Breakthroughs and Humility

This weekend was great!

I got my free mount rate to about 1 in 3 over all and better than 1 in 2 once warmed up. I also rode down the hill (and only half way back up:( ) behind my building. While I was coming back up, I heard someone call “UNICYCLE MAN!” followed by clapping and cheering when my legs gave out on the climb. I looked up, and a whole family was leaning out over their 3rd floor balcony. Great ego boost. :sunglasses:

I figured I could finally ride to work today and thought I would be smart and start from where we drop my son off from school (about 1 to 1.5 km from work). Two things I hadn’t counted on:

  1. Very nervous with all the people at the school. It took about 30 attempts to get a rideable mount to start with.
  2. It isn’t flat riding from that side towards work.

I got going, finally, and rode along the two level blocks no problem. I then crossed the road, re-mounted, and started accross a small bridge. I made the mistake of letting my hand hit the railing and threw my balence off. OK, back in the saddle. Next I have to go through this little tunnel under the highway. I didn’t reallise that the combination of a steep hill and smooth sidewalk made for very hard to control ride, dismount half way down, can’t re-mount. Walk under the first tunnel. I got back on and rode through the second tunnel to the stairway to go back up to the level of the highway. Climbed the stairs, carrying the uni (hey I’ve only been at this 3 months:p ).

Now I look at the sidewalk I have to take to get to work: long downhill, short steep uphill, intersection, short downhill. I managed most of the first downhill, but could not get going on the uphill part (I had to dismount to get around a few people at the busstop and driveway at the bottom). Anyway, I walked accross the intersecttion at the top of the hill and rode to where I get to the back of the parking lot. This is a dirt trail that is very steep. Given the frustration I had already encountered, I skipped riding down. In the parking lot, I mounted perfect the first time and was able to ride to door. :sunglasses:

Later, I was asked by some co-workers to do a quick demo. I couldn’t even get a good mount to go more than 3 revolutions. I think this is called “performance anxiety”. There were a couple people who came out late and complained about missing the show. I did a quick demo for them before going in. Amazingly, with just the three watching, I mounted on the second attempt and rode around the divider neatly. Cheers all around.

Anyway, today has been a first. I learned that I am not good in front of large groups, I don’t do hills well yet, and I sweat a heck of a lot. It’s a good thing we have showers at work!

Now, to psych myself up for the 3 km, mostly flat, trip home…

Keep at it, a few months riding the streets and all those things will become second nature.

When I mount now it’s like a cyclist getting on their bike, same with hills and groups of people.

Unfortunatly the sweat thing is likely to persist.

Hey, great work, man(dell)! First off, it sounds like you’re having a lot of fun, and that, of course, is the key thing.

Except for natural born hams, the performance thing vexes most people with each new skill. Once you’re really confident with a skill you will tend not to have difficulty with it, even in front of crowds. For every skill that you’re still low on the learning curve on, even a small audience will make it that much more difficult. Wanting to succeed is such an impediment to success.

Anyway, I’m very sympathetic with the perspiring thing. I appreciated the cooler weather more than I knew now that a shower is mandatory after a ride.

Keep up the good progress,
Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Thanks for the encouragement.

To finish the story, I tried to ride home last night. The trip home, while mostly flat, is about 3 km, mostly on the Gallopping Goose trail (paved over rail road track). I started out OK, going about 300m at a stretch. When I got to the trestle, I walked accross (I was too tired to try and manage the rough surface). I then had a quick up and over hill which completely defeated me, being both steep and gravel/sand. I did manage to ride some of the flat parts of the trail through the park though (my first MUni :slight_smile: ??). When I came out of the park onto the road, a couple of teens asked me a bunch of questions and seemed genuinely interested. I did manage a couple more ~200m sections of flat sidewalk before finally walking up the last hill home. I could barely walk last night, but seem OK now (just a little fatigued). I am taking today off from Unicycling.

Overall, it was a pretty good experience for my first commute. Everyone I talked to was either impressed or encouraging.

The biggest thing I learned is that commuting on a 20" unicycle takes about twice as long as walking (at least at my current level of riding).

Thanks for reading.


The biggest thing I learned is that commuting on a 20" unicycle takes about twice as long as walking (at least at my current level of riding).

I’ve found that when you’ve ridden a fair amount that you can count on commuting on a 20" will be slightly faster than walking the same distance, and commuting on a 24x3" muni will be about 1.5 to 2 times as fast as walking.

Both a 20" and a 24" can be up to several hundred times more fun than walking the same distance!