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Old 2009-06-11, 02:33 PM   #1
semach.the.monkey
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Best Level 1 Unicyclist in the World

Whilst I've known about the unicycle levels for years, I've not really paid them much attention. I know they're aimed kind of towards beginners to turn them in to freestyle riders, which isn't really my bag, but as a fairly decent rider, I assumed that I'd be at least a few levels up.

Not to blow my own trumpet too much, I've ridden a lot of distance (including 144 miles in 2 days and Ride The Lobster), I've commuted a lot in central London, I can change gear on a Schlumpf, I can freemount a giraffe, I can ride a two-wheeled unicycle, I've taken part in 24 hour mountain bike races on a muni, I play unicycle hockey and I have even kept up with Joe Marshall on a muni ride (once). Whilst I know that doesn't make me the best unicyclist by any means, I think it says that I'm well above average.

That's why I'm a bit peeved that I am only a Level 1 unicyclist. And even then, only just. 'Dismounting gracefully with unicycle in front' is something that I've only just started to become concious of (since Gild pointed out my giraffe dismount might be a bit dangerous). In order to progress to level 2, I have to mount with both my left and right foot. As I've been riding for about 12 years, and have always mounted with my left foot on the pedal first, to do it the other way around feels totally alien to me. I've got a real mental block with it.

It makes me wonder, however, how many other great riders out there (and I know there are a lot here much better than me), that are also stuck on Level 1. Or maybe even can't complete the first level.

So, post here some of your greatest achievements and what it is that's stopping you getting off of the first rung of the official skills ladder.

STM
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Old 2009-06-11, 02:50 PM   #2
rob.northcott
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I'm officially level 2 (been tested and everything!)
I'll never be level 3 because I have no intention of wasting time learning to ride stomach on seat - there are so many other things I need to practice that are far more useful!

I doubt there are any "top" unicyclists who couldn't do level 1 - all you have to do is freemount, ride a bit and get off again. When I did it, getting off the back felt very unnatural (I always used to step off the front), but since having the 36er I've got into the habit of "dismounting gracefully with unicycle in front", just because it's easier with a big wheel.

Rob
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Old 2009-06-11, 02:51 PM   #3
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Rode down Snowdon (twice), still can't freemount on a flat surface.
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Old 2009-06-11, 02:56 PM   #4
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I've ridden all sorts of mixed offroad terrain up to 50 miles in a single go (100km on roads), I'm a fair trials unicyclist (20" sif-sidehop, 4' gaps, 5' drops, 2" skinnies etc...) yet I can't idle!
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Old 2009-06-11, 03:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by semach.the.monkey View Post
and I have even kept up with Joe Marshall on a muni ride (once).
Only cos I waited for you!

I used to be able to do all the level 3 skills, but then I sort of forgot how to mount with the other foot which is weird - I used to be ambi-foot-strous for mounting. I think I can do a side mount from the other side on a good day, and sometimes during hockey I seem to mount with the pedals the wrong way somehow, but I'm generally at level 1.

I do get off the back, unicycle in front usually, because it's a good thing to get used to when doing muni - if you have to dismount on a downslope, say because you are heading towards a cliff, it is better to go onto the slope than down the cliff*.

Some of the higher level skills are dead easy though, hop twist 180 degrees are so easy. I used to be able to do spins too, although only to the right, and backspin (I think, the one where you start riding backwards and end up forwards)

Joe
* yes I really have been in a situation like this!

p.s. you should learn the 'ride over a 10x10cm obstacle', then you'd be able to get up kerbs
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Old 2009-06-11, 03:07 PM   #6
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Also, it is disappointing that the skill levels ask you to 'demonstrate 10 different types of mounts', but not '10 different types of dismounts'. I'm sure there are some awesome ones people could do - I've seen Gary Halford land a forward somersault dismount off a muni, and I'm sure someone I know does a fancy unicycle spinning dismount but I can't remember who.

Joe
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Old 2009-06-11, 03:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rob.northcott View Post

I'm officially level 2 (been tested and everything!)
I'll never be level 3 because I have no intention of wasting time learning to ride stomach on seat - there are so many other things I need to practice that are far more useful!
Rob

I'm not officially anything but I couldn't agree more. I've been riding for 5 years now (my, how time flies) and I can do all the level 1 and 2 stuff but I really don't care. I'm just happy to ride and have fun doing it.

An interesting anecdote; I rode with a guy once who was a VERY solid rider. Good stair skills, up and down curbs, rolling hops, idle as easily as you or I sit on the sofa, etc., etc. He taught himself to ride at an early age and his only mount was to start with the unicycle behind him and mash down on the pedal to bring it under him.
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Old 2009-06-11, 04:10 PM   #8
semach.the.monkey
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Only cos I waited for you!
Yeah, but you don't have to tell everyone!

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I'm sure someone I know does a fancy unicycle spinning dismount but I can't remember who.
I done one at hockey this week (and one on the way there too). Wasn't planned, or graceful, and left me with pedal bites on the back of both calves. So I don't think you were thinking of me!

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Rode down Snowdon (twice), still can't freemount on a flat surface.
It must be a real pain having to go all the way up Snowdon every time you want to mount!

STM
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Old 2009-06-11, 04:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Also, it is disappointing that the skill levels ask you to 'demonstrate 10 different types of mounts', but not '10 different types of dismounts'.

Joe
Does a UPD count?
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Old 2009-06-11, 05:01 PM   #10
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Does a UPD count?
Sure, but that's just one of the ten.
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Old 2009-06-11, 05:36 PM   #11
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Sure, but that's just one of the ten.
Damn, I need another 9 then!
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Old 2009-06-11, 05:40 PM   #12
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I'm officially level 7, though I can do almost everything on all of the levels. Hand wheel walk has been sort of holding me back, and I no longer really care. But yeah, the levels are a somewhat poor indicator of the true skill of a rider.


Hah, I'm impressed that you can't mount with your other foot though .
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Old 2009-06-11, 06:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob.northcott View Post
When I did it, getting off the back felt very unnatural (I always used to step off the front), but since having the 36er I've got into the habit of "dismounting gracefully with unicycle in front", just because it's easier with a big wheel.

Rob
I used to dismount of the front or back depending on nothing but what I felt like doing. Then one day on my 29 while holding a pole talking to someone, I casually slipped off the front not realizing that someone else had crept up behind us. The wheel almost smacked into her legs. Around others (especially nonriders) I almost always get off the back now.

Only gone off the front on the 36 in superb UPD's that I had to outrun.

Quote:
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Rode down Snowdon (twice), still can't freemount on a flat surface.
I learn something new about you all the time. I never would have guessed you haven’t freemounted on a flat surface.

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Yeah, but you don't have to tell everyone!
No one read that. No one knows.



Quote:
Originally Posted by semach.the.monkey View Post
It must be a real pain having to go all the way up Snowdon every time you want to mount! STM


I'm for sure above level 1. At level 2 for mounting.

Where are the riding up hill skills? That should count for something.
How about gracefully falling of a sea wall without attracting too much attention... doesn't that get me something. Sheesh.
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Old 2009-06-11, 06:16 PM   #14
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I think I progressed to a level 2 in the first month I was riding, now I don't even find myself compelled to look @ the stupid skills, much less try to use them to judge my skill. I think they're a bit geared toward performers, and less toward other riding persuasions. Freestyle also uses those skills, and I can see how there could be some crossover into flatland and street, but many of them are fairly useless for muni or pure trials. My preference is for muni, and i'd love to do some distance road rides as well, but it doesn't seem to really be on my priorities just yet. I've focused on learning things like navigating difficult terrain, rolling hops over logs, hill climbing, and other skills that are practical to the riding I do. I'm a a bit embarrassed to admit I've not taken the time to learn to ride backwards! I nearly had it down in my third month of riding, and then the trails dried out, and I forgot about it. I did try again over the winter, but it seemed i'd lost whatever progress I had made. Oh well
(It would be sweet to bomb some hills backwards, lol. That would really get some looks!)
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Old 2009-06-11, 07:17 PM   #15
rob.northcott
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I think they're a bit geared toward performers, and less toward other riding persuasions ....
....but many of them are fairly useless for muni or pure trials.
Bit off-topic, but:
I think learning the skills, although a lot of them in themselves are pretty pointless to all but freestyle performers, does have some merit in forcing you to be better able to control the unicycle, and a better level of control is always good in whatever type of riding we do (I'm mostly a munier as well). I would never ride a "figure of 8 with 1 metre circles" (or whatever it is for level 3), but being able to turn tightly and accurately in general is a good thing. All the various mounts are a bit silly (but I'd like to be able to do a few more for occasional posing ). I suppose stomach on seat is supposed to be a preliminary to seat-out riding (although I reckon seat-out close to the body is easier than s-o-s), but unless you're riding freestyle or trials that's not a very useful skill.

Rob
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