Learning Journal

Hey beowulf, great summary of your learning so far! Keep the posts coming. Maybe if your sister joins this blog it will help her - it sure has been a HUGE help to me!

Hey dogmotor, I totally agree with your sentiment. This is absolutely nuts!! :wink:

You will both fit in well with this growing group of OLD DOG learners.

TS - I ordered mine just AFTER they came off the special sale, and clearly just BEFORE they went back on sale. Just my luck :roll_eyes: Did you order a slick tire as well? Now there will be two of us in this group on that same bright red machine. Nice score on the sweet price dude!

I went out for 45 minutes tonight around the neighborhood. Still struggling with mounting, still struggling with torso-twist. But I had a couple nice mini-victories to keep me going. This truly is a day-at-a-time thing isn’t it? Looking forward it is hard to imagine that I will be able to do many of the things on Thorvald’s list above (and certainly not in 6 months, even if I don’t count the 3 months I have already been going). On the other hand if I look back it is hard to believe how far I have come already. So the only thing I can do is keep going, and keep logging, and keep reading your inspiring reports, tips, etc.

Thanks everyone for sharing. If you get discouraged just come here to the TLJ and get a refill of “can do” attitude :smiley:

NSYO - I knew if I waited long enough they would go on sale. My wife picked the color, but I’ll have to agree with her. I didn’t buy any extra tires as they seem a little pricey on UDC. After many years of buying MTN bike tires, I can usually sniff out a good deal somewhere online. JensenUSA seems to have the best prices and selection of DH 26" tires. Besides, I think I’ll take the Muni directly to the trails and continue sharpen the basics on the 20". I have no idea, but I hope the skills I’ve learned on the 20" will carry over to the 26".

Hi NotSoYoungOne!

Don’t be discouraged, out of all the things I have learned to do so far you want to know which was the hardest? Just learning to ride forwards. Once you have achieved the state where you can ride your uni comfortably along flat road, bumpy, up hill, down hill and on camber you are then pretty much set up to learn all the tricky bits without too much difficulty. Learning to comfortably ride forwards on all sorts of terrain teaches you such good balance that things like backwards, mounting, idling etc can be achieved alot easier than you might think. keep at it buddy! You’re doing great

Funnest day ever

Hey Thorvald - thanks for the encouragement, and the perspective. I was wondering if that wasn’t the case, and you confirmed it! Thank you! :smiley: BTW - My wife is from Japan and we get over there pretty often. Next time I go I am going to try to get a Miyata uni. I have heard lots of good things, and there is all the history to go along with it. Once I have one could I join your club? :wink:

So, this evening I went out with Iris and Emii and I rode my 20" Torker cx while they were on their awesome new Nimbus 20’s. I had a blast riding with them. Riding with my daughter is such a great thing for both of us. I think I am going to go back to the 20" for a while - I think I am really learning a lot on it and once I get much better mastery of it I think it will help me progress more quickly on the 26er.

Anyway, having fun is what this is all about and tonight was truly the most fun I have had yet! Woohoo :D:) Unicycling is sooooo cool :sunglasses:

G’night TLJ pals.

For sure! you could even get one here www.mys-co.com if you want one. Miyata mainly deal with uni’s that are good for flatland/freestyle, the standout features of them which makes them desirable is they are easily collapsible, Light and being made in Japan super good quality.

jamberry and PAX ride

The internet sure makes the world a lot smaller! It continues to be great to meet all the TLJ participants in the virtual world and hear about everyone’s progress. ‘Hi’ to all the new contributors to the ‘Journal’.

jamberry (JB) had stumbled across my posts and we realized that we used to live only a couple of miles away from each other. While she has moved away, she still has a good friend locally and was visiting for the Holidays so we managed to meet up at the local park for a ride together.

JB is returning to uni after a 20 plus year break and still has some mad skills from her youth. I saw riding backwards and idling in person. Wow :astonished:

JB’s family and friends were with her and we had ten or more of us hanging out on scooters and four uni’s. JB’s friend’s son was making rapid progress for only a few days with a uni.

We rode around the park, lots of deserted parking areas and connecting roads with variable paving, inclines (hills) and off camber turns. Seeing JB smoothly make tight turns inspired me to try more uni leaning from the hips and keeping the shoulders above the pedals. What a difference:D I made several right hand turns that were so much better than ever before. Thanks JB!

We traded uni’s and JB loved the slick tire on my 29’er and how smooth and quiet the ride was. I was eager to see her Nimbus MUni 24 and take it for a spin. The 24x3 tire is really BIG and there was a lot of road buzz on the pavement. I wish my skills were up to some off road rough riding to evaluate the advantages of all that volume. I’m still leaning towards a 26" MUni with the slightly smaller Stout 2.3 on a kh wheelset. I need to wait to 2011 for funding reasons;)

JB took a totally unexpected UPD and was glad she had her helmet on. She scuffed up her palms and got some road rash on her cheek :thinking: She is okay:)

I wear gloves but have yet to get the helmet out. JB had the helmet but no gloves. My initial thought is if she had her gloves on she would’ve braced a little harder with her hands and avoided the bloody cheek. Who knows? Maybe this would’ve caused another injury. Just glad she is okay. When he saw his Mom the look on JB’s 13 year old son’s face was priceless:D

We quit the park as it was closing and a cold rain moved in for the night.



Hi! I’m JamBerry, and I’m living proof that you can still fall and bang yourself up for absolutely no good reason at all! :astonished: Oh well, now I have some battle wounds to show for my fun. :roll_eyes:

What’s really annoying is that I have fingerless wrist guards that I didn’t even THINK about wearing. I remembered the helmet, and glad I did. I’d much rather have scuffed up palms than a big hole in my head! Now I’ll remember to wear the wrist guards too. On the up side though, now I don’t have to worry about actually falling and getting hurt. I’ve already done that! So, now I’m free to try to polish up some old skills and try some new ones with a little less fear.

Anyway, like PAX said, I used to ride in my (much) younger days. I still have my old 24" unis (a Miyata from '81 and a Kabuki from '86) but they are stashed away back in AL whereas I’m currently up in VA and visiting in MD. After baby #4, I decided I needed to get back in shape and lose a few pounds, and riding unicycles again sounded like a lot more fun that running or going to the gym. So, last month hubby got me a new uni for an early xmas present. I went ahead a got a 24" Nimbus MUni to have something different from my unis in AL, and it quickly was dubbed “The Beast” (which it is, compared to my other unis!). Within a couple weeks, hubby wanted his own too, so we also ordered a 20" Nimbus II to add to the collection.

Today was great fun meeting up and riding with PAX. I was the only person I knew who rode unis when I was younger, so having someone to ride in for the day in real life was a real treat, and getting to try out his 29" was a blast–it’s SOOO SMOOTH! Now I want one of those for my birthday! :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, I’m still getting back in the saddle, trying to remember some old skills and maybe learn some new ones, remembering too that I am not so young as I used to be, and really enjoying the cyber world of unicycling that just didn’t exist back when I rode 20 years ago! I look forward to getting to ride with PAX again the next time I’m up in town, and maybe with some others out there as hubby and I travel back and forth between AL and VA (and MD).

And Pax, it was awesome watching the turning click for you! woo-hoo!!!

(dubbed JB)

speed bumps, grass, and other uneven surfaces

Hello Jamberry - sorry to hear about the bad crash! Not the way you wanted to re-enter the UNI-verse to be sure!! :astonished:

Sounds like you and pax had a lot of fun, and that your are now back in the saddle. BTW, the 20" Nimbus II for your husband was a nice choice and my guess is that you will find yourself riding it as well. I bought one for my daughter and it is so much nice than the cheap 20"ers out there.

Speaking of cheap 20"ers…I have spent most of my time lately on my Torker cx. At 6’3" it looks a little funny with the xtra long seat post, but I have really been learning a lot that I am sure will transfer onto the 26er when I get back on it soon.

I spent a good session Saturday afternoon at a high school that had a wide sidewalk, lots of ramps down into the asphalt parking lot, lots of speed bumps in the parking lot, and lots of grassy areas between the building and the sidewalk. I was able to get over the speedbumps, which was very satisfying :). I also had my first ever successful rides on grass; most of it on flat ground, but I did have a few successful forays into sloped areas as well. I was able to ride through several uneven sections, and over tufted clumps, etc. It was a lot of fun, and built a lot of confidence :D. I also rode through the sidewalk-to-asphalt ramps several times, did a lot of practice on tight turns, and a lot of practice on mounting in more restricted spaces. The school had a big area used for driver’s education, so I tried my hand at riding along the painted line that went around the perimeter. I am not yet ready to ride on curbs or other narrow spots/edges, but riding smoothly on a painted line seemed like a good training ground.

Key learning;
When riding the uneven surfaces it is good to lower the seat a centimeter or two. I will guess that to do more aggressive stuff will require lowering it a little more still, is that true?

Iris is also making great progress, and getting stronger. She is very skinny but her legs are getting stronger, and she is getting tougher too. I am really glad she is discovering this sport at the age when I first did, but never actually had the chance to learn. How cool it will be for her to have this for the rest of her life! :sunglasses:

I received my Muni today and decided to leave the nest (driveway) and hit the snowy streets and parks of Altoona. Certainly is different than the 20". That Duro is a heavy sucker. Gladly, most of my skills carry over although not as smooth as on the 20" (yet). The 26" wheel rolls over everything. I’m pretty effecient at MTN biking, but this is a whole new ball of wax - no resting on the downhills!
Bottom line…lots of fun, smoother than the 20", skills seem to transfer (even got a 4" hop out of her), the Duro is a LOT of rolling weight to get used to (yesterday I ordered a Maxxis Minion 2.7 dual ply from Jenson USA - they are on sale for $16.99). I might try the Maxxis in the spring - the Duro does great in the snow.
Happy rolling!

Note to self: 26" is taller than 20" - duck when leaving garage.

for the past three months or so I have been riding only my newest uni, and yesterday I went and had a ride on my KH24 that I learned to ride on… WOW! How did did I ever learn to ride on something so heavy? I ride a 20 with a 1.75 tyre every day and having a go on a 24 with a 3 tyre felt like riding a slab of concrete. Thinking of selling the KH. I have concluded that i’m not interested in riding muni, I like flatland

Hello all!

Welcome PB, I too have had the privilege of riding with PAX; he’s pretty zippy and a nice guy too!

TS: I too have had to learn to duck, on the trails. On my own two feet I’m 5’10", on my uni I’m a bit taller and still occasionally take a tree branch in the face.

NSYO: regarding uneven surfaces, what helps me is keeping my speed up and lifting my bum off the seat, not a lot, just enough to let the legs act as a suspension of sorts.

My last ride was actually Saturday, the weather has been either wet or really cold so I’m not riding as much as I’d like.

Saturday was a blast; two hours of riding to the end of a local bike trail, then one hour of playing in the park. I shot some video, for fun, and to see how my riding has changed since the earlier video.

Rather than spam this wonderful thread with large attachments or embeddings, I’ll just insert these links if you’re interested:
flash (18MB)
mp4 (42MB)

The funniest part for me is watching myself crash!


I’ve been re-UNIted with my uni!

Finally I feel my shoulder is healed enough to tentatively get back onboard during the last 2 or 3 days. Oh how I’ve missed it. I can’t give much time over to practice at the moment so taking the one-wheeled steed instead of the two wheeled one up to town when I go for coffee, which I do regularly, will have to suffice whilst there’s essays to write and exam questions to revise for.

I have been surprised that I’m not needing to hold my arms out quite so much and can relax a little more in the saddle than I could before surgery. Maybe the lay-off was a good thing.

New pedals have helped. I love my new Gusset Pinheads (the girl in me wants to say they’re purple :o). My feet actually ‘stick’ to the pedals now but not so much that I can’t adjust my position a little once onboard - a big change from the relatively smooth, slippy in wet weather, plastic ones I’ve used and the rather mean looking metal ones that came with my 24 that don’t let me move my feet. They seem to be helping my twist to the left too oddly.

I can’t compete with you new-old-guys with your super-quick learning curves but by golly I will be riding to my UNi-cycle to UNi-versity before too very long.

Sorry guys but I posted late last night and now it’s the day after and I have more news!!

I rode to town for coffee, not continuously but a good way. I was in a funk - life ain’t so grand at the moment - so decided to take myself to the (brand new) local supermarket car-park with the aim of practicing turns and the like. Well blow me down if I didn’t manage a ton of turns, corners and figure of eights. I’m totally stoked. My arms were by my sides most of the time, not holding them out all the time like a noob (that I still am), I felt for the most part planted in my seat and the lean to the left was much reduced.

sigh Stoked! :sunglasses:

slalom course

WooHoo DocDoo!! :smiley:
So the quote is from the “Beginners Today I…” thread, but I liked the way you worded it there so I brought it over here :wink:

Iris, Emii, and I set up 8 soccer cones in the street in front of the house and did a bunch of slalom practice last evening. It was a lot fun seeing them progress. I added another 2 markers (a small garbage can upside down, and a big yellow dust pan) fairly far off one end so the configuration looked something like:

  • = soccer cone

= other marker



after slaloming through the cones you would ride a figurr 8 around the other markers, then back through the cones in reverse to your start point. I took a couple tries, but we each made it then made it several more times. I rode on the 20"er for quite a while, then decided to try it on the 26er. I lowered the saddle about an inch from where I had it (at pretty much maximum height for my legs) and liked the new height. I didn’t feel so stretched out, and was able to make a lot more adjustments and sharper turns by getting up on my legs more when I wanted to. I played around a lot with varying amounts of weight on the saddle vs. legs and learned a lot.

After nearly an hour of slalom, figure 8’s, lots of turning, and going up and down the driveway bumps between concrete and asphalt, I decided to go out for a longer ride. I went 1.2 miles, but I am still struggling with the torso twist. The good news is that free mounting the bigger wheel is getting better, and the seat height adjustment helped. I guess I had it a little too high! So I am just going to have to do more longer rides until I start to figure it out. PAX and MAW, you guys are iron-men :). I still hope to become a good long-distance rider, but it is further in the future than I had hoped.

We got a bunch of snow last night just after our riding session, and I think we will get more, so I think I will take off the road slick and put on the big, huge, gargantuan, monstrosity of a knobby tire :smiley: and see if I can ride in the snow. TS, it sounds like that is what you are doing, so keep us posted on any key learnings. This will be my first attempt with the big tire, so it should be interesting. I will let you know how it goes.

DD - glad to hear of your awesome day! Such days are very motivating, and a lot of fun. I wonder what people think when they see us out in a big parking lot. It was kinda fun last Saturday at the school because there were lots of families with young children who were all very interested in seeing the big tall guy on the unicycle. There was also a car full of high school boys. I heard one of them say “check out the unicycle guy”, so I started riding their way and they were pretty good kids. They wanted me to do some tricks so I had to tell them that I am still a noobie and the my tricks consist of getting on and riding around. But they still thought it was cool. Did any of the shoppers say anything to you?

Yay for us NSYO!! Slalom and curves are a huge step forward. It’s not that long ago we were both struggling to keep it in a straight line :smiley:

I too am aiming at longer and longer rides it’s just difficult round my area where there are hops up and down curbs to be dealt with to keep up the flow. Maybe I should get myself out onto the other side of town and the gravel track that is a continuation of NCP 62 (that’s National Cycle Path).

I’ve practiced all sorts of stuff today and am feeling very chuffed (northern Brit speak for very, very happy) with myself.

I get lots of interaction with folks on the street when I go out on the uni NSYO and did so tonight in the carpark too. I love that on the whole folks are very friendly and are genuinely interested in what makes someone want to ride a unicycle. I got unwanted attention from some young people, under 12, who are from the other side of the main road from my house - that is to say ‘the wrong side of the tracks’ and not terribly pleasant but they’re kids so it’s easy to brush off jibes from someone who’s voice is higher than mine! :wink: …In general reactions are exceedingly positive.

I’m not expecting tomorrow’s session to be as positive but ya never know!

I’ve found seat height to be crucial. Get it wrong and it’s excrutiatingly bad, get it right and it slots into place.

DD, fantastic news that you’re riding and smiling again! NSYO, sounds like you’re getting pretty technical, your skills are admirable. Next stop for you is intermediate status :smiley:

Despite the cold I rode today, I just rode fast and hard enough to keep warm. The grassy hills are still the hardest, grass tends to hide the dips that toss me (even now that they are frozen). Gravel and dirt hills were no problem today, conquered some of my old nemeses! Amazing that I’ve been three days off the saddle and I still feel as though I’ve improved. Maintaining speed over all terrain is as important as ever.

Looks like I may be riding in some shallow snow tomorrow.

Goodnight fellow addicts!

Hey yall!
NSYO, thanks for the idea on the slalom course. Might have to get my kids some traffic cones for xmas! :wink:
MAW, I too am anticipating my first SnUni(?) ride tomorrow in the bit of snow we’re expecting. Hopefully it really will be snow and not an evil ‘wintry mix.’ I’d rather not try riding on ice just yet!
DD, glad to hear you’re chuffed! :smiley:
later, y’all!

Trying out the new Nimbus 26" Muni.

TS, you have mad skills, I hope I can get to your level soon! I think being able to idle and hop will be invaluable for where I want to go eventually in this ‘sport’…

I’ve seen posts about people riding in the snow, saying how much fun it is, and I just thought they were crazy. As an amateur I thought I wouldn’t be able to keep my slick feet on the pedals, much less actually ride!

Today, I rode for 3 hours in 2-3 inches of snow. I felt like a newbie again. It was a hoot!

First, I walked across the street to the huge vacant parking lot. Mounting in a huge homogeneous field of white was quite challenging; how we rely upon our visual feedback! It actually helped a lot to back up 10 feet and use my own footprints as visual cues for riding away from the mount. Once I was up, it was very important to get the eyes up looking at the horizon; looking at the fresh powder beneath me provided zero information as to my vertical orientation (dark tunnels under freeways are also disorientating!).

After 30 minutes security kicked me out of the parking lot, so I went down to my favorite park/ bike trailhead.

I was surprised that I could ride so well on so slick a surface. Sharp turns, however, were very hard. I had to really slow down and use a much more aggressive twisting technique. The total silence of gliding through powder was incredible. More rolling resistance made for a great workout.

As a relative newbie I used to think riding in snow was impossible for me. But I just had to test that assumption. It’s actually easier than I thought and quite a thrill :smiley:

Totally jazzed. Photos attached:
only one kind of beast makes these tracks
uni makes it paradise