29"ers, the Unatics and a childs' progress

Emma and I attended our first Unatics meeting yesterday, Sunday, July 6, 2003.

Our (my actually) motivation for finally making it to one was to pick up my new 29"er from U-Turn who created the beast for me. He can provide the details, but it has a Yuni frame and a RhynoLite wheel. It is amazingly light compared to anything I’ve ridden (2 Schwinn’s, a Coker and a Giraffe) and is a dream to ride.

The only negative bit to this is that the Nanoraptor tire originally put on has turned out to have a defect causing some bulging. I rode it for a bit before this was discovered and it felt great. For the time being it has been swapped with a Kenda off-road tire which does not have the right feel for the type of riding I plan to do; but he’s going to swap it back in the coming weeks when he has a replacement.

The seat post and frame have been trimmed to accomodate my 5’4" frame and 28 1/2" inseam. I have no trouble freemounting, idling, or riding backwards. In fact, these are not that much more difficult to do than on my 24" Schwinn. I was even able to do some juggling while idling on it. Hopping, too, is easy; the Miyata seat handle, secured with some extra rivety type things on the side helps quite a bit with this.

Yes, when I’ve got some (patience please), pictures will be posted.

Of course, the inevitable comparision must be made. No, the 29"er does not have the speed or momentum of a Coker. However, the extra speed over the 24"er and the (masterful) sense of control I have over it, do compensate for this amply. Although I’m looking forward to the Nanoraptor tire being put back on, and it was educational to be able to compare these two different kinds of tires in a short period, a 29" unicycle simply serves my needs and style of riding. I love it.

As for the Unatics meeting itself, what a blast. What a great bunch of people and a motivating environment. Anybody who regularly rides with others can easily attest to the fact that it is much easier to pick up new skills, perfect existing ones, and pass on skills in person rather than in print.

After getting some tips from other adults and U-Turns 10 year old daughter, my own daughter, Emma, went off on her own to practice and kept at it fall after fall after fall. A couple of times she got a full revolution of the pedals, but is still a far shot from actual riding. But the fact of being around so many other riders, particularly one her age, really got her desire to learn going. I’m hoping she’ll put in the time and be riding sometime this summer.

And I hope we’ll be back on a fairly regular basis.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Re: 29"ers, the Unatics and a childs’ progress

It’s about time! :smiley:

Yeah what a crazy thing with a brand new tire. It didn’t show up until the uni had a bit of riding on it.

We do too!

Sounds like a great new ride Raphael. I can hardly wait to try a Muni.

Emma will be riding with you before you know it. Keep us updated. --chirokid–

Oh what a difference a tire can make

Just a follow up comment to all this. I took the new 29"er out for a spin on the road/street and the Kenda tire is just unrideable for any real distance, in this case 2 miles. See this thread for details. It simply wont go straight and it requires painful hip twisting to keep on course.

In all fairness to U-Turn, he offered me the choice of keeping the defective Nanoraptor or swapping for the Kenda, in either case until a new Nano could be procured. Had I known, I’d have chanced the original Nano. It might or might not have blown, but as is with the Kenda given the kind of riding I do, I’m simply going to have to go back to the 24" Schwinn until the new Nanoraptor is in place.

One thing is for sure, this has been an education for me about tires. I never would have guessed that a given tire would simply not function on a particular surface. Or as likely, even having read this in previous posts, my lack of experience and concern caused me to gloss over it and not have it register.

Take heed and consider your choice of tire. :slight_smile:

Living and (hopefully) learning,
Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

what Kenda tyre is this?

Klaw XT.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Yes, also another detail about the day that slipped my mind when originally posting.

When Emma and I were in the subway at 116th St (right at Columbia University) waiting for our train back to Penn Station, a young woman stopped and said, “nice wheels.” I asked her if she could ride and she said that she couldn’t but that she had a friend who had ridden across the United States. I kind of knew who she meant, but asked her for the name anyway. Of course, she said, “Lars” and I said, “oh, Lars Clausen.”

She seemed pleased that I knew his name and I told her that he’s pretty well known in the unicycling community. She didn’t seem surprised and told me how inspirational he is as a pastor and how fortunate she felt to know him.

We briefly discussed the effort and determination required to ride cross country on a unicycle and then she wished Emma luck in learning and headed on down the station.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Hi Raphael!

Sorry to hear about your experience. These are complex issues and sometimes take a bit to resolve.

First of all, the wheel, cranks, pedals, and frame are in excellent shape and well-aligned, unless something occurred on your trip home. Both were ridden a reasonable amount by several people before your experience and no one reported any problems. I myself rode that wheel and tire here at the local park with good results, and in fact so did you at Grant’s Tomb. So we have some data points to work with.

There are three possibilities, probably working in concert, that may have contributed to your difficulties. There are easy ways to isolate each and improve the situation.

  1. A twisted seat; or conversely, an untwisted seat. Your seat may have become misaligned during a fall after your time at GT. Be sure to check this and make sure that it is properly aligned. If I am not mistaken, your current 24" uni is drilled and cannot misalign. But this is very important. If you need instructions about how to align a seat properly please let me know because it may not be obvious. My nephew continuously had this problem the other day and it was very frustrating to him. He was not ensuring that the seat was aligned after a crash.

A non-probable alternative is that you are used to a seat that is mis-formed and that the new seat, being fresh, causes your muscles to need to work differently. This is not probable mostly because you rode the uni at GT and had no problems.

  1. The interaction of a crowned road and the off-road tire, which you are not used to. The Kenda Klaw tire on your uni is not designed for the road. Crowned roads are difficult to ride until you get used to them. The combination of the two can be very, very tough and frustrating to handle. I have a strongly crowned road near my house and I ride down the middle of it on the Coker because it is such a struggle. This explanation is supported by the fact that you had no problems at Grant’s Tomb, which has no crown. This tire, of course, was not the one that you and I had chosen for the uni, but it was a loaner to use once we discovered the flaw in the Nanoraptor. Crowned roads are a real problem for many tires and riders. My freestyle’s Primo The Wall tire at 80 psi is extremely difficult to ride sideways on a slanted surface.

Simply avoid hard crowned roads for a while; try to find a flat park with grass and dirt to ride on. I think you’ll be much happier and able to relax. Drop the pressure back down to about 45 psi as well (we had raised it to 65 psi to experiment with turns on the flat Grant’s Tomb surface).

  1. Getting used to a new uni takes a while. Your body may be a little afraid, and can cramp-up into a quick bail-out configuration. Take shorter rides under more suitable conditions, and make a concerted effort to relax and listen to the uni. Your 700c is quite a bit different than your 24" and it will take a while for your body to understand that and not be afraid, and for your muscles to balance and work properly in concert.

We should have the Nano in this week and we’ll get it on your uni asap (hopefully Sunday at the Unatics meeting); but seriously that may not be the end of the twisting issue until we deal with those three factors; most importantly until you get past the “new uni configuration” stage. John Stone recommends 50 miles to get used to new cranks; you have new cranks, new wheel, new seat – everything is new. I have dealt with this personally on all my unis when they were new.

In any case, I’ll bring my tools and we’ll go over your uni from head to toe Sunday and make sure everything’s okay.

– Dave

want to sell it? or trade it?


It isn’t mine to sell. It’s just a loaner until the Nanoraptor is replaced. So, sorry, but no.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

29"er Update

A week ago I went back to the Unatics (NYC Unicycle Club) meeting and got my 29"er back with the Nanoraptor tire which U-Turn (Dave Stockton) swapped out for the Kenda which had been giving me so much trouble. It rides like it should. No more pulling or twisting! Just straight on joy and the promise of some nice medium distance riding (and lots of donuts).

Once again I’m a happy rider.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ