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Old 2010-10-27, 05:54 AM   #61
NotSoYoungOne
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Hey Doc Doo and Kickstand - you rock! Thanks for the words, they are a BIG help.

It snowed today so I went to the gym for a good workout instead of getting any saddle time. I checked out unicycle tv. Never knew about it until now so thanks for the tip DD. The people riding uni's do some of the craziest things!! I don't see myself doing much of that kind of stuff. For now it is hard to imagine being able to!!

You are right, it is only natural to have a step back after some pretty significant progress. And yes, I need to revel in it a bit. Since I have wanted to do this since I was 13 and I am finally reaching that goal. Pretty amazing if I step back and look at it. So tonight I will sleep well relishing my accomplishments!!

Who knows how much practice I will get for the remainder of the week, but I think I will at least be able to slice out some time Saturday. Gotta make sure my daughter (Iris) gets out. If I work directly with her she makes the most progress, and it is a lot of fun to help her. So I am sure I will do that, plus put in a little practice of my own. Her attitude is awesome so that is a big help to me. So we are both learning

The free mount is tough. But I had a couple 'nearly's' too DD so I think it is just like the rest of this; a matter of time and tenacity. Though I had a couple pretty hard landings in my failed attempts, one of which I came off the back in pretty violent fashion. Thank goodness I was on the grass for that one. I also hit a bump in the road last evening that threw me off the front hard. So having the 'guts' really is part of this. Nevertheless I can't wait. Strange how that works eh?

Kickstand (is KS ok for short?), We are here for you! Happy healing. When you are back up you know you will have no bigger cheering section than DD and NSYO.

Sleep tight my friends.
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Old 2010-10-27, 11:54 AM   #62
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It is totally amazing what you achieved so far NSYO, there's no taking that away. If it's worth doing it's worth doing well... no matter how long it takes.

Unicycle tv is awesome isn't it? I know I'm never going to be doing the things those braves chaps and chappesses do but I'm inspired by them nonetheless. I hope Iris - all young, bouncy-boned and brave - is inspired by the riders on there. It's great to see

Bad luck it's snowed. You'll need to buy a muni to deal with that

I hope you and Iris have fun when a 'training session' next happens - if it doesn't snow again. How fantastic to have a 'real life' training partner although I have to say I do appreciate my cyber-world training partner on this special thread

How's the toe doing KS?

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Old 2010-10-28, 05:54 AM   #63
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Thumbs up Day 20: Mindset

Making a change in my mindset had, well, HUGE effect. For the Better of course!! So I must first thank my friends Doc Doo and Kickstand. You rock!

I think what happened is that after day 16 I began thinking "I can ride this thing now, so everytime I go out I will be able to just jump on and start riding, and make big improvements every ride". The truth is that I can just barely ride it at the most 'newbie' level.

So I went out this evening with the attitude that any success would be celebrated, and any failure would be a normal, and expected, part of the learning process, and that it would be just another opportunity to get on and try again. This thinking paid big dividends as I ended up accomplishing several things that I had not done before. Of course there were many attempts that did not go so well, but my feelings about them was very different than the other evening when I was getting frustrated.

The first big gain was that I rode a stretch of sidewalk for 100 yards. The sidewalk is 4 feet wide, so much narrower than riding down the middle of the street. The other big deal on this is that about 10 yards into it the sidewalk ramps down to cross a small asphalt driveway then ramps back up to concrete sidewalk. This means several bumpy spots and some subtle turning necessary. Out of about 25ish attempts I was successful twice! This was very satisfying, and certainly would not have been possible with my mindset of Day 19.

The next big gain was that I again achieved a new longest ride. My goal is to ride around our block non-stop by the end of this month. While the trip to Japan may require me to adjust this, I am actually making very good progress. Our block is pretty much a big square with each side being almost exactly .1 mile. So tonight I came just short of 3/4 of the way around. I almost lost it once but with some pretty wild gyrations for about 20 yards i was able to hold it together and continue. 3/4 of this can be ridden out in the street, but 1/4 needs to be ridden on the sidewalk. As I tried to turn up the ramp from the street into the sidewalk I lost it and UPD'd. But by that time I was pretty spent, and was very pleased. So I tried several times on the sidewalk but was having a tough go. At one point I had the most scary fall I have ever had. I don't think anyone saw it but it must have been pretty spectacular . It was off the front (whew!) but I went down onto my hands pretty hard, and tweaked my right glute and hamstring pretty hard. So I walked it off for a while then made a couple more attempts as I headed back to the house, but I came off in like manner twice more, just not nearly as hard.

I think I know what caused the fall, which is good. I have a bad tendency to go left. I have to fight it hard, but when fatigued it gets worse. So I need to really stay focused. Out in the street there is plenty of room to recover and still stay on, but on the sidewalk there are lots of different things on either side, and venturing off the left side could be very BAD in many places. I think the fact that this segment of sidewalk is mostly moving uphill (only about 3-4% but still uphill) and that I was getting tired both contributed to the fall. As I tried to fight the leftward tendency I got very close to the left edge of the concrete several times and somehow on one of these must have just gotten into a strange position the threw me forward hard. Glad I am young and nimble!

So, back to the learning journal part of this. There are several key points that, while not newly learned this evening, bear stating;

Key Points:
1. Riding on a big wide street is much easier than riding on a narrow, confined sidewalk. And this is where some really great learning will occur.
2. Getting a good start is the hardest part.
3. I tend to go left. A lot.
4. Strange falls - mostly forward but occasionally backward too - are going to happen so fitness, strength, agility, and flexibility are very important. Mixing a good routine of other exercise with the learning goes a long way toward injury prevention.
5. The mindset is the thing. Period.
6. Good gloves are WONDERFUL. I have cheap gardening gloves from the home/hardware store. They are just simple, cheap, cloth gloves with a rubber material sprayed on them. So they are very 'grippy', they fit my hands just right, and they totally saved my hands in the fall tonight as well as from a lot of other bumps and dings so far.

Thanks again to everyone, especially DD and KS. My next ride will be Saturday. Keep us all posted on your progress.
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Old 2010-10-29, 06:14 AM   #64
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Talking Day 21: Focused training & A big surprise

I really focused on going straight by riding mostly on sidewalk. It went really well and I found that I really focused on sitting firmly on my sit-bones which made the difference. I just THOUGHT I was really keeping my weight in the saddle until now, but the focus on it made a great difference tonight.

I spent just a little time trying some free mounting, but wasn't getting much out of it so I went back to riding and ended up almost achieving my goal of a full circuit around our block (4/10 mile), but a car was coming toward me, it was dark, and the final stretch was uphill and I was getting tired so lost it! But I am very confident that this Saturday I will nail it, and so reach my goal by the end of this month.

So, the big surprise was that just before heading home I decided to try to free mount but in a different way than I had been trying. I just put the left pedal down at 6 and the right pedal up at 12 the same as I have been doing for weeks as I have been learning using assisted mounts. Then I did a little rock back with the right foot and a quick transition to forward pushing on the left which brought the right around very nicely. My second attempt was successful, and I just continued on down the road to home!!

I am still going to work on some other free mount techniques, but if this one works (we will see how it goes over the next few rides) I will certainly use it!

Pretty tired so I am off to sleep. But I will definitely report on my ride on Saturday. Stay tuned
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Old 2010-10-29, 08:50 PM   #65
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You GO NSYO! Awesome job getting right back at going long and free mounting too!!

Still gimping around here, but otherwise all is well here in KS land. Mercifully the rainy weather and shorter days have enabled me to rationalize that I wouldn't have had that many chances to ride over the past few weeks anyway. Lucky for me that winters are quite mild here on the coast so once I am cleared to ride again I'll surely be able to get out there more often than not.

Looking forward to hearing of your continued fun and success over the weekend NSYO & DD! Do an extra lap around the block for me :0) Cheers!!

Last edited by kickstand; 2010-10-29 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 2010-10-31, 05:07 AM   #66
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Talking Day 22: More progress!!

My initial goals were, by the end of this month;
1. Be able to ride around our block without falling off
2. Be able to free mount

This morning I succeeded in riding around the block, a distance of 4/10 mile. I also had one successful free mount this morning, and a second one this afternoon. Additionally I made some 180 degree turns both to the left and right, which I had never done before. So, this was a banner day for me!

I worked with my daughter this afternoon for about 20 minutes walking beside her as she pedaled up and down the street. Before coming in the house she wanted to try a couple unassisted rides. She started off using my pickup for stability then launched out into the open street. On her 2nd or 3rd try she rode very smoothly for about 65 feet! Then another that went 75, and another that went 85 feet. This is only her 3rd day of practice and she is very excited. How quickly she learns , especially compared to her NotSoYoungDad

I rode again this evening, for a 3-timer day. Not too many Saturdays will allow this kind of time, but I had to do it!!

Goodnight all.
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Old 2010-10-31, 05:19 AM   #67
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how old is your daughter? she should join this site if she is older than 14ish
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Old 2010-11-02, 10:43 PM   #68
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I am soooo happy for you NSYO!!! and, for your daughter too! Terrific that you were able to reach your goals (and then some) even with all that travel time Nice going!!!

I go to the Dr. tomorrow morning for a follow-up x-ray to see how the bone healing is coming along. Hoping for good enough news to support my plan to be back out on the UNI by Thanksgiving week when I'll have some extra hours of play time.

I obviously have some serious catching up to do
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Old 2010-11-04, 05:23 AM   #69
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Short session

I won't count this as Day 23 as the session was so short - less than 30 minutes. I mostly worked on free mounting. I think I had 6-7 successful mounts.

I used two different techniques. The main one I practiced is what I believe to be the most 'standard' static mount where the pedals are basically at the 3 and 9 positions and the technique is to not put much weight at all on the back pedal but put almost all the weight on the saddle and lean/slightly jump up to the front pedal, then lean forward and ride away. I probably had 30+ attempts to net 4-5 successful one. Not a bad ratio at this point.

I also put the pedals at 6 and 12 which requires a slight back-pedal before going forward. I had 2 successful out of 4-5 attempts. But I don't really think I am going to practice this one nearly as much.

I also rode up and down the street, focusing on steadiness. Had a couple good rides. I need to begin working on turning, and on dismounting from the back. I can dismount from the front pretty well.
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Old 2010-11-05, 04:56 AM   #70
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Cool Day 23: Solid training session

I went out this evening with several goals in mind. Here are the things I ended up working on during a very focused hour + a little;
1. Straight and level - lots of work on a long stretch of sidewalk with a convenient chain-link fence for easy mounts. I focused quite a bit on having one hand on the saddle handle. I could not do it all the time, but did have several long stretches where I could. Alternated between hands. As I became tired this was harder and I finally had to give up on it and keep both hands out, but this was the first time I have been able to ride very much with a hand on the handle.
2. Turns - I used the pedestrian bridge (PB) that crosses a busy street and had a bunch of successful 180 turns on the switch-backs
3. Uphill/Downhill - the PB is probably at a 3-4% grade on each ramp with the switch-backs being flat. This is very good uphill and downhill training, which is a tremendous core muscle workout both in the abs and in the lower back. Cool!
4. Free mounting - just mixed in with the other stuff here and there until later in the evening (see details below).

After an hour I was pretty worn out so I went home and Iris wanted to practice so I spent time with here out on our street working up and down the road, which includes some incline both directions. As the practice progressed so did her confidence and the length of her free-rides after letting go of my hand. This is a GREAT way to learn and practice, having a dedicated helper to go along side. It is a LOT of fun for me too seeing her progress so rapidly. At this rate it won't take long for her to surpass me, but that is just fine with me.

Before calling it an evening, and at Iris' encouragement, I resumed practice for a little longer, this time focusing on free mounting. I have been struggling to keep from putting weight on my back foot and during this session I learned a nice trick that worked well for me;
Key Learning:
With pedals at 3 & 9 and dominant foot on back pedal, as I began my lean forward I just talked out loud to myself "Only Forward!", meaning only put weight forward - both on the saddle then on the pedal.
Once I started talking to myself like this I hit a point where I had 2 out of 3 successful mounts. On the second one I was able to pedal down the driveway, out into the street (which included some bumpy spots in the concrete), turned left and went down to the end of the street and executed a pretty smooth 180 turn then back to the starting point (including the bumps in the concrete and ramp up the driveway). This was a big success as I strung together several skills very smoothly. (free mount, ride across uneven surface, smooth turns)

All in all this was a very good session, and I accomplished quite a bit more than I expected at the outset. Pleasant surprises, and growing confidence!!

So Kickstand, how is the toe healing? Can't wait for you to get back up and going so we can all enjoy reading about your learning adventures. I plan to keep this thread alive for as long as you, me, and Doc Doo want it up. I keep getting good stuff out of it, so it is definitely serving its purpose.

Doc Doo, how are things with you? Any news?
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Old 2010-11-05, 02:41 PM   #71
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Hey there NSYO, you're making great progress as is Iris...go you two!

There's been absolutely no progress or riding here for nigh on a fortnight now. What with Nurse Doo visiting for a few days - she was amazed at my progress since we last saw each other. The weather is not so great here at the seaside either which has been stopping me getting out on the street sadly. I am having the odd attempt at static mounting in my hallway and have had one or two successes. I'm hoping for some better weather soon so that I can get a session or two in before I have shoulder surgery in a couple of weeks.

What news of KS's toe-of-doom?
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Old 2010-11-07, 07:02 AM   #72
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Day 24: Go long!

I decided to go for a longer ride today, choosing an asphalt path that surrounds a housing development very close to our home. It is right at 2 miles around it. I was not able to free mount at the start, but did pretty well once I got going. I had 5 total UPD's and was able to free mount after the last 3, so I am starting to get a feel for it.

I then took a trip around our block, which is just shy of 1/2 mile and had no UPD's. After a break and some food I went back out and went up and over the pedestrian bridge, down a long length of sidewalk and back, then back up over the PB and home. I had some really nice turns, and was able to ride over some pretty uneven spots quite comfortably.

All in all I am starting to get a little bit better feel for general riding, free mounting, turning, riding over rough spots, and climbing/descending. I have a loooooong way to go, but I am very pleased with the progress I have made in less than 2 months. It is surprising.

Iris is doing well, and her progress is much faster than mine was which is really cool. Her friend is also riding. She learned a few years ago at elementary school in Japan. While she does not remember it very well her body does. She pretty much jumped right on and started riding the first day.

I ordered a new uni for myself and one for each of them on Friday from UDC. I decided to go with a 26" MUni and bought a slick tire for it as well. I think this will be a good size to continue my learning. There are TONS of mountain biking trails here in Utah so it will be fun to learn to ride the 'single-track'. I will post pictures when they arrive.

DD, it sounds like you have been spending time on more important pursuits! Hopefully the weather will cooperate soon. I would sure love to come see the country there. I loved Ireland when I visited for business 3 times over the past few years. Especially along the coast - it was SO beautiful. Utah has it's own beauty and amazing diversity of terrain and landscape. But we don't have the Ocean... Shoulder surgery? Sounds kind of serious. Hope it is not too bad, or that it won't keep you down too long.

Funny how we want to do what might otherwise be thought of something reserved for the 'young'. I noticed a thread on Rec.Sport "calling senior unicyclists" or something like that, for 55 years and older. I guess I could change my site name from NSYO to NSOO!

I don't know how much longer to keep this Learning Journal going. What do you think? Of course I am still learning and will be for a long time, and I have really benefitted from logging my daily learnings, etc. But has this filled its purpose or should I (we) keep it alive for a while longer? Let me know what you think.

Oh, one more thing. I work with the youth in our church and we had a dance this evening. After the dance I rode around the parking lot a few times and there were several of the teenage young men that expressed interest in learning. I also saw my younger brother (30 years old) this evening and he also wants to learn. So I have become an evangelist without even trying, and will probably help several people learn over the next while. I think this is going to be a lot of fun!
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Old 2010-11-09, 12:58 AM   #73
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NSYO ~

Very cool to hear of your progress and success at venturing out for a longer distance complete with some free mounts! You Go NSYO! Fun to see news of your exploits out on other threads too! It must feel GREAT to officially be a uni noob!! Not to say that I don't find my own uni-noob-wannabe status pretty cool too

DD ~

Shoulder surgery? ! Bummer. Do keep us posted on how you are doing. Here's to some good weather to play in until you have to go under the knife and then to an ultra speedy recovery!!!

KS ~

My recovery is sloooooow but sure. Xray shows the bone is staying in alignment and beginning to mend but I have at least two more no-impact no-resistance weeks to go....to ensure the "toe-of-doom" won't become a chronic problem area. I think the dislocation will take longer to heal than the bone.

Have been propping my uni upside down to use it as a low resistance upper body erg and pounding on a set of eDrums to beat out the stress of sitting still . Oh, and killing a good bit of time on this and other sites watching unicycling videos

The Thread ~

I am happy with whatever you decide to do with your thread. My 2 cents on on it since you asked is that you keep it going for awhile longer (as long as you are having fun with it). Seems many of the learning threads do end when one is riding, turning and has at least one free mount in the bag (like you do now), but I am (and I'd guess others will be) interested in knowing what other skills you choose to tackle next and where your new skills take you next.

Looking forward to seeing pics of your new ride NSYO!!
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Old 2010-11-09, 03:24 AM   #74
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It's great to hear all of your little victories, I'm just getting started, looking forward to accomplishing some longer rides...

Things really 'clicked' for me today, I had lots of 50'+ and a few 200' rides, felt in control, and could actually steer! For the first time I understand the 'feels like flying' analogy, I got my body upright, looking at the horizon, felt great!

It's great to know that this old dog can learn a new trick! Looking forward to the next ride,
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Old 2010-11-09, 05:44 PM   #75
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Talking Welcome!

Hey Missingawheel (MAW) - thanks for jumping in on the thread. We would love to keep hearing about your successes. Way to go so far!

Along with DocDoo and Kickstand we are kind of forming an old-dog learning team. The mutual encouragement has been awesome, and it is fun to celebrate each victory.

KS - Thanks for the response. Let's definitely keep this thread alive! Sounds like the toe was a pretty bad break...better follow doctor's orders and not rush things.

DD - Hope you can get a couple rides in before the surgery. Keep us posted on both the riding and the shoulder.

It snowed last night but not much stuck so I may be able to get out for a short ride tonight, we'll see. Can't wait for the new Uni's to arrive! They shipped last night from Georgia, had a short change of trucks in Nashville in the middle of the night, and departed early this morning. UPS tracking can be so fun Iris is excited too.
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