Chin on seat & Drag

From: (Bill Gilbertson)

>Now I will add to the question:
>3.) How do you do chin on seat? I never appreciated how difficult this was till
> I tried it.
>4.) Are their any tricks to seat dragging? I can go seat in front holding with
> 2 fingers fully away from my body, but can’t even get close to suceeding if I
> drop the saddle.

I get the feeling that the chin on seat question was directed at me, because
it’s a standard part of my performance. I sure didn’t come up with the idea. I
first remember seeing it done by Joakim Malm at the 1981 NUM in Michigan. Joakim
Malm is the guy who invented coasting, and who brought seat dragging to our
attention as well.

Chin on seat is an extension of seat in front and stomach on seat. The
difference is the severe scrunching of the body that is required. To break the
learning part down into steps, I guess you would want to practice riding around
with the seat in front in the lowest crouch you can get. With time, this crouch
will get lower and lower. At the same time, practice riding stomach on seat
freehand, until you are comfortable steering and can go in the direction of
your choice.

Try to get to where your heels touch your butt as you ride. Then you will know
you have reached “bottom” so to speak. Next, try to get your chin on there. The
chin goes in the same place your stomach “steers” from when doing stomach on
seat. Like all seat out skills, learn it first with one hand holding, and the
other hand out for steering control.

Naturally, long periods of time cannot be spent working on this skill
exclusively, because you’ll kill your knees (at least if you’re over 20). For
the skill to be complete, you must ride with both hands free. Otherwise, it’s
chin and one hand on seat. When I perform this skill, my goal is to make it
across the stage in a straight line in this position, while waving at the
audience. The mouth is open, providing some suspension and flexibility in how
hard you press down on the seat. To get points for doing this figure in Standard
Skill competition, you have to be able to hold the position, freehand, for at
least 8 meters.

Seat dragging is an extension of ultimate wheel riding skill. Bill has an
ultimate wheel, so he must be most of the way there. The major difference is the
fact that a regular unicycle is much wider than an ordinary ultimate wheel,
making it a lot harder to ride without major wobbling of the wheel.

Try removing as much control from the seat as possible without letting go. I
used to do a trick for the judges where I rode seat in front with one pinkie.
That is, just the pinkie holding the seat. Try that, or try hooking one or two
fingers under your seat and holding it that way. In any case, when you actually
let go of the seat, it’s going to be different. The side to side friction of the
seat dragging on the floor (you are indoors, aren’t you?) will take getting used
to. The main hard part is the wheel trying to fall over with each pedal stroke.
If you want, you can make yourself an ultimate wheel from a normal wheel, for
practice. Whee fun.

I always found seat dragging in front easier than in back, but people who were
more solid at it told me the opposite. Peter Holmgren and Peter Rosendahl both
said they found seat in back easier for them, once they got used to it. I
don’t know why.

Good luck practicing! John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone