Crooken Line

Hey all,

Went for a ride a on some trails behind my house a couple of days ago. It’s important to note that I am a beginner on a 24" muni. I looked behind me, after falling off numerous times, and noticed that the line that I have been taking is not straight at all. You can see it clearly in the attache image.

Is that normal? Is is just because I am a beginner and I’m flopping all over the places? It almost feels like I’m twisting with every downstroke, but I can’t be 100% certain.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks all!

As a beginner you tend to ride less straight and it will improve over time, but nobody really rides in a straight line - there’s almost always a little bit of side to side sway.

I’m presuming you ride with both hands free too - once you learn to hold on with one hand you’ll likely find things straighten up a little.

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Beginners often go left and right. My feeling is when you figure out you need less downward pressure on pedals it straightens out. Takes time usually.

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Here’s a recent thread on the subject:

Yes, a crooked path is normal. Maybe a little more for a novice rider but the wheel and feet/pedals are not balanced and there will always be some wobble.

If you want to ride in a straight line, spend more time picking deliberate, but not necessarily straight, lines. Riding a straight path takes the same control as riding a crooked but deliberate path. Removing uneven pedal pressure from the equation will help straighten you out, but to ride a really straight line, that takes a lot of control. I have incorporated riding along 6" curbs into my practice sessions, and I twitch like mad to stay on the curb.

A temptation for novices is believing technique will fix itself once bad habits are removed. I wouldn’t worry about the crookedness, @unsingefou . Just keep practicing new skills, such as hands on the saddle, and your old problems will start disappearing. Good luck!

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I think it’s likely that you had more control than you realize and that you subconciously chose that line because it appeared easiest. If you look at it you’ll notice it avoids most of the debris on the trail.

If the length of each arc in your swerving pattern is equal to the distance your tire travels in a half-rotation, then there is a correlation between your pedaling and swerving. If you can determine the relationship between the direction of the swerve and the left/right crank position, you can then practice swerving the other way. In other words, practice a swerving pattern 180 degrees out of sync from the one pictured above. By doing so, you may acquire the technique necessary to straighten out the swerve.

As a beginner, my turns were choppy; they were easier or harder depending on what foot was down at the moment. My guess is: The turns in your photo correspond to the pedal position where turning is easier and more natural.

What @Duff said may be true, as well. To me, however, the picture looks like pedal rotation is a factor.

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So I would still cal myself a beginner after 5 months, but some might disagree. However, riding a straight line is very important to me since I like to ride on skinny stuff like rails, slacklines, etc, but it also matters as soon as you start to ride faster. The more you wobble, the less you’re in control.

Therefore I constantly focus on riding with as little pedal pressure as possible. On a flat road that means you can put your weight fully on the seat without needing your arms to balance or hold onto the seat, but on a road like this, you’d need one hand on the handle to ensure you can unweight your seat while rolling over roots and stuff.

Being warmed up helps to feel the pedal pressure better until you’ve made it your second nature :wink:

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I dunno how short ppl go in cranks on a 24", but riding a 29" with 150mm cranks gives more of a wobble than riding with 120mm cranks. The smaller the circle, the less of a swerve.

@mark.vogels , when you ride on a slack line or rails, do you also focus on having all your weight in the seat or is it easier to balance when ur half standing on the pedals? Like when hopping and then standing still to see how long I can stay upright, I feel I have more balance than if I were to just sit. So basically the height of the balance makes a difference. At the hips I find it harder to balance (when not in motion)

Sorry for all the replies, edits, etc. Still trying to figure out the forum.

Thank you all for your feedback. There a couple of things that I’m picking up from the insight you have all given.

  1. It’s definitely because I’m a novice and just need to practice. That’s easy, I’ll hop to it.
  2. Riding with a hand on the saddle can provide stability. Definitely a skill that I need to work on. I just read another thread around this: Hands free or hold on to the saddle?
  3. Being aware of downward pressure can help to ride straight.

Thanks for the link @elpuebloUNI. It’s really fun to see some of the lines that others are making.
And @Duff I appreciate your encouragement. I’ll have to pay more attention next time. Hopefully, I will be able to say, one day, “Yup, that’s exactly where I meant to roll!”

To conclude, I’ll just keep on practicing! Sounds like I’ll get a more intentional line with time. Thanks all!

As a unicyclist, calling yourself crazy monkey, doesn’t that translate to clown? :stuck_out_tongue:

When mounting already on the line, I sit fully in the seat. However when hopping onto something like here, I’m not getting fully seated but have some weight on my pedals.

I’ve asked a similar question on facebook and the ones being really good at standstills said that they have all their weight on the seat since it’s less exhausting.
I find that the transition from hopping to fully seated is more difficult while maintaining balance, so that’s something I need to work on as well :wink: