Finally got started...

Just read the entire thread and watched the videos. Awesome inspiration! Keep it up! I just learned the freemount and it has been a bit of a challenge not landing on the jewels for sure!

:smiley:

Hey, thanks so much for the thread. I just got my 26er a month ago and got off to a good start but after about two weeks, some travel for work and the flu derailed me. After that, I just kept finding excuses not to go ride. I rode when I was a kid so I could ride a little but I can’t free mount. I read through this entire thread and went out this evening and had a good session. I’m 50 and chubby and a little afraid of falling since I’m out of shape and the 26er seems so high…but I’m back out there and I’m really happy about it. Thanks! Please keep posting, it’s keeping me motivated!

Well I’m glad a few of you are enjoying the posts…at the outset of my learning I found reading others experiences and progress motivating as I was learning on my own and had no one to measure up against. As mmorton says, when you hit a wall, reading the progress of your peers is sometimes all you need to get back out there.

24x3" vs 26x2.5" Update
I thought it important in my previous post to put my comments into perspective by highlighting my skill level and type of riding and commented on the tyre pressures as I knew it was important. I went out today to re-ride the same route on both 24er and 26er but this time with the same pressure in the tyres. The first thing I discovered is that my previous estimates of my tyre pressures were a little off. The 24er had 18 - 20 psi in it and the 26er actually only had 20 - 22 psi in it. I’d been messing about trying different tyre pressures on the 26er some time back and I think my claim that is was at 35 psi actually comes from the minimum recommended pressure for the tyre (as printed on the side).
Anyway, I put a little more in the 24er and took a little out of the 26er to get them to ~20 psi and re-rode them (Ed Toast - I based the tyre pressure on a guide I read on this forum somewhere of 1 psi per 10lbs of body weight. I have a mass of 90kg or, roughly 200lb hence 20 psi in the tyres).
All my previous comments remain true. I think the 26er simply has a little less volume to it so, as a bit of a newbie to the bumpy stuff I find the 24x3" tyre a little more absorbing and a little easier.
I think Nurse Ben’s comments are spot on and I certainly won’t be getting rid of the 26er…in fact I try to alternate between my Munis to keep pushing myself but I have to say the 24er has done wonders for my confidence.

On my ride today I had a bit of a breakthrough in the speed/technique stakes. On the 24" I was doing my normal thing in the bumpy sections of going real slow, being quite upright and having more weight on the pedals (I can’t help myself) but on the flatter bits I experimented a bit with my posture leaning forward more and tilting the pelvis to keep the wheel under me. I discovered I twisted less, could get the 24er moving more quickly and actually started to ride with one hand holding the saddle handle. I’m quite chuffed with the discovery and improvement to my riding. I want to master the saddle holding so I can work on climbing steeper inclines.

markf80…on the subject of protecting your jewels, although I generally find things much easier these days I have just bought a pair of cycling shorts with padding in the crotch and I really like them. I have to confess that all the mens shorts were like skin-tight lycra so I bought a pair of women’s cycling shorts (just look like football shorts)…not sure if the padding in men and women’s shorts is the same but they seem to do the business.
That might make me a cross dressing unicyclist…is that a first? :astonished:

UL

I got a flat seat and that really really helped the family jewels issue…once you go flat, you never go back!

Slowly, I get the impression, I’m not having any family jewels … Never had such problems … uhm …

Jumping and riding off things

Made a bit more of an effort to do more than the standard ride around my favourite trail today. Decided to have a punt at jumping sideways (in preparation for hopping up stairs) and riding off a curb.
I can bunny hop about quite well and often use it to point myself in the right direction or to get ‘everything’ in position when I first mount so I thought hopping sideways a bit would be simple…apparently not. I struggled to hop more than a few inches sideways and couldn’t stay mounted after the hop. I was doing this on the flat and I can see much more effort will be required to hop up something the height of a step or a curb. Everyone makes it look so easy on YouTube!
Riding off a curb seems to be one of those mind over matter things. I found a spot with curb rising from road level up to full height (about 150mm/6") and started off riding off the lower sections then gradually moved up. I’m UPDing from fear of falling even after I’d successfully ridden off the damn curb a few times. The first time I did it and carried on I did find I took a bit of an impact to the nuts…not sure if I should be standing more on the pedals or trying to keep firmly in the seat. Anyway, I was successful but it’s going to take a few more sessions to stop my brain from cringing every time I approach the drop.
I guess the next thing I need to work on is riding in the other direction! mounting the curb. I guess a bit of saddle holding and a jump is required for this?
So much to learn…

UL

Yes, otherwiese it would be boring after 2 months :slight_smile:

After reading LargeEddie’s progress in the distance stakes I decided to go back to my early training ground and ride a 2km circuit that I did a few months back (roughly 50:50 mix of pavement and reasonably smooth trail with a 15m change in elevation from highest to lowest points). The last time I rode this on the 26er I was UPDing every 30 - 50 metres and I had the humiliation of taking 5 minutes to catch up and pass a pensioner with a lame dog (they eventually stopped and waited for me to go by because the dog was a bit freaked out by me wobbling along behind it). Humiliating :frowning:
Wow, what a difference after all my work on the trails. I UPDed just once, had to dismount at two points to get around barriers and stopped once near the end to let my legs take a break but found it so much easier. I’m not sure I could have kept up with a jogger but I was flying by the pedestrians…the quickest I’ve ever ridden. I’m finally getting the hang of cornering by leaning a bit which is cool as you can keep the speed up. I’m also aware I have two peddling modes;

  • one where I’m uncertain (tricky terrain or obstacles) where I have more weight on the pedals which is hard work but seems to give more control,
  • one where I’m more confident lean forward, sink into the seat a bit more and let the cranks spin…this seems essential for riding any sort of distance without ones legs giving out.
    I just need to switch between the two more intuitively as I find I’m not relaxing quickly enough on the easy stuff and hence I tire really quickly.

Anyway, really pleased with the progress and it’s quite a confidence boost to go back and try things like this to measure ones progress.

I finished up by trying to ride off curbs some more. It seems I’m quite sensitive to pedal position doing this. If the pedals are at the quarter to three position when I drop over the edge of the curb I ride away like a boss…when they’re at the 12 & 6 positions I feel like I’ve stalled and I crash and burn. Much more work required here I think.

UL

Yes, that’s also my experience :slight_smile:

That’s really great … The switch between this two “riding-modes” happens instantly on demand - e.g. on sudden bumps … :slight_smile:

Way to go! That has to be really satisfying. Little by little, we’re getting there.

I think that’s a caveat that should go along with the advice for beginners to keep your weight on the saddle. Yes, it’s good to know about that. But until you have that confidence and can pedal smoothly and not be making corrections all the time, you’re going to have to keep a lot of weight on the pedals. Not good or bad, that’s just how it is at that stage.

Like you and shufps say, learning to switch quickly between the modes seems like a key thing to work on. I get to practice that on the hills here, using a lot of pedal weight going up and then trying to get off them and let my legs recover quickly on the downhill side. It’s getting better but there’s still huge room to improve.

Keep up the good work!

It’s been raining here a lot in the last week so I headed to the gravel tracks of Greenham Common today to work on distance/speed as well as a little muddy off-roading.
Started off of the 26er riding on the hard packed stuff and rode a 2km circuit including some up and down hill sections. Should have put a bit more pressure in the tyre I think but still managed to go fast enough for me! What I did note was that, I (notionally) limit my top speed to what I think I can run-out if I UPD. However, now I’m getting better I typically don’t UPD until my legs are dead tired. When I do, I discover my legs are too knackered to run it out :astonished:

Also had an experiment riding with my home made GoPro pole which I haven’t been successful with on previous attempts. All seemed to work well today but I was suffering with condensation inside the GoPro housing as it’s all been sat inside my soaking wet Land Rover for a week. Still, the pole seems to work so I will try and capture usable video next time.

A couple of weeks back I worked on attacking some (for me) seriously big tree roots for my DED video. Thought I’d include an extract here of me trying a particularly tricky root for other people learning…it’s always encouraging to see how often people actually fail!
My first attempt at this root in previous weeks had seen me UPDing before getting anywhere near the bloomin’ thing (I was convinced I was going to fail before I even reached it). With the pressure of having to master it for the video I went at it with a bit more courage and finally, after a few attempts, I cracked it. Now it seems simple and I can’t understand what all the fuss was about.

Well that’s my updates. My attempts to bunny hop sideways more than a foot are still a bit pants so I’m not going to be hopping up stairs anytime soon.

UL

Good stuff there! That looks like some very effective practice dealing with the root. A lot of things you’ll encounter will basically be bigger or somewhat differently shaped versions of that.

“It’s part of the sport.”

I need to get back to working on hopping too. I’ve been trying it on my 20", getting better little by little too. But I’m still not at all good at it.

Only a couple of weeks since my last update but I’ve made some distinct progress on both lumpy and flat trails in the last few weeks.
Knocked off work early a couple of Fridays back and headed to my local wood for some rough trail riding. By the time I got there it was getting dark and once amongst the trees it was tough to see the ground. Took my GoPro on the home made extending pole to get some more experience riding and filming at the same time. Possibly not the best time to try on such tough terrain but it did at least show me just how well the GoPro manages low light conditions.
Here’s a quick edit that I used to look at camera angles and framing (lots to work on here!).

The start of the video is about 4pm (mid November, UK) and I can’t make out detail on the ground once in the woods. By the end of the video it’s about 4:40 and completely dark in the woods. The GoPro manages the low light conditions very well considering.
I managed to ride about 60% of the trail on the 24er which was a major improvement over my last outing in these woods however the 40 minute session completely knackered me out and I couldn’t ride for quite a few days afterwards.

Started taking the uni to work as this lets me ride at lunchtimes (occasionally) as it’s dark by the time I finish work. The trail around my campus is much hillier than I’ve been used to riding so I’ve had more practice at climbing slopes and am improving my abilities here. I’ve also been riding, when I can, from where I park the car to the office. This is only 300-400m but is helping me to be much more confident of just mounting and going…I just need to learn to do it while carrying my laptop (and office) in my backpack.

Last weekend I took the 26er on a longer circuit of the (essentially flat) common and managed a 3km run without sweating like a fat boy…my longest outing so far.

I upped the tyre pressure to about 30 psi to lower the rolling resistance but still had to stop a few times to let my legs recuperate. I’m managing to go further before having to take a breather but am no where near to riding the distances that many on this forum do…patience and practice I guess. I may up the pressure more as I’m handling the path surface easily and can probably further reduce the drag.

My 19" Nimbus Trials arrived today so I’m looking forward to learning some new things…more to follow. Let me announce that I’m going to work on idling and riding backwards and that way I’ll be too embarrassed to post again until I put some proper effort into these two particular skills!

UL

I enjoyed it. You came up with different ways of using the camera and pole instead of going with the same point of view all the way, which helps a lot. That’s good inspiration to try a few things like that myself.

Hey, tell me about it. I’m really feeling the after-effects of my Sunday efforts too.

But you look steadier and a lot more relaxed in the saddle these days. You’re definitely still making progress.

Well UL, great progress.

Since I’ve been away from this place for a while I decided to re-read your topic from the start.

It’s great to see the progress from your first fence clenching revolutions to hill climbing to 3km ride. You have come on a long way and it’s testament to your determination.

Brilliant encouragement. Keep it up!

I’ve found my stamina seems to be waning rather than increasing so today I headed to the fairly easy trails of Greenham Common with the aim of trying to push the distances I’ve been riding.
Basically I failed :frowning:

Managed just 3km…the first half of which I couldn’t ride in a straight line. After about ten minutes I stopped to consider what was wrong…there was no camber and I felt like I was sat square on the seat which is square in the frame. I did notice my heals knocking on the cranks occasionally (on the right side) which suggests I’m not set up on the uni quite as straight as I think I am. I tried turning my right shoulder into it (I was constantly veering to the left) but that was too difficult to maintain and I tried moving my hips about to see if that would help. I eventually sat straight on the seat but leant my upper body significantly to the right and that straightened up the path I was riding. Ironically 5 minutes later I turned a corner and started a very gentle descent and the problem immediate vanished and didn’t really return.
I’m super frustrated that I’m not able to ride further and even now, 8 hours later, I still feel knackered from the ride :frowning:
Think I may switch to the 20" trials tomorrow and start working on some skills to make me feel better :roll eyes:

UL

Did you check to make sure your seat is straight? I know when I was doin jumps an dropped my uni a few times the seat turned and I was frustrated my ride home because I couldn’t ride straight without making corrections every other pedal.

Yup, seat is ‘square’ in the frame, nicely aligned with the wheel. I wish I’d taken the GoPro with me…I could have filmed myself to look at my posture and see if I’m sitting a bit side saddle or just not got my feet straight on the pedals. Very frustrating!

UL

some days everyone has a rubbish ride, cant do things that are normally easy, cant get your head in the groove etc…

Dont let it get to you, the next ride WILL be better.

:roll_eyes:
Thanks man…