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Old 2016-10-15, 10:17 PM   #31
Spinningwoman
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Originally Posted by Bradford View Post
...other beginners who have indicated, in so many words, that learning to ride a unicycle has become a miserable chore
I don't think I've seen any of those, except the guy with insane anger management issues who wasn't sleeping or eating and was practicing 9 hours a day. I think you may be confusing misery with being British.
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Old 2016-10-16, 10:54 AM   #32
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Beginner is often a kind term for less skilled. For example, if someone asked me what crank length they should use for trials, and they still are hopping less than 3 pallets, I would say: "It doesn't really matter for a beginner.", pointing on the time spend practicing rather then at the actual skill level.

That aside, I would loosely base "beginner" on skill.
Time spend practicing just has so vastly different results for people depending on previous ability, that it really is not a great measurement. For example, I would say I completely skipped being a beginner at Muni, because I had so much previous experience in trials and street, that the things most people struggle with when riding Muni for the first time were not an issue to me.
Someone suggested stopping being a beginner, when you stop thinking of yourself as one, but first of all the point of my post is to describe what I would categorize other people and myself on, and secondly, the Dunning-Kruger effect is a very real thing.

Anyone who doesn't freemount is still a beginner to me, it is, after riding, the one essential skill, after that you can branch out in all the different disciplines. When freemounting and riding is nothing you need concentrate on too much, you stopped being a beginner to general unicycling for me.

But then, you can branch out to all the different disciplines of unicycling, where things aresometimes harder to define, I would base where someone is a "beginner" on "skill families", where applicable.
A varial roll and a double flip are two flat tricks people usually learn at roughly the same time, but that is not because they base on one another in any way. You can have riders doing trey triples, and struggling with rolling wraps, or riders doing x- rolls not being able to do a crankflip. Pretty easy to define, and after you can do one or two tricks in a "trick family" you stop being a beginner.

It becomes much harder for Muni (and I guess long distance too), where skills are not so much hard skills. It is pretty easy to define who is better at rolls between two riders by looking at consistency and total amount of roll tricks (harder to decide on a how you balance your judging criteria on that, but that's not for this post). In Muni, it all depends on so many things: being able to react, being able to do sharp turns, to use the brake, to deal with roots, to anticipate how much you are going to slide after a drop in a sandy section, pick a good line or anticipate and change what position your cranks are going to be in when you get to an obstacle. All not things you can really measure in "I can do that 7 out of 10 tries". I can say a rider is better or worse than another rider, but it is very hard to draw a line somewhere.
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Old 2016-10-16, 12:29 PM   #33
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Just for all the "beginners" out there, this is a varial roll, and this, as far as I know, is a double flip.

There are some unicyclists in my area, but most of them probably haven't even heard of these tricks, so me learning the varial roll, for example, would involve a lot of Internet activity. Oh well, it might happen one day, but I want to learn gliding first, and to do that apparently I'll have to first learn one-footed wheel walking...
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Old 2016-10-16, 02:50 PM   #34
elpuebloUNIdo
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Originally Posted by finnspin View Post
the Dunning-Kruger effect is a very real thing.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunnin...3Kruger_effect

If you read a lot of forum posts, you might come to the same conclusion. Riders are giving encouragement to others for relatively modest skills acquisition. In some ways, this is a support group.

For the record, I don't know any riders who think they're awesome when they're actually not. Maybe that's a problem within your crowd.

I agree with what you said about "skill families". I like to refer to it as the "trick multiplier", when a bunch of variations on technique start to emerge. Another way of thinking about passing from "beginner" to "not beginner" is when style starts to happen, when the tricks/techniques start flowing together.
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Old 2016-10-16, 08:18 PM   #35
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Thanks for the link, PuebloUNIdo, I hadn't heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect before reading Finnspin's post. It is definitely a phenomenon relevant to all levels of unicycling, -one of its corollaries even more so, perhaps: "high-ability individuals may underestimate their relative competence and may erroneously assume that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others." This definitely was my impression of all unicyclists when I was a beginner. I would be fighting for balance, my arms flapping wildly, and a unicyclist would cut right in front of me -dangerously close, it seemed at the time- and I would panic and fall off.

Whether you are arrogant or humble, a fast learner or a slow one, once you've learned a skill, you immediately start to forget how much trouble it was to learn it! That's one of the reasons charting your own progress or teaching others can be interesting.

Perhaps another corollary to the Dunning-Kruger effect could be formulated for people engaged in activities where personal risk is involved. Many unicycling skills can be picked up more quickly if you are not afraid that you will fall. Your own self-appraisal as a "high-ability individual" (or "low-ability individual") can impact how quickly you learn. I guess that would be the self-fulfilling prophesy corollary, otherwise known as the catch-22!
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Old 2016-10-17, 02:52 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by aracer View Post
I'm hoping nobody is going to suggest riding backwards is a beginner skill, as I'm still working on that after 5 years!
Some would say yes it is, while others would say NO WAY! I think it still has to do with the "type" of beginner one has in mind. That being said, I would consider the definition of "total beginner" as someone who can't yet ride unassisted, let's say, more than 2 revolutions of the wheel. In other words, a person who is still learning how to ride, at all.

From there, people have different "needs" as unicyclists. Some want to freemount and go places as soon as possible, while others have already reached their goal. In more recent years, some people are learning to ride because they want to do Trials, or get out onto technical mountain bike trails. They still have a ways to go.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aracer
...it wasn't that I was trying to find some compromise between John Foss and Roger Davies claiming to be beginners!
That's conditional beginners, the idea being that you can be an expert rider for a long time, and still be a beginner depending on the circumstances. I haven't thought of myself as a "general" beginner since 1980, the year I joined a unicycle club and started learning what was out there.
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Originally Posted by Regina Wrecks View Post
...a dog walker and asked if I can ride backwards, tried and fell stupidly. A moment of mad exuberance, but I tried. I laughed and laughed afterwards. I hurt, but carried on laughing, I still do when I think of it
Just don't think that such a skill is beyond you. If you want to learn it, you most certainly can.
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Old 2016-10-18, 09:52 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by aracer View Post
I'm hoping nobody is going to suggest riding backwards is a beginner skill, as I'm still working on that after 5 years!
I recently rode on stage with an eleven year old girl who had been riding about eight months. She has a 16 inch uni and had never ridden anywhere beyond the netball court.

I asked her if she knew any tricks.

"Like what?" she replied.

"Riding backwards?"

"Never thought of that", she said, as she rode off backwards for a few metres.
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Old 2016-10-18, 05:59 PM   #38
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She got it on the first attempt?? I dunno, after 8 months of unicycling, I could definitely ride backwards, but it had taken me a few days or weeks to learn that skill, and it was only possible (in my case) after learning to idle, which had taken about a month of pretty consistent "work." Are you sure she was telling the truth?

There are definitely big differences in how quickly people pick up a unicycling skill, and, as I tried to explain in an earlier post, fearlessness (if it doesn't kill or maim you) can be very helpful. Wheel walking, for example, requires you to lean back. I was determined to learn wheel walking without ever taking one of those painful, scary backward falls, so it took me several months. Had I been more reckless, I might have learned faster. Weighing 15 or 20 kg less might have helped as well, but in the end, I got so excited about my wheel walking that I tried it in the rain and fell down anyway!
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Old 2016-10-19, 08:10 AM   #39
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She got [backwards] on the first attempt?? Are you sure she was telling the truth?
I believe her. She is quite unpretentious. And she only rode about two or metres on her first attempt and a little further on the next.

It may be a product of how she learnt. Her parents bought her a unicycle after she was impressed watching a performer. She said she learnt on her own and it took her about a month of persistent practice to be able to ride, with the first week just to get on it and another week to get it moving.

So it appears she had started by learning a static mount and may have inadvertently picked up the essence of backwards while trying.

She was able to stall and reverse directly from forward.

I also explained what was involved in idling (I can't actually idle myself) and she was able to perform the basic action but was not competent.

I saved my dignity by demonstrating hopping which I can do indefinitely while she couldn't do it at all. The next time I saw her she said she had managed two hops.
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Old 2016-10-27, 03:02 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Spinningwoman View Post
I don't think I've seen any of those, except the guy with insane anger management issues who wasn't sleeping or eating and was practicing 9 hours a day. I think you may be confusing misery with being British.
Funny! Reminds me of the lyrics near the end of "Time" on the Dark Side of the Moon album by Pink Floyd: "Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way."
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Old 2017-03-08, 05:12 AM   #41
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My opinion on unicycle skill levels

Not based on any "sanctioned" unicycle documentation. Just my own experience:

Level 1(This is when I felt the rush of taking off from a fence/rail, and can pedal a dozen steps without falling down.

Level 2(Now I can ride for miles and maybe do some tight turns in both directions, but I will still mess up the following "under pressure" or when tired: free mounting, going up or down a hill, approaching a car.)

Level 3(Total confidence and bullet proof free mounting in public or on busy street, basically riding with the confidence of a bicycle).

I believe I will cross over the "beginner status" when I developed the confidence/control to ride in any street situation. When i no longer feel THE compulsion to "ride every day or lose it"...although I enjoy riding as much as possible. So, to me it's simply an issue of control and rock solid confidence.

I've been riding for 5 months and I can go for 3-5 miles, make tight "edge" turns as opposed to twisting/jerk turns, I can free mount two ways, and I can idle for 5-10 minutes.
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Old 2017-03-08, 07:17 AM   #42
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I haven't thought of myself as a "general" beginner since 1980, the year I joined a unicycle club and started learning what was out there.
I'm going to revise that statement. After re-reading much of this thread, I remembered a specific day and event which, if I still thought of myself as a beginner before that, I no longer did afterward. It was the "Great McDonald's Ride" of November, 1979. Sounds great already, right? My learning partner, Bradley Bradley and I, decided to set out for a McDonalds on the far side of town. This we estimated at about 5 miles, but upon Google Mapping it just now, it was more like 6.6. We had a (borrowed) Schwinn 20" and Bradley's Schwinn Giraffe. I did not yet own my own unicycle.

Neither of us could freemount the Giraffe, which lead to some walking in a few spots, and some very awkward mounts using railings and things. Our longest rides before that day were probably less than 2 miles. Why go there? Our high school's football team was climbing toward the state title. I think this was the quarter-final game, and somehow we were under the impression they would end up there after the long trip back from Escanaba.

Anyway, by the time we got there, we were pretty much toast. We had learned about the pain of too much time riding on a (crappy) Schwinn saddle, followed by the even greater pain of urinating after too much of that abuse.

I don't remember us seeing any football people there, but then again I wasn't really interested in that sport. We enjoyed our well-earned meal, and then started the long ride back. In the dark November evening. Basically we were walking along the side of the road. Then, miraculously, my brother passed by and picked us up. I don't even remember where he was going to be over there; we were just glad to see him!

So the day before that was probably the last day I could reasonably call myself a beginner unicyclist. Yes, I could ride a 6-footer, but that was a beginner skill for me as I kind of learned to ride on it. When you're seventeen, a giraffe isn't much different from a regular uni. Other skills? I think just freemounting for me (on the small uni). I had only been riding for a few weeks at the most.* Backwards, idling and all that definitely came later.

* I started learning to ride a unicycle in 1976, on a very poorly designed Troxel piece of crap. After much struggle, and many times giving up, I managed to ride it short distances, like up to 5 meters. But when I started trying to do turns it fell apart and I was unable to get it to work. This was followed by a gap until Halloween 1979, when I finally bit the bullet and tried riding Bradley's Schwinn Giraffe away from the hood/trunk of a car.

I guess I am not a beginner, not by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not a Trials beginner. I hosted one of the earliest Unicycle Trials competitions (a rolling Trials thing at MUni Weekend) in 1998. I just suck at it. There are areas of unicycling I haven't mastered, and some I haven't even tried. But I have enough background to give me some kind of an advantage were I to work on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneTrackMind View Post
I asked her if she knew any tricks.

"Like what?" she replied.

"Riding backwards?"

"Never thought of that", she said, as she rode off backwards for a few metres.
I still think she was messing with you, even if she didn't realize it until later.

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Originally Posted by slamdance View Post
When i no longer feel THE compulsion to "ride every day or lose it"...although I enjoy riding as much as possible. So, to me it's simply an issue of control and rock solid confidence.
I think we all feel a lack of confidence from time to time. But I do fondly remember the days where I didn't let any go by without at least a little bit of riding. You won't "lose it" if you don't ride every day, but it's fun to do the riding anyway!
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