learning to ride as a new unicyclist Part II

26 December Day 4

Tried riding at the dog cage again. The surface is somewhat imperfect brick paving. Went to the barn and had some success, but not as much as yesterday. Opted to close the farm’s gate for the night and walked there; it’s 600m away on a slight downhill gradient. I practised my freemounting there and back and had a couple of good rides on the forward journey. Total for day: 1.8km. Odo: 10.4km

27 December Day 5

In the morning I resolved to do some disciplined practice at the dog cage. This was the drill: First, freemount with right foot first and catch the cage once up. Then a full revolution against the cage and stop. Another full rev against the cage and stop now at the end of the cage. Finally, a full unsupported rev after launching off the edge of the cage. A planned dismount off the front of the seat terminated the ride. Subsequently I repeated this but mounting left foot first. Did ten repetitions of this drill. Rode through the dairy once and then rode in the barn. The tractor was out so I positioned a stepladder as a mounting aid. Had some successful rides downhill from the ladder, but fewer in the uphill direction where I started against some hay bales. I’d tell myself, ‘It’s in a low gear-- it will move easily!’

After lunch I did my drill against the dog cage five times in two separate sessions. Also did two twelve metre rides. Later I did another five of my dog cage drill but had no success in doing any distance after that. I thus forced myself to do another five of the drill, after which I rode 15m.

After some more of the above, I did 21m on the paving and exceeded 10m a number of times. Also went to the barn and cement cattle path but had less success there. Total mileage for day: 5.5km. Odo: 15.9km

28 December Day 6
Less time was available for unicycling. Did some good rides in the barn and on paving. Tried to pedal evenly, since I noticed the uni was tending to go to one side. Pedalling as lightly as possible with the foot that seemed to be turning the machine eventually got it going straight. Another short day. Total of three intense days and three short days so far. Mileage for day: 0.8km. Odo: 16.7km.

29 December Day 7
Rode on the paving outside the farmhouse and in the barn. Also improved on my 21m ride on the paving; the paving isn’t a lot longer than that. Found myself getting a bit tired of the paving and the barn; both are sloped and somewhat rough surfaces. Rode on the farm road and a small tarred area with my wife providing mounting assistance. Did a few rides, including 8m on roughish terrain. Total for day: 3.6km. Odo: 20.3km

30 December Day 8
We went to Pretoria and yes, the Qu-Ax came along too! At Menlyn Mall, I rode a bit in the parking lot, until I worked up a sweat. After the sweat had dried, I rode at the mall’s arena, the smoothest surface imaginable. Rode, UPDd, walked to support, mounted and carried on until I was sweating profusely. Some time later, I rode in the parking lot again. These three sessions clocked 1.3km and I exceeded 20m a number of times. Odo: 21.8km

Sometime in the late afternoon we returned to Menlyn and I cycled in the parking lot in a different section to beforehand. It was less successful than earlier but I exceeded 10m a number of times. Total for day, 1.5km. Odo: 21.8km

31 December Day 9
After church we stopped at some shops and I cycled in the parking lot. After a few embarrassingly short rides, I rode 32m. On returning to the farm, I cycled 4m uphill on the paving, the best uphill so far.

In the afternoon I went to town on an errand and rode on the paving outside that business, where I counted 10 revs (>20m). Back on the farm, went back to the barn. There I experimented in getting the seat straight. If the machine seemed to turn in a direction without me making it do so, I’d turn the seat slightly in the same direction and try it out again. When I thought it was ‘dead centre’, I marked the spot by punching a mark on the seatpost in the centre of the hole at the end of the seat tube’s groove. Total for day: 2.5km. Odo: 24.3km

1 January Day 10
Rode in the barn again. Since a vehicle that’s normally parked there was out, I could ride the whole length of the barn and did a number of lengths up and down. Helped with sheep later. Rode on paving until sunset and was successful in both directions. Total for day: 1.6km. Odo: 25.9km

2 January Day 11
We went to Pretoria to see my sister. Turned out there wasn’t all that much opportunity for unicycling. At a parking lot I tried to ride for my sister. Struggled to mount since there was a kerb between me and the mounting support-- a lamppost-- which I could just touch. With hardly a half revolution clocked, I found myself falling. The uni got left behind and the

ground came forward and upward to meet my outstretched hands. My foot hurt a bit and my hands smarted but didn’t bleed. The cause of the fall must have been a depression in the tar which I entered with pedals in the ‘dead position’. Total for day: 1.2km. Odo: 27.1km

3 January Day 12
Today we went to Pretoria for the last time and I rode in the parking lot again (not yesterday’s). Compared to the last time I was there, I managed a fairly steep downhill slope considerably better; the difference between less than two revs and five or six. Also rode on some very smooth tiles like last time, but tried to stay on a bad ride and went skidding down! Had some good rides in a fairly flat tarred section and exceeded 30m (100ft). Distance covered: 1000m (.63mi). Odo: 28.1km

4 January

Our day of travel back to the Free State. In Bloemfontein, rode a little in my parents’ garden to demonstrate. On return to my town, rode my fixed ratio bicycle (2.5:1), breaking a long two-wheel fast. It truly felt strange; heavy, slow pedals on an unresponsive machine.


Great to see another Saffer on the forums here :slight_smile: Seeing as you’re posting this retrospectively to learning, how proficient are you at the moment ?

not that great

don’t consider myself quite level 2 yet, but seem to be gaining skill as i go

the story continues here: