I wanted to share some experiences of my first hours trying to get the
hang of unicycling.

As most of the time I bought good equimpment, instead of the cheapo
beginner stuff. Which worked for me buying a good snowboard, a good
recumbent, etc.

Not so in Unicycling, though, I think.

I bought me a Sem XLW with 24" x 2.125 road tire and Miyata-seat.

The 24" I wanted because I tend to look at my wheeled gadgets as mode
of transportation, and less as “toy”.

I already protected the great looking red & white Miyata seat with
bubble wrap to not damage it with the frequent wipe-outs I experience.

At my current stage, I might store the Sem for the time being and buy
me a cheapo 20" for learning after all. Once being back in Germany
that is, I have to pack up and move back end of the month.

The Sem XLW is BIG. I reckon it might fall almost into the 26"
non-Muni category.

Mounting that thing is most of the times not a pleasant thing. I
ordered me a jock strap, which I read about while lurking here.
Seems, though, that I have been too realistic about the size, being a
modest European and not a supersizing American… So it doesn´t do me
much good. The boys keep escaping. Good thing I do not intend on
having a family…

What even hurts more is when dismounting involuntarily. One leg
reaches for the ground, the other still does the down-stroke, and
somehow the uni-seat kicks you in the groin. Ouch.

The pedals also are not beginner material, them being Odysee BMX
“pointy needles” types that left already a nasty bruise on the inside
of my calf (I am wearing shim guards).

For the first three hours or so I practiced in the late evenings in my
office, moving from cubicle wall to cubicle wall. They were the right
height for my large muni to hold on. However the friction of the
carpet along with the large wheel made it a much different thing than
“riding” outside on concrete. The first time in the parking lot was
horror, nothing worked. Cars are great to hold on while mounting,
though. The next time I even got as far as 20m, also a couple of
times 5m, 10m. Cool! I wouldn´t go as far as saying it was
controlled riding, but still! The third time in the parking lot I
couldn´t even ride 2m. Jeez. That, and being kicked in the groin
again let me retire early that evening. The force my be with me, but
forceing it doesn´t do any good.

What I also have problems with is catching my ankle on the crank where
it sits on the axle. The pedals don´t allow much shoe placement
correction. I learned to wear trekking boots early on, hitting your
ankle is no fun, either.

Another challenge with the 24" is speed. I am getting a bit too fast
at times to be comfortable.

I am not giving up, though. But hope that a 20" eases the learning.

I once gave a dutch Flevo recumbent a try. It doesn´t have a
handlebar to steer with, but you use your legs for not only pedalling
but also steering. After 30 minutes or so I got the hang of it, and
was riding around on side streets. Apparently my horizontal balance
is much better than my vertical one… I also ride the lowest of the
low recumbents at low speeds without falling over.

Doesn´t do me any good on the uni, though…

Well, I am hanging in there.

Cheers, Oz

It’s not as difficult as you make it sound. In fact it’s quite fun. It sounds to me like some of your injuries are caused by not being relaxed enough about it. In particular, the bit where you step off and the uni kicks you in the nether regions.

Yes, this one happens from time to time, and it jolly well hurts. However, it means you are taking the bottom foot off whilst theresstill weight on the top pedal. You then push down as you try to get off and there’s an equal and opposite reaction as per Newton’s laws and there go your pods.

If you think you’re going to fall off, either:

  1. Stay on anyway, or
  2. Fall off.

Any half measure will end in watery eyes.

It’s not a competition. You’re doing it for fun. Short bursts of learning, follwed by short breaks, and keep reprising old skills to build confidence. Good luck! :0)

Re: BeginnerBlues

Try adjusting your foot as it comes over the top; do this at a normal riding speed, with weight in the sadle. To controll your speed, put more weight in the sadle and pitch back a bit more, keeping your weight over the axel; leaning forward- which you may be doing as a consiquence of a hunched posture/balancing crutch- WILL cause you to speed up. While you can move your hole upper body to balance, the fine balance required for many advanced skills can’t be had with such gross methods- rather, good posture (upright) and tight controll are required. I’m having to overcome years of reflex, having depended on such crude technique. It can help a good deal to have some one around to observe and point these things out, since it can be hard to tell what’s happening when struggling to keep your face off the concrete.

That said, do whatever you have to to stay up! You can make the wheel ride under your center of gravity, instead of the other way around, if neccessary. Your arms are great for windmilling around to catch yourself, or extended out straight to each side. This last bit never occured to me when I started- their primary job was to catch ME, and stayed in front- but can be a GREAT help to balance and inforce good posture.

Have I babbled way off topic again?


Re: BeginnerBlues

“rhysling” <> wrote in message
> neccessary. Your arms are great for windmilling around to catch
> yourself, or extended out straight to each side. This last bit never
> occured to me when I started- their primary job was to catch ME, and
> stayed in front- but can be a GREAT help to balance and inforce good
> posture.

this made a big difference for me, I read something that said just wave your
arms around like a nutter and you’ll gradually work out which bits of the
arm waving will help and it really does help lots.