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Old 2017-04-29, 04:48 AM   #61
Engineer on a Unicycle
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Just did my first unicycle marathon.

East 30's around lower Manhattan and up to west 125th and back. Nimbus Titan 36er with 125's. Lots of lamposts when they were there, but a few critical freemounts that eventually took. About 2/3 of it after dark under a helmet light - sometimes I think it's only when the sun sets that I really hit my groove.

Looking back, it's surprising it took me almost two years to get here. After I learned to relax, overtrained doing Central Park loops in preparation for the Coney Island ride only to find it a breeze, I got through 23 miles at the end of my first summer, though an overuse injury to my knee in pushing that ride all the way home basically ended the first season for me.

My second summer I slacked off, rode less, and didn't have any real new achievements.

First real ride on the 36er I bought this Spring was 22 and change and I figured the marathon was within reach, but serious attempt at that fell far short. Finally after a rainy week couped up inside decided to go for it tonight, and even though I started barely an hour before sunset just pushed through and finally did it.

Guess now I have to plan my route for the big 30.
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Old 2017-04-29, 05:17 AM   #62
LargeEddie
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Fantastic! That's a real milestone, and two years to work up to it doesn't seem bad at all. Good luck on the future goals. You could probably skip over 30 and jump ahead right to 50k.
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Old 2017-04-30, 07:26 PM   #63
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Jump to the 5 Boro Bike Tour! Maybe a little too soon for that one, but on June 25 they seem to have an event where you can ride a 33 mile route, among others.
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Old 2017-04-30, 07:44 PM   #64
Engineer on a Unicycle
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Originally Posted by johnfoss View Post
Jump to the 5 Boro Bike Tour!
Would love to, but getting on the 36er is still too shaky to attempt in a crowd, and on the 26er I'd never keep up (not even sure the big wheel would fix that yet).

I'd say "too bad there isn't an intermediate size" but a local club member's decision to switch to a 32 is precisely how I came to purchase a used 36. So I'll just have to grow into it first.

And at least I now sometimes pass occasional casual bicyclists who are actually riding and not just dawdling. I really should time a clear section - my suspicion is that my riding pace might be almost okay, but it's remounting after lights and such that's keeping ground covered per hour too low.

It looks like my east side to west side route would be 50k if extended to the little red lighthouse. May see if I can talk anyone else into joining for at least the nicer part stretch of the west side portion from where it leaves city intersections behind above the 50's.
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Old 2017-05-01, 12:45 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by Engineer on a Unicycle View Post
Just did my first unicycle marathon.
Well done! That's pretty impressive considering you've had that wheel for just a few weeks!
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Old 2017-05-02, 05:47 PM   #66
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Well done! That's pretty impressive considering you've had that wheel for just a few weeks!
Thanks! The true irony is that I rode it 22 miles on my second day of ownership, but then took several weeks to break through 26.

A lot of it is that a 36er isn't very hard to ride on a flat greenway once on it and up to stability speed, and doing so seems to take less toll on the legs and seat than the same distance on the 26er.

But working on mounts strained muscles, especially an awkward back whip that happened while using the 26 to try to figure out how to do a rolling mount.

Sunday's shorter ride was almost all freemounts... I may not be doing them right, but at least they were working in a tolerable-for-a-solo-ride number of tries. Oddly enough the few times I did grab something I never got going and ended up using a free mount instead - non-awkward assisted mounting is almost a skill itself, and one that quickly fades when not used. But then I also started north of most of the traffic lights where the following lamp post is a temptation. At least I now know that with patience, I can finally take it places where there are no mounting aids.
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Old 2017-05-02, 11:17 PM   #67
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Nice job!

It sounds like you're riding a street route, if so, you might want to try mounting by standing on the curb, with the wheel in the gutter. That extra 6 inches means you don't really have to hop to mount, you just kind of lean into it. I find it a helpful alternative when street riding. Cheers!
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Old 2017-05-02, 11:30 PM   #68
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It sounds like you're riding a street route, if so, you might want to try mounting by standing on the curb, with the wheel in the gutter. That extra 6 inches means you don't really have to hop to mount, you just kind of lean into it. I find it a helpful alternative when street riding. Cheers!
Yes, did that a lot on the first ride. Curbs were more like 4 inches, but still made a huge difference. However on a lot of the greenway (bike, etc path) what is immediately inside the curb is a very shallow brick paved gutter about a foot wide. It's quite smooth as such things go, but there's still a dilemma between rolling out of it at an angle immediately, or accelerating to speed in it, and then riding out.

Also tried a few perpendicular launches from curbs when crossing but not as good at tht.
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Old 2017-05-03, 03:11 AM   #69
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Spent most of the evening improvising a saddle handle lever mount to put a BMX sidepull caliper brake on the 36er and so didn't get to up to Central Park for my first big wheel attempt at it until after dark.

First few experimental touches of the brake on level ground were a bit wild and almost went over, but soon figured it out and I have to say I really like it for saving the knees in rolling hill terrain. Based on some thinking and some hints here I soon got the sense of lightly engaging it, and then all but powering the cranks down the hill against that resistance, yielding a feeling of positive control. Have to let up on it again gently too! But after leaving the unicycle behind by misjudging the slope of the shallower 3% climb I decided the big down and 4% up at the ice rink weren't something I was ready to tackle on the 36, especially in the dark, so did two "cheater" laps via the cutoff instead.

I generally like riding after dark with a helmet light, but it does tend to mean that you "feel" rather than "see" upslopes and downslopes, sometimes even at odds with what the eyes insist is the case. And that "feel" is much more apparent at 36/125 than it was at 26/125.

Mounts are still sometimes taking a few tries, but there's a confidence that I'll eventually get it. Actually had a jogger offer to help me on, politely declined but then he mentioned he'd always wanted to try, so tried to talk him into coming to a club meeting. The conversation break was enough to get on and ride off.

All in all, nice night for a ride... sadly looks like a few wet days ahead though.
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Old 2017-05-06, 10:31 PM   #70
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Five first-try 36er mounts accomplished my afternoon excursion down to the "bike expo" for the fun of handing a unicycle into the valet tent, and to less successfully shop for odds and ends.

Alas the first was the best, and they got progressively wobblier.

After wandering around the expo, the ride home seemed to take me five tries per mount.
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Old 2017-05-08, 01:48 AM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfoss View Post
Jump to the 5 Boro Bike Tour!
Would have been fun, but when you miss the registration deadline, sleep too late, and then only manage to find one wheel... it's time to mix up a bottle of electrolyte-ade and head for the One Boro Unicycle Tour

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You could probably skip over 30 and jump ahead right to 50k.
Which is exactly what I did.

Saw two wheelers in their distinctive helmet covers heading home from the ferry on pretty much my entire ride, given the variety of paces and celebratory plans.

Other highlights included seeing a guy with a tuba in East River park, my first experience of persevering through rain, chilling (a bit literally!) for an hour with the NY uni gang at Grant's tomb, and stopping to shoe an intruding car off the greenway.

Did the 16 miles up to the lighthouse in just over two hours, so getting a little closer to the goal of fitting into casual bike events. Felt like I was really flying for the last 6 miles above the lights, if only there weren't so many of them in the southern portion of the ride.

Now I've got the challenge of figuring our a good plan for a longer ride; I could repetitions of the 6 miles north of the last traffic light, but it seems like it would get old fast; I've already memorized where most of the bumps in the lower portion are.
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Old 2017-05-08, 05:04 PM   #72
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Would have been fun, but when you miss the registration deadline, sleep too late, and then only manage to find one wheel...
Yes, I read their website. That ride is a lot more complicated now, probably as a result of the Boston Marathon bombing. No Camelbaks!

But still worth it. There are very few rides the size of that one.

Unless you don't like crowds, in which case you'll want to stay away! (and probably not live in NYC)
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Old 2017-05-08, 05:15 PM   #73
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Unless you don't like crowds, in which case you'll want to stay away!
I kept encountering groups headed home from the ferry after the five boro tour, and as I was pausing to let 10-20 matching-jersey riders pass before remounting after a light, dealing with a river of that on the ride itself was a thought. (Conversely, late in the afternoon just before home, the last time I let such a group pass at the top of a hill assuming they'd freewheel, they instead crawled down it sightseeting so slowly that I had trouble staying stable)

I've seen a number of blog posts by people complaining about the amount of walking the ride now entails. Not sure how that compares to the stop-and-go of streelights and intersections - most of the appeal would be to get to a do a real ride without those, which now seems in doubt.

Also several bicyclists complaining that even making a good pace from a 2nd or 3rd wave start, they were already cut out of the Astoria portion and directed into the shortcut, making their ride barely longer than mine.

I'm beginning to think the ride is too big; what we need is better everyday infrastructure (and to not ruin what we have - apparently there are plans afoot to detour cycles from a key section of the west side greenway past the boat basin).

I have my eye out for a good 10+ mile stretch of protected clear sailing, to use as a base for distance rides.

Have other obligations next weekend but hoping to get up and check out the Mosholu parkway path, see if the dirt portion of the Old Putnam trail through Van Cortlandt park is rideable, and perhaps try its paved continuation in Westchester. But those are about an hour train ride to get to, so would have to be a day trip.
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