Learning to ride on a Coker (Day 12-16 Mar)

No riding on Monday, but I was back out there today. I tried to stay as far away from the wall as possible and I am slowly but surely weaning myself off it. I managed without a shoulder to lean on, but with a helping hand.

I’m up to 7 to 8 pedal pushes without touching the wall. Then I run out of paving and have to turn around. I think I need a bigger garden! On the plus side I fell off sideways and have a few spoke burns on my right ankle. It was kind of funny, I went down and tried to pull my hand free but Leslie kept pulling it higher, probably to try to keep me on my feet. I was so busy falling and trying to stay out of the way of the wheel and the cranks I forgot to yell “leggo”. OH - the positive bit - I got right back on without missing a beat. I think I’m over my fear of falling. Wearing all my safety gear certainly helps with confidence, though.

At the very end of my session the 4YO came along to “help”. She wanted me to hold her hand, as it was “her turn”. She is shorter than the wheel on the coker. With her arm stretched right up I could just manage to hold her hand without leaning sideways. Needless to say I was too worried about falling on her to ride. However, we did take some pictures. If they come out OK I’ll post them sometime.


Now that you are getting 7-8 revs, I’ll share a “cheat” with you that should get you riding inside a day:

Throw your knees.
How: Stomp down with your right foot and throw your left knee towards the right. This should turn you 5-20 degress to the right.
Then “answer” it by stomping with the left foot, and throwing your right knee to the left. This should turn you straight or to the left.

Do this over and over. You will have what I call a “forced wobble.”

Remember to miss of few mounts (intentially step over the unicycle) so that your mindset will be to lean forward. Also, now would be a good time to practice freemounting without the intention of riding away. Just do 20 freemounts with no support before each session.

Then, use this knee throwing to zig zag (advanced riders seem to use the same method for climbing). That should help you break 50 yards, and soon you will be able to stay on until you’re exhausted.
At that point, learn to relax and “learn to remember to ride off.”

This “cheat” is to get you to the point that you can ride - once you can “ride” you will be able to do 8 miles in 8 days or less.

OK. It all makes sense, sort of, it’ll become clearer when I actually give it a go.

I am planning on telling my “helping hand” to STOP holding my hand, I’ll hold his and let go when I am ready. I really think I need more space. Just as I feel that things are coming together nicely I run out of paving and have to turn around. I COULD keep going onto the driveway but there is a little dip and I’ll probably fall off. Actually, the slightest bit of uneven ground throws me, usually onto the ground, cussing and swearing as I go. Any hints or do I simply need to practice?

I suppose I could venture out onto the pavement, but pedestrian traffic is pretty high in the evening, which is when my weekday practice takes place. I’m off to the convention this weekend. They apparently have a baskeball court at the venue, maybe I’ll appropriate that for practice sessions.

As far as freemounting goes, I currently mount as follows: I position one pedal closeish to the ground, put the seat in my crotch, put one foot on the lower pedal, grab hold of the wheel and jump up while pushing down on the foot which is already on the pedal and bringing my other foot onto the other pedal. This usually makes me lean over towards the side with the “close to the ground pedal” so I use my free hand to brace myself on a convenient pole, windowsill or person. I take it that you are saying I should try doing this without the additional support?

HMMM - lots to think about and try. I’ll report back tomorrow.


You’re doing great, Jayne. It sounds as though it’s time to find a bigger practice area. Kids, bicycles, snacks, things to play with, books, and the Coker. It’s a lot of work but they are great mini-adventures. Sidewalk chalk goes over well with the littlest ones. Playgrounds and little-used parking lots are good.

One idea for the holding hands, get you helper to stand with an arm towards and behind you, as if s/he were about to hug you, tell them not to hold or touch you. You can now use their shoulder as a post and can let go at any time. It will be at a good height on your coker and shoulders can take alot of weight if you need it to and it will not move arround in the way an arm/hand will.

Important: Do not strangle you helper. I was teaching some one to ride once and she seemed deturmined to garott me with my t shirt. You dont need to grab clothing or anything, just place you hand lightly on their shoulder as if to pat them.

You will find youself needing less and less pressure on you helper and can just hover you hand over thier shoulder


I appologise for any spelling/gramma/syntax/logic mistakes in this post as I have not slept for 30 hours


As far as freemounting goes, I currently mount as follows: I position one pedal closeish to the ground, put the seat in my crotch, put one foot on the lower pedal, grab hold of the wheel and jump up while pushing down on the foot which is already on the pedal and bringing my other foot onto the other pedal.

This is the same method I use for freemounting the Coker and it works very well for me. Once you free yourself from that wall, you be off and riding distances in no time. I found that an empty parking lot was the perfect location for me when I first attempted to ride the Big One. Those small uneven places on the pavement really don’t have much effect on the Coker. Yesterday, I found myself looking for rougher lines to ride just to see how it would effect my momentum. The huge diameter of the wheel allows it to roll right through most of it. I’ve noticed with me, it was more of a mental deterrent than an actual physical one

Day 13 - 17 March

Should have posted this last night, didn’t. Haven’t started a new thread as I had no major breakthroughs.

Once again, thanks for all the tips. I have decided that shoulders are the way to go as “helping hands” are a bit too low and tend to pull away from you if they think you are likely to fall over and land on them. I am heading for a weekend away from the kids at the juggling / uni convention and will hopefully get in some decent practice on a larger surface.

My main problem is time. I can’t get anywhere other than my garden in the week. The road is too busy for me to wobble along. The nearest “quiet” parking lot is only really quiet on Sunday afternoons and most of the playgrounds have grass. Most of the schools lock their premises outside school hours. I’m thinking of joining a tennis club just so I can use their courts for practicing. :slight_smile: Once I have less need for outside support I’ll take the kids to one of the parks with bike trails. Then they can feed ducks or fly kites while I ride.

I did try all the suggestions with little success. It didn’t help that I was really tired and that everything seemed to hurt. Even my feet were sore where I pushed down on the pedals. I tried the “knee throwing” but that just made me fall over or lean backwards. I’ll get Dave to demonstrate on the weekend, maybe I’m just doing it wrong. I tried freemounting with no support. I can sort of manage it. However, once I get up on the seat with both feet on the pedals, the wheel rolls back a bit which makes me reach for some outside support.

Most of my UPD’s were forward, and mainly seemed to happen when the pedal stopped moving. Basically push down, pedal stops, body doesn’t, Jayne hurls groundward, lands on feet, unicycle crashes to ground behind her unless she catches it.

Anyway. I have 3 days of unlimited practice time with no mom-duties coming up. I’ll be offline from Friday through to Monday evening, but will hopefully post something about finally being able to ride when I get home.