Backward gliding and shoe wear.

Today I spent some time trying to glide backward down the hill on which I live. I tried it by taking a couple steps of backward one-footed wheel walk with the foot in back, then relaxing pressure and trying to build up speed. I didn’t manage anything spectacular, but I did go about fifteen feet, at a fairly slow speed. Unfortunately, I can see, even from the few minutes that I spent on this skill, that if I actually put in enough time to learn it properly I will soon wear through the top of my shoe. Regular gliding is hard enough on shoes, but the soles can generally take quite a bit, since they are made to handle a lot of friction. But the tops of my shoes (Converse High-tops) obviously won’t take much gliding. So my questions are:

  1. Does anyone have any ideas for reducing shoe wear? I know some people have learned backward gliding with the foot in back, and I can’t believe they just bought a new pair of shoes every week.
  2. Is it possible to glide backward with the foot in front of the frame? If so, can anyone tell me what’s the best way to learn it? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this done in some of the videos I’ve seen, but when I tried it today (by doing bwd1ftww downhill) I couldn’t get the gliding started at all.

Thanks for your help,

I probably won’t be able to give any specific suggestions, since I am nowhere near the level where I have to worry about such things as gliding backward :slight_smile: On this website
near the bottom is a picture of gilby gliding on a double wheeled unicycle, which is sortough like gliding backward.

by the way, I need a new pair of shoes (as my current ones are about to fall apart), so do you recomend those converse shoes you mentioned (for freestyle riding, obviously).

I am sure you will get backward gliding soon enough, and then you can work on BHSG (backward high speed gliding), which is the third most life threatening thing you could do (next to beating yourself over the head with a shovel, and walking across the street) :slight_smile:

Well, I don’t know if they’re the best out there, but I know they’re a lot better than the light hiking shoes I was using before I got them. They don’t seem to be especially tough, but they’re good while they last.

According to Gilby’s site, gliding backward with the foot in front seems to be more doable that I’d thought. I’ve never tried it.

The big problem with gliding against the top of your shoe, for me anyway, is the way the tire keeps untying my shoe! Plus it makes nasty black marks, and eventually tears up the laces.

Remember velcro shoelaces from the 80s? I used to have a pair of shoes with those velcro straps, and they were great for backwards gliding. Maybe you can find some of those at a thrift store! Not only will you save a bunch of change, you’ll look real stylish as well.

I also have some much more recent Nike turf shoes that have a velcro strap that goes over the laces. That works almost as well, but won’t look nearly as retro. Those are great unicycling shoes BTW. The strap keeps the laces from coming loose, or getting into the cranks.

What about putting the laces in your shoe, just like riot-police, SWAT, MP soldiers and many other criminals. Would that not be sufficient?

For good shoes I recommend Orchid’s who’s models all have an almost perfect sole. Though currently I use Duff’s myself, because they fit better with my feet.
The Duffs does not have such a tuff rubber than the Orchid has, but I don’t think that’s the depending factor on how long soles last. I think the ‘stickeyness of the molecules or atoms or whatever’ is.
Duffs model ‘Gambler’ is available from about USD 25.- online, but you might want to go to some skate store to fit them before buying.

Tried it. That should be enough to keep the shoes from untying, but the laces will still get ripped up.

For those that aren’t following this top-of-the-shoe stuff, when you glide backwards, it usually means you have your foot on the tire behind the seat post. This means it’s the top of your foot.

Then there’s the Gilby way. I think I’d be a little chicken to practice that way, because if your foot jams against the frame, you’re going to fall over backwards. This is not the case for Gilby (or someone else) gliding on a 2-wheeler!

I’ve always used my foot in front of the frame with my foray into gliding backwards. I say foot in front but I actually use my toe on the tyre with my heel on the crown of the frame. I’ve only done it from one foot backwards on the flat and as yet I haven’t gone that far as I haven’t got much speed up, I’m still practicing. I’ve had no problems thus far with my foot jamming.

two words my friend, duct tape

If you’ve got a two-wheeler laying around, you could always practice the Gilby way forward until you get the feel down.

how does gliding affect your laces?

I found I was using more the tip of my shoe, not the laces, so it’s the toe of the shoe that was wearing through.

Regular gliding does not affect your laces, but in backward gliding, your foot is behind the frame, like in this video, so your shoelaces are in contact with the wheel.