Over the last year or so i have been learning backwards riding on a 20".
I am finding now that my control,balance,ability to correct mistakes is good but fatigue kicks in and i fail as a result.
I can manage around 60 ft then my legs are shot! generally im fit and well but new muscles whilst doing backwards are really struggling with it, Guessing this is the same for most and its just a case of sticking with it?
Your legs are shot? Sounds like you’re using your legs too much! Are you sitting down properly on that saddle? Most weight will be on the seat, just like when riding forward. Think of when you ride forward, it wouldn’t require so much effort that you can’t keep going after 60 ft!
Instead of counting in feet, you could count in pedal revolutions, also called revs. It’s easy to keep track of your PR and see progress. It can also help analyze your errors. If you always fall on rev 2 or rev 3, you can try to analyze what happens during those moments, or right before them. Easy to set goals too, get 5 times 5 revs in a row for example.
You should sometimes try doing circles and figure 8s already, you can clearly already ride backwards quite a bit.
I don’t really think the different muscles used are the bigger contributor.
I think it’s pretty much exactly the same thing as with normal “beginners fatigue”. Every time you learn a new skill you start out being overly tight and overcorrecting a lot, as you improve you don’t need to be as tense, and your corrections start to be less frequent and better measured.
I find it relatively hard to relax when riding backwards (the whole having to turn your head to see what you are going to hit thing…), but telling myself to stop being to tense sometimes helps.
I agree with emile, if you can do 60ft, you can already start with focussing on turns and figure eights.
Exactly what I wanted to answer.
Lerarning a new riding trick ist just the same as learning to ride. In the beginning, a major amount of your energy is going into holding balance, all of these little balancing movements, accelerating and decelerating all the time, more preasure on the pedals - one foot working against the other, and being really tensed and focussed. Once you’ve learned how to ride, nearly all of your energy goes into coming forward (or backward).
So you’re never fully committing? I understand keeping a buffer when you’re on uneven surface or if you’re riding pretty fast, but you’re telling it yourself, you’re not doing it correctly on purpose. Being able to do small circles and figure 8 backwards smoothly without leaning into it will be very difficult.
I mean you do you and keep safe! But once you actually understand riding backwards, you’ll find that’s it’s the same as going forward, if you’re falling, all you have to do is step down. The more you do it, the more you know the limits of how much you can lean back and be safe. That being said you can ease into fully committing to leaning back. You could always wear a helmet if that helps your confidence.
Good luck with your skill acquisition
EDIT: When falling backwards in general, most of us have the reflex of reaching with our hands backwards, that’s how you break your wrist or arms! I think this is more likely than hitting your head. Best is to squat down and fall on your butt and then roll on you back or sideways. Knowing how to fall is another skill!
EDIT 2: obviously a different story if you’re talking about doing backwards riding on rough terrain
On the profile cranks there is a protrusion around the crank bolt that extends past the surface of the crank. When backing and trying to step off the back my shoe caught on that protrusion a couple times. Once it just pulled my shoe off and another time I ended up flat on my back. With the anti shoe catch guard the shoe slips past the protrusion and I can step off the back with no restrictions.
When built about 20 year ago they were about the best/strongest you could get. The Profile hub and cranks were guaranteed for life. They are tough but a little heavier then modern quality unicycles available today.