I got my Nimbus back in February when UDC had them on sale. As is usual in my life, work schedules and bad weather conspired to keep me from trying it until this month. During this time all I could find time for was short 15 meter jaunts along the side of my house. I was just getting used to how it felt to sit on it and how it felt to try and get it to move.
Finally last Saturday I got a chance to take it out for some actual riding. There’s a long stretch of road in an industrial area that I like to use for learning new stuff because it is deserted, (meaning that I don’t have to worry about anyone watching me as I struggle with a new skill). I spent the whole morning just going for short rides, a few dozen meters at a time, and found myself getting the feel for it much more quickly than I imagined.
Today I found a couple more hours to devote to it. Instead of the deserted industrial road I chose a bike path near a busy shopping area. I spent a half hour or so among the mosquitos, attempting freemounts. I nailed two decent ones out of dozens of failures. Then after re-hydrating myself I sped off to a nearby Starbucks. This required me to thread my way through a giant parking lot, (with cars and trucks criss-crossing randomly through it), then through an intersection, then over a parking area that was not finished (I didn’t know this until I came to two places where the paving wasn’t complete, requiring me to first drop a few centimeters and then ride back up again), and then more navigating amid moving vehicles.
My confidence level through all this was HIGH, as I felt more secure on the big wheel, and the unexpected changes in pavement or traffic patterns were less daunting to me. I forgot to mention the stiff crosswind I encountered on that first big parking lot, which made an otherwise easy crossing more of a challenge to this noob.
I got through all that with very little anxiety or trouble, and no UPDs. No dismounts at all! I found, contrary to expectation, that when I had to slow down to let a car pass or to decide which direction was safest it was easy to slow down and then speed up again. On any of my smaller unicycles I’d have to stop and dismount, (since I can’t idle very well yet).
I can’t forget to thank Brian MacKenzie here, because between last Saturday’s ride and today’s I got my copy of Inner Balance, and the coker segments just got me all hot to master my Nimbus.
So there it is, my little story about learning to ride a big wheel. I plan to have loads of fun this summer riding the heck out of that thing.