Finally got started...

Day 7

Started today’s 30 minute session by messing up my first mount and well and truly nerfing myself in the nuts. My dedication to getting all the weight in the seat thus wavered a little until things settled down. Yet again I started the session looking like I’d never seen a unicycle let alone sat on one and didn’t seem to quite match the gains made yesterday. Had a few magic moments but interestingly I seem to do better going one way, with left hand supporting against the fence, than the other.
Still, my mantra of “look up, weight in the seat, pedal smoothly/regularly and, finally, stop fretting like a little girl and go for it” keeps me stubbornly persevering.
By my reckoning I’ve been at it for just over two hours so far so I won’t start beating myself up quite yet.

UL

Day 8

Had a quick 25 minute session which has left me feeling a bit flat.
On that theme I had noticed my tyre was getting a little soft so I pumped it up quite hard. This seemed to throw me a bit as I suddenly could feel every tiny lump and bump. I feel like I’ve taken two steps back and didn’t really have any magic moments of balance. I’m left a bit demotivated and have a night or two now where I won’t be able to practice so I’m hoping Ill return refreshed and re-motivated on Friday.

UL :frowning:

Your doing fine. Even after years of riding I still have days when I don’t feel as comfortable or perform as well as I’m capable of.

The harder tire will make the uni react much faster (faster than your brain is able to calculate at this stage) so it might not be a bad idea to reduce the air in order to gain a bit of extra control.

Take a couple of days off & get back to it. You will ride away from the fence only if you keep practicing.

I agree with most of that, but in fairness to the fretful little girls, they seem by and large to catch on to this unicycling thing more quickly than us curmudgeonly old men. :slight_smile:

Have you given any thought to trying a bigger tire? I ask because the uni in your video looks just like mine. (I definitely recognized the sound it made skittering along the pavement after parting company with you. I’ve heard that a lot!) The tire on mine is nicer rubber than I expected, but I’ve wondered if it might just not have enough air volume for a full-grown guy riding on it. It might be fine on gym floors and tennis courts and the like, but as you noticed there isn’t much of a window between enough pressure to keep the rim off the ground and so much that every crack and bump in the pavement just about stops it.

I’ve got a couple of 20" flatland bmx tires left over from a bike fix-up project that didn’t happen that are about a centimeter wider than my uni tire, and I’d like to try riding on one of them. I’ve hesitated to make a change that big when I’m just beginning to feel comfortable on it as it is, but at some point I’ll definitely try it. There’s plenty of clearance and I’d guess that it would likely be more versatile that way.

Yes a day or two off is nothing to worry about.
At two hours you have only just started :smiley:
With respect, stay with the fence until feel like angling out and away (assuming you have the space) because you will want to when you start getting the feel of it.
I learnt an hour a day, Mon to Fri and it took me 15 hours.
You are doing all the right things, keep at it.

Look up, pedal pedal pedal :slight_smile:

Hey, thanks guys…I think I needed a little pep talk. It is frustrating when you go backwards (in ablility, not pedalling!) and, although I have a notional 15 hour target to get free pedalling in mind and have only been at it a couple of hours it is frustrating.
Bloody unicycling :angry:
I am going to let my tire back down a little I think. Like you say BigEddie, there’s only two psi between rock solid and touching the rim but that’s the price for learning on a cheap trainer. I do have a swish 26" Muni sitting waiting (hence my impatience to learn) but I’m shying off trying that until I stop dropping the damn thing every dozen pedals.

UL

Plateaus and regressions are normal. They happen to most of us. And 10-15 hours doesn’t sound like a lot, but it sure feels like a lot when you’re the one doing it and when you can only manage half an hour a day (or whatever – many shorter practice sessions are generally better than a few marathons). Just keep at it, even though it doesn’t seem like you’re accomplishing anything. It eventually starts working.

Don’t worry if you don’t have it after 15 hours. Everybody is different. I didn’t even count hours when I was doing it. I figured that it was going to take me as long as it was going to take me, especially since I was working against some handicaps, and counting would only complicate the process. If you nail it in 5 hours? Great. Atypical, but great. If it takes you 30 hours, at least you get it eventually.

Indeed. It took me 6 weeks to feel like I had gotten it. That’s at around 20 or 30 minutes a night of practice.

Hi,

I’ve been following your progress with much interest because I started unicycling yesterday and I’m wondering how long does it take until someone can ride quite good …

Thx for keeping us posted about your learning experience!

:slight_smile:

Uni Lateral
Another very frustrating thing that might be in your future, that strikes most people, is “stage fright”. You practice on something until you have it pretty good and then you can’t do it when trying to show somebody. Then you try harder and make it worse. Very very irritating but you’ll get past this also.
Maybe you’ll be lucky and not have this problem. It sucks when it hits. :angry: :o
Keep up the practice, sounds like you’re on track.

Feeling just a little smug over here…

Day 9 - Had already planned a night off but ended up having a couple of nights off due to a blooming’ cold…it’s supposed to be between Spring and Summer.
Anyway, didn’t really feel like it tonight but got out there anyway just to keep up the progress. For once it didn’t feel like starting from scratch. I hopped straight on and away I went gripping the fence pretty much every revolution of the pedals. I kept chanting my mantra to myself…you know, weight in the seat, head up, lean forward and, today, I added forget the fence and try balancing (I still grabbed at the fence constantly!).
Anyways, after my normal 30 minutes I still felt quite perky (but yes…that is laboured breathing you can hear in the video). My legs are feeling stronger after 3 - 4 hours of practice and it just so happens I’m doing a little physio on the legs for a torn calf muscle). I think concentrating on getting the weight in the saddle and not on the feet helps.
I pressed on but started really thinking about what I was doing and pushing myself to lean further forward. I suddenly started getting two, three or four pedals in without touching the fence. This became more consistent and it was at this point I suddenly developed a bit more of a swinging motion in the hips and it all came together. I could do it. I could bloody well balance and ride this thing.
Woo hoo!
OK, I’ve got a long way to go but now I can feel it, I understand what it should feel like and my mind and body are getting the hang of how to make it happen. I immediately stopped caring about having a fence to hang onto and just rode. I did have one backwards fall (thank god for wrist guards) so finished my session pedalling out into a space and then forcing myself off the front. I can do it with my right leg forward but need to work on my left.

In the video you can see me smile/hear me laugh a couple of times when I manage a couple of revolutions and am really chuffed. I also capture the moment when it suddenly all comes together. You’ll hear me say 30 at the end…that’s half revolutions as I can’t pedal and count whole ones!
An hour well spent :smiley:

UL

edit: sorry the video is a bit of a rough cut…need to learn how to edit.

Sorry…just realised my video had uploaded to YouTube as private. I’ve now made it public.
My bad…

Hey Uni lateral, you’ve made great progress. That last ride was great. You looked confident as you were cycling. Well done.

Congratulations, Uni Lateral. I think you’ve got it. Funny how it happens all at once like that.

Great job! That looks like a breakthrough happening. And I count half turns too. (Like counting footsteps.)

Day 10 - spent the day out at a folk festival standing up all day so my legs were pretty knackered but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to re live the magic from yesterday. I drove to my practice spot with a bit of trepidation, worried that I wouldn’t be able to repeat yesterday’s success. Sure enough, for the first few minutes I was back to clinging onto the fence every few feet. I stopped and considered what was different from yesterday…a lack of courage seemed to be the thing. I braced myself and went for it and immediately saw an improvement finding I could pedal three or four revolutions. I also noted I wasn’t getting my weight in the seat and this became my challenge for this 30 minute session. I immediately got back to 10 to 20 pedal revolutions before UPDing and my dismounts were becoming better controlled.
My directivty is dreadful and I soon found myself pedalling off my smooth concrete and onto a hard-core parking area and finally onto the grass…but I kept going!
Its great because now all I’ll need to practice is a mounting post and vaguely smooth ground to get going. Still very wobbly and only managing 2 - 10m at a time but it’s coming.
Yesterday I started thinking about my next target and thought I should concentrate on idling or riding backwards or free mounting but today I realised the next thing should be learning to turn! Onwards and upwards…

UL

Day 11 - todays 45 minute session started a little like day 10’s feeling a little attached to my supporting fence but, learning from yesterday, I knew that the key was to man-up and get leaning forward and go for it. A few aborted efforts later I was back in the driving seat. I managed a few short (<10 half pedals) runs and a few longer ones (<40 half pedals) before having an eye watering UPD. I felt myself going and tried to step off forward by pressing on the pedal. The pedal immediately sank to the 6 o’clock position slam-dunking my crown jewels into the seat…all in front of an audience. I had to kneel and pretend I was examining my pedal while the waves of pain receded…lol.
On the subject of counting pedal revolutions (as us beginners like to do) I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who can’t managed to count whole revolutions…thanks BigEddie, as you say it’s like counting footsteps concentrating on half-pedals.
The nut crushing incident did waver my confidence for 5 minutes but then I had one monumental run of close to 100m. To make it more exciting this meant riding off my smooth(ish) concrete across a hard packed, and rather lumpy stone car park onto a grass playing field and finally onto a basketball court (or netball as it’s more likely to be here in 'Blighty). Of course my audience had buggered off by this point but I had a little personal celebration of my achievement.
Learns today;

  • Still need to relax more into the seat.
  • When choosing to come to a stop I’ve found a technique of leaning forward and lifting both feet lands me gracefully on the ground.
  • turning is achievable by twisting the hips but I haven’t actually mastered this at all. Oddly it was easier for me to turn on the grass than on the concrete…it felt like the turn ‘stuck’ whereas on concrete I twist to turn and seem to immediately twist back to maintain balance.
  • Man-up and lean forward :smiley:

UL

More good progress there! Congratulations on that. The part about not being able to repeat your previous achievements at the start of a session sounds familiar to me. I’ll usually need at least 15-20 minutes to get warmed up and settled in before I’m back to where I was the time before, and that’s when it’s going well.

And I know all too well that eye-watering battering ram dismount experience! I don’t know what I did to trigger it, but the unicycle seemed to solidly plant itself into the ground, directly opposed to the direction of travel of my wedding tackle. I needed some time to shake that one off and I felt lucky not to have an audience just then.

I’m giving myself a couple of days off after several rather long sessions. I felt like I was fighting a lot of muscle fatigue on top of the difficulty that’s already there in what we’re trying to do, making mistakes out of weariness at things I should be able to do by now. I’m missing out on a lovely afternoon for it right now but I’m going to go for a short bicycle ride instead.

Keep up the good work!

Well I lied. Not about going for a bike ride because I rode for almost an hour. But then after I got back I had to get my unicycle out and spend some time on it too. And it was a good productive session, although I think you’re still further along than I am.

You see, we told you that you would eventually ride. :smiley: