?: Beginner: intuition or theory

Now that my first Uni takes a bit before I get it I can muse about the
learning process.

Since Bicycling per se is a somewhat intuitive “act”, is the general
recommendation to read the FAQ etc., or just get on the Uni and try to
figure it out on your own?

Reason behind this question: I can imagine, that after reading
literature about the how-to of unicycling one tends to “theorize”
while starting out, hence making it more complicated.

Basically it is get on the cycle, have something to lean on nearby,
and develop your balance necessary, I assume. And with that no
literature can help me…

So coming down to the big Q: as a beginner, is it recommended to read
the FAQ, or skip it until at least I can stay afloat?


RE: Beginner: intuition or theory

> Since Bicycling per se is a somewhat intuitive “act”, is the general
> recommendation to read the FAQ etc., or just get on the Uni and try to
> figure it out on your own?

Read some instructions and try to follow them. But don’t theorize, other
than to know why you fell off. Trying to understand all the processes that
make the unicycle work with you on top of it will hurt your brain and take
away time from the learning process.

Keep it simple, like a kid trying to make the thing go.

Stay on top,
John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone

“You’re not supposed to wash your Roach armor” - Nathan Hoover, on safety
equipment cleaning methods

best method i think is to practice in a hallway and then once you are more comfortable, move outside, and have a person on each side of you holding your hand.
-David Kaplan

Where are you located, Oliver? Perhaps you could find some one to mentor you…

Intelectualizing skills CAN help (don’t do this, try that, etc)- and once you have some basic ability and framework to referance, you will be able to think through problems on the fly. Nothing will substitute for that experience, though- so get out there on the wheel, bring your success/failures back HERE to hash out, and try again. Take some basic knowladge with you (like the easy mount positions, common safty equipement, etc.) and have fun.

Lewis just killed level 1, and is well on his way to slaying 2. Being so fresh from where you are about to tread, his insight would probably help.


Hi Oz,
welcome to unicycling.
Looking back at what helped me most when I started out to learn, I am convinced that FAQs, “how to” articles, and all other material did help me quite a bit. In the beginning, it was primarily because of the encouragement (all articles make sure you understand that learning is not going to be instantaneous and that you need to have some determination) and not because of technical details. Later (e.g. when learning to idle and hop), I was really able to profit from all the technical hints I found at various websites and this list.
Sebastian Höher’s book “Einrad fahren” (Rowohlt 1991, ISBN 3 499 18654 3) was also quite useful (I saw your US address on your German language website … maybe you have some means of getting the book from Germany).
Sooner or later you will develop your own “best” learning strategy (like riding off into the blue vs. staying close to a railing) -this list will help you figure out what the various options are; you still need to pick your own favorite approach.
No matter how you go about it: have fun and do not hesitate to use this group to report your progress and discuss any issues.

Re: RE: Beginner: intuition or theory

In case I was unclear on this issue: I totaly agree with the above statement. I started proped up against a wall, and rode AWAY from it- over and over and over again.

BTW: The break through for Lewis came, I believe, when after several weeks a nice man walked up to him and said ‘Oh, you just need to get on and ride it.’ This made Lewis feel so boyantly happy he just floated off without a care or bit of effort. :wink:



I beg to differ. For one thing, I have not officially tested for Level Anything, and I probably won’t. While I hope to go to NUC and UNICON, thinking of skill ranks makes me think of competition, which I find to be self-limiting. Even self-improvement, when focused on too much, strikes me as a form of competition with myself, and I don’t like that.

So, I won’t be testing.

Also, I am not capable of every item in level 1. Specifically, I cannot gracefully dismount with the unicycle to the front. I’ve been trying it … that’s just not the way my body comes off of the cycle. All that happens when I try to get off with the unicycle in front is that it shoots forward with a great force, demolishing plants, and in one case, a planter. I prefer the graceful dismount to the rear; in that version, I just step down, the unicycle is dropping out from behind me, and I reach back and grab it like a champ.

I don’t see any need to learn some other method, so I will probably be stuck at level 0 for all eternity … which is fine with me! :slight_smile:

The 3 meter (per loop) figure 8 is something I have no reason to practice, so even aside from a lack of a graceful forward dismount, I don’t expect to ever pass level 2 either.

Beyond that, there are plenty of things in the higher levels I intend to do, but I will almost certainly never even attempt, much less achieve, riding with my stomach on the seat. It is too dangerous for such a low level (3) on the chart.

I think that whoever made the levels tests were not thinking of those of us who weigh 240+. :slight_smile:

However, I can see myself doing many of the items beyond level 3, just because I want to be able to do them so that I can get from point A to point B, say on a trail, or just for more practical reasons … such as the idle, riding backwards, hop-twisting, and 360 degree turns. and maybe a 180 degree hop-twist … maybe. Those can be practical, just depending. I can’t see anything past level 5 or 6 that would be practical.

But that stomach thing is crazy … no way I’ll ever master level 3, even unofficially. I don’t even want to try.

BUT to stay on topic … I think you should do some light reading on mounting and riding (say, 5 minutes worth) and then get a helmet and wristguards, and then just get out there and do it. I found that the rails by the school across from me were nice for that. Analyze after you finish for the day, or maybe a little during, but really, just go for it. I think that for learning the basics, I over-analyzed a bit and it messed me up. Once I could ride a little more, self-study helped.


A point of clerification: Lewis is refering to a person- not a vessel. Like all good Souther Gentry, he survays his estate from the sadle, with panama hat and linen suit.


Re: ?: Beginner: intuition or theory

On Tue, 26 Feb 2002 14:00:20 -0600, rhysling
<rhysling.p7f1@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

Up in Redmond, WA. Most likely until October.
And no, I do not work for Microsoft…

Boy, you people are the most friendly ones I ever encountered in a
public newsgroup…! :slight_smile:

“Drawn to strange cycles”, Oz

>Where are you located, Oliver?

No, they were thinking of those who are now a svelt 180 after all of that time strenuously learning to ride a unicycle. Come on, Lewis, where are the before and after photos? Let go of the past.

Re: Beginner: intuition or theory

> Since Bicycling per se is a somewhat intuitive “act”,

I don’t believe this is the case. If you had ever had to teach an
adult to ride a bike, I’m sure you would agree.

As for unicycling, I just let the unicycle teach me. I had a lot
of spectacular but painless falls. Walls and lamp posts will be
your friends for a while.

Arnold the Aardvark

Re: ?: Beginner: intuition or theory

On Tue, 26 Feb 2002 14:51:36 -0600, Animation
<Animation.p9qe@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>The 3 meter (per loop) figure 8 is something I have no reason to
>practice, so even aside from a lack of a graceful forward dismount, I
>don’t expect to ever pass level 2 either.

This is one of several skills you mentioned you can’t do right now and
you intend not to practice. But firstly I think that many skills (and
the above one is a point in case) come almost for free by just riding
around. I’m pretty sure you can do a figure 8 with 3 m loops in a year
from now. Secondly, once you can do everything you now foresee you
will be endeavouring, don’t you think you will look for new
challenges? And maybe, like Harper suggests, you would be less than
240 by then…

Klaas Bil

“To trigger/fool/saturate/overload Echelon, the following has been picked automagically from a database:”
“Taliban, Kalifaatstaat, Gore”