Coasting now seems definately within reach! Today I did a couple of 2m coasts and a reasonably well-controlled 5m coast. It felt so good. I tried three different methods of leading up to the coast today…
The first one was what I used to only try, going from gliding to coasting. I usually have the most luck with this one but not today.
After that, I tried going straight from one foot riding to coasting. At first this seemed hopeless but once I convinced myself that I had to lean forward more I made some progress and this is how I did my 5m coast.
Finally I tried using a shopping trolley. I rode alongpushing the trolley and building up speed, then went to one foot riding, then coasting holding onto the trolley (and went 15m which was fun!) then tried to let go of the trolley. I like this method but I think now that I know what it’s like to coast a little way I’ll go back to the normal method from one foot riding to coasting unassisted.
I love coasting!
Oh yeh, I forgot the question…
How do (did) you people learn to coast? Any comments on the learning process and progression?
Re: Coasting learning progression…
>How do (did) you people learn to coast? Any comments on the learning
>process and progression?
First, practice one foot riding until one is extremely smooth and the
frame and rider stay perfectly vertical (while one foot riding).
The style of one foot riding should be foot in (non-pedaling foot braced
solidly on the frame). A flat crown on the unicycle is best.
Next, while smoothly one foot riding, slip the pedaling foot off the
pedal to the side until it is a few inches away from the pedal. One is
now in a foot out coasting position and the extended leg can be used to
maintain balance in addition to moving the arms and upper body in unison
forward and backward to maintain forward/backward balance.
Foot in coasting would be the next step. When making the transition
from one foot riding to foot in coasting, quickly move the pedaling foot
up and onto the crown in a secure position.
That’s it in a nutshell.
If the above two transitions to coasting prove to be too steep of a
Learn to glide very smoothly and for long level distances. Try
lifting the gliding foot off the tire briefly into a coasting
position with the “gliding” foot just above the tire. Increase the
periods of no tire contact. Try putting this foot on the crown
securely into a foot in coasting position.
Learn to wheel walk one footed. Note than when the foot is not in
contact with tire, one is in the same coasting position as described
in the first sentence of point 1 above. When one foot wheel walking,
simply try to increase the time that the foot is moving from the
forward and down position on the tire to the back and up (near the
crown) position on the tire.
Learning to ride a BC wheel could also help. I believe most people
would agree that riding a BC wheel is easier than coasting on a
standard unicycle. Riding a BC wheel would force one to learn the
forward/backward balance movements described in the last sentence of
the second paragraph of this message (also in more detail at the end
of this message). Ski poles or two broom sticks with crutch tips can
be used to help maintain balance and be lifted up for brief periods
of coasting which should be increased in duration.
Learning to coast on a forward drive only unicycle. Mount the cycle
near a post for support, lean forward slightly and pedal to maintain
that slight lean. Stop pedaling in a cranks horizontal position and
use the usual upper body fore/aft movements to maintain fore/aft
balance. The advantage of this method is the feet do not have to
leave the pedals.
Here’s a simplified physics explanation of the forward/backward balance
required for coasting where we concentrate on only the horizontal
components of movements. (The vertical components can be ignored, since
they can remain small compared to the horizontal components and thus the
resulting minor variations of the centre of gravity moving up or down
has virtually no affect on fore/aft balance in coasting.)
In coasting there is no direct way of slowing or speeding up the wheel
to follow the centre of gravity in the fore/aft direction. In coasting,
fore/aft balance is maintained by moving the arms and possibly the upper
body in unison either forward or backward. This causes the wheel and
lower body to move in the same direction about the same distance
relative to the centre of gravity. Parts of the body and cycle close to
the waist move in the direction that is opposite from the movement of
the upper and lower parts of the rider and cycle in a sort of
action/reaction where momentum of the whole rider and cycle must be
Think of the upper body snapping forward at the waist where the waist is
a centre of angular movement of the whole body and cycle. Movement of
the upper body forward (or backward) is also the same movement that
causes the wheel and lower body to move forward (or backward) and the
centre of angular movement to move in the opposite direction. The
movements should be thought of as relative to the centre of gravity.
Again, conceptually, it is easier to consider only the horizontal
component of these movements.
Ken Fuchs <email@example.com>