20 20 vision

A day of re-evaluations…

Yesterday it was so hot I was wiped out after 12 miles on the Coker. Today it looked the same, so I went out on the powered two wheeler… who needs a warm jacket in the summer? A hundred miles later: sunburned face, and hypothermia!

So I go out on the 20 incher to warm up - I’m so cold I need to wear a sweater in the car, and have the heaters on - and all the pedestrians are half naked! (Round here, that’s much better than half the pedestrians being all naked!)

Plan A is to devote some time to developing my trials skills. There’s only one way to go: I have no trials skills at all, except an ability to hop on the spot.

As a concession to ‘trialsing’, I lower the tyre pressure a bit, and drop the seat 20mm or so. I warm up with some idling, one footed idling, and reversing. I spent hours in the winter learning to ride one footed. Now I can’t do it for love or money (although I was offered neither, so it’s academic).

I start a bit of hopping. I hop “up” onto a low wall. And I mean low. It’s about 1 inch (25.4mm) high. This is the first time ever that I’ve hopped ONTO something.

I find an old plank, and balance it on a couple of odd bits of wood. I hop onto it, about 2 inches up. It’s not the height that’s the problem; it’s the confidence.

I hop over a 2 inch diameter branch. Wow! Trials god Mike!

I try to hop back; my foot slips off the pedal, and the pedal rakes my Achilles tendon where it’s still sore from the Coker handle after yesterday’s UPD. I try again, lose my nerve, put my left (non dominant) hand down on the seat to steady myself, and fold my index finger back. Ouch!

This injury could be serious - it’s the finger I use to pick my nose when I have a pen in my other hand. Perhaps I’ll need tomorrow off work.:stuck_out_tongue:

I re-evaluate. Trials is clearly too dangerous. At least fo rnow, with the riverbank calling gently, “Ride me, ride me!”

I raise the seat back to normal height. Miraculously, I can now ride one footed!

So off on the 20 along a rough cross coutry route by the river.

Last summer, I rode this route several times a week on my 26 inch MUni. I managed to ride every obstacle cleanly, but I never managed the whole route without a UPD. At that time, it was a “challenging route” and “serious MUni”.

Now I’m sailing along it on the 20 like it’s no problem at all.

Two re-evaluations:

  1. The route isn’t that challenging and/or
  2. The 20 is more competent than I thought.

Of course, it’s hard work, because the larger wheel of a 26 or Coker smooths out the small bumps; on a 20, every slightly obese blade of grass is a hazard.

When I meet walkers, they seem more friendly than when I’m on the Big One. Perhaps I’m more relaxed, and more tolerant. Things happen more slowly on a 20, you have more time to plan and react. It feels good to be 100% confident that I can idle or reverse out of any situation, and remount without problems if it becomes necessary.

When I meet bicyclists, they generally ignore me. The Coker impresses them; they can relate to the 26; the 20 is “just a toy” and beneath their dignity to acknowledge.

On the Coker, the world flies by at a goodly pace. Even when cruisin’ it does 8 mph. The 20 is happier at just over walking pace, so I re-evaluate the route again - there’s just loads of wildlife I usually don’t notice: 3 sorts of dragonfly, several types of butterfly, and lots of wild flowers.

Two mating dragonflies zigzag in front of me, locked in the throes of passion. Not wanting to intrude, I UPD, and they fly on, blissfully unaware.

Re-evaluate again: the 20 has many advantages, but being that bit lower than the Coker isn’t one of them - at least, not when the path is overgrown on both sides with tall stinging nettles. I ride cautiosly, arms above my head, grateful for my elbow protectors, although this isn’t what I had in mind when I bought them!

I ride as far as the tea rooms and the river lock. I’m sweating buckets, and I wish I’d brought money. I ride down a steep gravel bank to the river, turn and ride alongside the river on deep gravel. I manage a few metres before I UPD. The uni ends up in the river, but not fully submerged. I bow to the spectators and suggest I might pass the hat round.

I re-evaluate the wisdom of riding a 20 this far from the car! I’ve about 2-3 miles to go back, and I’m hot and drenched with sweat. I decide to follow the tarmac track instead of the off road route.

My crank works loose and I’m glad I have my full set of tools. That was a lesson learned a few weeks ago on the 28. No ride is too short to need tools.

The tarmac is boring, my knees are sore, the seat is chafing. I decide to ride backewards for a bit. It takes concentration (relieves the boredom) and excercises different muscles (relieves the knees) and even makes the chafing a bit less of a problem. But it’s mind boggling, and after a couple of hundred metres, I turn to go forwards.

I make my turn as a bicyclist passes. He doesn’t even make eye contact. I follow him, singing, “When you’re smiling…”

Three young girls giggle and ask me if it’s hard. I ignore the obvious smutty rejoinder and tell them it’s hard to learn but easy to do. How long did it take me to learn? To get this good took me 17 years. They’re about 15 years old! I explain that learning to ride is fairly easy and would take them a few hours. One asks for a go, appears to have natural talent, but becomes embarrassed and gives up.

I return to the car after about 6 miles or so, tired, hot and smiling. I had forgotten how much fun a 20 can be. I wish I’d worn cycle shorts though.

When I get home, I wring out my tee shirt. The big patch of sweat on the back yields exactly one Camelbak’s worth of moisture. Proof positive! Camelbaks are not a net benefit at all. (Not strictly true, but they do make you sweat a lot more!)


Woah, who knew you can get hypothermia from the windchill on a… motorcycle?(thats my best guess for a powered two wheeler)

You took pain to ride and write…

And I tell you lenthy reading isn’t my passion, but every time you wirte I can’t stop reading .Mikefule TU ! …a lot of fun to travel with you.:smiley:

Re: Hei

I’ve gotten hypothermic at 70 degrees on a motorcycle. Always bring a jacket!

The opposite is true on a unicycle. I can probably get warm in really cold weather by riding a unicycle, though a freestyle uni or MUni should work much better for that than a Coker.