CX is below what I’d suggest to anyone as a learner, but may be better than what u had. (Uncomfortable and poorly shaped seat for learning for adults and week parts). I’d do minimal hopping esp. off anything.
Min of what I’d suggest is like a Club or Torker LX. (Prob too late now :o)
I found a 16 was great for learning the basics of skills because it reduced my large fear of falling.
Yeah after reading a bit I can see that the CX may be less than I will eventually need. I think if I stay on the road it will probably make it until I can prove to myself that I should invest in a Nimbus or a KH.
As usual, thanks guys for the advice…I do try to incorporate it all into my riding. Chigins, welcome to the fold…I look forward to reading about your progress…be sure to share what you experienced and learn. People here are generous with good advice and I have benefited a great deal from their help.
Days 28 & 29 - well I guess I’m coming up to the end of my first full month of learning to unicycle although spread over two months elapsed time. The last two days I’ve been really pushing the boundaries by trying to go further, over varied surfaces up hill and down hill. My free mounting is improving (slowly) although it’s still testament to the amount I UPD that I get so much practice
I’ve been going at lumpy curbs (only very low ones) with only a small amount of fear and have been charging up and down small hillocks as wells as trying more leisurely up hill and down hill slopes. Up hill is a real killer and I now have a greater respect when I watch people’s videos where they seem to power up steep slopes…you guys/girls are amazing.
I’m still all over the place with respect to direction and find turning a bit tricky. On the straights I do a lot of twisting (to gain stability I guess). My 26" Kenda tyre has a Presta valve with an Schrader adaptor for a car pump but my pressure measuring gadget doesn’t seem to work on it so I must do a trip to the garage and see if I can ascertain what pressure I’ve got in the tyre…then I can try increasing/decreasing and see if it has any effect on the riding.
With this focus on going further and faster I’ve not spent any time on idling…in this heat I may get onto that next.
29 days of agony but I feel I’ve come a long way.
One last thing…note to self, for the love of god get your weight in the bloomin’ seat and give your legs a break. Thank you.
Well this officially finishes my first month’s worth of lessons…even if it has actually taken me over two months to complete.
I decided to just shoot a continuous clip as I tried to cycle around a fairly well made up track at Greenham Common airbase. I think the fact that the camera is predominantly pointed downwards is a reflection of where I’m actually looking! As you can hear I start panting from about the 3rd minute. I comment on my problems on the way around but as you can see my main issues are UPD’ing every 20m, taking quite a few attempts to free mount and the strain on my legs from not getting the weight in the saddle sufficiently.
Sorry that it’s all shaky-cam and wind noise…I’m still learning the pitfalls of filming. I’ll get the angle of the cam higher next time to off-set me looking downwards.
I think this officially concludes my noobie right of passage and from here on in its just going to be a matter of learning the 95% of unicycling skills required to be competent.
I’ll keep posting in this thread from time to time as I learn new skills or vastly improve but from here on in I think progress will not be as quick.
shufps…yes as you can see I’ve already started getting off the tarmac. raguse…fun but had work
Whew, I needed to take a break partway through for a Powerbar and some Gatorade.
Good job there! You made it around and back. It can only get better.
Your comment about looking downwards and the camera angle reminds me of the suggestion to visually focus on a spot that’s high and distant for better balance. And I think that’s actually true, but unless the surface is perfectly uniform, flat, and flawless, I also want to see what’s coming up that I’ll need to handle. I haven’t figured out how to reconcile those two things myself.
Congratulations on achieving the rite of passage. I’ll look forward nonetheless to future updates and reports of achievements.
Don’t be too eager to put all of your weight in the saddle, it will come in time. Remember that having all of your weight in the saddle will make balancing more difficult for you. However to force your butt to share the load you could try raising your saddle 1" approx. for a brief period during each practise session. You should feel a greater sense of being at one with the unicycle and it should take some of the pressure from your legs.
3 months on…
It’s been a while since I updated my learning thread and, although I’m not getting out every day I’m trying to at least make every other day to get the saddle time in.
I’ve been mainly concentrating on building up the staminar while riding on grass/easy tracks and trying to get over the fear of little lumps and bumps that unseat me almost before I actually reach them. Managed 2km today on the easy tracks around Greenham Common which is pretty embarrassing given some of the distances people on here are doing but I’m building up to it slowly. I’ve been making more of an effort to ride up and down slopes and, when a feature does unseat me I take 5 steps back, mount up and have another crack at it…and another, and often a few more…
I’ve been trying a little bunny hopping, sometimes as I mount up and before pedalling away, sometimes I try to come to a halt and then hop before dismounting (or bailing as I tend to UPD at this point!).
Now I have the adjustable seat post I’ve been trying a few seat angles but I confess the flatter I have it the more comfortable the mounting is. I also lifted the seat a centimetre today which actually helped with getting my weight in the seat. I may try a little higher still…the trade off is it can sometimes be harder UPDing gracefully.
Finally I managed to pick up a tiny compressor for pumping up the tyre with a gauge that I can actually get to measure the tyre pressure. Discovered that I’d gradually cranked the pressure up to something like 50 - 60 PSI so I’ve now dropped it back to 35 PSI for my next outing and will try going much lower on future rides to see what the effects are.
A picture from todays ride. I took a devil of a long time to get mounted and going at the start and had to do that in front of an audience but people typically have the greatest of respect for the effort and difficulty in riding so I never feel embarrassed.
In the background is one of the old nuclear missile bunkers at Greenham Common…they’re still keen to keep people out.
Not posted on my progress for some time so let me add an addendum of how things have gone over the last couple of months.
Mounting has got (mostly) easier although I do still struggle at the start of a ride. The nut crunching issues died off…not sure if this is down to a gradually improving technique or a gradual loss of sensation :astonished:
Riding (distance) has got easier but I do still feel constantly at the point of UPDing. Although I'm still finding it exhausting it is definitely getting easier and, as the distance between UPDs increases the energy expended constantly remounting reduces. I typically run out of steam now before UPDing so need to work on increasing how long I can keep going. Not sure if I've got the right ratio of weight in saddle to weight on feet so this may mean I'm working harder than I need.
Riding (off-road) remained a challenge for me until I downsized to a 24x3" Muni (more comparing with the 26er below). I can now manage much more humpier, lumpier and bumpier tracks than I could and am continuing to work on this specifically. Exposed tree roots are now easy but were a real 'mind over mater' challenge…my brain kept saying no way and it was a real force of will to ride at them and conquer them. I still haven't managed to ride on to or off of curbs yet.
Speed…I suck at this. I can't quite get over the fear of UPDing to push the speed much beyond a walking pace. I do now overtake the elderly and crippled so I am improving but I need to work on this.
Foot position. One of the issues I had early on with the Munis and the non-slip pins they have in the pedals was that, when free mounting, if I didn't get my second foot positioned well I immediately had to dismount and start again. I can now take enough pressure off my foot to reposition it if I can keep going for a dozen half cranks.
24x3" vs 26x2.5"
After initially moving to a 26" wheel and struggling a bit I decided to try a 24" to see if that could help me progress…so how did they compare?
The main trail I ride has some flat hard packed sections, some muddy puddly sections, exposed tree roots and a small uphill/downhill section along with some grassy areas.
On the 24" my confidence is much higher. I can get much further up the uphill section (although I can’t ride and hold the seat yet so this is stopping me progressing). Down hill is pretty similar on the two but I think the 24" feels slightly easier to control. Forward speed is much slower on the 24" for the same pedal revolution rate (both my Munis have 150mm cranks) but if I’m honest speed isn’t an issue for me and makes me nervous on the 26". Getting going is much easier on the 24" as is getting started on uphill slopes or generally bumpy ground. With the 26" I look for a reasonable flat spot to free mount…on the 24" I often mount in the middle of exposed tree roots without any worry. On the flat freemounting is very similar between the two. The 24" twists more when trying to ride a straight line where the 26" naturally seems to follow a straighter path. On the 26" I feel every bump and although I’m attempting to ride over larger obstacles (thanks to confidence building on the 24") I still find I’m struggling and looking for the smoothest route. With the 24" it’s like I want to hunt out the lumpiest root for the hell of it. It encourages me to ride over anything. I should point out that I’m running the 24x3 at ~20psi and the 26x2.5 at closer to ~35psi. I’ll try dropping the pressure in the 26" to see if that makes a big difference.
The circuit I’m riding is about 1.2 km so not very long. I noted that this took me about 30 minutes on the 24" with very few stops and about the same amount of time with lots of breaks (I was getting very tired for the second circuit) on the 26" so for distance the larger wheel is clearly a benefit. I’d already noted how slow the 24" felt riding on pavements and the twisting probably adds to this. The 26" feels straighter, quicker and easier to pedal (less effort for the same speed I guess) on tarmac.
My conclusion, which is based on my current competency level, is that the 24x3" Nimbus has opened up a world of off-roading that I wasn’t previously able to access on the 26x2.5". Off-roading and hard trails really make up 100% of what I’m riding at the moment. If I were to only want to ride flat trails and pavements (and assuming I would get over my fear of speed) I think the 26" would be a better choice. I don’t doubt that in a year or two I’ll be hammering the off-road on a 26" and wanting the speed at which point I’ll be recommending a 29" or 36" for the flat but that’s a long way off and my confidence and skill has a lot of development to work through.
As we enter the winter with it’s short days and pants weather I will be trying to work on some of the basics like idling and riding backwards on a 20" again.
That was the most helpful 24/26 comparison ever (since I’m approaching your skill level and riding very similar terrain). I’ve got a 24 and was wondering if a 26 might make things easier (for no particular reason other than experimentation, and the large number of 26 references I see in here). Anyway, I’m gonna stick to the 24 based on your comments. Thank you UL!
It’s really fun to switch back and forth between sizes. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, then you throw your constantly changing skills in there, every time you go out and ride it can be a completely difference experience. I go back and forth between my 29 and 24, so fun!
That’s a very high pressure to be riding offroad with, and I’d guess that that makes for a lot of the difference you’re seeing. I ride my 26x2.5" over fairly rough terrain @ 19 psi, and I think that’s a pretty typical pressure. At 35 I’d be bouncing off everything instead of absorbing it. I’m about 175 lbs.