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Old 2011-03-30, 03:38 PM   #1
57UniRider
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Question New Female rider at age 57

Hi,
I am 57 tomorrow and started my unicycle challenge about 4 months ago. I have conquered the riding part. The biggest challenge is endurance, both muscular and cardiovascular (I run out of breath). I started on a 20" Torker LX. After mastering the riding part, I decided a bigger wheel might be the answer to getting me further down the street with less exhaustion. A 24" wheel did improve my distance, but only a little. After about a minute or two (I'm guessing), I am totally exhausted. My muscles won't go any further, and I am totally out of breath. I've decided to take up riding a regular bicycle in hopes that exercising longer without worrying about falling off will help develop the muscles and stamina. Does anyone have any helpful suggestions? I am completely amazed that I seem to be THIS much out of shape! Any idea how long it might take before I can actually ride around the neighborhood? That's what I really wanted to do. I wanted a fun way to exercise. I FOUND it, but gee I am having trouble increasing my distance. Also, are there any other older women taking up this crazy activity. I love it, but I just can't ride long enough! Thanks!!

Last edited by 57UniRider; 2011-03-30 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 2011-03-30, 04:43 PM   #2
Harley
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Originally Posted by 57UniRider View Post
Hi,
I am 57 tomorrow and started my unicycle challenge about 4 months ago. I have conquered the riding part. The biggest challenge is endurance, both muscular and cardiovascular (I run out of breath). I started on a 20" Torker LX. After mastering the riding part, I decided a bigger wheel might be the answer to getting me further down the street with less exhaustion. A 24" wheel did improve my distance, but only a little. After about a minute or two (I'm guessing), I am totally exhausted. My muscles won't go any further, and I am totally out of breath. I've decided to take up riding a regular bicycle in hopes that exercising longer without worrying about falling off will help develop the muscles and stamina. Does anyone have any helpful suggestions? I am completely amazed that I seem to be THIS much out of shape! Any idea how long it might take before I can actually ride around the neighborhood? That's what I really wanted to do. I wanted a fun way to exercise. I FOUND it, but gee I am having trouble increasing my distance. Also, are there any other older women taking up this crazy activity. I love it, but I just can't ride long enough! Thanks!!
Welcome.

The simple answer is: It will get easier as you practice.

Try to pick a physical distance, say a block, & ride from one end to the other. Then rest until you feel able to ride back to other end. Rest again & back you go if possible.
Once you have done enough to have taxed yourself take a day off and repeat your session of the previous day. Try to do the same amount of distance every second day for 5 sessions, then after the 5th session take two days off and go back to it for another 5 sessions with an increased distance & or less rest time inbetween sets. keep taking the day off inbetween sessions, this will allow for muscle recovery. If your really to tired or sore with only one day off inbetween take two off.

You have already done the really hard part by learning to ride. Congratulations!!!!

Remember you have the rest of your life to get & stay in shape. Have fun.
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Old 2011-03-30, 05:47 PM   #3
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Most likely, the biggest reason you're getting so tired so quickly is that you have too much weight on the pedals and not enough weight on the seat.

Sit down and relax and let those pedals go around eeeeasy.

Welcome to the wonderful world of unicycling.
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Old 2011-03-30, 06:15 PM   #4
jmille2788
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Exhaustion?

I concur with the other posters. I have to remind myself to relax, put weight on the seat and keep moving.

As you get more confident, most of the nervous tension will leave and you will be able to breathe normally as you ride.

"Put weight on the seat" is the best advice I ever got.

Welcome to the uni club. It is way more fun than using stair machines, exercycles, and jogging.

JD
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Old 2011-03-31, 04:01 AM   #5
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I agree with ^

Bigger wheels are faster, but not really less tiring to ride, on an hourly basis.
Riding a bike is a terrible idea. Just kidding, it's just fun to pretend hate for bikes here.

Really though, even if you were fit enough to run a marathon, a uni might exhaust you in a few blocks when you are a new rider. Nerves and tension take a toll. Being a strong bike rider will not help this. Besides the pedals, the 2 machines have nothing in common.

I'm 52, a bit of a fat duffer, I couldn't run a half marathon. But I can ride any size uni as long as I want, more or less. Just keep riding, you will learn to loosen up, it will get much easier.

You are not tired because you are weak, you are tired because you are a crappy uni rider. Throw the bike under a truck. Get off it first. Just keep uni riding and it will smooth out dramatically in a few months. Buy wrist wraps before you get a 36. Come to think of it, you should have some now.
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Old 2011-03-31, 04:29 AM   #6
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Based on your timeline and description, I have to concur that you mostly need to sit down and relax more. Try reminding yourself every few seconds to "sit down". It takes a while for your body to get used to the idea, so just stick with it. You've already done the hard part. The part that comes next is the most rewarding; where you get to make it go where you want, and get to start enjoying the ride!
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Old 2011-03-31, 04:49 AM   #7
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I am a pretty strong bike rider. When I got back into riding a unicycle a couple of years ago it was exhausting and I thought "Wow, this is amazing exercise" and kept doing it. Soon it was much easier and ever since I have been finding new ways to make it difficult again.

I will repeat what others have said and it should be your mantra when you ride...

Relax.

Welcome.
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Old 2011-03-31, 06:23 AM   #8
Dane M
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I haven't read the previous posts but I'm guessing they will say the same thing I am about to. But I have just recently started to overcome this problem, so maybe this will help.

I found that I wasn't putting enough weight (or faith) in my saddle. Try to put more weight on that seat, and just watch where you're going so you don't hit a bump and knock yourself around.

Also check your seat height, maybe it's just a little too low and it's forcing you to do more work.

I spoke with another rider today about the "sweet spot" of riding, about how there is a certain speed with your wheel in which you are actually doing the minimal amount of work. It's a speed not too fast and not too slow. Obviously you will have your own sweet spot. But try to think about this as you are riding, and you might find that you can regulate your speed better and keep in the easier zone.

Holding the uni handle may help, but this seems to be a bit subjective.

Also, tell yourself to relax as you're riding, you might find that you are tensing your muscles and straining more than you need to. Sometimes you need to let the uni do what it wants to do and just regulate it once in a while.

These are all things that I have been working on recently to help me with my energy regulation. I used to ride down the street and get dead-tired, now I'm riding all over town between classes just barely breaking a sweat.

Good luck! Practice practice practice!
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Last edited by Dane M; 2011-03-31 at 06:26 AM.
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Old 2011-03-31, 07:10 AM   #9
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That's one more of us, and one less of them.

Keep your weight on the seat, and practise, practise, practise.

Enjoy.

Last edited by GILD; 2011-03-31 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 2011-03-31, 10:29 AM   #10
57UniRider
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Thanks!!!

Thank you so much for responding!! All of your comments give me a psychological boost!! So... If I just keep at it, it will get easier. I'm sure glad to hear THAT!... I THINK I sit in the saddle, but everyone keeps telling me that, so I am going to concentrate harder on that, and I will keep reminding myself to relax. I also will look for that "sweet spot" speed. Thanks a bunch! I'm so pleased to have some experienced unicyclists to visit with that don't mind sharing some good tips! Thanks!!!

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Old 2011-03-31, 11:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 57UniRider View Post
so I am going to concentrate harder on that, and I will keep reminding myself to relax.
this is an oxymore: if your brain forgets about riding then you will relax!
enjoy, enjoy, enjoy, sing along...
don't forget to join the 55+ club!
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Old 2011-03-31, 11:20 AM   #12
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The Bear makes sense.

Remember to look at the horizon while you ride.
It helps to relax you, takes the tension our of your shouldes and generally helps you sit with a slightly "better" posture.

To help with the "weight on the seat" issue, sit on the uni while holding onto something and try to make your feet as "light" as possible.
Without rmoving your feet from the pedals, almost try n lift your feet off the inside of the soles of your shoes.
That'll give you more of an idea of how your "underneaths" will feel when you're sitting with more "weight-on-the-seat".
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Old 2011-03-31, 12:01 PM   #13
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Talking

Great to see another newbie! I've had my 24" for a bit, and am at the same point as you. I can now go about 800 feet, but the exhaustion and apparent weak cardio do me in. I did a lot of reading my first weekend on here, and found tons of great advice and encouragement on this site.

I read through "The Learning Journal", a great thread in this forum for learners who are, ahem, older (its 23 pages, skimming through was probably a better idea, but I didn't want to miss anything), and saw what other beginners were going through. The best advice I pulled out of there was "wiggle your fingers". Huh? It really does help me to focus on the horizon (again, still being aware of the road surface), sit in the seat, and relax. I hadn't read about the sweet spot, thanks Dane!

If you enjoy b*king, then do it and have fun, but really, the only way to get better riding a uni is to ride a uni.
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Old 2011-03-31, 02:20 PM   #14
Dane M
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Oh also, check you foot position. If your standing with your pedals too far back on your foot, you will be doing more work. Try to have your feet placed at about the balls of your feet. You will find a spot that works well for you.
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Old 2011-03-31, 03:41 PM   #15
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Just confirming what other people have said, but FWIW...
I've always been a keen cyclist but just after I learnt to unicycle I could only ride for a short time (a few minutes at first) before my legs were burning. It's purely technique and after time it just goes away. There's a tendancy to put all your weight on your feet at first, even if you're not conscious of it. Also, the more you ride the better you get at little balance corrections rather than fighting the unicycle, so a lot less energy is wasted that way. Just keep riding - all that stuff just comes naturally with practice.

Have fun!

Rob
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