I’m relearning to ride again after a 10-year layoff (except for some seat time on a 20") on a 26’ uni. I also mention that I’m 61 and at times feel as creaky as a rusted lawn chair. I’ve had concerns about being able to run-out falls and considered getting safety gear, but there are other uni-related items I want and have to budget. I never use to wear safety gear.
My free mount is not very good yet on this new 26". It takes me 2-3 tries. Last night on my 2nd attempt I took a fall that threw me on the ground pretty hard with no chance to run it out.
Near as I can tell while I was coming over the top I must have missed the front pedal and my the toes on my rear foot caught on the rear pedal meaning all I could do was go ‘over the fall’ and landed on left wrist, right knee and right elbow, and the seat whacked the hell out of my thigh above my knee bad enough that it’ hurt to bend this AM. It sucks because normally I can roll out of anything so I’m not used to hitting the ground hard. Luckily nothing permanent.
So I’m a little shaken now about learning to ride again, should I, at 61 yrs old is in my head. But I’m not giving up yet, and plan to get some safety gear to give me more comfort/confidence for when I do have an awkward fall and I’m going to work on the muscles and flexibility to be able to run-out falls and get my shoulder rolls back up to speed.
Ow. I’m 56, but have ridden regularly since I was 17. I can feel the changes that have come with the intervening years, and ride more conservatively. My brain seems to stop me from riding as fast as I used to. Of course, any of us can take a sudden fall at an awkward angle.
To be learning on a unicycle, means to be falling occasionally. So safety gear is the smart thing to do if you’re not a teenager. It’s still smart for teenagers, but it’s just harder to convince them they aren’t invincible. Most of the beating my body has taken in unicycling happened before I used a lot of safety gear.
I have a pair of wrist guards I’ve hardly ever used. I give them a try every once in a while, but they really inhibit my ability to use my camera, etc, so it’s a trade-off for me. You’re welcome to try them. Also I have some old Roach leg armor that you can try; not sure if they’re too worn out to still be good, but can hold you if you’re waiting for something to come in the mail.
I live in El Dorado Hills but am out of town until Saturday. I have some old helmets too, but I only keep those for when people forget one or something. They’re retired for a reason.
If you’d like to come over, contact me through my website, unicycling.com (email address link at the bottom of most pages). I can also show you a bunch of old unicycles if you’re interested…
I’m 65, I just started to learn in August. Today is my 31st day on a unicycle. I can ride a bit and am trying to freemount. No success on that yet. I wear leg armour, wrist guards and a helmet. I fell once at the beginning and landed my ribs on the palm protector of my wrist guard. The only other fall was when I was too tired to run it out a upd and stumbled into a roll. I have also been bit by the pedals several times. Yup, you Need safety gear. We don’t bounce as well as we used to. Get some and get back in the saddle. Good luck, it will probably come back fast for you.
I’m 38 and I wear any kind of safety gear that exists! You can buy really cheap used protection online: lots of people loosing interest in extreme biking or snowboarding or trial motorbike, etc.
Last week I did a bad fall (now it’s a blue skin part big as an open hand!) and I’m looking for shorts that can protect my lowerback… and I’m a beginner!
I think that my protections are also my children and my wife insurance…
I can share my experience with protective gear. When I first started riding my 36er with gusto I had a few superman falls where I landed on my hands and knees. Since they generally happened when I was moving fast I would slide a metre or two and the road surface felt like a cheese grater.
I started wearing Hillbilly gloves and Telekneesis kneepads and found they made all the difference. I could have a spectacular fall and then get up and ride on like nothing happened.
The gloves are tough leather and have a built-in wristguard. They also make them in full-finger but the wrist section is more bulky. Probably better protection but looked like overkill to me.
The kneepads strap on to your leg rather than being pulled on like a sock. This means you don’t need to remove your shoes. I have had them move out of place slightly when falling once or twice (still protected from impact but I ended up with scraped knees) but most of the time they’ve been fine.
On both the gloves and the kneepads the bit that touches the ground is hard plastic, so you slide down the road rather than getting tangled up.
Anyway, that’s my 2c. I like them enough that I have a backup set for when these die, but they’re still going strong after 3 years or so (only use them for muni now though). I also have a set of KH gloves and knee/shinguards, but I never use them as I find the Hillbilly/Telekneesis combo to be way better.
My worst beginner falls were failed mounts. I wear wrist protectors, elbow pads and knee pads. I agree that a 20" is going to make you more confident.
Concerning mounting, I suggest you focus on mounting as slowly as possible. In other words, make the mount last a long time. That is the essence of a good static mount. I recall as a beginner trying to get the mount done as quickly as possible; the logic was that if I didn’t get it done quickly, it wouldn’t happen at all. But the consequences of a quick mount were the occasional missing of the second pedal. Don’t let it happen to you. A good, smooth mount is easier said than done. Focus on slow and smooth rather than success (riding away from the mount).
Keep your eye on the pedal till your foot hits it. If I get sloppy I occasionally don’t keep an eye on the pedals (lead foot first then second pedal/foot) I will not hit the pedal squarely.
Age is just a number. I started riding a 36er after a 50 year break. Yes a few bumps and bruises but safety gear will help and you will get better in a short time. I believe that the exercise you will get far out weights the risk.
That’s a valid point. When I went back to unicycle, about 20 years after I sort of learned (never proficient then though), I first got a 24". Weeks of frustration and then I got a 20" and could master mounts in no time. I kept it for quite a while as a loaner to wannabe learners.
My best learning of static freemount came from holding a fence. Started with my forearm along the top rail. It is very easy to stabilise direction like this. As I progressed I relied less on the fence until I only need a pole because I could maintain direction with my legs.
Eventually I didn’t need to hold on to anything.
One thing that has surprised me in my learning is how easy it becomes to mount a small uni after dealing with a 36. The twenty now feels like “pop it under me and ride away”. Mounting the 26 feels trivial, yet when I first started riding it, I thought it was a monster.
Some of the skill to the static freemount comes from learning to still stand. I learnt that by riding up steeper and steeper hills. It is very insightful to ride very slowly while applying high forces to the pedals.
The static mount is sometimes described as a “one footed still stand”.
And definitely watch unimyra’s tutorial videos. They are the best. Here is one of them. The principles also apply to smaller unis. The 36 techniques introduces some aspects of a rolling mount.
There is another brilliant video he did just on the rolling mount.
If I’ve gone for a period without riding, or if I’m using a wheel size that I haven’t ridden for a while, or a different crank length, I find that mounting becomes easer once I’ve “dialled in”. That means riding for a bit and getting used to the cadence and resistance of the unicycle. Try mounting against a fence and riding a few circles, ideally on uneven ground. You will then probably find that free mounting comes back to you.
It’s not meant to be easy — that’s part of the charm — but no one wants to hurt themselves.
Personal opinion: too much armour and padding can make you feel that what you are doing is more dangerous than it is, and therefore make a fall more likely. I’m 55 and ride with only with helmet and gloves most of the time.
I had a helmet , bought some gloves and leg armor. But I sprained a wrist because I wasn’t wearing the gloves. Then I bought a headlight and taillight, to see and be seen. One night at dusk, heading home , I fell hard, the second fall, I may have fractured a rib because I couldn’t see the ground. My fault , since I didn’t mount the headlight yet. I did have the gloves on.
Now I try to wear gloves everywhere, because if you’re not falling, you’re not trying. They give me comfort. And I have a light with me at dusk all the time.
The other day I forgot the gloves in the car, and felt almost uneasy without them. I can’t explain it. I haven’t wore the leg armor yet, after owning it about a year. I consider Jeans as some of my safety equipment, that helps prevent most cuts and bruises on my legs.
Bottom line is: figure out what works for you, learn from yours and others’ mistakes, and pedal on.
And the creakiness will subside after more and more pedals.
I forgot you are in my neck of the woods. I haven’t been all that active for the past few years and some days I feel like a rusty lawn chair unfolding but I know that will improve.
I’ve got another story about why I didn’t ride for 10 years but that’s for another thread. 10 years ago I was riding a 29" uni and wasn’t particularly worried about falling. These past 10 years have really aged my body and made me feel stiff and old(er). But today’s plans include heading to the park to practice my rolling and some other stuff to make me less worried about falling.
I like those knee pads because they articulate but ouch on the price. I got some gear yesterday, pretty minimal protection, more like what an inline skater would use, but that’s kind of what I want but the knee pads are going to bother my knees I can already tell because they are not very long so they are bunched up behind my knee. So I’m still kind of in the market. Until I go on my next ride which is still a few days away.
Things would be a little better if it hadn’t been six months since I did the seat time on the 20". I kinda wish I had got a 24" but I wanted to get the Uni I really wanted for the riding (road/fitness) I plan to do. It was a guess on how much transition there would be to the 26". It’s a case of not being as good as I hoped but not as bad as I feared, well until the fall. I really wasn’t expecting this awkward of a fall.