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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
steveyo
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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, 04:02 PM   #7
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You will love this sport. Unfortunately, next year you will be 58, still posting here, and your username will be outdated. You may want to change it early in the game.

As all the others have said, and it can't be stressed enough, keep your weight in the seat. Remind yourself of this constantly as you ride. Every time you make a correction you will apply force with your feet but you won't remember to relax again until you remind yourself to put your weight in the seat, not the pedals.

Also, try to look into the distance, not close to the wheel. That helps to allow you to make large-scale, sweeping corrections rather than short, abrupt ones.
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Old 2011-04-22, 03:34 AM   #8
ascbeerman
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Lot of great advice here. One more tip. Think about your center of mass and where it is in relation to your axle. As you are moving along, your CM should be in front of your axle. How far depends on how fast you are moving. The faster the further. Try to feel that relationship and experiment with it. As you get better and more relaxed, try riding really slow with your CM directly over or just barley in front of your axle. Don't forget to breathe. Did I mention to relax?
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Old 2011-04-22, 01:24 PM   #9
57UniRider
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Originally Posted by ascbeerman View Post
Lot of great advice here. One more tip. Think about your center of mass and where it is in relation to your axle. As you are moving along, your CM should be in front of your axle. How far depends on how fast you are moving. The faster the further. Try to feel that relationship and experiment with it. As you get better and more relaxed, try riding really slow with your CM directly over or just barley in front of your axle. Don't forget to breathe. Did I mention to relax?
Hello ascbeerman. That sounds like great advice. I notice you joined almost a year ago, but it says you've only posted twice. Sounds like you know what you are talking about. Maybe you've been spending all your time actually riding! Anyhow, thanks for the advice!
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Old 2011-04-22, 01:25 PM   #10
57UniRider
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Yep. Cute Uni57!
I had to think about that one. Cute!
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Old 2011-05-16, 04:45 PM   #11
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Another oldie

Hi
I am glad to see there are more of us "Oldies" (65 very soon), having ago. Like wise I started to ride about three months ago. I started with a 24in but travelled to quickly so I laid my hands on a 16in which is far too small for me, being 12st.
Unlike the last post I have the advantage of riding both mountain and road bikes, approx 30 miles a day and more at weekends.
I have the problem of being able to sit down in the seat which I am sure would be of great benefit.
I love every moment of getting up on that crazy wheel and I am longing to be able to be more competent.
Here in the UK there don't seem to be many unicyclists, well not in my area, here on the south coast.
I love reading the posts as there seems to be a wealth of knowledge and experience and every little helps. Keep it rolling in.
Many thanks " T "
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Old 2011-05-16, 05:08 PM   #12
57UniRider
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800 feet

No. I'm not sure where the 200 ft. came from. I can do 800 feet, but I've been stuck at 800 for several weeks.
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Old 2011-05-16, 05:22 PM   #13
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Nor me. /me scratches head
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Old 2011-05-17, 01:07 AM   #14
57UniRider
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Thanks!

Thanks to you all who gave me the ol' "don't give up" pat on the back ! ! !
It helped. ... a lot.

I did quite a bit of practice on the 24" with the 6" cranks today.
I guess I will leave the cranks like that for awhile.

Actually, maybe working with the 5" cranks for a week may have made the 6" cranks seem a bit easier today in some ways.

I did some pretty good freemounts... in my classroom at school... and then on the street in front of my house this afternoon.

So... I am feeling better.

You are right GILD, I just learned some stuff I didn't really need to learn right this minute. I especially liked your straight forward advice for getting around the block! I shall do just that.

I noticed something different today. On one of my freemounts, I ended up with the seat much further to the front... as though I was sitting much further back on the seat... like the post was angled more forward. ... This had a fairly stable feel to it. Any comments on the angle of the post due to where the saddle is in relation to the rider's rear end?

Thanks everyone!
I think that ride around the block can't be too far off.

Thanks a BUNCH!
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Old 2011-05-17, 07:59 PM   #15
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I've noticed in my own progress, I'll set a distance for a goal, then I'll go there and come back. Today it was the car insurance agent. The distance didn't matter, I just went and came back, with various amounts of riding and walking.

I've been reading about and watching unis racing. They never complete the course without a dismount, or without walking through a tough spot. But at the finish line, its still a race completed. I did two miles today. It was a lot of riding and some walking, but it was still two miles.

I don't think you've mentioned if you went around the block yet. My thought to help you break your block barrier is to actually go around the block. Ride a ways, dismount, walk a little bit, and ride on. Walk a little further, then ride again. Take that uni around the block, show it where it needs to go. Get your mind and body accustomed to the distance you want to go. It feels great to ride that last little bit home.
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