a small tip on idling and more


I guess some people are also working on this skill, so I thought I share my experience with you.

Now I am in the stage when I can idle for about 6-10s and then fall.

In our place, where I practice, there’re walls made of glass-mosaics (they’re not dangerous), and in the evening they act like a big, weak mirror. I can see myself and the whole unicycle. I have found that when i look at myself when i practice, everything is MUCH easier. Suddenly i felt i can idle forever, and indeed, i did it for at least two times longer than usual.
It’s was also easier to keep looking straight: i used to have temptation to look down. I felt I needed the visual information about the ground (this is not the truth, is it).

Can mirrors be useful for any trick? What do you think?


Re: a small tip on idling and more

Mirrors can be useful for several tricks, including making your bikini clad assistsant appear to levitate; making her appear from an apparently empty wardrobe; and making a vehicle with wheels look like a landspeeder in Star Wars.

Unicycle tricks? Possibly. I have vague memories of watching my shadow when learning to idle late in the evening with the sun low. Similar principle.

I used to do white water kayaking. With limited opportunities to paddle long distance, I ended up spending a lot of time trying to surf ‘stopper’ waves on rapids. What you do is point the boat upstream, then perch it on a standing wave so that it keeps ‘sliding down’ the upstream face of the wave. The boat stays in the same place relative to the river bed, but is moving relative to the water which is flowing past. The difficulty of this trick is in keeping the boat pointing directly into the current, then guiding it first one way then the other across the face of the wave.

I practised for hours and hours, and could only manage a few seconds. Then one day, I remembered that someone had once said I should look a long way ahead. Within minutes, I went from ‘surfing’ for a few seconds, to surfing almost indefinitely.

What happens is, if you focus on something very close, you find yourself trying to make big corrections for what appear to be big changes of position/balance. If you focus on something a long way away, then the distance takes all the ‘clutter’ out of the information your brain is receiving, and you respond on a more intuitive level. Instead of analysing and correcting, you just do it.

Carrying this wisdom over into unicycling, I found that it made a HUGE difference when I was learning to idle when I realised that I should gaze at an object in the middle distance. It’s almost a Zen thing: you focus your mind on the object, and your brain just gets on with handling the balance.

Months later, I can idle my 20, 24 and 26 more or less indefinitely, and I’m able to hold conversations when idling. Take the MIND out of the loop, and let the BRAIN do the work.

Any other office workers out there notice how things run more smoothly when the boss isn’t there with some New Ideas? Same principle. :roll_eyes:

Re: a small tip on idling and more

Interesting observation about that mirror. I have no opportunity to
try it though.

On Wed, 25 Jun 2003 14:02:36 -0500, bazs
<bazs.plfaz@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>I felt I needed the visual information about the ground
>(this is not the truth, is it).
I don’t know about the truth or not, but finally I have some sort of a
supported. When learning to ride a unicycle I was also looking quite
close to me for exactly the same reason. Experienced riders urged me
to look farther away but it felt awkward. Now that I can ride I find
that looking farther away is easier.

I can idle but not without thinking yet, and once again I find that
looking at the ground helps me. So hey, you’re not alone!

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“No two crotches are alike. If they are, I don’t want to know about it. - John Foss, on seat comfort.”

MikeFule, You’re on the button… I play a lot of tournament scrabble* - Tournament games are played with a chess clock set to 25 minutes, but I really enjoy games with the chess clock set to 3 minutes. This takes the MIND out of the equation, you don’t have the time to make the same intricate predictions, board searches and risk assessments, you just have to make the first play that comes into your head instead of second-guessing yourself for 2 or 3 minutes on every play. This kind of practice forces you into developing your scrabble intuition - helps greatly in a tournament setting to know you can make a decent play without thinking about it. Now, in a 25 minute game, when my turn comes round, I note the first word that pops into my head, then start searching the board and weighing up probabilities of what tiles my opponent has (and which ones I will have on my next turn) for a minute or two, but very often end up making that play that popped into my head first, without higher-brain intervention.
I have definitely found that when learning a new skill/trick on the uni, I’ll practice and practice and practice, but the breakthrough often seems to come kind-of by accident, when I’ve started to let my mind wander off the subject, then i’ll look down and suddenly realise i’ve idled 20 times, get excited, and UPD.

ever used ‘unicycle’ in a tournament?

Fifteen points, at least, plus the letter attached to, plus 50 point bonus for using all seven letters!

Unicycle would be a fairly ‘low probability’ word (unlikely to have 2 c’s and a y on your rack at the same time) - I’m pretty sure i’ve never even seen the word ‘cycle’ on any board. But now that you mention it, I’ll definitely keep it in mind at the next tourney - it could definitely be useful when you’re stuck with too many consonants on your rack.