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Old 2010-10-21, 06:00 AM   #46
NotSoYoungOne
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Exclamation Day 15: Progress!

First, let me welcome myself back to the blog . It seems Doc Doo and Kickstand, you have both been busy, both making entries and practicing. Scott ttocS we heard from you once, but need to hear more!

Kickstand - sorry to hear about the toe!! Ouch. It will definitely delay your game for a while.

I like this group of not-so-young-one's that is congregating. No sense in starting a bunch of threads, let's just keep this one going for a while. 4 of us, all in the NSY age range - very cool!!

We got home from Japan Monday afternoon (it is now Wednesday, almost midnight) but I have been very busy catching up with that 'work' thing and trying to get my body clock back to Utah time that I have not attempted any practice until this evening. I went out for a little over an hour and worked myself to pretty near exhaustion. But, some very cool things happened and all-in-all this was the best training session ever.

Rather than focusing on Key Learnings as before I will list Key Focus's (or Foci?)

Key Foci:
#1 - Keep weight on saddle
#2 - Use arms - a lot
#3 - Squeeze knees together

So, it was really hard to focus on all three things at once, so they are listed in the order of what I thought was important. My biggest problem was that my feet kept slipping off the pedals. My guess is that this happened when I took my focus off keeping the weight on the saddle but I am not sure so if anyone can tell me I would appreciate it.

I had a bunch of rides of 40-65 feet (12-20 meters). I lost count but there must have been 20-25 of them. This is WAY more than I have ever had (meaning cumulative to date!). I used the pedestrian bridge (PB) but mostly I used a very long stretch of concrete sidewalk with a chain-link fence running along it. I like the flat surface much better than the sloped angle of the PB.

Once I was finally worn out and headed back home I used a concrete block wall nearer my home that I have used several time to get a last start before the remainder of the short walk home. Well I was able to pedal on down the sidewalk next to the wall without touching it, then through the rain gutter out into the street and a 90 degree left turn then down the street toward home for a long way. I finally UPD'd and knew I had to measure the distance. My wheel is 5 feet in circumference so I rolled it along counting rotations. The ride ended up at 250 feet !! (75M). So yes, this is MUCH longer than any previous ride.

Doc Doo being able to make regular rides of roughly twice that distance is awesome, and gives me something to shoot for. But for today I am pleasantly surprised at the HUGE progress. I think we are all the same, struggling to find time in our lives for this mad pursuit. Thus the late evenings for me. But there is a singular (uni?!) appeal that keeps us all driving ourselves.

It looks like we have a common goal/vision of being able to commute in the future. Let's keep it up boys! Grown men or not, we are just boys at heart

Sleep tight. And Kickstand, be careful not to get on that toe too soon. Hope it heals quickly so you can get back in the saddle before the weather turns too cold.
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Old 2010-10-21, 06:32 PM   #47
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YAY! Welcome Home NSYO!! Congratulations on your TERRIFIC progress! Sounds like it has "clicked" as they say. 75M is sahweet!!
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Old 2010-10-21, 08:05 PM   #48
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Welcome home NSYO, I hope you had a wonderful time away. Did you see anyone unicycling in Japan perchance?

How fantastic that something's clicked since you've been home. Go you!
I hope there's been more success when you next post.

I've been having the same problem with feet slipping on the pedals. I have very basic plastic pedals with not much grip on both unis. However the 24 came with metal pedals with not even a full complement of pins in them and they have much more grip - as one would expect really. I find myself reluctant to use them because I still upd a lot and have the odd leg wrestling match with the uni and don't really fancy getting myself entangled with unforgiving metal pins. I'm also reluctant to buy leg protection as I'm probably not going to be doing street/flatland/muni. My aim is to use my uni like I use my two-wheeled steeds - although a bit of a hop here or there and some easy off-roading could well be on the cards.

I've had a little play with my saddles too and set them both as far forward as they will go and that feels better. I feel as though my sit bones are actually on the wider part of the seat instead of feeling on a sling in the middle. That whole keeping weight in the saddle feels better now.

Something clicked for me when I started learning to idle - in my kitchen and hall with a broom for a balancing aid. Somehow something dropped into place balance-wise and suddenly my riding on the street was incredibly improved. This is all on the 20 which I've gone back to as it's not half so scary as the 24 - which I'm also still playing with but just concentrating on the 20 for a while.

I think it's amazing that us not-so-young, slightly mad folks have our own sanctuary away from the 'whippersnappers' who seem to learn so quickly. Although, to be fair, they also have the time, energy and lack of responsibilities to be able to practice hours a day if they like.

Gear-hound Alert! The frame with the lovely 24 KH muni wheel I have is just a UDC 'bog-standard' chrome affair so I've been looking for something more *cough* aesthetically pleasing and come up with
http://k-124.co.uk/product.php?produ...ategory_id=108 which, if I want it to arrive as my birthday treat to myself I will have to order very soon. Such temptation

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Old 2010-10-22, 07:23 AM   #49
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Exclamation Day 16: Wow!

Based on my session this evening I am prepared to say that I CAN NOW RIDE A UNICYCLE!! WooHooooo!

I started the evening with a quick trip up and over the PB, then to the long chain link fence where I had a lot of success last evening. After two trips up and down the fence (It must be 150+ yards) and having much longer unsupported rides than last night I decided to head home and try to launch out onto our street from my truck parked at the curb. It was time to leave the constant crutch of the fence behind and step to the next level of challenge

The first attempt or two did not go so well, but soon I was making rides of over 100 feet regularly. So then I decided it was time to switch to the 24" wheel, which is what I wanted to be riding all along. Thanks Doc Doo for your posts reminding me!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I bought some pedals today that have a much larger platform. Diamond Back aluminum with little posts all over. Only $20. Now my feet don't slip off the pedals anymore HUGE difference. The cheap, small, plastic pedals were not getting it done.

So after a few minutes of changing the saddle to the bigger wheel uni I was off and pedaling. My first attempt in the driveway was not so good. So I moved back out to launch from the truck into the open street. My first ride took me well over 100 feet. From there it was just a bunch of bug successes. I rode the full length of our street which is a slight uphill of 1/10 mile so about 500+ feet or a little over 150 meters. I had at least one more ride of this distance and several others that were a little shorter, but not much.

I really like the 24, but I could not have made the progress I have made without the 20. Soon I want to move to either a 26 or 29, but trying to decide which size will be better.

The coolest part of the evening was that my 12 year old daughter (NotSoOldOne?!) Has been waiting for me to get off the 20 so she can start to learn. Seeing me ride the 24 up and down the street made her really want to get going so I put the small saddle that came with the 20 back on it and it is a perfect size for her. We went out for 30 minutes or so along the chain link fence and other places I have been using. I was amazed at her progress. I don't think it will take her as long as it took me to get to this point. I am going to encourage her to register here and start her own thread. Her enthusiasm and attitude are awesome!!

So, Doc Doo, I guess I finally caught up with you my (only slightly) mad friend across the pond Now we just need to figure out how we are going to get together for a ride. Maybe I can get myself booked on the next trip to the UK that my company sends someone. If I can I will definitely let you know. I think that frame you are looking at is very cool. I really like the frames with the more squared shoulders, and that one is unique with the posts protruding up above the cross-member.

Kickstand, keep nursing that toe. I hope my recent success will serve as a positive for you. I am totally surprised at the last two days. Still kind of in shock to be honest.

I set a goal to be able to ride around our block, which is about 4/10 mile, by the end of this month, and also to be able to free mount by the end of this month. I kind of figured that the trip to Japan (which was wonderful and I wouldn't have missed for the world) would make that impossible, but it looks like I just may be able to do it. We'll see. So the free mounting is going to be a BIG challenge. I watched a couple YouTube videos, but I think it will take a lot of work. I may need to go back to the 20 for starters. If anyone has any pointers I am ready for them!

In closing, I am very pleasantly surprised at my recent progress. I did not think I would be where I am this soon. I hope it serves as inspiration for our little group of NSY uni-heads who are all trying to learn. I love the teamwork! Excellent Uni-ty for a bunch of middle-aged guys who never met. And for anyone else who reads this thread as well. That is why I started it in the first place.

If anyone has any suggestions on the 26er vs. 29er please share. I have the OK from Mrs. NSYO to make a purchase. What a lovely ONE she is!

Thanks for all your support, and for sharing your learning on this thread. Let's all keep it up, and keep this thread lively. This is a lot of fun
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Old 2010-10-22, 10:25 PM   #50
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Woooooohoooooo!

Brilliant news NSYO and how fantastic that your daughter is learning too.

It's good to have goals and I'm sure you'll achieve yours, especially as you're buoyed by your recent sucesses. My goal for this month is to be able to ride to my friends house which is just round the block. I possibly won't ride back from there though because we have a tendency to have coffee with brandy when I visit her. . I'd also like to be doing unassisted static mounts by the end of the month. I would definitely recommend that you use the 20 to start your freemounting exploits.

Oh you lucky dawg being able to look at buying another uni so soon. I'd go 29er given half a chance and disposable income.

It would be amazing to meet you if you ever come to the UK NSYO, there's some fantastic places to ride. My training route (on the two-wheeled steed) is a cool one http://www.google.co.uk/images?um=1&...=&oq=&gs_rfai= On a clear day I can see the mountains of the Lake District to the north and way, way to the south west-ish the outline of the mountains of North Wales jutting out into the Irish Sea. I'm dying to be able to ride this route on the uni. My town is probably far away from anywhere your work would send you though.

Hey kickstand just think of all the hints and tips we'll be able to give you when you can ride again kickstand
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Old 2010-10-23, 04:54 AM   #51
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Day 17: A long way to go, a lot to learn still

Wow Doc Doo, that looks like a beautiful area to live and ride. I hope to be able to commute and tour in the future on one wheel instead of two. Though I still love my skinny-tired roadie!

I took both the 20 and 24 to work today. Friday's are often a little quieter and less hectic. Another guy that I work with can ride, but he has never put a lot of effort into it so he is pretty smooth, but not making any progress. Anyway, we have a big open area that is carpeted so we rode around in it. It took me quite a while to get going. The carpet is pretty difficult to ride on. The tire does not grip it like it does asphalt or concrete.

Then this evening I did quite a bit of riding here around the neighborhood. I startled one neighbor lady who didn't notice me pedaling down the road until I was quite close to her. I wonder what she thought?! I must look strange way up in the air at 6'3" tall on a 24" uni. Pretty funny I would guess

After exhausting myself with pretty close to 1/2 mile of riding (in several large (and a few small) pieces, I tried a few free mounts then went in for supper and a long break. Then back out for another couple longer segments and a solid 15 minutes working on free mounts. I actually had 2 kind-of-successful mounts in that I pedaled a couple rotations before falling off. But did not get any where I cleanly rode away. I am doing these on the 24 as I do not want to switch the saddle and post back to the 20. I think I made pretty good progress given this is the first time I have tried to free mount.

So, my challenge is that though I envision riding longer rides I wonder what kind of shape I will need to be in to do so. I am already in pretty good shape. A friend and I finished as pretty tough century ride (100 miles) in late August and did in a good time of about 5:45 including stops. So what will it take to become a 'distance unicyclist'? I guess that is the question.

Doc Doo, I think the 29er will be my choice. The red one on UDC is a good deal and it has 4 very good reviews from others who are riding on it. But I am going to stick with the 24 for a while longer until I am smoother and stronger.

For now, though I can accomplish some reasonably lengthy stretches, I am pretty jerky and wobbly. If I wasn't riding on a wide road I would not be able to go nearly as long. So the two goals are to keep working on the free mounting and to not only increase distance but maybe more importantly improve stability and smoothness.

Ah, the joy of this uni challenge!! There is no question that madness is part of the equation. No one fully in their right mind would go to these lengths and actually enjoy the punishment and keep asking for more, would they??

Kickstand, your broken toe is proof!! We are a bit crazy.

I hope to get my daughter going more soon, and I hope she will make a learning journal of her own here. It would be fun to see all of this from her perspective as she learns, and to see the kinds of responses she gets.
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Old 2010-10-23, 09:15 AM   #52
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Congratulations NSYO - it's only five months since I made my first 150-200 m rides, so I still remember the feeling!

You wonder about the shape necessary for longer rides, but you don't mention how you feel after a 150 m ride... When I made the first rides of similar length, I had noodle legs and was barely able to land on my feet. It was obviously because I had too much weight on the pedals and made a lot of forceful corrections. Luckily this improved within few days as I naturally got more weight on the saddle. (I might add that I ride bicycle every day and was in reasonable shape when I started unicycling.)

When I started freemounting practice, I could ride reasonable well and had no problems mounting the uni in good balance - I could just not ride off. After some time I tried to put a brick behind the wheel and that was a great help for me. It made me aware when I put too much weight on the pedal (static mount) but prevented me getting into the dead position, so I could still ride off.

And yes, madness surely is part of the equation!
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Old 2010-10-24, 02:37 AM   #53
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NSYO IS a UNICYCLIST!!! & Doc Doo Too!!! NICE!!! That does give me great hopes for when I am healed up!! Great going guys!! Yer paving the way and I am mending up as fast as I can.

I'd vote 29er too NSYO. You both have me wishing I had a 20" as a jump start up to my 24" for skills development. Hope it is not extra mad of me to be start my learning on a 24"??

Your new frame is sweet Doc Doo! Do you have it all tricked out with components yet? We need pics when you do.

Very cool that your daughter is learning too NSYO. More proof of the inspiration you are offering. If she starts a thread for Girls I'll join in. I hope all the other things we have in common will be enough to keep me in this merry band of nsyo's (nsy uni learner - commuter wannabe, slightly mad, gaget gromet.....tomBOY at heart)? :0)

Looking forward to your next milestones and learning points guys!

Keep it ROLLING!!
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Old 2010-10-24, 10:41 AM   #54
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Maybe slightly extra mad to start on a 24" - but not much... I actually started on a 24" along a rail because I found pedalling smoother than on a 20". When I felt confident on the uni and went to an open area, I switched to the 20", though. I did this because I only had a garbage container for support - and I realized that I would use considerably more time on mounting the 24".

The father/daughter situation is reversed here: I am the one who is learning too. My daughter learned unicycling when she was about 10 and started to ride again this spring (at the age of 19). This time I also wanted to try - and now I am seriously affected by the uni-bug...
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Old 2010-10-24, 01:26 PM   #55
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Hola Klaus, welcome to the Learning Journal and thanks for the freemounting tips.

Hah noodle legs, what a good description. I think it helps if one is already dedicated a two wheeled rider.

It is a wonderful place to ride NSYO and as it's a beautiful day today so I will be taking the two-wheeled steed out for a blast along that route. Because you're a regular two-wheeled rider I think it will help with your one-wheeled stamina, I think distance unicycling is merely a matter of technique in such a case. (I hope!). I don't think I'll ever give up my two-wheeled habit either.

I have news, big news. I rode into town on my 24 yesterday (3/4 of a mile possibly). Not all the way in the saddle but a goodly portion with some good stretches of smooth, arms outstretched, 'looking-like-I-know-what-I'm-doing' action. Such a distance was a first for me. Because I was really out there in public I came across a lot of smiles and "You've got a wheel missing mate!" but I absolutely love that when I upd in public and young lads laugh I offer them a go on the uni and they're usually very cocky and say stuff like "I can do that, it's easy" until they have a go and when they can't stay upright and their ass hits the floor they concede defeat and speak with me in a very different, less cocky tone.....and yes it's *always* boys.

kickstand, I don't think you're any madder starting on a 24, I almost did, it was only that a second hand 20 came up (from young AlisterBurt) first that I started on a 20. I've not sent for the new frame yet, I'm still 'talking myself into it' but I'm dying to be able to justify 'pimping' my unicycles.
I have a confession to make. Yes there's a Nurse Doo, yes I present as a 'boy' but I am a 'female bodied' person. Call me a girl and treat me as a girl and I'll bite yer head off though.

Keep going with the freemounting NSYO the action gets easier. I'm still not getting cleanly away either but it will come. Careful of your shins with your new pinned pedals though

D'yanno most of my friends think I'm nuts learning to ride a uni and are just waiting for visiting rights at the hospital!

I love this thread and look forward to new entries when I wake up and log in. Yay for all of us slightly mad, not-so-young-ones.

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Old 2010-10-24, 03:43 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by kickstand View Post
Hope it is not extra mad of me to be start my learning on a 24"??
Not at all, I learned on a 24" and was riding unsupported within about 5-6 hours. My girlfriend is also learning on a 24 and she's 5'1 (if you're shorter than that you might struggle, though).

Good luck!
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Old 2010-10-24, 09:10 PM   #57
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Thanks for all the assurances that my 24" starter uni plan is'nt completely mad Klaus, Doc Doo & SmellyGeekBoy. I surely will be expanding to a uni collection to rival my current bicycle collection someday, but it is not really in the cards right now, and I think I'll know more about what I want after I have some riding under my belt. Unless an acquisition opportunity comes along that I just can't pass up.

My toe is feeling better every day - one week of rest down - expect to be able to at least get out on my two wheeled steads in another week to start getting back in shape for uni play again a couple weeks later. This thread and all the other cool videos, links and more on Uncyclist.com have been a great way for me to get my uni bug fix while I can't ride! Thanks all!

Not that I have any uni experience to speak from, but I agree with DocDoo that with all your road biking experience and general fitness you are not going to have much if any problem with uni riding endurance for distances NSYO. Once all those little balance muscles are trained you'll be good to go as long as your seat is comfortable Super kewl that you and DocDoo are making such fine progress around your respective neighborhoods and with freemount and idling practice!

Keep it rolling!Cheers!

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Old 2010-10-26, 02:39 AM   #58
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Angry Days 18-19

Day 18 went pretty well, with a lot of focus on trying to be more steady. It was a couple days ago but it seemed like I made some progress. Also did a little bit of work on free mounting, but not much.

Spent some time with my daughter and she is making good progress. She is really enjoying the learning process, and her attitude is great!

Day 19 was a rough one. I just couldn't get anything to come together consistently. But I think I had my longest ride to date in spite of it.

My biggest problem is patience with myself. If I am not progressing the way I want then I get frustrated. While I know that it is not reasonable to expect too much I do it anyway. Will I ever grow up????!!! So I am kind of at myself. Tonight should be a success since I had a couple really long rides including my longest ever (by a little bit). But since I struggled to be consistent and had a bunch of failed attempts I am feeling pretty frustrated. So now I am frustrated at me for being frustrated!! Pretty childish if you ask me!

Well, tomorrow is another day. Though I need to quit expecting too much I guess the other end of the same stick is that I am too stubborn to quit. So here I am airing my embarrassing tendencies to the world hoping someday to get a better handle on my own self-expectations. My guess is that I am not the only one, so that helps a bit. Hopefully my sharing of this isn't too much for any of you kind people.

One tip: Don't get an Avenir unicycle. The left crank arm on mine comes loose every couple days, no matter how tightly I torque the nut. While I want to get to a point where I can ride more consistently before buying another uni I am really tired of this problem with this one.

I hope my daughter keeps up the learning. She is easier going than me, but she is also not as motivated to learn. But I think she will keep it up. It is so fun to work with her and watch her learn.

Kickstand - I tried earlier this year to start on a 24, but I found a used 20 Torker CX for cheap and I think it helped me progress a little faster. But at 6'3" the 24 is a lot better for me so I am glad I am on it now. You will be back soon enough!

Hello Klaus and SmellyGeekyBoy - welcome to the thread!

As for long distance riding, thanks for the tips. I am in pretty good condition as a road cyclist, and I can tell from the last couple days that it really is about sitting in the saddle.

Doc Doo - Congrats on the BIG RIDE! I don't know when I will achieve that distance, but now I have something to shoot for. Keep it up! How is the free mounting going? I had a couple decent attempts tonight, but it will still be a while. My big challenge is getting started without going all over the place for the first few pedal rotations. Hopefully that will improve with time.
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Old 2010-10-26, 01:04 PM   #59
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Hey NSYO, try not to be too disappointed and frustrated. We all get those days where nothing goes right. I spent an hour on Sunday - the day after my big ride - trying and failing to get anywhere on the 24 but then got on the 20 and tootled off down the street. Go figure!

I think we're very similar in that we're expecting too much, too soon and judging our own progress by that of others which just leads to frustration. Give yourself a break huh! But you know that already without me telling you

As you say tomorrow is another day and you could well have a great breakthrough You're not happy with the Avenir? Maybe you could locktite the nut and put it on Craig's List and buy yourself a lovely shiny 24 or 26. If I had the money I'd have a KH 26 in a shot. You're going to end up with multiple unis so you'd just be starting your collection early!

I hope your daughter carries on learning too, it's a fantastic thing to be able to learn something that is infact quite difficult and would show her at her tender age that she can do anything she sets her mind to. Have you shown her all the fantastic videos that the 'kids' make of their riding, not to mention folks like KH and Dustin Kelm and of course the girls on Unicycle TV
http://unicycle.tv/channel/Uni_Girls

Free mounting progress is slow but steady, I've had one proper success and a few nearlies but I'm sweating about my progress on this one.

I'm not going to get much time this week for practicing sadly, not only is it reading week for college but Nurse Doo is going to be visiting for a few days. I shall be back at it next week though.
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Old 2010-10-26, 11:01 PM   #60
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Hang in there NSYO! Even if there are times when you don't know it, we know you have what it takes! Let yourself bask in the glow of what you've already achieved for a bit longer ehh? You deserve it! I think I'll be grinning uncontrollably for weeks when I get there (although I appreciate the honest warning that it is possible that won't be the case ;0)

Completely natural (in my thinking) to have a bit of a let down after the high of clearing that BIG "I can ride" hurdle though... Other achievements (like, ahhemm, your longest ride to date!!) probably will pale in comparison for awhile.

Gotta remember that chart that shows the uni learning curve and the size step you just went up! REVEL IN IT! :0)

Until next week Doc Doo. Enjoy.

CHEERS ALL!
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