I'm back!

Hi all,

I got my first unicycle last Christmas, found this forum that day or the next, posted a few times, read a few thousand posts, and learned a ton from everyone here. By the end of February, I was able to ride around my quarter-mile-or-so practice loop with only one stop, make most of the 90-degree turns that I attempted, and often succeeded in making greater-than-90-degree turns. Then a couple of things happened.

First, we got into the wettest March on record here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here in San Jose, I think we had something like 26 or 27 rainy days in March. Those of you in the Pacific Northwest might not have been daunted, but I’m a weather weenie, what can I say.

Second, I realized that my lower back problems had gotten considerably worse since I’d started learning how to ride, and my knees had started hurting as well. The rainy weather I could wait out, but I decided to try to figure out my health problems.

Over the past six months, I’ve been to my doctor, an x-ray lab, a couple of physical therapists, back to my doctor, a chiropractor, back to my doctor, back to the x-ray lab, an MRI lab, and back to my doctor. Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with my spine or hips, other than a little not-unexpected age-related wear and tear. Unfortunately, I still have back pain. But it’s getting better. It seems that the two most important things that I learned in all of my various visits were that, 1) core muscle strength is key in back health, and critical when undertaking an activity like unicycling, which depends a lot on balance, and 2) yoga can be quite beneficial in stretching, and in developing said core muscle strength.

I doubt that I’ll ever completely lose the back pain, but I’m hopeful that I can substantially (50% - 90%) decrease it with continue stretching and strengthening. Since I’m feeling better in general, I decided to hop back on the unicycle and see what happened.

I was very pleasantly surprised to find that, after six months, it only took me about 10 minutes to get back to being able to ride a decent distance and make some turns. I got back on a week later and was pretty much back to where I left off six+ months ago. Woohoo! My plan is to take the unicycle out no more then twice a week, and for no more than an hour at a time, in the hopes that I’ll be able to move forward (slowly) without aggravating any medical conditions. If that works well, hopefully I’ll be able to ride more often by next Spring.

I haven’t checked back on the board much over the past six months, since I wasn’t riding and didn’t want to get too depressed about it, and since I’ve also been pretty busy. Now I’ve got a question or two, which I’ll ask in more specific threads. I just wanted to pop in and say hi, and that I look forward to learning more from all of you again.

Cheers,
Rich

Welcome back. I wondered where you had disappeared to. :slight_smile:

Rich, welcome back. If you’re interested in group rides in the greater Bay Area, you might want to subscribe to our email list: http://lists.bluetreesoft.com/mailman/listinfo/muni

It calls itself the Santa Cruz Muni list, but is really for all forms of unicycling in teh greater Bay Area etc.

—Nathan

Welcome back.

Cathy

Welcome back!

My lower back ached the first year on the wheel, it took that long strengthen/build those muscles. Now it’s fine. Hopefully riding will ultimately help your back.