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Here is the latest article for the Unicycling skills archive. We have jumped up
to level 6, thanks to Dennis Kathrens’ detailed and excellent description of how
to do the front spin.


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  1. Start a leaning turn (not an action/reaction turn) less than 3 ft in radius.

  2. Hold out your arms straight out in line with your shoulders, then twist at
    the waist in the direction you want to spin. Tilt your arms so the inside arm
    angles down at the ground and the outside arm angles up in the air. Turn your
    head in the direction of the turn. Keep pedaling smoothly for a smooth spin.

  3. As you spin, trim your side to side balance as necessary by changing the tilt
    of your arms a little. Don’t move your torso. Look over your shoulder at the
    ground behind you, but try to keep your head up as much as possible or you
    will get very dizzy.

  4. To stop the spin, untwist the torso, level the arms and allow the hips to
    come back inline, that is to where your head, spine, hips and the unicycle
    frame are all in a straight line.


I have done spins on my 24", but I think they may be easier to do on a
20" unicycle.

I worked up to doing spins by learning to make very tight ‘leaning turns’ (as
opposed to action/reaction turns). Just start a leaning turn and make a circle,
progressively shortening the radius. Don’t try spins until you can make a 1
meter circle. As a rule of thumb, the tighter you turn, the more you must lean,
and the more your center of gravity must lead the wheel.

You will know when a spin happens.

Suddenly turning will become much easier and you will make at least two circles
before you know what’s happening. It will feel like you are pedaling twice as
fast as you should be. I think the wheel must do a complete revolution for each
360 degrees of spin. You will feel your tire scuffing against the pavement too.

Here’s what happens: Imagine riding around in a circle, and a vertical line
drawn up through the center of that circle. As you start riding smaller
circles, shortening the radius and leaning further into the turn, soon you get
a point where that vertical line starts traveling through your torso. At some
point that vertical line is going up through your body quite close to your own
center of gravity. Then part of your body (your head and at least one of your
shoulders) is on one side of the vertical line and starts to balance out the
part on the other side. While your wheel is doing a circle on the ground, your
head is doing another (smaller) circle in the air, the same direction but 180
degrees out of phase.

Step 1: Do this by tipping your hips inward (to tilt the wheel) and leaning
forward slightly to lead the wheel with your center of gravity. Your torso and
head lean away from the turn to partially balance the displacement of your hips.
Your spine and the unicycle frame should make a < shape pointing to the center
of the circle.

Step 2: Basically lean, twist and trust the wheel to follow. Spins to the left
work best for me–is this Coriolis force or just personal preference?)

Step 3: Your arms are in line with each other. The inside arm points at a spot
on the circumference of the circle made by the wheel, more than 180 degrees from
where the wheel makes contact. The < shape of your spine and the unicyle frame
will tilt inward until your spine is almost vertical.

Dennis Kathrens

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Beirne Konarski | Subscribe to the Unicycling Mailing List
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