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Old 2018-09-06, 01:05 PM   #31
OneTrackMind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quax1974 View Post
I tried a version of the latter to start, fell flat on my back on day three .
You fell on your back because you had your weight on the seat and the wheel got in front of you. Your weight behind the contact patch pushing down on the seat drove the wheel even further in front causing a runaway situation. Your feet kept going with the pedals and you especially could not get your foot off the rising pedal which was the only foot back far enough to have any chance of getting behind you.
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Old 2018-09-06, 01:52 PM   #32
Quax1974
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Originally Posted by OneTrackMind View Post
physics
Yes indeed.

I haven't fallen backwards like that since then.
Part experience, part a conscious effort to always keep pressing one foot down on the pedal.

In pushing the pedal forecefully into the 6 'o clock position (when about to lose control) you stop the unicycle's movement.
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Old 2018-09-06, 04:38 PM   #33
Dingfelder
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Originally Posted by Quax1974 View Post
There seem to be two main schools in unicycling: starting to ride along a support (fence, handrail, rope) vs starting unsupported (ride away from a pole or wall).
I tried a version of the latter to start, fell flat on my back on day three and then after recovery switched to handrail support.

With your history of falling backwards I think you might benefit from the support method. Not because you will learn faster (looking back I think I would have progressed faster without) but you will be more at ease. After my bad fall (out for two weeks and shaky as hell when re-starting) the support was what got me going again.

But even with the support there are some rules to keep in mind.
Don’t try to cycle with two hands on the support, first get the feel for sitting “upright” with just one hand slightly resting on the support
Don’t lean towards the support
Don’t “hold” the support (apart from when you’re mounting)
Let your hand slide over it, only grip it when you’re really falling
Try to get some yards in with your hand sliding over it, get used to the feeling / cadence of continuous revolutions
Gradually slide less and less, only tapping the support at times when you are close to losing balance
Over time try to postpone the tap, or keep your hand higher over the rail, forcing yourself to correct your balance unsupported.

And in reply to your other thread: Yes it is worth it.
The feeling of riding a unicycle cannot be compared to any other sensation.
And, depending on who you ask, you look cool / silly doing it.
Both of them are equally motivating because unicyclists are a special kind of people.


Edit:
And another thing: commit!
Put some pre-pressure on that front pedal, make a conscious effort to drop your body forward and start pedaling.
Thanks Quax!

I do have problems with the support method. Both places I can support myself on for a decent length run are standard counter height, which with my 24 inch set for a guy slightly over 6 feet, I loom above. This means if I'm going to lean at all, I have to lean a lot. Especially considering I have to lean low AND have enough clearance for a pedal.

So I am starting from a pretty compromised position. I just try to straighten up and lean less and less, and if by the time I'm pretty straight I haven't had the uni buck out from under me forward or back, I try a few pedals. At this point I am usually falling right back toward the bench and leaning all the time, but sometimes I stay fairly straight for a while and feel like I can keep on going.

What I really need is a fence or whatever at the right height so I have to lean less, and also one that's long enough for me to do more than steady myself for a few turns.

But I found a place in a nearby park where the ground is kind of but not too lumpy, with a decent cushion of grass and a minimum of hidden rocks to fall on, a gentle downslope, and it is fairly level side-to-side. Additionally, there's a big pine tree to use as a backstop to push off. There are picnic tables around, but crashing into one would actually be a sign of success because it would mean I had made it that far! Straight ahead, I have at least 15 feet before the ground starts to slope about randomly and generally get bumpy, but there's still some more space after that before a nearby pear tree stands in the way.

I will try that spot out today. whether my 20 comes or not. It's better suited for the no-support learning style than anything I have for the use-a-support learning style.

Oh, and I'll definitely put pressure on the front pedal and try to ride away from the tree immediately. I think that gentle downslope might be a big help in getting my momentum going so I get a little more stable before having to deal with stability problems!
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Old 2018-09-06, 04:41 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digger View Post
I made my first turns with a person walking beside me as support.
in doing so you can start moving without losing your whatever to hold on.
works for me.
Wish I could! Almost everybody I know is my age or older. I think I'd hurt somebody's back if they tried to catch me or if I just fell on them. Definitely no volunteers, nice as they are, and I can't blame them.
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Old 2018-09-06, 04:43 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by OneTrackMind View Post
You fell on your back because you had your weight on the seat and the wheel got in front of you. Your weight behind the contact patch pushing down on the seat drove the wheel even further in front causing a runaway situation. Your feet kept going with the pedals and you especially could not get your foot off the rising pedal which was the only foot back far enough to have any chance of getting behind you.
That's definitely what happened to me. I couldn't get my foot off the pedal to catch myself. It only left the pedal when I was already well into my fall, and then that leg fell onto the pedal with a lot of force and got dragged across it.
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Old 2018-09-06, 07:49 PM   #36
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One thing I found useful as a 'launch pad' when starting out was a wheelie bin -- I don't know if you have those in your neck of the woods, but here in the UK every house seems to have at least two for rubbish and recycling. They are a reasonable height (~4 feet), portable, stable, and you can position it pretty much where you want to launch yourself off from. They have the added advantage that if you get really sick of the uni you can lift the lid, put it inside and walk away -- for a 20" at least

Your KH leg armour will give you some protection for the back of your legs provided of course that you wear them. The time I cut up the back of my leg fairly badly they were in the house. That incident happened on about the twelfth "this is the last run before I go inside" of the evening. It all went pretty well until I got where I had to stop and rather than stepping off the front as usual all my weight went straight down onto the seat pogo stick style. I stayed static for what seemed like a few seconds before the inevitable happened and I fell backwards and gouged things up pretty badly. A year and a half later I still have a 2" scar on the back of my leg, which I suppose is a bit of a trophy. That was with the same Nimbus pedals as you have.

One consequence of that I think is that I don't have the confidence to reliably dismount to the back. The times I manage it it seems easy, but there is a mental block stopping me from doing it most times and I nearly always chicken out and dismount at the front. Early things like that probably stay with you and you have to work to get over them.
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Old 2018-09-07, 01:32 AM   #37
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OMG OMG OMG I finally got my 20 incher! Woo hoo!

I was about to head out to do some errands, so didn't have much time to mess around with it. When I looked into the frame through the seat post hole, I saw what seemed like a light dusting of rust there. I poked around with my finger and got some out, but couldn't reach further. Even though I was pressed for time, I decided to take it to the bike shop and have them look everything over for me and make sure it was up to snuff. I didn't want a frame that was already in danger. They only charged me ten bucks.

They stuck a brush on the end of a drill and plunged that into the frame, then put some kind of grease on the seat post and put it in. They put the uni together too. We played around with it to get it set up right. I kept the tire pressure low but didn't have to cut anything off the seat post even though I kept it just a bit low too. It came with Kris Holm dual-hole cranks and I chose the 137 setting. The bike shop guy was really impressed with the cranks, seemed he could hardly get over them. He was very impressed with the whole build.

I still had to run my errands so only had time to snag a couple minutes on it in the shop, but wow I like it! It feels SOOOOOO much more stable and easy to sit on. Movements of my hips which would have put me in jeopardy of becoming airborne if i were on my 24 felt quite ordinary on the 20. It's got a fatter tire than some other 20's do, and that must have helped too. Anyway I really loved that it simply felt ordinary, neither perilous nor extraordinary to be on it. I immediately felt optimistic when I sat on it, especially after it got adjusted right.

It's dinner time soon so I can't go out, but maybe I can get some garage practice in later. And tomorrow I go find that tree in the park I spotted the other day, to use as a backstop and launch myself.

P.S.: KH leg guards came too -- pretty impressive coverage ... but I'll still need something to protect the back of the lower leg.
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Old 2018-09-07, 06:24 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Dingfelder View Post
then put some kind of grease on the seat post
This is usually not a good idea, because the seat can easily twist out of position.
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Old 2018-09-07, 08:43 AM   #39
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This is usually not a good idea, because the seat can easily twist out of position.
It's a very good idea to prevent the seatpost from seizing in place. Especially important if the frame is steel and the seatpost aluminium (or vice-versa) as the galvanic action can corrode them together.
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Old 2018-09-07, 09:32 AM   #40
Quax1974
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Congrats on finally getting your 20”

The thread below has some videos of me starting out, it shows you my training ground.
As you can see I was very lucky with the smooth surface and height of the hand rail.

http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=120662

The court had a very slight slope and in my early days I found it easier to go uphill.
This keeps a constant pressure on your front foot and use less of your back foot.
When cycling downward I was putting too much force on the back foot, which I then had to overcome with even more force on the front foot.
So really fighting against myself which is very tiring on the legs.

We all do this in the beginning until we learn to put enough weight on the seat. This is why learning to ride on a unicycle can be so hard on the legs.

Now that you switch to the 20” you may rethink your plans of learning on grass. Grass is a very difficult surface to ride on: the grass slows you down and you don’t see the actual surface.
And the smaller your wheel the more you’ll feel the unevenness of the surface.
On the other hand the slight slope down can compensate a bit for the slow-down effect of the grass.
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Old 2018-09-07, 10:37 AM   #41
Dingfelder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quax1974 View Post
Congrats on finally getting your 20”

The thread below has some videos of me starting out, it shows you my training ground.
As you can see I was very lucky with the smooth surface and height of the hand rail.

http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=120662

The court had a very slight slope and in my early days I found it easier to go uphill.
This keeps a constant pressure on your front foot and use less of your back foot.
When cycling downward I was putting too much force on the back foot, which I then had to overcome with even more force on the front foot.
So really fighting against myself which is very tiring on the legs.

We all do this in the beginning until we learn to put enough weight on the seat. This is why learning to ride on a unicycle can be so hard on the legs.

Now that you switch to the 20” you may rethink your plans of learning on grass. Grass is a very difficult surface to ride on: the grass slows you down and you don’t see the actual surface.
And the smaller your wheel the more you’ll feel the unevenness of the surface.
On the other hand the slight slope down can compensate a bit for the slow-down effect of the grass.
Thanks for the feedback, Quax!

It's very hard to understand what to do from reading. I think I will just have to experience, and go from there.

For instance, I've elsewhere seen it recommended that you find a slightly downhill slope. And some say grass is good but many say it's bad. Some say it's the type of grass-situation rather than grass itself ... like, is it really smooth under the grass or not? Does the grass clump or is it smooth?

I did find a spot where I hope riding could be kind of smooth because the ground isn't very rocky or lumpy underneath. And my tire is quite wide for a 20 incher ... it was kind of a lark, according to UDC's promotional copy, that they even tried making a 20 like mine. I think that should help me on grass.

Nothing's ideal. My leaning options are too low and kinda short-length, this and that isn't right elsewhere ... hopefully it all works out.

Anyway I'm looking forward to working with the 20. It feels amazing compared to the 24.
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Old 2018-09-07, 11:06 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quax1974 View Post
The court had a very slight slope and in my early days I found it easier to go uphill.
This keeps a constant pressure on your front foot and use less of your back foot.
Yes it is useful to ride in circumstances that require constant forward pressure because it is the change from forward to back pressure that takes some time to master. Back pressure on the pedals puts the uni geometry into an unstable configuration. Effective retarding going down hill without inducing oscillations is a skill in itself.

An slight uphill slope is desirable on a hard surface. A grass surface provides a an even stronger retardation. A slight down hill on grass helps compensate for that excessive rolling resistance of the surface. It depends of the texture of the surfaces. Grass can mean anything from a bowling green to tussocks.

The grass heavily damps the movement of the wheel helping to overcome the learners' tendency to overreact.

And of course, it i s much more pleasant to learn to fall on grass. Becoming competent at falling is an important skill. Until it is mastered, the fear inhibits learning progress.

Quote:
When cycling downward I was putting too much force on the back foot, which I then had to overcome with even more force on the front foot.
So really fighting against myself which is very tiring on the legs.
What you are describing amounts to putting your weight onto the pedals.
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Old 2018-09-07, 04:16 PM   #43
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Dingfelder, Happy to hear your 20 finally arrived. Enjoy the learning curve. It seems impossible at first but commit. Progress happens each day to some degree, small and large. It will happen!
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Old 2018-09-07, 08:00 PM   #44
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There is no shortcut to learning that skips this stage. Gotta have sketchy technique before you can have smooth technique. Doesn't help studying the style of decent riders. Beginners might be better off watching videos of complete beginners.
I agree with Elp on this. Sometimes you have to do it wrong until you can do it right. The main thing is to keep working on it, to spend the time in the saddle, and try to manage the frustration while your body figures it out. Most of the learning is about subconscious motor skills, and the big key is probably keeping our brains from freaking out and messing up the whole show.

And I'm a defender of the practice wall. I thought it was a great way to work on starting and stopping smoothly and on getting the pedals through the 12-and-6-o'clock "no man's land" and leveling them out again to regain control. Working on planned controlled dismounting is also a good thing to do here. That might help to reduce awkward falls and injuries later on.

I started my practice sessions with 10-15 minutes along my wall, to warm up and get a feeling of having something under control and remember where I left off. And when the frustration of trying to ride in open space got to me and I felt like I was making progress in the wrong direction, I'd go back to the wall to regroup and work more on starting and stopping and trying to keep weight on the saddle. (But don't kid yourself. You'll have just about all of your weight on the pedals for a long time yet. It's self-preservation, being able to make a quick get-away. Again, do it wrong until you can do it right.)

Sooner or later, though, you have to leave the wall for the great wide open. You should absolutely expect it to feel hopeless and absurd and a pointless waste of time. You have absolutely no chance of riding even a half a pedal turn at first, and it might take a hundred attempts or more before--totally by accident--you find yourself staying upright for a few feet and get a taste of the feeling of what it's like to ride for any distance. So you might as well get out there and start working your way through them.

Maybe I wasted a lot of that time doing wall practice. Five years down the road, I'm not worried about it. We all have different temperaments and learning styles and physical aptitudes. Find out what works for you, but keep at it.
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Old 2018-09-07, 08:04 PM   #45
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Sounds like you're on the right track with a 20" and KH leg armour! Grease on the seatpost is correct to keep it from seizing over time.

As to the learning methods I think you're abut right that you have to find what works best and also combine...

I personally think the grass training should be short and really only maybe learn how to fall well/semi-controlled a lot without hurting yourself. But once you got that down, then a nice smooth surface is preferable, and maybe switch between flat, slight uphill and slight downhill, as you learn/practice different things.

In general getting away from the wall as soon as you're comfortable trying is the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by digger View Post
I made my first turns with a person walking beside me as support. in doing so you can start moving without losing your whatever to hold on.
works for me.
If you have a helper, then you can have a helping hand where the person only holds his hand out rigid and you can hold and let go and try and the grab again. Then let go and try and ride and grab again if you think you're about to loose it and fall. Of course, this works best if the assistant is bigger and stronger, which may not be so easy as a grown man (I train young kids this way -- i even catch them when they fall to prevent falling on the face or back).

As to the pedal in the back side of the calf: YES, the pins hurt really bad and I've done it as least 4 times (on one of my first big drops at 3ft I lost the pedal in the air, and ahw!). Best remedies are 1) wear KH leg armour that covers the back. While there is no foam, the thick canvas works pretty well and can "hold" while you disengage from the uni 2) get cheap flat pedals without pins and maybe even smooth indoor-type pedals without teeth (later for muni you want pins to not loose your feet on the pedals -- see drop example above -- but for now it's not a big concern). Mostly it's mental as after having cranked the pins into my calf at least 4 times in the first months and 1-2 years learning off-road muni I still have a major fear of it, even though I don't think it's happened in the last 4 years of lots and lots of hours of riding. But the fear stays with you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dingfelder View Post
This might not be the hardest thing I've ever tried to learn, but it's definitely the hardest to start learning. With unicycles, it's not at all clear how it's even possible to improve. They're bewildering! How do you build on a foundation of ... nothing? Unicycles make it immediately clear to you that you're well -- even comically -- out of your depth.

But I can't deny that's part of the appeal. Hmm ... imagine being able to do something so bizarre!
Yes, that's addicting. Just for measure, don't worry as you can continue challenging yourself for years with unicycling. After unicycling for 8-12 years depending on how you count, this year I'm learning to mount a Schlumpf (geared uni) and ride the Schlumpf above my run-out speed, ride a freewheel uni and wheel walk. All are **way** more difficult and scary than learning the uni initially (trying to freewheel uni is maybe the most unpredictable with hard-hard falls on the butt). But also fun!!
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