I figured out today while practicing that my biggest hindrance to learning how to ride is fear. That being said, I did make a ride of about 3 feet today which is farther than I’ve ever made it before and when I fell it was sideways because I got a pedal to the bottom and stayed there. I’m having a hard time with that–the pedaling that is. I get a pedal to the bottom and stop. Probably the fear thing I guess.
Generally when fear is stopping me from doing something (say, doing a trick down a set) I walk away and work on something else for awhile then come back and crank up the music.
This said, I don’t think this applies to just learning to ride. You’re not actually physically challenging any great obstacle, and you’re still at low risk so chickening out at the last second won’t bring you any significant injury(likely you’ll just step off and walk onto the ground). Just clear your head and go for it, getting a feel for the basic mechanisms that keep you upright.
I haven’t experienced any fear from any riding skills so I’m probably not the best person for advice. Perhaps you were conditioned to the “difficulty” of the task at hand more thoroughly than I was. Many people comment “I would fall on my head if I tried that”, sometimes speaking to impressionable children, though the thought of doing that while learning to ride is, to me, laughable, and indeed that is usually my reaction.
Just don’t think about it.
If you do think, listen to a song in your head or something.
DON’T THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE DOING
Do or do not. There is no try.
Have you tried riding along side a fence or wall for a time? This might help you get the movement into your motor memory. When you get to where you hardly need the “assistance” then start moving away from the support. I know that that is not how I learned, but I was 12 when I learned so falling was not a concern. When you get a “bit” older falling takes on a whole new meaning! Ha! Keep it up, you can do this! Here is something I live by:
It Couldn’t Be Done
By Edgar Guest
Somebody said it couldn’t be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing and he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one has ever done it”;
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing and he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.
you didnt mention what uni your learning on, I would guess its a 20".I remember when I first started learning on a 20 thinking what I long way it was to fall.Now I look back and wonder why I thought that.I am riding a 24 now and the 20 now seems very small and not scary at all.Fear is relative.Its just that your doing something you have never done before.The more you practice the less fear you will have.Fear is also a result of not knowing what might happen.I practiced my falls for a while and then was happy to do other things cause I knew what it would feel like to fall off.I still get scared doing new things but i also know i should do things at my own pace and when i feel ready cause thats when i have the least fear.Now Id like to get a 29" Im sure it will feel a bit scary at first too, but Im pretty sure its not gonna last long.
What kind of safety gear are you wearing?
Do you know what you are afraid of? Falling off? Hurting yourself? The unknown? Succeeding? Making an ass of yourself? The boogieman? Going too fast?
None of those are bad things to do. Well, hurting yourself isn’t a good thing, but until you start jumping off of big things or doing flip tricks, it’s surprisingly difficult (and almost impossible with gloves, helmet and knee pads).
You need to work out what it is that you’re afraid of, and just do it anyway. You’ll soon realise that the fear of whatever it was was worse than the thing you were scared of to start with.
Helmet, knee pads, wrist guards which also cover my palms completely.
Thanks for the replies, folks. There was good advice here. I do appreciate it. Rem48–great poem.
As for what I’m afraid of–getting hurt mostly. I can’t afford to be off work because I’m injured but I did take the one bad fall and laughed about it. I didn’t get hurt so I really shouldn’t be afraid of injury after that.
My uni is a 20" and yesterday I practiced a little differently. I went in my garage and used a chest freezer to hold on and practiced balance for awhile and then tried to ride. I actually did get 3-4 feet at one time so I’m doing better. Maybe practicing inside without anyone else around was just the ticket.
Can’t practice tonight as it’s thunderstorming out there and my wife put the van in the garage in case of hail so I can’t practice there either.
But I’m not giving up and I am determined to ride this thing.
That’s the spirit - if you can laugh off an impressive fall, then there’s no reason to be afraid.
wen I broke my collar bone I laughed till I passed out
We have a bridge with a bike lane near the house. I went down there, and I could hold on to the guardrail and then had a long unbroken spot to ride. What this did was help me get used to pedaling smoothly.
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done–
But he, with a grin, replied,
He’d never be one to say it couldn’t be done–
Leastways, not 'til he’d tried.
So he buckled right in, with a trace of a grin,
And so he went right to it!
He tackled The Thing That Couldn’t Be Done!
And by golly! He couldn’t do it!
By the way, I see you’re 47, which just happens to be how old I am. They had a thread on here a while back about how quick some people had learned. Well, for me, it took maybe a month before I could ride to the end of the block. So don’t feel like you ought to just hop on and ride in a couple of hours because somebody else did.
In the process of learning, mostly, when I fell, I’d just step off the unicycle. But I did fall onto my hands and knees a time or two, and still have some scrape scars on my knees. I used some cheap wrist guards and knee pads for a while, but don’t use them anymore. When I fell like that, I would be riding along, then hit some little unexpected bump and Boom! on the ground I was.
I can smell fear…
I learnt to ride without a wall or rail.
I have a step with a 8’ fence next to it outside my house, so I could mount up holding the vertical sections of the fence, get comfortable and then launch forward.
Ok, to start with I only managed 1 rotation before the uni hit the ground, but I kept at over a number of weeks, counting the rotations, and gradually rode further and further.
My point with this is that using this method you always step off forward, let the uni hit the ground, and therefore it is very difficult to hurt yourself ( I never did until I bought a 26" and went muniing). It seems to me that using a rail or wall it is easy to have accidents where you hit the wall, or hang onto the rail and the uni shoots out from under you.
Best of luck and don’t give in. Once you’ve cracked it you’ll be hooked.
As I said in your other thread, I used a rail. I also tried a wall, fence, posts, and other people, but I preferred the rail.
When I was learning I was TERRIFIED of falling and getting hurt. At first, I had a death grip w/ both hands on the rail. Ten hours over a week later I had a firm grasp w/ one hand and frequent grabs w/ my other hand. I just kept at it and I slowly improved. Almost every day I noticed something I could do better than the day before.
Even after I could basically ride I was too scared to go away from the rail. Using that 16" or longer cranks conquered most of that fear. After a while I graduated to a 20" and rode that. Four months after initially learning, I finally had the courage to ride my 24 out and about.
Thanks everyone. I am making some progress. Today I made a ride of about 8 feet. I started to pick up the uni and my 6 year old hollered and said, “NO! LEAVE IT THERE! I GOTTA GO TELL SOMEONE!” Then he ran inside and said, " Mom! Come and see Dad’s miracle ride."
dont think you are riding a unicycle. picture in your mind that you are riding a bike!
Congratulations! Keep at it!
I started 6 months ago and I totally understand how you feel. But it does get easier.
One thing I’ve certainly found is that with practice and experience you get the hang of falling off without getting wrapped up with the Uni. When I started I didn’t wear any safety kit and I consider myself lucky that I got away with it.
Once you can start managing short distances it rapidly gets easier and as long as you don’t expect to be Kris Holm tomorrow chipping away at increased goals feels really good.
Keep at it and enjoy!
Bikes are scary!
Mine bucked me over the handlebars. My uni never did that…
Mine did that to me a time or two also.