Hit the brick wall and getting disheartened

Firstly I’m approaching my 49th birthday, maybe I should have taken up stamp
collecting instead!

I’ve been (trying) to ride for a couple of months and usually put in 15
minutes practice each night. I’ve a perfectly flat area to practice on but
my distace record so far is only 18 yds of fairly uncontrolled wobble with a
constant turn to the right. There is nobody available to either physicially
or mentally hold my hand, I’m aware that I’m going to fall off and so far,
with one exception, have alway managed to land on my feet so I’ve no bad
experiences to worry about. Is it the case of try, try, try again and no
pain, no gain? Hand eye coordination is sufficient to juggle 3 clubs /
balls and sense of balance is ‘normal.’ What have I got to do to improve?

Grateful for any encouragement.

John

(Put cat out to reply)

You’re awesome for even wanting to learn, your plight makes me grateful that i learned while i was young. but, it is a matter of try, try, try again. all i can say is OD on calcium suppliments so bones don’t break or shatter, and then just keep getting on. you might want to spend a little more time than 15 min a night, a half hour would be much better, so you have some time to get into “the zone” and then you can learn better.

matt

Hit the brick wall and getting disheartened

First, JWL, turn 90 degrees, and try riding parallel to the wall! :wink:

Second, if you’ve managed 18 yards, that’s great!

Here’s a little stretching exercise that may help you along:

Please follow these instructions carefully, doing each step before reading the next;

  1. Extend your right arm straight up.

  2. Look up at your hand.

  3. Turn your wrist so you can see the palm of your hand.

  4. Bend your right elbow until your fingers are pointing straight down, touching your right shoulder blade.

  5. Repeatedly unbend and rebend your elbow 45 degrees.

  6. Continue this elbow-flexing action until you stop feeling discouraged.

This exercise is what we unicyclists call “patting yourself on the back”.

You’ve done very well! Try extending your practice time in 15-minute increments with short breaks in between for back-patting.

Check back here often for more encouragement.

Relax. Geezers like us take a lot longer to learn than the studpuppy crowd. In two months you will be having a lot of fun with it. Think of the uni as a twelve step anti-golf-abuse program.
Have you tried riding at the Proving Ground? It looks like a tennis court, except there are no tennis players around. The fence around the Proving Ground is fantastic for clinging to, and eventually you will find yourself doing laps.
Try taking a hard bicycle ride. The strength you will gain in your legs will translate into better unicycling, and it’s fun.
Learn to fall off properly at the first hint of fear. Keep your body straight and land on your feet.
Ride down some grassy hills. This will get you good quickly.
The next step in the anti-golf-abuse program involves rabbits and hats. ARE YOU MAN ENOUGH? carjug at yahoo dot com
Oh, tell the nice people that your Granny is riding on the ‘other wheel’.

While you’re busy wishing you had started younger and taking lot’s of calcium supplements, remember that unicycling will also help to keep you regular. As one in your general age ballpark, I know you’ll appreciate that fact. :wink:

Remember to keep your weight as much as you can on the seat, not the pedals. Make sure the seat is not too low; legs should be almost fully extended when the pedals are at their lowest points. Breathe.

And remember that you’ll be just about the coolest 49 year old within a 100 mile radius when you’ve got it.

Oh, and stamp collecting is only worthwhile if you’ve got the one in the middle:

Good luck,
Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

I didn’t start learning to uni until 3 months before my 50th!!!
Keep practicing, I would normally practice for an hour at a time while I was learnig to ride. As others mentioned, put in longer practice sessions so that you have a better chance to get into “the zone” where things will suddenly just “click”

I think you’re doing great!

I’m only 33, I’ve been practicing 1/2 hour each day and I’m only a little ahead of you (It was only about a week between stuck at 18m and 50m). I started at the end of March.

I have to agree with the other posts that say to try for longer. I still find that I spend the first 10 minutes each session just remembering how to ride more than 5 feet at a time.

-Mandell

Re: Hit the brick wall and getting disheartened

JWL wrote:
> Firstly I’m approaching my 49th birthday, maybe I should have taken
> up stamp collecting instead!
>
> I’ve been (trying) to ride for a couple of months and usually put in
> 15 minutes practice each night. I’ve a perfectly flat area to
> practice on but my distance record so far is only 18 yards of fairly
> uncontrolled wobble with a constant turn to the right. There is
> nobody available to either physically or mentally hold my hand, I’m
> aware that I’m going to fall off and so far, with one exception, have
> always managed to land on my feet so I’ve no bad experiences to worry
> about. Is it the case of try, try, try again and no pain, no gain?
> Hand eye coordination is sufficient to juggle 3 clubs / balls and
> sense of balance is ‘normal.’ What have I got to do to improve?

Start dating. :wink: There is no way I could’ve learned how to do this insane
thing without pretty girls like Christa and Amy and Michelle and Andrea to
hold onto and show off to. Showing off to the huskies doesn’t work - they
run and hide and cry. Women aren’t as sensible. :wink:


Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.
–Socrates

Re: Hit the brick wall and getting disheartened

18 yards so far is not bad. It took me about month of practicing more than 1 hour a day to get that far. And that was with support and at age 10.

It feels GREAT, when balance is there, wait and see :slight_smile:

Bit of advice: If you are focusing too much on falling some safety gear might help (standard roller skate stuff with knee pads etc.). You will probably not need it, as unicycling is pretty safe, but it may help take away any anxiety about falling and help you relax and concentrate.

Keep going!

Morten

Re: Hit the brick wall and getting disheartened

Guys (are there any girls here?)

One hour 25 from my first post and so many answers, already I’m encouraged!
Well nobody has said act your age and smoke a pipe so I guess I’ll just have
to keep falling off in 18 yard increments.

Many thanks for all the encouragement; I’ll have to find an extra 15 minutes
each day. Appreciate all of you taking the time to answer.

Rgds

John

Hit the brick wall and getting disheartened

Don’t smoke a pipe! You’ll end up with mouth cancer! You’ll also look like a geek who’s trying to look like an academic who hasn’t heard about the dangers of mouth cancer. Besides, anything worthwhile that you could put in a pipe can be just as easily enjoyed without smoking. Buy a box of brownie-mix before you buy a pipe.

The girls are waiting for your posts that brim with self-confidence and calm assurance of the joys of unicycling… as well as reports of more than 15 minutes in the saddle…

:wink:

No, way. You made the right choice. I personally guarantee you can do it. And please don’t exaggerate – you are 48. No need to invoke the 49 number. And since unicycling will certainly roll back the mileage, you are effectively approaching your 47th birthday – or something like that.

I was (am) a slow learner. I’m 38 and I started riding seven months ago. I learned by going back and forth along a railing – until I didn’t really need the railing. Riding without the railing was very unpleasant in the beginning. Too much sensory input – sensory overload – and unable to make sense of it. Wobbling… Miracle I’m still going after 15 feet… Many, many failed attempts where I would go ZERO feet… So, I stayed with the railing. It gave me MUCH more time on the unicycle. (how much time do you spend re-mounting? it really cuts into your practice time…)

Try a fence or a railing or a wall. Ride along it and use it for support and balance. When you reach the end, stay on the unicycle and swivel around and go in the other direction – back and forth. This works for some people and not for others. For me, it helped me ride in control for longer periods of time – which means more time actually on the unicycle – which gave me the time to learn balance.

Another option is to ignore all of our advice except for the following: practice, practice, practice. I was recently getting frustrated with how quickly my legs tire out. After more than six months, I still wasn’t pedalling efficiently. But I knew if I posted the question, the replies would be “practice, practice, practice…” So I did just that. Every day on my lunch break I rode at a local park. And then again on my way home from the office. Today, instead of going to my usual hilly park, I went back to the flat park with the half-mile bike path. I hadn’t ridden at this park for a few weeks. I amazed myself by going a whole mile without stopping to rest (without stopping at all). I was elated! I’m finally getting fine control of the pedals. It certainly took long enough. And the way I did it was to take the advice I didn’t even bother asking for. That is, to “practice, practice, practice.”

Good luck and have fun. You are doing GREAT. Just rid yourself of expectations. Don’t think about the future – it’s not helping you. Just practice every day in the here and now. Your body and brain will learn, so don’t worry about it. Just do it. (I know, this is easier said than done…) Also, before riding my “milestone mile” today, I most certainly was making gradual improvements. But I didn’t notice. So keep in mind that you ARE improving every single time you practice. But sometimes you just can’t see it right away. Lastly, you have come to the absolute BEST PLACE ON EARTH for encouragement and advice. Bottom line – you are doing everything RIGHT. Now you just have to do it MORE.

Dave (uni57)

Re: Re: Hit the brick wall and getting disheartened

It isn’t necessarily the time. Everyone has a different length of time it takes them to find an improvement in their previous days practice. For me it is at least 30 minutes, just to see some difference. So I have to practice ‘beyond’ that point to actually get any learning done. Another point is you need to actively and selfishly look for improvement. Distance is not the only measure. Consistency, control, confidence, etc. any thing that lets you know you have learned a little more about unicycling.

You might also be able to get away with practicing every other day (but why?). The sleep cycle helps your body remember what you practiced. A lot of times I’ll start practicing a skill and on the first attempt do just as good as the last time, then it is back to learning again. It seems your mental focus can play a big role in the time it takes to learn. I do one with focus, and then my mind drifts off (thinking about how good I am, for instance). Before you know it, I can’t do the trick anymore.

Re: Hit the brick wall and getting disheartened

I am 44. Started when I was 42. Took me a few months to get to a few
dozen yards. I still cannot do more than a couple of hundred yards - I
pant. Here are a few suggestions for improvement:

  1. Try doing a large figure 8. Even if you can’t; try.
  2. Spend more than 15 minutes, preferably 30 minutes as someone has
    suggested. This way you “push the envelope”. Steps which seem
    insurmountable become easier this way.
  3. Try varied terrain. Uphill-downhill. Grass. Sand. Road.

If you keep spending slightly more time than what is easy, you will
improve.

Good luck.

“JWL” <john@lodgings.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message news:<rYRva.558702$wa2.80867@news.easynews.com>…
> Firstly I’m approaching my 49th birthday, maybe I should have taken up stamp
> collecting instead!
>
> I’ve been (trying) to ride for a couple of months and usually put in 15
> minutes practice each night. I’ve a perfectly flat area to practice on but
> my distace record so far is only 18 yds of fairly uncontrolled wobble with a
> constant turn to the right. There is nobody available to either physicially
> or mentally hold my hand, I’m aware that I’m going to fall off and so far,
> with one exception, have alway managed to land on my feet so I’ve no bad
> experiences to worry about. Is it the case of try, try, try again and no
> pain, no gain? Hand eye coordination is sufficient to juggle 3 clubs /
> balls and sense of balance is ‘normal.’ What have I got to do to improve?
>
> Grateful for any encouragement.
>
> John
>
> (Put cat out to reply)

Raphael is giving you excellent advice. I am going to assume that you have an adequate unicycle with at least a 20" wheel that has an inflatable tire. If not, get one. If you have one, then:

1.) Make sure your seat is straight and at the correct height.

2.) Keep your weight on the seat. Think about it. Make it your mantra.

3.) Look ahead, breathe, and relax. Try not to look at the pavement right in front of the tire.

4.) Ride until you fall. Try not to “chicken out” and step off. Correcting errors is how you learn to ride longer distances.

You’re doing a good thing for yourself that you still have years to enjoy. Stick with it. Tom (iunicycle) has been riding nine months or so and he does unbelievable things already. (Things that irritate me because I’ve been riding for 39 years and he’s better than me.)

Re: Hit the brick wall and getting disheartened

I know how you feel. I am 36 and pretty much at the same stage as you. The advice here is excellent, but one thing I have started doing is “take a break.”

When I get too frustrated and my main thought is how far could I throw the unicycle or how much would it bend when I hit it with a hammer (a bad workman always blames his tools), I stop and leave it for a day or two. This gives me time to relax and consciously think about things like riding position etc…

Phil

Re: Hit the brick wall and getting disheartened

MEAUW!

first of all, congrats on coming here and asking for encourage ment and not simply relegating the uni to the garage
u r so ahead of the unicycling bell-curve for that alone

some people have reported using walking sticks or ski-poles for support in the absence of a hand to hold onto
the jury is still out on that one but if it’s worked for some, it might work for u

(side-note - i’ve recently been helping a learner who was at the 10 feet wobble stage by riding next to him and holding his hand while we ride along. we did a complete lap of the gym at the first go. he’s made some rapid improvements since)

u do understand the basics of practise, practise, practise
if u recall that period of frustration while trying to figure out where in the air in front of u u r supposed to find space for three clubs to go twirling about and then bending down to pick them up, again…
well, u r in exactly the same space again
welcome back
:stuck_out_tongue:
it may take a lil’ longer than the clubs, but u will get there and once u do, the memory of the learning process fades like a half remembered dream
the sweetest moment waiting for u will be the first opportunity to share your having-learnt insights with someone else in the same place that u r now

have fun!!

Re: Hit the brick wall and getting disheartened

“JWL” <john@lodgings.fsnet.co.uk> wrote in message
news:rYRva.558702$wa2.80867@news.easynews.com
> Firstly I’m approaching my 49th birthday, maybe I should have taken up
stamp
> collecting instead!

It took a (30 year old) friend of mine a year to do more than a full
revolution.
Once you stop being a kid who can learn anything in five minutes, age is
irrelevant in my view. Look at it this way: everything that is interesting
about
philately can be learned in less than five minutes - where’s the fun in
that?

I would practice for longer sessions, and also try learning new skills (you
can
ride already). Concentrating on something else might stop you fixating on
the
18 yard line. It has sometimes worked for me… Can you idle? Can you
freemount? Both essential skills that took me an age to master - and all the
while I was improving my general riding without even trying.

And try going places on the uni. If it’s a case of ride 18 yards, walk 50
yards
to find a place to mount, repeat, then so be it. Pretty soon you’ll be
riding all the
way to the pub, doughnut house, or whatever. If it’s a pub, be careful on
the
way back. :wink:

As for falling, get some wrist guards and a lid, and make sure you test
them. :wink:
I don’t recommend getting hurt, but I think being timid makes riding more
difficult
and less safe.

Arnold the Aardvark

Re: Hit the brick wall and getting disheartened

On Mon, 12 May 2003 18:44:39 GMT, “JWL” <john@lodgings.fsnet.co.uk>
wrote:

>Firstly I’m approaching my 49th birthday, maybe I should have taken up stamp
>collecting instead!
49 is still an excellent age to learn as has also statistically been
proven <www.xs4all.nl/~klaasbil/agelearn_short.htm>. I learned at 47,
I am 49 now. The worst thing about it is that you have missed a great
many years of fun.

Funny that almost everyone stresses the importance of practicing more
per day. I’m not so sure about the efficiency of that, although of
course the number of calender days for the initial learning process
would be smaller. In any case, don’t press on because you ‘have to’.
When you are frustrated, I think it is better to stop and try the next
day. Unicycling is all about fun. (If you’re still having fun then of
course it is only good to practice more!)

If you have ridden 18 yds in one go already, you’re almost there.
Really!

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin.