# Giving a speech on learning to unicycle

specifically how it’s not limited to people with spectacular coordination. I’m sure many of us have moments where we think we must have been dropped on our head a few times as babies to have such disappointing motor skills. Sometimes I miss my mouth when I go to brush my teeth and I get toothpaste all over my face. I mean what is that. But there’s still the misconception held by numerous onlookers who comment “Oh my god I would die” and it takes what seems like deeply penetrative analytic therapy to get them to even consider trying it out, even though they clearly want to. So, since I’m in public speaking and my first real assignment is to give an informative speech, I thought I would inform about the non-dangers of learning how to unicycle regardless of whatever indicators of poor coordination you think you have. Basically, you’re walking around, you acquired language (sort of…), you learned to ride a bike, you can learn to ride a unicycle.

Only PROBLEM is I need three seriously legit sources and whenever I do a search for anything about unicycling, I get one of two things:
1.) A newspaper article about some local unicyclist / event
2.) An article saturated with passages like:

Consider a unicyclist riding near upright on a level
surface.1 Motion in the wheel plane is modeled by a planar
inverted pendulum with horizontally moving support.
Variables are f(t)5angle from vertical, and z(t)
5horizontal displacement of the wheel in the same sense.
See Fig. 1.
Straightforward mechanics2 gives the equation of motion
~with mass canceled!
l f ¨ 5g sin f2z¨ cos f,
where l5length of the equivalent simple pendulum, g
5acceleration of gravity. Friction is ignored in the wheel
plane.

So. Yeah. Does anybody know off the top of their head any good published things on learning to ride a unicycle or the mechanical learning process in general? I am allowed to use quotations and personal testimonies as sources and technically anything you guys say could count as long as I have your permission and you promise that you are the most trusted authority on the subject matter, but that brings up other issues.

Get a copy of Kris Holm’s book.

You can also feel free to quote anything I’ve posted, but I absolutely am not the best nor most trustworthy source.

Maybe you can find a paper using google scholar.

I can’t help with sources, but is there a reason you have to rely on what other people have written, rather than come up with your own words?

My starting point when explaining to non-unicyclists about learning to ride is that it’s actually no more difficult than walking (and almost certainly easier than running) in a balance and coordination sense - it’s just that nobody ever stops to think about how complicated and difficult walking is as it’s something they learnt to do when they were about 1 year old, and they do hours of practice every day. If babies learnt to ride a unicycle at that age it would seem just as natural and straightforward. Why not take that as an idea and expand on it?

Sounds like it’s an assignment, so that would be part of the assignment.

Sometimes, the best stuff still can’t be found online. Kris Holm’s book, definitely worth buying separate from this project, and others. Like The Unicycle Book (the original) by Jack Wiley, 1973. You might be able to find that in a gasp library! Another place to look might be sources on how to learn physical skills. Look for information about “dynamic balance” skills or just circus skills.

Your introduction sounds great, BTW. Keep that for your speech!

I ended up going with three general learning and motor-skills resources, and I’ll probably use some anecdotal evidence from teaching newcomers at our weekly club meetings to support the radical neurological claims. Thanks for the suggestions.

Ahhhhhhhhh! I can’t think of a “clincher” for the end. Everything is either really cheesy or dangerously close to being “persuasive”.

Give me your best one-liners, unicyclers.

I know what you are saying, I suspect we ALL are subjected to the call of “OMG, you must have great balance!” when we know it is not true.

So I just tell people that unicycling is a skill, not a talent.

And by that I mean that anyone can do it. That it requires no inate abilities at all includiing balance. A skill being something that can be learnt, a talent being something that can’t.

(Though I can’t think of anything that can’t be taught to an average Jo at least to a respectable level - racing a car, writing a sonet, doing a dance routine, painting a portrait, …)

I make a similar point to novices. That walking was far more difficult to learn, but we never gave up.

With learning to walk, failure is not an option. The toddlers keeps at it for as long as it takes.

So while lots of people never learn to ride a unicycle and everyone learns to walk, that is not an indication that unicyling is especially difficult to pick up. It is just that we treat the need to do it as a optional.

Where there’s a wheel there’s a way.