A Tale of Two Bitties


Over 45% of us have them.

What mindbending ecstasies - and soul-wrenching pains - dost thou bring!

I confess to have more vivid and frequent experiences with the latter.

I once heard a legend of a cyclist with two wheels and only one ball. It’s probably just a tall-tale; the irony is too rich for reality.

I’ve been working on my unispins. The SIF 180 is getting pretty tight, but I have never landed an inspin. I had a single experience missing the pedals on an inspin, and the blood on the back of my right calf was really the least of my worries. Since then, my inspins have always become SIFspins at the last moment!

Alas, my balls have always been the source of my fear of commitment.

My jealousy of Julia Belk is thus increased.

Pardon me for digressing before I’d even begun.

Two years ago, I broke the head of my right radius off and out of the socket. My elbow surgeon was the elbow specialist for the Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Cowboys. He’s the last guy you want to hear use phrases like “humpty dumpty” and “questioning the wisdom of attempting to put this back together,” if you are a man in my situation. But I did hear those phrases.

He told me that to use my right arm in any regular sense again would be a dream, but not impossible. “In any case,” he said, “you will have arthritis for the rest of your life, and this will be virtually unavoidable.” He also told me to expect several more surgeries.

He was right about the arthritis, but it isn’t THAT bad yet, unless the air pressure changes as in a storm. Six months of physical therapy later, I returned to his place of work, and seeing the way I moved my arm, his eyes bulged. He immediately excused himself, went to his office, and came back with his camcorder. He asked me to do a variety of movements for the next five minutes and kept repeating, “I can’t wait to show this to the board.”

I have seven screws in that elbow, but it is functional. I can’t supinate fully, www.dictionary.com but other than that, it is perfect. No one knows my arm is fucked up until either I tell them or they watch me bowl.

Because of this defect, the muscles that would have been best utilized for certain actions have in some cases been supplanted by different muscle groups. As a result, I am not as strong at some movements.

Don’t get me wrong; I could still beat Julia Belk at arm wrestling.

But I cannot unispin very fast - fast enough for the 360 that is, unless I compound the standard movement my crossing my arms in such a way that I am grabbing the right side of the back of the seat with my left fingers, so that I pull the front of the seat to the right and the back to the left. This is a cumbersome and ponderous movement that results in a quick spin with little control.

But when I see a 15 year old girl pulling off 540’s, while I’m struggling to get the uni to spin even 180 with decent control, I wonder how I’m ever going to achieve that - and it is frustrating because, like I said, I could - and would - beat her at arm wrestling.

Can anyone offer any tips for spinning the uni faster for unispins? Anything you can think of may be helpful, so if you have any thoughts on this at all, I would really like to hear them.


Man you can try hop higher and higher and spin fast as you can! I thing is the best way to you reach the 360 unispin!

So is your recommendation, along with hopping higher, which I agree is good advice, continuing to spin the unicycle in the awkward way that I do?

So you spin to the right, with your right and left hands holding the left side of the seat and your right hand in front of your left?

Once upon a time, 6 months ago, I spun the exact same way, without a problem as my right arm was (and still is) way stronger than my left. But I went to NAUCC, and found out that it would be way easier to learn flip+spin tricks (hicks, treys, fifths, ect) if I spun towards my front foot (left). So then I set out to switch my spinning direction. 180s and 90-90s the other way were cake, I had already landed some before anyway. Then I had to relearn to 360 and 270-180-270 with my dominant hand in the back, whereas before I had been throwing completely with my dominant hand in the front doing all of the work. So pretty much your situation. Mostly, I spent the next few days doing tons and tons of 180s while completely failing at 360s. How I eventually worked out to land them was that I could get 80% of the power from my backhand, and control the spin/aim the seat with my front hand and adding just a little bit of power. So I shoved the seat around with my back hand, and twisted my front arm around all the way to control the seat and then brought my back hand in to catch it again.

Which hand do you have on the handle when you hop? You may want to switch to your left hand if you haven’t already.

Also, I have the opposite commitment problem than you, I can only throw tricks to seat in, otherwise my legs won’t commit for some reason. If it goes to seat out accidentally it’s the same for my hands and I’ll still catch it, but if I try and throw to seat out I don’t commit. :stuck_out_tongue:

Putting your hands like that is workable, check out:



NAUCC, you’re on dude!

I might go off of what Julia said and go even farther to say you might just want to make your left hand your dominant hand, things will only be awkward at first.

And Julia why is it easier spinning+flipping left than right? Is it better control?

Well it’s supposedly easier to spin towards your flipping foot on like hicks and treys and stuff, that’s why Eli is doing so many blind tricks, he wants to switch his direction and he said it just feels a lot easier.

I guess I am lucky I am goofy footed than, because my right foot is my flipping foot.

And to you who posted after her, I think I will take your advice. I have considered it before in passing, but it really would be the best thing for my arm in the long run.

Cool! Tomorrow I start blind spins!

Edit: It’s cold as hell, but I can’t wait until tomorrow to get started.

On all my flat tricks, I practice both sides evenly, because you can really tell a person’s limitations when they have to rig combos certain ways because they can’t switch backroll well, etc, and it looks kind of lame.

But with tricks like unispins, I really planned on putting off blind spins until far in the future because it doesn’t matter as much if you can only do it one way. What I mean by that is that it isn’t particularly limiting.

This is exciting! Thanks guys.

Edit: Julia, can you do flat doubleflips?

“This is not precisely correct. I am right handed, regular foot. My right hand is held as typically done, with fingers hanging over the right side of the seat. My left hand mirrors this, and is held behind my right hand. That is, my left fingers hang over the left edge of the seat, and then I whip my left arm as if to nudge the person on my left with my elbow. It appears to be the same way that Lorenz does it at 2:24, but not the way that Bob does it.”

Oh ok, so you’ve already switched to crossing your hands. I don’t see any difference between the hand positioning in the two video bits though :thinking: .

Why? And why would I have done this already? The truth is that I have switched to my left hand, but only because my arthritis is a real bitch at night if I hop all day with my right hand, but you would not have known this, so why the recommendation?

I’m looking into your windows right now o.0


Honestly, I kinda skipped through the medical bit and figured right arm < left arm, so I figured you might want to switch that too.

“On all my flat tricks, I practice both sides evenly, because you can really tell a person’s limitations when they have to rig combos certain ways because they can’t switch backroll well, etc, and it looks kind of lame.”

I’ve never seen a switch roll incorporated into anyone’s flat, I think mostly because all of the tricks are exactly one revolution so you always end where you start. I guess if you wanted to get really creative it could be helpful though.

“Julia, can you do flat doubleflips?”

Not yet, I haven’t really ridden too much since I put my last video out because I’ve been swamped with final exams. And it snowed here for two days so you could say I’ve been preoccupied. :slight_smile:

Edit: I think I’ll probably get them at EUC though.

“I’ve never seen a switch roll incorporated into anyone’s flat, I think mostly because all of the tricks are exactly one revolution so you always end where you start. I guess if you wanted to get really creative it could be helpful though.”

I think you could get some really sick flat combos if you could do switch foot tricks in there. But it would require a lot of work to figure out how to put those tricks in there as well as a pain trying to learn all your tricks switch.

Edit: I don’t think there really is a strong arm when it comes to flat tricks, it just depends on your stance which arm will actually be dominant for a specific trick.