handle variations in terrain (and along with hopping form the basis for Muni). In my mind all uni riders should aspire to these basic skills.

For those moving to Street/flat/trials: seat out riding
For freestyle, wheel walking, and spins/pirouettes and perhaps legwraps for both flat and freestyle.

Looking at the legacy IUF levels once your are working on skills above 3/4 you are moving into intermediate skills. I would say that 1-2 is learner. 3-4 beginners and above that . . .

I think the problem comes when comparing 'mortal' riders to the elite level riders. Than the 'intermediate' stuff does seem like beginning skills. A uni-spin or a crank-flip become a foundation skill for more advanced variations.

And what is a beginner side/vertical hop? What distance is intermediate. It's this kind of stuff that makes me a fan of looking up from the basics rather than looking down from the advance/elite riders.

Then then confusing things further is stringing skills together which I'm not even going to speculate about.

Anyway that is my take on it and it's not chiseled in stone nor do I think it is the only correct view on it. Just my .02 off the top of my head.
======================

Update:

No riding today. Left knee is bothering me after banging on it pretty hard for two days in preparation for seeing the Ortho yesterday. Actually today was a rest day for both riding and rehab/x-training, not even stretching today, and that is a rarity for me.

I'm curious to see how quickly my knees rebound after intentionally pushing them for two days.
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Old 2010-12-09, 09:23 AM   #155
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Iíve been following the thread from the start and now that so many people have joined in I thought I would say, hello, too. Itís been fun and encouraging seeing others going through the same struggles Iíve been experiencing.

Iím an ďold dogĒ learner as well as my sister. Sheís 56 and Iím 50. Iíve been riding about 3 months now and my sister about 2.

I have a 24Ē Nimbus II, Torker LX, and a Kris Holm. I thought about getting a 20Ē for learning but figured Iíd just persevere with what I have. I bought the Kris Holm muni as an incentive to get better. In the future, I might get a 29Ē or 36Ē but that wonít be for some time.

My learning adventures have been very similar to many of yours. One day itís all grand and the next itís like I have two left feet. I truly never thought it would be this challenging to learn. I wouldnít say the learning has been hard. Itís the required perseverance and patience thatís the real challenge. Every new aspect of riding seems to be like starting from ground zero again.

I havenít done nearly the distance that some of you have managed - a couple of miles and my legs are fried. I imagine as the balance becomes more naturally instinctive that that will become less of an issue though - at least Iím hoping so. Turns of around 8 feet go smoothly enough but I canít turn smoothly in tight turns yet. I can make jerky 90-degree turns though. About 70% success rate for static and idle free mounts on one side only.
So far Iíve done 5 idles on the right side and 2 on the left but I donít really practice idling much. I find riding on terrain like loose gravel and grass to be very tiring because I have to keep most of my weight on the pedals to keep my balance. Hopping didnít seem all that difficult but I havenít tried hopping up onto or over anything yet, just hopping in one place.

The most painful experience so far was from practicing static mounts. I practically turned my right shin into hamburger. Four times in a row I missed the front pedal and received raking blows over the shin as I stepped down on the rear one driving the front one back. I started wearing shin guards after that episode but I think the scars will be permanent. I just ordered the shin and elbow set from Blue Sky Cycling that TST informed us about. Thanks for the info, TST.

My sister is taking much longer to learn than I thought it would have. She is still not off the fence yet. We both started on a tennis court along the fence. It shouldnít be long now before sheís riding without it. I think itís more of a security issue than anything else. I generally practice on the bike trails, dirt roads, and on the tennis courts. I donít really ride around my house because of narrow roads, fast moving cars, and extreme hills.

Well. Thatís been my learning experience so far. Hope no one minded me sharing it.
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Old 2010-12-09, 11:47 AM   #156
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Hey there KS, good to see you drop by. You be careful with that toe huh? Sadly I'm not back riding just yet but it's not going to be long before I am *fingers crossed*

Welcome to the thread beowulf. As you can see some are quick learners and some of us aren't. I'm loving watching everyone become an 'expert' whilst I remain a 'learner' I wish both you and your sis fun times learning to ride, which is after all the point of the exercise, fun that it is!
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Old 2010-12-09, 12:52 PM   #157
tstessney
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Just ordered a red Nimbus 26" Muni this morning. UDC just put them on sale today for $260. Get 'em while they're hot!
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Old 2010-12-09, 06:57 PM   #158
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thorvald View Post
After six months of riding I can...

Ride
Ride backwards
Ride with seat out front
idle with left and right foot
one footed idle with foot on crown and out front
ride one footed
do hops

and the mounts I can do are

Freemount
Suicide mount
leg wrap mount
mount to one foot
kick up mount.



So am I still a beginner or am I intermediate now?
Your list and my list are almost exactly the same. But it took me nine months to get that far. I still think of myself as a noob. I haven't tried trials, muni, or street. I want to be a unicycle generalist, so I would need at least a little skill in each of these areas before I could call myself intermediate.
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Old 2010-12-09, 07:04 PM   #159
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotSoYoungOne View Post
Do you like the 36"? I am toying with the idea. But I am not sure yet.
I love it. It's great fun to go fast. It's a good way to get stronger. Getting on and maneuvering takes some muscle.
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Old 2010-12-10, 12:15 AM   #160
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another one

Hey,

Just wanted to say I really like this thread!! I'm 47 (!) and just ordered my first unicycle. I don't know what all these people my age are thinking trying to learn to ride something as crazy as a unicycle.

I'm getting a Torker LX 24". I'll report back with progress. I have ambitions of learning to ride (a bit!) over the holidays.

Ciao!

Mark
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Old 2010-12-10, 04:31 AM   #161
NotSoYoungOne
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Hey beowulf, great summary of your learning so far! Keep the posts coming. Maybe if your sister joins this blog it will help her - it sure has been a HUGE help to me!

Hey dogmotor, I totally agree with your sentiment. This is absolutely nuts!!

You will both fit in well with this growing group of OLD DOG learners.

TS - I ordered mine just AFTER they came off the special sale, and clearly just BEFORE they went back on sale. Just my luck Did you order a slick tire as well? Now there will be two of us in this group on that same bright red machine. Nice score on the sweet price dude!

I went out for 45 minutes tonight around the neighborhood. Still struggling with mounting, still struggling with torso-twist. But I had a couple nice mini-victories to keep me going. This truly is a day-at-a-time thing isn't it? Looking forward it is hard to imagine that I will be able to do many of the things on Thorvald's list above (and certainly not in 6 months, even if I don't count the 3 months I have already been going). On the other hand if I look back it is hard to believe how far I have come already. So the only thing I can do is keep going, and keep logging, and keep reading your inspiring reports, tips, etc.

Thanks everyone for sharing. If you get discouraged just come here to the TLJ and get a refill of "can do" attitude
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Old 2010-12-10, 06:10 AM   #162
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NSYO - I knew if I waited long enough they would go on sale. My wife picked the color, but I'll have to agree with her. I didn't buy any extra tires as they seem a little pricey on UDC. After many years of buying MTN bike tires, I can usually sniff out a good deal somewhere online. JensenUSA seems to have the best prices and selection of DH 26" tires. Besides, I think I'll take the Muni directly to the trails and continue sharpen the basics on the 20". I have no idea, but I hope the skills I've learned on the 20" will carry over to the 26".
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Old 2010-12-11, 12:12 AM   #163
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Hi NotSoYoungOne!

Don't be discouraged, out of all the things I have learned to do so far you want to know which was the hardest? Just learning to ride forwards. Once you have achieved the state where you can ride your uni comfortably along flat road, bumpy, up hill, down hill and on camber you are then pretty much set up to learn all the tricky bits without too much difficulty. Learning to comfortably ride forwards on all sorts of terrain teaches you such good balance that things like backwards, mounting, idling etc can be achieved alot easier than you might think. keep at it buddy! You're doing great
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Old 2010-12-11, 07:50 AM   #164
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Funnest day ever

Hey Thorvald - thanks for the encouragement, and the perspective. I was wondering if that wasn't the case, and you confirmed it! Thank you! BTW - My wife is from Japan and we get over there pretty often. Next time I go I am going to try to get a Miyata uni. I have heard lots of good things, and there is all the history to go along with it. Once I have one could I join your club?

So, this evening I went out with Iris and Emii and I rode my 20" Torker cx while they were on their awesome new Nimbus 20's. I had a blast riding with them. Riding with my daughter is such a great thing for both of us. I think I am going to go back to the 20" for a while - I think I am really learning a lot on it and once I get much better mastery of it I think it will help me progress more quickly on the 26er.

Anyway, having fun is what this is all about and tonight was truly the most fun I have had yet! Woohoo Unicycling is sooooo cool

G'night TLJ pals.
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Old 2010-12-11, 09:34 AM   #165
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BTW - My wife is from Japan and we get over there pretty often. Next time I go I am going to try to get a Miyata uni. I have heard lots of good things, and there is all the history to go along with it. Once I have one could I join your club?
For sure! you could even get one here www.mys-co.com if you want one. Miyata mainly deal with uni's that are good for flatland/freestyle, the standout features of them which makes them desirable is they are easily collapsible, Light and being made in Japan super good quality.
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