15cm drop

Beirne> From bkonarsk@mcs.kent.edu Sat May 7 06:11:28 1994

Beirne> I received several helpful replies about my draft description on how to
Beirne> go over a 15cm drop. I added them in to the document, as well as taking
Beirne> some information from a past posting. Here is my final version (until I
Beirne> get more suggestions).

ok, here’s some more suggestions on what you already have.

Beirne> To ride off the curb, approach it at a relaxed but even pace. Ride off
Beirne> the edge, and be ready for the unicycle to drop a bit underneath your
Beirne> seat.

The last part of this sentence struck me as a bit odd. How can the unicycle drop
a bit underneath your seat. This seems to imply that the seat doesn’t drop, or
other weirdness :slight_smile: If the person reading these hints is planning to go off a
curb, I’d be surprised if they were so uninformed that they need to be told that
the uni is going to drop a bit. So I’d omit this altogether.

Beirne> You will want to land with your weight on the pedals, which reduces pain
Beirne> and lets your legs act as shock absorbers. Start moving when you land
Beirne> and settle back down on the unicycle.

One thing which helped me make it off bigger drops was pausing a little before
starting to ride off. If you’re going to take the weight on your legs, you need
to stop pedalling (unless you have incredible muscular control at all points of
the compass), so the question becomes: when should you start again? The guy who
taught me made me hold it for a quarter or half second after I had landed and
before I tried to pedal off. Later you can reduce or perhaps eliminate this.

Beirne> You may wish to hold on to the front of the seat when you go off the
Beirne> curb, so that you can guide it back as you settle down.

I think people should DEFINITELY do this. Maybe you’ll eliminate it later on for
small jumps. There are a few reasons why doing this makes things simpler. The
most important is that it allows you to get right out of the seat while you’re
in the air. You not only hold the seat, but pull it UP. Then, if you have your
feet in the easiest (horizontal) position, you can be completely off the seat
when you land. Result? No bone jarring impact travelling up your spine and into
your brain. This is especially important as you learn to go off bigger things
(which of course you’ll be soon wanting to do). I have been off about 2 feet
jumps (60cm) and wouldn’t even think of going off without holding the seat.
Another reason to do it is that it stabilises the uni, though this is less
important if you’re just going off a curb.

Beirne> If you don’t like the idea of curbs, when off the uni, position the
Beirne> wheel where it would drop off the curb, and place the pedals in
Beirne> horizontal position. Then back up the wheel carefully, mount the uni,
Beirne> and go down the curb. This method ensures that the pedals are horizontal
Beirne> for landing, which is the easiest way to do it. After confidence and
Beirne> skill builds, it won’t matter where the pedals are when going down
Beirne> curbs.

This is good advice. You can also use it when learning to long jump over things.

Beirne> Also, some people prefer to jump off of the curb, rather than dropping
Beirne> off. This way you are sure to land with the pedals in a good position,
Beirne> but you need to be able to jump while moving.

I am one of these people. I feel that it gives me more control - I actually jump
up. You do need to be able to jump a little bit while riding, but definitely not
much. Using this method, you choose when to take off. The other school of
thought (or at least the only other one I’ve encountered,
i.e. in the few friends I have who do this), is to ride off with the pedals
anywhere and keep pedalling in the air until the pedals are horizontal.
I find this harder, and I don’t think it looks as good (as if that
matters :-)).

Some other things I would add are:

Lower the seat an inch or two. You may find this makes things much more
comfortable and that you greatly reduce the probability of the seat-up-the-bum
trick. Once you can do the trick comfortably, you can raise it again.

Make sure you practice landing with either foot forward. This is very important
if you want to become good and able to jump in all circumstances. This is even
more important if you like to jump off (rather than ride off and pedal in the
air), since being able to do it with either foot forward means you’ll be able to
get into position (pedal-wise) twice as frequently.

Practice making subtle adjustments to your approach angle so as to reach the
edge with the pedals almost exactly horizontal. I don’t have any good tips on
how to do this, it’s just something I conciously practiced. Eventually I became
so good at doing it (with right foot forward) that I found I couldn’t ride off
any other way! After a bit of un-learning I got passably good at going off with
left foot forward, and eventually it didn’t make too much difference.

I realise that these tips are a bit over and above what it takes to ride off a
curb, but you may as well learn to do things in a way that lets you extend what
you know. If you just ride off without stopping pedalling and without lifting
the seat and standing up on your pedals, you’re probably never going to do much
more than ride off a curb (and occasionally get hurt doing it).