learning to ride as a new unicyclist Part III

continued from here

5 January Day 13

My town has a majority of gravel roads and I live at the intersection of two. On these roads, there’s generally no mounting support, so I’m forced to learn freemounting, which is good. Did one session of 1100m (.68mi), in which I exceeded 40m(133ft). To describe my mounting, I attempted the standard mount; seat in crotch, right foot on back pedal with as little weight as possible and right hand holding the front of the seat. Then leaping up to get the seatpost vertical with the left foot intended to step on the pedal and start the ride. Odo: 29.2km

6 January Day 14

Rode on the local gravel again. My freemounting improved but the rides not as good as yesterday’s. Some were terminated by loose sand, bumps or dips. A local, whom I know, stopped to get a closer look at the uni. Using his vehicle as mounting support, I demonstrated a ride. “Practice makes perfect!” was his encouragement. Total for day: 1.2km. This is how the freemounting went: with too little pressure on the front pedal, I’d go back down the way I went up; other times I’d go gliding over the top. Too often, I also found myself falling to the left. To counter this, I tried to move my centre of gravity to the right by swinging my left foot towards the front of the wheel, as if intending to kick it. This had some good fruit.
Total odo at this point: 30.4km

After day 14

11 January Day 18

Had a few long, level rides with one exceeding 80m. Along with the challenges of freemounting I’ve been learning the dilemma of the left foot’s placing. If the left foot is badly placed, it’s not going to be a good ride; an early UPD is almost guaranteed. If adjustment of the badly placed foot is attempted, that itself is enough to cause a UPD, as is unnecessary ‘fine tuning’. It seems foot adjustment is best done around the top of the foot’s cycle. I take it that’s because lifting a foot is followed by pressure by that foot and near the top of the cycle is a better place to apply some pressure than where a foot’s just passed its lowest point. Odo now at 33.3km.

13 January Day 20

Found as distance is improving, unicycling’s becoming hard on the legs. This is due to a tendency to accelerate, feel as if losing control whilst trying to maintain a constant speed and thus decelerate. Such cycles of acceleration and deceleration are demanding on legs which far prefer a constant work output. Frankly, it’s due to only feeling in control while either accelerating or decelerating. An incident where my left foot slipped off the pedal and that pedal whacked my ankle gave me new appreciation for and understanding of rounded pedals. Odo 35.9km

15 January Day 21

Due to injuring my left hand two days ago, I used both hands on the seat while mounting and it actually worked better. During a 1.5km night ride I took my first successful corner; slowed down, concentrated and followed the road to the left in a graceful curve. Odo: 37.4km

21 January Day 25

It rained in the afternoon and I went for a 1.2km ride when the rain stopped. Soft ground and hard wind made riding quite a challenge. One UPD was cause by a stone beneath the road’s softened surface! Odo: 42.7km

22 January Day 26

Covered 2km and it seems Day 25’s challenge paid dividends in developing skill. I found myself turning the machine to avoid obstacles or follow a route; something’s ‘clicked’ that my mind and body suddenly have a feel for unicycling. Odo: 44.7km

30 January Day 27

Spent the day in the Eastern Cape town of Aliwal North. Unicycled between some studying. Since I hadn’t unied for 8 days, it was a tough start. Took several attempts to mount successfully. I was unused to tar and was inclined to blame the road’s camber. Realised later, the wind was blowing too. Rode three sides of a block a couple of times. The other side was a busy main road I didn’t feel ready to tackle… One ride took the odometer from 46.9 to 47.2km, thus exceeding 200m in that ride. It included a turn to the right after which I dismounted out of sheer exhaustion; it’s that acceleration and deceleration thing… Odo: 48.2km

2 February Day 29

was in Bloemfontein for some weekend work. Crossed the 50km mark in style; rode almost the length of a street: 1km. It was a straight, slightly downhill ride, but the furthest in the saddle to date. Odo: 51.1km

Keep up the good work my friend. You’re on the way to great success.

Also keep us informed/updated too also. :stuck_out_tongue:

that’s the story; epilogue follows

thanks for the encouragement Hazmat

the final of four parts can be viewed here: