475 Feet ... yeah!


Well I had some minor Breakthrough today on the Unicycle. I have many of you here to thank for it … and of course to Chris (Rhysling) who has been my Prime Mover.

I managed to ride, consistently, at least 45+ revolutions of my wheel. I got on my hardwood floor after riding today and measured the distance in a revolution and it came out to 77 inches per revolution.

My max ride was 74 revolutions. That comes to right at 475 feet! Yes!

I think the piece of advice that helped me the most (and several people gave it, but John Foss emphasized it the most) was to just sit down on the seat. Just sit. Make myself sit. Several people told me this when seeing the video I put up ( http://www.lwb.org/vault/public/univault/lewis-ride-6.mpg ).

However, John told me several times, over and over, and in email, to just sit down. I finally did, and practiced going at a less frantic pace. Riding then became much easier. Thanks John!

And thanks to everybody!

I found that my control increased to where I can reliably make the sharp turn at my street corner now, and I can even do it coming back in the right direction. I have no problem riding down into the crosswalk, and I am starting to be able to just control myself more reliably overall. Many times, when making the turn on the corner, I was a little wide, and I found I could just slow down more, keep pedaling, using some gradual body language, and come in under the stop sign without touching it and then just ride on up the sidewalk down the other way.


Once I was at this point, I just practiced over and over. My total practice time today was 95 minutes.

My longest rides (several at 60+) were all because I saw a van parked WAY down the road, and I decided I’m going to do it and I managed to get close several times, and pass it twice.

I even managed several times to transition off the back side of my property after making the stop sign turn, by leaving concrete and hitting trail (slightly muddy too) and riding about 20-30 feet up the mud/grass trail uphill onto Belhaven College property.

Weird. It has been a weird day of unexpected accomplishment. As you can tell, I’m pretty excited! I feel like I broke out enough that I don’t hesitate now to tell people “I can ride the unicycle.”

I still can’t free mount though … thank you Mr. Thirty MPH Street Sign.

Well, I’m hungry and I deserve dinner. Thanks everybody!


We are all very proud of you here. Once you can ride slowly, and with control, like it sounds you are doing, your uni skills will improve rapidly, and so will your fun.
-David Kaplan

good job, just to tell you, when i was learning to ride i found that it’s best not to count, but at 475 feet, you’ll get it in a few days max

I’ll get what in a few days max? Huh? I lost ya …

I only started counting today, since I went so far. I counted as I walked back. It was the first time I spent tons more time walking back than mounting and riding. :slight_smile:

Oh and I’ve been learning unicycling since december, so if you went 475 feet in 3 days, I guess I’m way behind the curve, but I dont care … as long as I accomplish it, the time doesnt matter to me.



Congratulations Lewis!

You have been making great progress. And if you don’t mind me saying, you have been quite an inspiration to me. I’ve also had my uni since Dec., but only within the last week have I been practicing regularly. I was excited just to go three revolutions today unassisted. At that low a number it is easy to count.

So don’t worry how long it takes! Everyone will be different. And the youngens are sure to learn faster than 30-somethings like me.

Keep going!


Re: 475 Feet … yeah!

To get an acurate roll out, you’ll have to perform it under load. With your mighty frame atop it, the effective wheel diameter is smaller. You can easly do this in your kitchen: use one of Sophies non-permanant markers - or a map pen- and ink a spot on your tread. It might help the transfer to wet the section of tread. Do your roll out- in the sadle- and measure the distance between the ink prints.



To me, how far exactly the wheel rolled because of some kind of wheel compression doesn’t matter to me. All I care about is the amount of distance I went in the world.

In other words, I know I started at point A, and I know I ended at point B, and if I know my near-exact route, all I have to do is measure that line.

So, since I calculate my actual distance by the wheel revolutions as I walk back (unloaded unicycle), I measured the non-loaded rotation length on the floor.

If I were counting my revolutions while riding, then yeah, I would measure the length on the ground a revolution is when loaded. However, I would fall off if I tried … heh heh.

The exact distance and the accuracy (or lack thereof) doesn’t matter much to me in the end, so if I’m wrong, I’m wrong. Why?

Because …

Whatever the exact distance is, the point of my post is that I went quite far a number of times. That made me happy. :slight_smile: I went far enough that now I probably won’t bother counting anymore. I’m at the point that on a flat surface, I’m limited by fatigue and occasional error. I used to be limited by the fact that I just didn’t have even the basic straight ride down.



Doh! I suppose you probably actualy rode farther- since your walk back was surely straighter than the snake path of the typical unicyclist…[B]

I can’t count when riding the 24" either (well, not when seat out front, or riding backward-or while doing anything that requires some concentration, come to think of it). No problem on the Coker, though.


I can’t count. Big numbers baffle me. I usually stamp off numbers like a horse reciting its age but I can’t do that on a unicycle. So…I guess. Sometimes I guess really big numbers. Especially numbers that sound pretty when you pronounce them. I like numbers with fours in them because I like the “R” sound. I like the color blue, too, so things that rhyme with blue, like two, also have appeal.

Look off into the distance and ride that wheel, Lewis. You are becoming one with it. Soon you will become aware of your surroundings as scenery, not obstacles. Soon it will feel odd to be walking.


Thanks! I don’t think I’ve often been an inspiration before. More like perspiration. :slight_smile: Congrats on your 3 revs … it will continue to improve from there. I didn’t think it would for me, but it did.

Yeah, I’m 35 this sunday, and I am not learning fast, but I’m loving it!

Now I just need to get my webcam and usb hub and extensions set up so I can live stream my practicce sessions on my camarades web site. :slight_smile:


Happy Birthday!

I’m loving it too! Every improvement, no matter how small, gives me a great sense of accomplishment.


Woohoo! Yeah, I was able to actually just kinda enjoy looking around while I was riding some … even though it was just in my front yard … once I get to the turns and crosswalks, it becomes time to focus again.



On Fri, 8 Feb 2002 14:36:49 +0000 (UTC), Animation
<forum.member@unicyclist.com> wrote:

>So, since
>I calculate my actual distance by the wheel revolutions as I walk back
>(unloaded unicycle), I measured the non-loaded rotation length on the
Firstly, you’re right. Secondly, it was an insipid (or at least not a
sipid) attempt by rhysling to burst your bubble. Try 476 ft tomorrow!

Klaas Bil

“To trigger/fool/saturate/overload Echelon, the following has been picked automagically from a database:”

Lewis should have a flick posted soon that I shot last night, of him ‘running the bases’ on the rush-hour intersection outside his house. He also rode the Coker up to the fear wall. 'Tis a big tough bubble to burst- I’ll try harder, next time! :wink:



Actually I rode the Coker to the third fear wall.

The first fear wall was the “this thing has pedals with sharp knobbies that can whack my shins, and I have no armor” wall. Thats why I jumped off the first time, when I didn’t even go but a quarter rev.

The second fear wall was the “this thing is a monster” wall where I just jumped off on general principle. No rejoinders or word-play, please. :slight_smile:

The third wall of fear was the “man this thing is fast” wall. As soon as I got about 10-12 feet out, I turned it to the grass and bailed.

On a side note, the converted air seat Chris made was nice. I had never been on it before because its on the Coker, and that was my first ride yesterday. I know Chris might be shy and say he did a primitive job on it, but the bottom line is that it was very comfortable.

Regarding video, since it is a longer ride than 15 seconds, I’ll have to do a firewire capture and convert it down to a web-quality video. Even so, it would be 3 meg I think. Kinda getting big there. Only Chris and I would care, but I’ll probably put it up for my co-workers to see … though they are getting tired of me showing them video of me and Chris on our respective unicyclces. :slight_smile:

I need to get my webcam pointed out the front door …