Coker Crash at 25.7 kph

I’ve been trying to pick up the average speed on my Coker rides to and from work, but found that the higher my cadence the more I bounced on the seat. So I changed from 150 mm to 125 mm cranks, then to my new adjustable 115/145 mm cranks (thanks PDC). Recently I’ve been able to cruise at 22 kph with spurts up to 24 kph, but it feels pretty sketchy at those speeds as I cling to the GB4 handle.

So yesterday returning to work after lunch I decided to go for a new record down the hill into the parking lot. With feet flying at about 152 rpm I KNEW I had broken the record. That’s when I lost my mind and decided to look down at my cycle computer to see how fast I was going. Just that slight adjustment in centre-of-gravity and I was off the Coker, two incredible leaps through the air, then sliding down the pavement on knee, shoulder and hip :frowning: There was some good news, however, nobody was driving in or out of the parking lot at the time, so no witnesses :slight_smile: And the first aid attendants at the security gate agreed to patch me up but not put my name into the daily accident report :o

So there are two cliche-ish morals to the story:

  1. Pride (in my new record) goes before a fall.
  2. Don’t Coker ride faster than you can run or you may lose some skin.

One more moral - wear gloves, ideally the Kris Holm kind with wrist protectors. My hands weren’t hurt at all, although my knee, hip, elbow and ego are a bit sore.




Go for shorter cranks.

Nooooooo, if you fall… you fall, the worst thing I’ve got from falling at more than 30km/h was a scratched knee and a banged up elbow, it’s worth it.

Congrats on your speed record,


ouch that sucks man. I had a similar fall when I first got my coker. I wanted to see just how fast a coker could go. I found out how fast I could go until I got catapoulted off. Fortunatly I tucked and rolled and all I got out of it were a scraped up shoulder knee and hands. Still the scrapes were pretty superficial, and I was able to continue my ride that day and I was pretty much unaffected (until the sweat got in my cuts :frowning: ).

If you ever have a fall like that again and have any presence of mind try to roll as much as possible, it will spread out the injury (I scraped up my shoulders aswell as the other parts) but it will be drastically less painful and the damage to your ego will end up being the biggest problem.

To get past points of “resonance” (when pedaling causes you to bounce up and down) it can help to practice riding fast on a smaller wheel. There are less consequences to the bouncing on a 24" for instance. If you’re bouncing, it means your pedal spinning is not smooth. Try to isolate the leg motion from the rest of your body.

OW! But it was the tilting of your head to a different angle that caused most of the problem. Your balance is all in your head.

How’d you manage that? Whenever I have major faux-pas’ like that, there’s always non-unicyclists standing right next to where I land! :angry:

Around 30 kph is where the speed gets interesting. :smiley:
I have never hit 30 kph but have gotten up to about 27 or 28. I don’t like the high cadence required for that speed on a Coker so I don’t crank it up to the high speeds very often (just once or twice).

The critical number is your maximum runout speed. For me, I’ve found that my maximum runout speed is around 13 mph (21 kph). Beyond that speed and I can expect to end up lying on the ground after a UPD.

I often wear inline skate style knee pads when I Coker. The kind with a hard plastic cap. Along with full finger cycling gloves. If I do UPD at speed I’ll likely end up sliding on the knee pads and gloves and end up none the worse for wear. I have only tested that on one high speed UPD at around 28 kph (17.5 mph). No harm to me other than a slight abrasion on my forearm.

To practice spinning at high cadences I go sprinting on my 20" freestyle. It has 125mm cranks. 200 rpm on a 20" is only about 11 or 12 mph (19 kph). Much safer than trying the same on a Coker.

I don’t have a speedo on my coker, but a while ago, I was going as fast as I could RIDE. Far faster than I can run. Possibly 30 KM/H?

And this little old lady stepped in my way so I went off the path and as I came back on, (at the time my tyre wasn’t very hard) the edge of the path took control of the Uni and guided me a bit, then my shoelace got caught in the pedal and I fell!

I was suprised I didn’t break my wrists. I was more concerned about my uni than myself at first though. :stuck_out_tongue:

I just had/have a whole lote of rocks in my hand from the fall and a nice wound on my knee. The funny part of the whole incident was that when I bailed, I bailed out the front of a DOCTORS SURGERY!! I didn’t find out until I rode home all bloody that it was our family doctor!!

Yes, well that’s my heroic story. Pics in my gallery (Not for the squeamish)


link us to the gallery please !


It’s in pictures in the “Pwned” album.

The knee doesn’t look as painful as it was. That photo was after it’d swelled up and I’d cleaned it, so it doesn’t loook as good :frowning:
Oh well.

I didn’t put any photos of my hands because you couldn’t see the grains of sand and such that were embedded in my skin.


i hate grazing my palms nad having dirt and sand and crap in there it stings like BAD

I had something similar happen to me last weekend, specifically the look down at computer followed by high speed UPD. Fortunately I was just under my maximum sprinting speed, and I managed to pull it off without a tumble.

I’d like to suggest the real moral to the story is this: When you’re going faster than ever before and you are MOST tempted to look down and check your speed, that is when it is most important to RESIST that temptation.

Ed probably doesn’t need to hear this, but it’s useful to look for learning experiences in any crash. His, as he described it, is an excellent example.

  • When riding at your top speed, it’s best to have a clear path in front of you. This means no pedestrians, because you never know what they’re going to do.

  • When riding at any speed, make sure your shoelaces are not in a position to wrap around your pedals. They always pick the worst possible times to do it!

  • Wear gloves. They don’t get in the way, but they make a world of difference when you do go down.

I spent quite a bit of time searching for decent Velcro-ed shoes specifically so I wouldn’t have to worry about this - trying to check my shoelaces by looking down whilst riding was quite scary!


John Foss wrote:
When riding at any speed, make sure your shoelaces are not in a position to wrap around your pedals. They always pick the worst possible times to do it!

Good point, there was a thread about some lacing pattern a while ago, I bet you could find it in a few mins with search, it’s a cycling pattern. I changed mine a bit so the ends of both shoelaces stick out at the opposite side of your crank. You don’t want your shoelace to wrap around your pedal at 30km/h.

John Foss wrote:
Wear gloves. They don’t get in the way, but they make a world of difference when you do go down.

When I’m going out cokering I always wear gloves, I know a lot of people (including Roger Davies) wear wristguards, they restrict your movement a bit, but not too much and you don’t have to move your hands a lot on distance riding, so I advice you to wear them (especially when going on high speeds).

What John didn’t mention are kneepads. I heard Nathan saying he was thinking of cutting some socks up and using them as kneeguards at Unicon (no kneepads, no race) because he didn’t like the feel of kneepads.
If you’re going fast, fast as in around 30km/h, possibly faster than that, you really want to wear kneepads, gloves/wristguards, a helmet and possibly elbow guards as well (even though I prefer not to wear them). If you hit your knees on 30km/h you won’t be too happy. My knee has a big purple scar on it, and when I fall on it it just splits open, it tought me to wear kneepads when speeding.

I had a max speed of 39.3km/h at Switzerland (downhill) and I was wearing all the protecters named above, if I wasn’t wearing them I wouldn’t even think of going that fast.

Summing it up:

  1. Protectors give you a feeling of safety, so you can achieve higher speeds.
  2. Protectors protect ya…

Pay attention to number 1, if you dont wear it for safety, wear it for that extra mental nudge.



velcroed shoes, change shoelaces?

So what kind of decent velcroed shoes did you find?

Is there another easy way to secure shoelaces? An alternative to traditional shoelaces, perhaps…


Definitely wear wrist guards… although they didn’t save my arm at UNICON. :o

My bone broke at the top end of the wrist guard wrap. It may have been saved if the wrap was tighter, but would it just have broken higher up then? It was a very bad fall at above 30 Km/h that was totally my fault for not preparing my unicycle properly and putting the wrong pedals on.

Incidently I had no other scapes on me at all from the fall, not one mark! The camel back took the brunt of the fall.


Tuck the loose ends and loops under the laces. This is what I do with the laces on my Coker shoes.


shut your freakin hole.

Jagurs grumpy today?

I agree with Dustin to an extent- you have to ride a Coker the same way you ride a bike- ie DON’T fall. Don’t even think about it, just don’t do it! You wouldn’t ride a b*ke at running speed or less just because you will hurt yourself if you fall off at greater than running speed. I think that’s what Dustin was trying to say. Although I wouldn’t have thought it be worth falling off at 30km/hr- try getting your leg screwed back together in a foreign hospital if you don’t believe me :wink:

You tend to hurt yourself more on a unicycle at similar speeds though- ie falling off a Unicycle at 30km/hr tends to cause more injury than falling off a bike at 30km/hr. On a bike- a lot of the impact is taken by the front wheel, and vulnerable joints (ankles/knees) are less exposed to abnormal twisting forces than from a unicycle UPD.