Leaning turns

I can’t believe that I’ve been riding around 12 years, getting up to
gliding and nearly coasting, but have never learnt to turn be leaning
rather than relying on action/reaction.

I kept all the information posted from a few weeks back and went to the
club this morning with the aim of finally nailing this skill. I asked
there, too, to see if I could gain any more information…

Well - I can feel that it will work now, but it’s still not there. As
skills go, it’s almost like learning to ride again. I can probably make a
10m circle by leaning - but I could do that anyway. The feeling of
performing a good leaning turn is, I feel, equivalent to the fore/aft
balance required for normal riding, but in a sideways direction - if that
makes any sense.

I found that the way to force myself to turn inwards was by grabbing the
back of my seat with my left hand (if turning left), then trying to lean
the uni inwards, and my upper body slightly outwards (more upright). I
think on ONE attempt I felt I was actually spinning by the lean, but the
rest of the time I was fighting to stop my free arm “swimming” to take me
round the corner.

So a few more hours of practise, I might get it.

Anyone else currently working on leaning turns? How’s it going? :slight_smile:

Cheers,

Stu

:wq

A good way to force yourself to make leaning turns is to turn around something, a pole of some sort, keep your fingertips at the pole all the time, and try having your wheel as far out so you have to lean to reach the pole, keep the speed up and try not to lean on the pole with your fingertips :slight_smile:

Try to use a slick floor like a basket ball court or a smooth garage floor, because it’s smooth it’s easier to turn. That’s how I learned to do 180 turns.

get some sidewalk chalk. Draw a circle about as small as you’re comfortable with. Then ride around the outside line of the circle. You’ll use action-reaction turns at first, but eventually you’ll have to lean to stay inside the circle.

Another thing about leaning turns is that I find (dunno if anyone else does it like this, but oh well :D) that the wheel is further out than I am, so I wind up pedalling really fast to get the wheel back underneath me after I’ve gone however many degrees of rotation I desired.

And as with everything, practice practice practice.

Good luck!
-Dave

Can someone kindly explain the action/reaction turn vers. the leaning turn. I’m not following any of this.

Thankx
JL

Correct me if I’m wrong but… A leaning turn is usual done in a larger circle than a regular turn because the weight is shifted into the turn where as in a regular turn the rider quickly shifts his/her weight (usually by the hips). Leaning turns can be done sharply and when done the pedals are more likely to touch the ground.

Re: Leaning turns

On Sat, 9 Jul 2005, carsonpalooza wrote:

> Correct me if I’m wrong but… A leaning turn is usual done in a larger
> circle than a regular turn because the weight is shifted into the turn
> where as in a regular turn the rider quickly shifts his/her weight
> (usually by the hips). Leaning turns can be done sharply and when done
> the pedals are more likely to touch the ground.

Sort of.

Yes, an action-reaction turn is one where you twist your body to turn the
unicycle, then slowly straighten up, then twist again. I wouldn’t say any
weight is shifted. It’s also shown by learners by the characteristic
“swimming” arms. Your body and unicycle remain pretty much upright while
you’re doing this sort of turn.

A leaning turn is possible with your body as relaxed as it would be for
straight riding, but because your weight is shifted off to the side of the
unicycle, you naturally turn. The unicycle leans inwards, with the tyre
pushing outwards against the edge of the circle you’re turning. (You fall
off if your tyre is dusty and the floor is smooth - as my demonstrator on
Saturday did until he cleaned his tyre on the carpet in another room!)

Action-reaction can be used to turn no its own, or you can use it to
tighten a leaning turn.

I think the real skill comes from tightening the leaning turn, with the
holy grails being spins - extreme cases of leaning turns, and pirrouettes

  • not a leaning turn, but only possible* from a tight leaning turn/spin.

Sorry for any rambling. I’m hoping to nail this in the next couple of
weeks, but I do only get about 2 hours practise a week at most!

Cheers,

Stu
(*without the aid of external objects)

Re: Leaning turns

Let me add my two cents…

It seems people use the term “action-reaction” to describe jerky,
flailing, swimming turns, while elegant, smoothly flowing turns are
called “leaning”. It seems to me the real difference is that one is
performed out of balance, with the wheel weaving side to side passing
the boint of balance each time, while the other maintains dynamic
equilibrium throughout the turn.

Before going into what make a turn, I want to mention one factor which
does not. Although leaning the tire creates a slight angle of roll,
this angle is too shallow to be a relevant factor in actually turning
the unicycle. For example, I did a quick calculation for a 20x2"
wheel tilted at a 15 degree angle. If you let this wheel roll with no
slip, the resulting circle is over 600 feet in diameter - too big to
be a significant contribution to turning. I admit I’m rusty at doing
calculations like this, so feel free to check my math
[mailto:cline@frii.com if you want to see my work].

So what does make a unicycle turn? Friction allows one to slolwly
twist without letting the wheel slip much. Then with a quick twist,
the rider can steer the wheel. This twisting is a complicated
business, but the end result is the unicycle steers one way and the
rider rotates the opposite way.

Of course, steering is only half of the equation. The rider has to
stay in balance, too. Just steering the wheel in one direction puts
the rider out of balance to the other side. All turns require leaning
either the rider, the unicycle, or both, to shift the center of mass
towards the inside of the turn. Otherwise, the rider falls to the
outside of the turn. The amount of lean depends on both the radius
and speed of the turn.

So what is a leaning turn? I don’t really know what everyone means,
unless it is simply a turn performed with good balance. If this is
the case, then the “action reaction” turn is the result of weaving the
wheel back and forth over the line of balance. If this is so, a
“leaning turn” is a better turn in all cases, and “action-reaction”
turns are the result of the rider’s lack of skill. This makes some
sense, becuse the rider perfoming and “action-reaction” turn feels
himself twisting back and forth throughout the turn.

Still, I’m not sure this is what everyone is talking about. It may be
that how one leans makes the difference. Do you lean bicycle style,
with the unicycle upright and the body tilted inwards, or do you lean
like a skier, with the legs and hips angles, but upper body straight?
I have a definite preference for the latter. Does anybody turn
bicycle style?

The other possible distinction is how the turn is initiated. You can
start leaning by allowing the unicycle to get ever so slightly out of
balance, then allow your body to smoothly fall into the turn, or you
can countersteer, moving the wheel opposite the turn first.

Again, I am reminded of skiing. To carve a slow turn, you can just
fall in the direction you want to go to get into balance before
bringing the skis around. Performace turns are initiated by driving
the skis to the side of the rider, then carving like mad to get them
to swoop back underneath.

Finally, I don’t really understand how a rider develops the rotational
velocity for 360s, spins and pirouettes. Maybe that’s why I’m still
struggling with some of these skills :wink:

I hope this helps. I’m interested in what other riders think of my
analysis.

Ken

Re: Re: Leaning turns

I don’t know how you arrive at that figure, but it doesn’t seem very relevant to real-world riding. In other words, I can turn in a pretty-small circle, with what feels like a 15 degree angle or less. Are you factoring weight into your calculation? Remember the rider is included. You are balancing acceleration against a fall in the direction of the circle, to maintain the shape of the curve. If you equal everything out properly, you make a circle. If you speed up too much, your circle gets bigger, slowing down makes it smaller, etc. This is easier to demonstrate on a nice, heavy motorcycle, but it’s the same principle.

Another thing to do when practicing smooth circles is to make sure your upper body is turned in the direction of the turn. So if you’re circling to the right, your left shoulder should be rotated a little in front of you, facing your upper body toward the circle. As mentioned above, use something as a central reference point. You don’t have to hold onto it, but you can, for example, use a like pole and stare at it as you go, trying to stay the same distance away from it while pedaling smoothly.

All these physics discussions make me dizzy.

Just check out a video of HardCoreCokerRider to get the idea of leaning turns.

With a leaning turn, at a 15 degree angle you would come to the same conclusion at any speed, but the speed that you would have to maintain to stay balanced is indeterminable because you have to figure in weight. But if too slow a speed is reached your balance will shift.

ex: Just put your unicycle up and don’t hold onto it, (like you would for a suicide mount), it will fall, and it doesn’t even have weight on it, so the unicycle will always fall if you try to stay in the same spot for too long, unless you shift your weight manually.

Posted by: Ken Cline

[quote]

Finally, I don’t really understand how a rider develops the rotational velocity for 360s, spins and pirouettes.

[quote]

Well, I can’t do pirouettes but I can do a 360 spin, and in order to get enough velocity you have to lean the opposite direction that you want to spin, so in order to do a right 360 spin to the left, change all your balance to the left, and then move your weight. Like a pully, imagine a skiier on a hill, the farther up the steep hill they are the faster they can go, so the higher they can go up on their jump. So you counteract the balance at the point where you need to spin. And you need a highly inflated tire. And after the spin you need to simply but all your balancein the center, like when the balance on your speakers is all the way in the middle. But executing the spin is the most difficult part

Back on subject, with a leaning turn you don’t need to get any velocity, all you need is a direct turn and to continue pedaling, just anything to keep the weight in the one area while moving, because if you didn’t move, all of your weight will be on one side, not balanced, but if your moving your momentum will keep you up.

Re: Leaning turns

“johnfoss” <johnfoss@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> writes:

> Ken Cline wrote:
> > For example, I did a quick calculation for a 20x2"
> > wheel tilted at a 15 degree angle. If you let this wheel roll with no
> > slip, the resulting circle is over 600 feet in diameter - too big to
> > be a significant contribution to turning.

> I don’t know how you arrive at that figure, but it doesn’t seem very
> relevant to real-world riding.

Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I recall an old thread where turning was
said to be partly due to the curvature of an angled tire. The 600
feet is the diameter I calculated you’d get assuming the wheel was not
steered. My conclusion is that steering accounts for (essentially)
all of the turning of the unicycle wheel and tghat the angle of the
wheel doesn’t matter.

In case that doesn’t make enough sense, I’m saying (with some
simplifying assumptions) a giraffe with the fram bent off to one side
should ride pretty much the same as a straight giraffe.

> In other words, I can turn in a
> pretty-small circle, with what feels like a 15 degree angle or less.

No doubt! That should help convince you that it is something other
than the angle of the unicycle that makes the turn happen.

> Are you factoring weight into your calculation?

Indirectly. I assume the contact patch of the tire is a trapezoid and
one input to my model is the length of its long side. Since the area
of the contact patch equals the riders weight divided by tire
pressure, I could easily convert. Anyway, the diameter of the turn
changes only slightly over a wide range of contact patch sizes.

> Another thing to do when practicing smooth circles is to make sure your
> upper body is turned in the direction of the turn. So if you’re circling
> to the right, your left shoulder should be rotated a little in front of
> you, facing your upper body toward the circle.

Now that’s useful advice! After writing up my analysis, it is also
clearly the way to turn since it gives you more range to steer the
wheel around the turn. And it is the opposite of what I naturally
want to do! I still have to think about my turns to get them right.

Ken

Re: Leaning turns

“unign” <unign@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> writes:

> ex: Just put your unicycle up and don’t hold onto it, (like you would
> for a suicide mount), it will fall

I actually witnessed my unicycle not falling by itself one day. And I
as setting up for a suicide mount! Careful balancing of the unicycle
in playground sand left it so stable I was able to walk away with the
unicycle standing by itself. Also, I was able to repeat the trick
later. But yeah, eventually it would have fallen.

Ken

This business on leaning turns got me to thinking (often a dangerous thing) . . .

I was just at a skate park featuring deep pools and vertical (in places) side walls–the standard stuff for vert skateboarding. Watching the skaters and bikers, it was obvious that centrifical force, generated by speed and momentum, was what kept them up on the side walls. Since we couldn´t generate enough speed (we were on 24s with 165 crank arms) to get the centrifical force, we couldn´t get up on those walls much at all.

The interesting thing here is that most skaters and bikers weren´t going very fast–somewhere between 10 and 15 MPH by the looks of it–and you can certainly get those kinds of speeds on a Coker. If a body developed the technique and confidence to start pulling leaning turns up on the side walls, I actually think a Cokering maniac could start riding those pools somewhat like the skaters and bikers–and it would be all about sweeping, leaning turns. If you could get air and pull 180 flip turns high above the pool coping . . . that´s a different question. But leaning turns on a Coker, inside those pools, high up those side walls, seems very possible. Maybe not for me, but for someone.

I´ve got a feeling that someone is gonna start doing this soon, and half the battle will be figuring out what size uni and crank arms to use. I wonder how a ´29 with 150s or even 140s might work inside those pools??

JL

vivalargo,

Find HardcoreCokerRider’s gallery. He has videos of exactly what you’re thinking about. He also went to Ray’s Skate Park and did some indoor MTB trials stuff. I’m sure if you did a search with some of these words you’d find the clips.

–unidaddy

here you go…

http://gallery.unicyclist.com/Extreme-Coker

the maniac himself!:smiley: