About a year ago I brought a 6ft giraffe which is a single chain unicycle made by viscount I believe but I have not ridden it yet. I checked it over , pumped the tyre up , set saddle to pedal distance to suit me and then put it in the loft!
Riding standard unicycles i would call myself controlled and confident riding on 20 inch 26,27.5 and hatchet muni cycles. I do mix of path and off road riding.
Can anyone give any tips or advice to get me to get on and ride it otherwise I should just sell it.
Should be no problem for you to ride it. It’s the same riding as 20" but scarier and taller haha.
Learn how to Mount
Adapt to the height confidence and fear.
Learning how to mount and dismount is the hardest part but the rest is natural once ya start pedaling.
Dismounting, let it roll in front of you as you dismount off the back or vice versa and land on your feet with bent knees. Once your good enough you can hold onto the seat of the unicycle, so it doesn’t crash badly, but i wouldnt worry about it breaking. DO NOT STALL freeze and fall sideways… That is the most terrifying.
The falling motion forward is very natural for me as I just need to lean forward and my unicycle will tilt over and sort of gently guide me to the ground.
Mounting- Use a wall or anything you can climb on top of. If theres nothing then put the wheel against the wall. 1st step on wheel 2nd on pedal(pedal pushes forward into wall 3rd mount. Have a pal hold the frame and put their foot behind the wheel so it doesn’t go anywhere.
Adjusting. I’m use to heights because I climb but it still took me a while to get use to my 6ft giraffe… It sounds silly but I use to stand on a table or fence and it sort of just mentally prepared me for the height. It would give me a similair visual perspective.
This is my first attempt at a 5 ft giraffe. Two things: You should keep your weight on the saddle, or else you won’t be able to keep the saddle in place, and you will fall off (happens in the video at 3:12). Second, dismount off the front. It’s not like a regular unicycle, so it’s very awkward to dismount off the back.
When learning to ride a giraffe for the first time get a friend to hold it for you while you climb it, preferably parallel to a pole or tall fence. Once you’re seated and holding a support fence/pole get a feel for it and have your friend get clear. Then just launch off your support and ride you might UPD quickly as the height factor is intimidating on your first try just remember to bend your knees when you land.
Dismounts are important to get right you can either lean forward/backward to dismount but if you’re dismounting forwards make sure it’s clear behind you as the wheel will travel at least a meter backwards. Which is why I always launch parallel from my support in case of a UPD. It is preferable to dismount front/back as sideways can cause problems.
Once riding getting better at giraffe riding is really all just time in the saddle like any uni but it’s generally easier then typical unicycles as you can control the balance easier and have more time for corrections. After you’re proficient riding you can progress to mounting solo by using a fence, ladder or anything that will give you height. Then when you’re really confident you can practice free mounting.
And do you still ride your giraffe or is it just something to see if you can ride it and then ends up in the shed, because it is too much hassle? I reckon you’d need to learn to free mount it before going a longer trip.
I ride my giraffe every Sunday to the bakery which is a 3KM round trip just to keep my skills fresh. The other week I had 100% free mount success rate which dropped 20% in the weekend just gone . I’ve also ridden it to work and my local mechanic when I get the car serviced that way I don’t need someone to drop me off/pick me up.
I always get a replacement car, coz I’m lazy.
I reckon you don’t have much traffic on the way to the bakery? I wouldn’t feel save around cars. When tumbling off, the giraffe might fall unluckily against a riding or parked car.
Giraffe speeds are low compared to 36" roughly around 10km/hr so I’m always on footpaths. There’s a few places I ride on the road but it’s low traffic and only in areas I know. I tend to ride early morning to the bakery so I see a lot of cyclists and traffic is light. When I rode to work the roads were busy during peak hour but as I said I stick to foot paths and I can idle well enough to wait for traffic to clear to cross some roads/driveways. Sometimes I need to idle to wait for trains to pass on the crossings too. I only cross main roads via traffic lights which I can hold for a breather and my feet are at the perfect height to kick in the pedestrian buttons on them. There’s plenty of room when riding and there’s no need to ride next to parked cars. For some reason pedestrians always give me a wide berth and other times I ride into larger open areas and idle so they can pass me without having to get close. About the only thing I’m reluctant to ride across are bridges.
I find no issues dismounting off the back of a giraffe. It feels more natural to me and makes catching the giraffe much easier. Dismounting off the back also let’s you see where the wheel is going so that it does not hit anything. Some riders have had instances where the wheel hit something behind them when dismounting off the front causing them to be unexpectedly thrown forwards.
When I dismount I hold the seat as I get off and let the wheel roll out in front of me, so I can keep the seat away from my face easily. This works well in spacious areas, but I imagine in smaller areas where there isn’t space to roll the wheel away from you the unicycle may have to remain more upright and then could present the risk of hitting your chin on the seat.
One thing that feels different with a giraffe compared to a standard unicycle is that the center of the wheel/axis that the frame pivots on is not the same as the axis of rotation for the cranks. On my first few tries the seat slipped out from under me because although I was centered over the cranks, I was not centered over the wheel.
A dismount off the back. Holding the handle, chin nowhere near seat.
The next occasion I rode though, I was doing fine but during the ride I kinda got scared, decided to dismount off the back and sprained an ankle so badly I ended up having surgery… wasn’t wearing the best shoes - Mary Jane flats and my skin was also broken so I was bleeding - no top of foot protection, not even socks.
Ankle is ok except I keep having ankle problems… since spraining that one I sprained the other twice (trail walk and a trail run) and that one again on a trail ride on a unicycle. All much more minor sprains though, not stopping me for any long period of time.
I decided I wouldn’t ride the giraffe again, and sold it to another rider, (only aged about 11), he had ridden it before, he’s very capable, can ride 1 footed, go up very steep hills… I was happy for him to buy it off me.
I used to have a “Penguin Giraffe” which is the shortest possible chain-drive unicycle you can have, and it was geared up 2:1. It had a 20" wheel but the gearing meant it was equivalent to a 40" wheel and I got that thing going at 26 km/h a few times. I rode it in a 21 km race once which was good fun (I did not win, but I didn’t lose).
I agree about dismounting off the back of a giraffe. That seems more natural to me, and it makes it easy to hold the seat as you drop. The drop distance on a 5-6’ giraffe is actually not that large either way.