First longish ride, darkness falls.

I took a 5.5 mile ride lasts night. I put on a cycle computer to keep check
myself. The longest distance before UPD was about a mile. Did this twice
on the ride. That’s my best so far.

The path was a winding tree-lined blacktop bike/walk trail along a streamway
with easy short rolling hills but fairly flat. There are several bridges
too as the trail crosses from side to side of the stream. The outbound leg
was fun and easy. I even tried out the concept of “off-road” and took a 30
meter ride across grass. I crossed paths with many walkers and bikers
without any odd comments. Just smiles and good evenings.

At about 2 miles I had my first hands to the pavement UPD. I haven’t hit
the ground like that in weeks. Two oncoming walkers were taking most of the
path as I came to them. It was just at a point where a small low hanging
tree branch jutted into my space. I tried to duck under the branch but lost
it right next to them. Arrrg. I should have just stepped off to avoid it.
I was enjoying everything about the ride until it got dark half way through
the return leg. Where the path was with the trees (most of it) I didn’t
have enough moonlight to see. I could see the path but I couldn’t tell the
slope or condition. Going up and down hills in the dark was much more
difficult. Places where the path had a side to side that were problematic
even in light were worse. What really threw me (literally) were places
where the pavement had heaved. In the light when I knew they were coming it
was fun. In the dark it was scary. Got tossed off several times, hands to
the ground. Not fun. Almost as bad was I had a lot of difficulty mounting
in the dark and being tired. I was refusing to do the walk of shame so with
UPDs and mounting problems that last mile took me about 30 minute.

Still I’m happy. I’m not quite ready to do it again today. But real soon.
My crotch survived but my knees are telling me to hold off for a while.

-Cubby
Older newbie on a 24" chrome Torker w/ Viscount Seat

p.s. I saw in another thread about adding more tilt to the seat by bending
the platform on top of the seat post. I did this and it seams to help. The
post now has a definite front-back orientation. Overall comfort was better.
I’m still considering doing an air-seat but not sure if I want to
potentially ruin this one yet.

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I was with you every pedal stroke as I read that write up. I’ve done the mile in 30 minutes (on a Coker!) and recently too.

You crossed the threshold: the ‘ride’ became a ‘journey’. Determination saw you through, and you will be a stronger rider because of it.

The time may well come when you add that 5.5 miles to a longer ride as an ‘extra loop’, but you won’t forget the first time you rode it.

Buy a small Maglite or a decent LED head torch and take the fear out of riding at and after dusk. The weight is negligible, but the effect on your confidence will be enormous.

10 miles next weekend then. Report on my desk for 7:00 p.m. Monday, please. :wink:

I have a Petzl LED torch. I think it is pretty good for night time rides because it lets me know when I am on the track. It doesn’t always prevent me from UPDing while riding offroad at night, because small details of bumps don’t show up very well in the white light. It weighs 64 grams including the three AAA batteries, and apparently they last for 150 hours. It cost almost double what my big Maglite cost, but the weight savings are worth it, and the light is just as good if not better for night Unicycling. I think it’s a good idea to carry one when riding, because time flies when you are having fun, and you can’t always predict when you will be back. Often I have gone out in the morning, visited friends, and wished I had brought a torch in the evening for riding through the park. Moonlight is always good when it’s out, but you can’t always rely on that. If you buy a Petzl, get the one with the regular headband, not the elasticated winding mechanism. I found out about the different models after buying the elastic one, and it flew to peices when I flailed my arm with the torch on my hand, losing the batteries.

petzl light.jpg

Re: First longish ride, darkness falls.

Great write-up Cubby. I enjoyed being along on the ride, just as Mike did. Bike trails beside creeks make awesome unicycle trails.

Rowan suggested a LED light and I will second that. I have a two LED model made by Black Diamond, cost $20.00 and it is great for night riding. It is so tiny, you can have it in your pocket without even noticing it is there. Then as night rolls in, slip it around your head and you have light when you need it. Mine only uses one very small Silver Oxide “476” 6 volt battery. It is unbelieveable how long the battery lasts.

One note, the headband makes me look like a dork, so I now ride with it around my neck. The light angle is adjustable, so it shines right where you are riding and the on/off switch is very easy to reach. However, when I buy another LED light, it will be a “Four LED” model, therefore doubling my lumens (hopefully).

By wearing the light around my neck, this also allows me to quickly spin the light to the back of my neck when a hear/see a car approaching from behind. --chirokid–

PS: Eventhough I now wear the light on my neck, instead of my head, my girls tell me I still look like a dork! :frowning: