Confidence Dips

I think part of this is that as we get older we fear more, particularly in the UPD department as we don’t bounce like the youngsters do, and we don’t heal quite as quickly as we once did.

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New rider here so hello,

I have been riding about 6 months with about 3 of them being able to actually cover distance measured in miles without stopping and to free mount without much of a issue.

I can totally relate to the ups and down’s on different days, I equate it to a old interview done by Bradley Wiggins who stated he knew how his daily ride would go after just a few pedal rev’s out of his front door and I can say 100% I am the same when I start a ride on the Uni, that first free mount tells me how the ride is going to go and if I will be blasting along the trails or feeling like a deer on ice doing mental gymnastics.

But then I think that is the challenge and what gets me excited to ride, if it was easy everyone would do it.

I still find I am extremely self conscious when lots of people are watching me free mount and I will go out of my way to avoid doing it and have even cut rides short due to lots of walkers esp with dogs out on the paths, but that is the issue with living in a hideously populated region with very little free space.

That is the biggest mental hurdle for me at the moment

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Ok , I’m 67 and was fully guarded gear-wise, had just peaked 14 mph ( car paced ) and the uni disappeared. I have a couple dozen uni/muni in the garage and was justifying keeping or selling a few to gain space.

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I asked mostly out of curiosity of what I might expect myself in the coming years. So far what I have found is that I get injured more easily and that I don’t heal as fast or as thoroughly as I used to. Also, I can’t put on muscle as easily as I could 20 years ago. Back then, if I had combined the kind of hard leg workouts I get from an hour of muni with a high calorie/high protein diet I’d put on the muscle. These days, I’m still pretty muscular for a man in his 50s, but I can’t bulk up like I used to.

Issues of control and balance aren’t something I have particularly noticed, but watching the different learning curves between myself and my daughter has me wondering if there hasn’t been some deterioration there too.

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Hello and welcome,

Totally get this - and I’ve been rattle a few times when Lycra clad cyclists pass me on the path I usually ride, overtaking on just passing toward me two abreast.

Free mounting I used to be able to do. As I ride nowadays with my wife (and daughter) she helps me get started. And while it is a bit of a cop-put of sorts at this stage I don’t care as I just want to ride.

Totally agree! :100:

I don’t think I feel the same here - as I’ve had rides that look set to be great and turned out horrible - and vice versa :joy:

Fundamentally I feel like unicycling doesn’t follow the adage: “it’s like riding a bike” - meaning you never lose the skill.

With unicycling it does take much more regular riding to feel like you can ride. The skill was go away completely but when I took my three year break, looking at my 36er I just didn’t believe I used to ride it.

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It might be just me, but I don’t mind “coming a cropper” in front of people / crowds. I’ve fallen in front of my neighbours, crowds at a park when I was a bit optimistically trying to free mount going up a rock path next to picnic crowds… People usually show feelings of concern for my well-being (ie hoping I haven’t badly hurt myself). Taken 5 attempts at free-mounting in front of crowds. It’s all cheers when I finally get on.

The other day I was riding down to the shops down a slight incline and out of nowhere I did something that caused me to go over the front and landed in a semi roll. I was getting complacent with safety gear and it was the first time I didn’t have elbow and knee pads on. The UPD took skin off but I was able to get up….A guy working on his car in the street shouted out in concern, you alright! My natural reaction unconsciously was to feel grumpy. I grumbled in low tone “yeah… yeah” Got back on and continued down the hill.
I ended up getting too many groceries so kept uni locked up and walked home… different route so didn’t pass the guy. Got my elbow and knee pads, walked back to supermarket (600m), got on KH29 and cycled back on route past the guy who was still working on his car.
He saw me, shouted out in a good natured joking way, “got your pads on now! I took it in jest and shouted back” yip sure thing! With a smile.
Equilibrium in my thoughts.

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That’s the key, I think … them years of bouncing off the concrete and going on are gone … now it’s less bounce, and more splat and crack. :wink:

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You guys heal?

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NO! We hope to.

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Too slowly…

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I think there are alot of us that ride alone, working out the bugs with out support. As with most things having someone to ride with and push you to improve by collaborating helps to get over rough patches. For those of us that ride alone it’s easy to get in a rut and hard to get out.

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I think riding with people near your level but slightly better than you in some areas helps you realise what you could possibly learn or what you could possibly improve. This also helps the other person/people as you are probably stronger than them in some aspects.
Eg. I have a friend who rides slowly, won’t hop, won’t ride offroad (previously had neck surgery) but I noticed she is really good with mounting, turning, picking lines to ride, ability to idle was good and her low speed riding skill is excellent. She doesn’t have much stamina and isn’t good on uphills but she can learn from me and I learn from her.
Eg. By riding with her I realised my freemounts could really improve, my turning too, my idling (24" wheel) got better (eventually), and my slow speed riding improved riding with her due to the situations we were in.

I have another friend who likes to ride distance, fast, and he is much better than me with uphills. He will ride offroad if I suggest a ride (except my single track but it’s definitely doable) but has more UPDs offroad than me. He got me to gain confidence in riding down kerb sized steps.
Also, I realise my cardio and ability for hills can suck :frowning:

In addition, riding with people gets me riding rather than staying at home doing nothing. Of course, if the ability of the person/people you are riding with are all far in advance of you, you may feel disheartened and feel you can’t be as good as them, but let’s say 99% of the population can’t ride a uni anyway so you are doing something impossible in the eyes of those 99/100 people…

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I’m pleased to say after a.long winter i have spent the past few evenings riding. I got to say, I went back to basics and hopped on my 24 oracle that i purchased this winter off of trading post. Its been awhile since i have been on a 24, and the oracle is a lot of fun to ride off road.
If your confidence dips maybe go back to a smaller wheel for awhile until your basic skills get back to where they should be. Seems to be working for me.

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I have fallen twice in as many days in front of people the last week, now have a decent size gash on my knee and pride has taken a bit of a hit but then I do not see anyone else riding around the forest on one wheel…

Ironically both incidents had zero rhyme or reason to them to happen other than I was more concerned with the folks near me than riding and I WILL learn from it.

I am seriously considering having someone walk 100 yards in front of me waving a red flag warning them of my presence.

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You’re not alone.
I finally rode again this morning after a month off following a dip in confidence.
It’s silly but all too real.

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I was not even feeling confident on so many 24" freemounts yesterday.
I think its because I hadn’t been on it for a while.

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Two weeks ago, I rode my 29” with 114mm cranks through the park for the first time while my wife ran with the dog. At some point, I realized that I was on pace to beat my PR on a particular Strava segment. Well, 30 yards from the end of the segment I got out in front of the balance point (what I call “the bubble”) and naturally pedaled faster to get the wheel back underneath me. According to Strava, I bailed at 10.1mph which by that time was too fast for me to run out. I took some steps and was able to change my direction enough to land on the right side of the bike path, on the grass, and slid on my right side for what seemed like about 5 feet. Even after getting up and walking the uni to the finish, I beat my PR (27.5+ Oracle) by a full minute (because I walked, it doesn’t really count, does it?:grin:).

My wife said she knew I had wrecked, because she could see my shoulders and head from 150 yards behind me, and then I suddenly “disappeared”.

I guess my confidence took a hit, because I haven’t pulled that uni out since, and have gone back to my 24” and my 27.5+”.

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Whoops. Shorter cranks = much smaller balance bubble for me. Maybe go 1 crank length longer for your 29er for a little while and get your confidence back?

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Ironically I am far more confident mounting my 26er than my 24 currently, and only a few weeks ago it was the reverse…

Something I do now is a handful of freemounts in my garden to get a feel for it before heading out anywhere, nothing worse than duffing the first “on road” three mount 4 times in a row when a car is waiting for you to cross the road.

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Oh agreed. I ate dirt on my 36" and haven’t ridden it since, part of the reason for selling it. There’s a certain area that I think with practice we’ll get better but we all have the areas that make us nervous.

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