How do you get down from a giraffe.

Let me start by telling those people who saw the subject in the header and
decided immediately to reply “You can’t get down from a giraffe. You get
down from a duck.” - there are special hospitals designed to help treat
people like you.

I was trying out a 7" giraffe last night.

There seems to be a general consensus that the worst thing about a giraffe is
the fear factor. Once you hop on a few times, fall a few times and fail to hurt
yourself each time, you get the confidence to ride it like a normal unicycle and
you have learnt it.

My trouble is that I have hopped on a few times, fallen a few times, and hurt
myself every time. Rather than building confidence, I am losing it.

My problem is that, even when I land on my feet, I get a jolt of pain from the
compression. It ranges from my ankles, up my calf muscles, to my knees. I have
to hobble over to a seat and sit down for a few minutes until the pain goes
away. This morning there is still a slight vestige of pain from the last
dismount last night.

I assume I am landing wrong. Can anyone give me advice on how I can avoid this
problem (apart from “Don’t ride a giraffe!”)? Or is it the case that a 7"
giraffe is just too tall for me? Or are you going to reveal a well-kept secret -
Riding a giraffes hurts.

Thanks for any help,

Julian – Julian Orbach (julian@cs.uq.oz.au) – University of Queensland,
Brisbane, Australia

p.s. I am moving to Sydney soon. Are there any Sydney-siders on the list?

Re: How do you get down from a giraffe.

Julian Orbach <julian@cs.uq.oz.au> wrote:

>I assume I am landing wrong. Can anyone give me advice on how I can avoid this
>problem (apart from “Don’t ride a giraffe!”)? Or is it the case that a 7"
>giraffe is just too tall for me? Or are you going to reveal a well-kept secret
>- Riding a giraffes hurts.

There is a big difference between falling off a 6’ and 8’ giraffe. On a 6’
giraffe, one’s feet are only about 3’ off the ground, but on a 8’ the drop is
already about 5’. Falling off a 6’ is usually no big deal, but falling off a 8’
is, because falling off unprepared can easily lead to an injury. Falling off an
8’ will really stress the legs to the limit to safely slow down the fall. I’m
sure a 7’ giraffe is somewhere in between, not tall enough to seem very
dangerous perhaps, but there is still significant risk of injury from a fall.
(BTW all giraffes are dangerous regardless of height; people have hurt
themselves on even a 4’ giraffe.)

How to fall from a giraffe:

  1. Land on your feet with knees slightly bend.

  2. Let your legs bend at the knees to absorb the shock.

  3. Optional: Roll forward or back onto the ground.

The third step reduces one’s speed relative to the ground while allowing one’s
center of gravity to get closer to the ground before stopping. The distance
between a person’s center of gravity when they first touch the ground with their
feet and their center of gravity stopped on the ground is the deacceleration
distance. You want to maximumize this distance and make the deacceleration
uniform throughout, finishing with a speed close to zero before one’s center of
gravity is at the minimum distance from the ground.

If one’s speed is not close to zero when one’s center of gravity is at
minimum distance from the ground, a sudden huge deacceleration will cause in
order of severity:

  1. Strained tendons, ligaments, bruises, and slight pain.

  2. Torn ligaments, broken bones, some external bleeding and moderate pain.

  3. Skull fracture, broken ribs, internal bleeding and severe shock.

  4. Permanent paralysis, unconsciousness or coma.

  5. Death.

The risk of the severity of injury increases with giraffe height. However,
one can easily fall off even a 4’ giraffe or standard unicycle, hit one’s
head and die.

BTW, anyone attempting to ride a 16’ or taller giraffe without a safety harness
is either crazy or has a death wish. I don’t know of anyone doing an jumping
dismount to a hard surface on anything taller than a 12’ giraffe. Leave falling
off 12’ giraffe’s to the giraffe riding experts and the certifiably insane.

Stay on Top, but how does one get down safely,

Ken Fuchs <kfuchs@winternet.com