Learning to ride on a Coker (Day 10-10 Mar)

OK. I’m back. I bet you all thought I had chickened out and thrown in the towel. Well, I almost did. Last Thursday at the club I barely managed to wobble around on Dave’s 20 inch wheel. I mentioned my fall to somebody and he said “So you’re scared”. The true answer to this, of course, is that I was scared to start off with, after the fall I was terrified. I spent most of my unicycling time clinging to a pile of tables trying to work up the courage to actually ride. I managed a couple of pedal pushes and some not so pleasant falls. My longest ride was made with help from above - Dave on his giraffe dragging me along by the hand.

At the end of the evening I so wanted to send the coker home with Dave. The sadistic little swine refused and wouldn’t let me borrow his 20 inch wheel either! I spent the rest of the week (up to today) with no real urge to ride. It didn’t help that the weather was miserable - cold and rainy. We get so many nice sunny days here in Johannesburg that there is no reason to force ourselves to go out in crummy weather.

Today was the day. I knew that if I didn’t get back into the saddle I probably never would. I kept reminding myself how annoying it is to take the coker along to the club and watch everybody else riding her around while I just wobble along like an idiot.

Well, I strapped on all my protective stuff, reminded myself that anybody can do anything for 15 minutes and set off. As it has been a while I took it easy and returned to the “umbilical wall”. I also practiced the “intentional falling off forward” a couple of times. I did not venture out into open paving, but managed a few unsupported pushes of the pedal, and some fairly long rides. I actually had enough confidence to turn around through 360 degrees, admittedly while holding onto a pole, but at least I did it. My best performance for the day was 2 nice clean pushes of the pedal before a reassuring touch on the wall.

Tomorrow I’m going out with friends but on Friday I’ll be heading for the open paving.


Nice. I was scared to death when I switched from grass to pavement. You’re doing great, Jayne.

Glad to see you’re back in the saddle. Are you practicing only 15 minutes each time that you bring the Coker out? When I first started, my practice sessions lasted 30 to 45 minutes. You may want to try to extend your practice sessions to about 30 minutes. The main thing is to take a break when you start to get tired so that you don’t start repeating “bad habits” as exhaustion sets in.
You’re doing great! Keep it up :wink:

Re: Learning to ride on a Coker (Day 10-10 Mar)

I had the same problem when I was learning. It’s a case of paralysis by analysis. Your body is sends contradictory signals; “hey, this is familiar” and “this is still really abnormal”, your brain is thinking about them, and so you get a bit paralyzed. Then you tip over and lose even more confidence.

There are only three cures known to mankind.

  1. Give up.

Pretend you never wanted to ride in the first place. Works for 4 year olds and guys who haven’t moved out of the house by the time they are 30.

  1. Blame it on the equipment.

This is usually just a delaying tactic by yuppies. They spend a lot of time and money getting different equipment and THEN give up.

  1. Talk like a pirate.

Get on that bastard wheel and say “Ahhhrgg Matey!! A thousand Dubloons for the scurvy bastard that’s can ride the great wheel!!” While you are saying this, ride your unicycle and flail your arms about in a menacing, pirate-like fashion. (Eye-patch and parrot are optional.)

Harper posted a silent variation on the “talk like a pirate” cure a while back which involved visualizing sheep coated in grease and skating on frozen motor oil, or some other such thing. In the movie “Bull Durham” the pitcher wore ladies underwear to cure a wild pitch problem, however in your case I don’t think it would make much difference.

Re: Learning to ride on a Coker (Day 10-10 Mar)

and for a couple of days there i was not sure if i did the right thing…
keep it up!!

Yup. I work full day and when I get home I have a fair bit of mom stuff to fit in before I can get to practicing, and a fair bit of mom stuff to fit in afterwards. 15 minutes is enough to not wear me out totally. It’s also about the maximum time I can get the 4YO to leave me alone for, unless she’s busy doing something she really wants to do. I know a longer session would be better, but anything is better than nothing. I try to fit more time in on my childfree weekends when the weather co-operates. The last few times the kids have gone to visit the EX and the rain has come to visit EVERYBODY.

In my case I don’t think it would change much. Maybe I should try wearing men’s underwear? :wink:


I find the Coker much more stable (read, easier to ride) than smaller wheels after it gets rolling, so learning on a Coker isn’t really a bad idea. Getting started, however, is harder. Assuming you’re using 150 mm crank arms, perhaps changing to 170’s or so would help with the learning process.
I find it challenging to change from one uni to another of a different wheel size. I haven’t ridden my smaller unis since I got my Coker a week ago, but I expect the 20" to squirt out from under me like a wet watermelon seed the first time I try to mount it.
Sounds like you’re doing really well!