I’ve been riding for oh, 7 months, and I have done some pretty cool stuff, but I really want to ride a giraffe unicycle. This isn’t good however because I have basically no clue how hard… or easy is is to ride. Will it be like learing how to ride a standard unicycle all over again?? The only piece of information I know is that Semcycle.com says I should be able to ride backwards, and idle one-footed before even attemting it – Which doesnt sound too promising… but I can do those things. Any advice??
With all due respect to Semcycle it simply isn’t so.
Riding a giraffe is incredibly fun and not any more difficult than riding a regular unicycle. There is a psychological component that makes it feel harder at first, but that goes away.
Freemounting a giraffe is significantly more difficult than a standard uni, but that should be pretty obvious. At an 18.5 mile unicycling event in New Jersey this past summer though, one fellow did the entire ride on a giraffe and he still can’t freemount. So although freemounting is something you’ll want to work towards it is not something you have to be able to do immediately.
When I started riding a giraffe about a year or so ago, I could barely ride backwards and to this day I still can not idle one-footed. Yet I freemount (well, some of the time anyway) and ride a giraffe confidently. It is a massive unicycling high.
Naturally you’re going to be 5 to 6 or more feet higher than normal so common sense dictates that you take precautions, such as wearing safety gear at least during the learning process.
If you want to ride a giraffe go for it. (If you’re a kid, your profile only gives a month and a day - by the way happy belated birthday - make sure your parents know what you’re up to.)
Raphael speaks the truth. Actually, idling a giraffe is much easier for some than idling a standard 20" or 24" uni. They are also really easy to ride backwards. There is a balance advantage being on top of a long stick like that. The psychological barrier is real but so is the small “this feels really different” barrier. The psychological one is much stronger.
I disagree with Raphael on one point. On a five or six foot giraffe you are not five or six feet further up. You are only further up by the difference in the seat heights between your standard unicycle and whatever giraffe you ride. This might be a two or three foot difference at the most for a five or six foot giraffe. It’s not that high. Raphael may believe that he is at some extreme altitude on a giraffe but that’s only because he is an extremist.
More importantly IT DOES LOOK high. Most people will generously add two or three feet of height to your giraffe when perceivng it or describing it.
If you’ve been riding for 7 months, then you are good to go.
I’ve been riding a unicycle since 2 November 2002 (6 weeks) so I am in no way an expert on anything, however: You can my ride a giraffe. I bought a giraffe after 3 weeks on a normal unicycle. I was able to go around the block a couple times without falling. I can’t ride a uni backwards or idle or any of that yet. I have to use a couple tuff sheds two feet apart to get on the thing, but I figured out how to ride it in about 30 minutes.
My normal uni is a 24 inch wheel and the giraffe is a 20 inch and a not-so-perfectly-straight-frame so it was harder than it should have been, but still very do-able.
Good luck, and don’t buy a Savage giraffe off of eBay. While they may be okay if you find one in the store that you can make sure is good to go, a cheap one on eBay is cheap for a reason.
Oh well, they say you destroy a learning uni anyway, so after I learn, then get a “real” giraffe, I can loan this one to the next learner maybe.
Anyway, go for it and let us know how it turns out.
It is true that riding a normal unicycle translates directly to riding a
giraffe. If you can do one, you can do the other. But the fact that you
“can” doesn’t mean you should.
I understand that some clubs require level-3 skills before allowing a rider
on a giraffe. I think this is wise because it requires a general level of
comfort and competence on the unicycle – the ability to cope when something
doesn’t go quite right. Without this level of competence, your danger level
is much higher.
For one thing, in the process of learning to ride backwards you get used to
dealing with UPD’s of every possible kind. On the giraffe you had better be
in control during a UPD. If you don’t land on your feet (preferably squarely
on both feet) it is going to hurt.
If you are nervous about riding backwards, you should definitely be nervous
about being on a giraffe.
All this ‘levels’ business leaves me out in the cold. Each to his or her own, of course, and those who want to do levels are free to do so. However, as I personally could see no practical benefit or enjoyment from, say, riding stomach on seat, I would not put the effort in to learn the skill, so I could never pass the exam, so your club (or one like it) might never let me ride the club giraffe.
Basic skills necessary to be safe on a uni are: freemount, ride forwards, steer confidently,stop under control, dismount. Before riding a giraffe, it would be nice to be able to idle a normal uni. Reversing would be a bonus.
One of the appeals of unicycling is that it is a sport for eccentrics rather than conformists. I therefore find it strange that so many unicyclists like to see their eccentricity validated with a series of certificates. But that’s jus’ me.
> All this ‘levels’ business leaves me out in the cold. Each to his or
> her own, of course, and those who want to do levels are free to do so.
> However, as I personally could see no practical benefit or enjoyment
> from, say, riding stomach on seat, I would not put the effort in to
> learn the skill, so I could never pass the exam, so your club (or one
> like it) might never let me ride the club giraffe.
> Basic skills necessary to be safe on a uni are: freemount, ride
> forwards, steer confidently,stop under control, dismount. Before riding
> a giraffe, it would be nice to be able to idle a normal uni. Reversing
> would be a bonus.
> One of the appeals of unicycling is that it is a sport for eccentrics
> rather than conformists. I therefore find it strange that so many
> unicyclists like to see their eccentricity validated with a series of
> certificates. But that’s jus’ me.
> Mikefule - Roland Hope School of Unicycling
> I know it only rocks and rolls but I like it!
> Mikefule’s Profile: http://www.unicyclist.com/profile/879
> View this thread: http://www.unicyclist.com/thread/22205
> rec.sport.unicycling mailing list - www.unicycling.org/mailman/listinfo/rsu
>>"…I personally could see no practical benefit or enjoyment >>from, say, riding stomach on seat…"
Yes, it is one of the most impractical skills ever conceived by a unicyclist, but it is a blast. It also looks freaky. Take a pic of someone riding stomach-on-seat on they’ll try to steal it and burn it. If only to entertain others, this skill is fun.
But don’t worry aobut what I say. Nope. Oh well.
(I realize that was a tad off topic. I give you another hearty “Oh well.”)
I completely agree with the above insofar as I am responsible for myself and my child.
However Marks’ comment about clubs requiring members, particularly children, to pass a certain level before allowing them to ride a giraffe…when riding within the time and space governed by the club…makes sense since clubs have legal responsibilities towards their membership, particularly with regard to insurance. (I would argue, as has been stated by others before that perhaps this is another reason for the stomach on seat skill to be moved to above Level 3 so that it is not necessary for clubs with such restrictions to allow members to ride giraffes. Unless, of course, they waive this skill.)
As for the skills themselves, pretty much no matter how obscure an activity, if enough people do it, they’re going to want to compare and rank and so some set of standards to do this is going to be developed.
Our club requires proficiency of Level 2 skills before soloing on a giraffe. It doesn’t take but a few trips across the gym for most new giraffe riders (kids in this case) to learn the feel of giraffe riding. Of course freemounting is another issue. Usually, I hold the giraffe for the kids during the climb up to the saddle.
I have a Savage 5’ Giraffe. It was what I could afford and I got it for $169 with the Viscount saddle and seat-post upgrade.
I have been perfectly happy with it. I’ve had no mechanical problems and it has performed well. And, of course, I love riding it.
That being said, naturally being as acquisitive as the next guy I covet the Semcycle or Miyata SkyCycle. Afterall, there’s got to be some reason why they’re over $200 more. I’m not sure what constitutes hard riding of a giraffe (Scot Cooper’s Giraffe MUni’ing notwithstanding), but I suspect one of those would hold up better under whatever such treatment is.
So, that being said, I’d recommend that if you have the extra dough and it’s not a big deal, get one of the higher end machines. If money is an issue, but you really want the giraffe experience, you wont regret buying the Savage; no matter what anyone says I’d estimate that you’re at least 8 to 9 feet higher up on one.
While I’m a long way from being an expert, one advantage I saw last night at my daughters unicycling club practice of being able to stomach ride is it was easier for some of the kids to learn to freemount it. There has been some postings in the past where people could freemount their giraffe, only when the seat was lowered too much. Some of the kids had the same problem until they started stomach riding. They would mount like normal but were not quite able to get on the seat at its proper height. Then they would stomach ride for a few pedals and then were able to get on the seat.