Learning to ride on a Coker - the saga continues

As you’ve probably guessed from the title, I’ve lost track of how many days I’ve been at this. I have kept track of the time, though, and I’m up to about 6 hours total. Right now I feel as if all of me from the neck down is ready to ride, it’s just the bit from the neck up that still needs convincing. :frowning:

I didn’t do as much riding as I should have at the convention last weekend, but it was simply too hot to put too much effort into ANYTHING. I did get in a fair number of pretty long supported rides, had an unsuccessful go at riding on the beach (the sand was too soft - the moment you put any additional weight onto the uni it slipped out from under you) and won a prize for taking the coker all the way down to the coast for everybody to play on. :smiley:

I am getting in longer and longer unsupported bits, but I’m not quite ready to venture out into the scary abyss solo (they don’t call it scary for nothing, you know! :wink: ). I do find that I’m happier riding into something. You know, riding towards a wall or a pile of chairs. My panic reflex seems to switch off once I convince my brain that I have something to fall towards other than the floor. If I was riding a smaller wheel and looked more like a supermodel (as opposed to riding a coker and looking, well, like me) I might have been able to convince actual people to let me ride into them, but for now I’ll stick to the wall.

Today I did my first bit of uni maintenance - I deflated the inner tube and rotated the tyre. The tyre has a good few km’s on it and is due to be replaced soonish. I have e-mailed the local dealership and once I get the parts I’ll probably be bothering everybody with questions about the easiest way to change things round.

I also have a question about protective gear. How do you manage to keep it on when you go for a long ride? I put mine on for my 15 minute practice sessions, and I HAVE to take it off the moment I finish as I sweat terribly underneath the pads and wrist guards. I am wearing jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt for added protection which does contribute to the warmth factor, but as I can’t imagine riding this thing with anything other than long pants, I don’t know how you all do it. Any suggestions other than learning to live with it?

Finally - I am faced with a dilemma. I am uni-sitting for a friend who is going to the UK for a year. I now have a 24 inch wheel available to practice on. Do I wimp out on the coker and switch to the 24 or do I just use the 24 for experimentation while mainly learning on the coker? Decisions, decisions, decisions. My gut feeling is to lock the 24 away and stick to the coker.

Shutting up now - must go do mom type things. Will post again once I can get more than 2 pedal pushes without support.


you learn to deal with the sweatty pads. Mine are soaked through by the end of a good ride, but I am able to tune that out when I am still riding.

I wear leg armour and shorts. I have never injured the exposed part of my leg, other than my roach leg armour peeling down and exposing my still purple knee once, in a 30KM/H UPFD (Unlplanned Flying Dismount)

You can already pedal unsupported towards a goal (something to hold) ? Let go your feelings. You must unlearn what you have learned. Just point a few degrees to the left of that object, look to the horizon, and pedal a little faster than you feel comfortable with.

Are the cranks on the MUni square tapered and 170mm? Put those one, or…buy a set of 170mm Kooka’s…you’d like those anyways when doing Coker MUni

Stay off the Muni…keep going, nice job so far!

Re: Learning to ride on a Coker - the saga continues

You’ll eventually be able to ride both. I understand the attraction of learning on a coker, but if I were you I would abandon the idea. You’ll be having fun on both sooner, IMO, if you learn on the 24.

No one here will think any less of you if you switch to 24.


As a “still-learning” Coker rider, I would suggest trying the 24 to see if you can improve your technique on the smaller and lighter uni. Once you become comfortable on it and can ride several meters, switch back to the Coker.
As Eric mentioned, use the cranks from the 24 if they are longer than the ones on the Coker. The longer cranks will give you more leverage to turn the bigger wheel easier. I learned to ride my Coker with 170 mm cranks and then switched back to the original 150’s.
Good luck :smiley: :smiley:

Whichever size you go with, Jayne, stick with it. At 6 hours you’ve really just barely started. It took me much more than that to get going. Meanwhile enjoy your new friends. Sofa’s totally right about the pads. However, if you are wearing knee and shin protection there’s no need to wear jeans. A decent pair of bike shorts give good padding, good coverage, and also you lose some heat through the fabric. The pads can go right onto your skin. They get ripe fast in hot weather but just toss them into the wash every three days and you’re fine.

Re: Re: Learning to ride on a Coker - the saga continues

Or remember you as ‘That guy who learned on a Coker!’

Re: Re: Re: Learning to ride on a Coker - the saga continues

My sentiments exactly! Stick with the Coker until you’ve launced and ridden.

“Learned on a Coker” is an exclusive club!

Re: Re: Re: Learning to ride on a Coker - the saga continues

Or, perhaps a bit more accurately, “That guy who learned on a Coker while wearing ladies underpants!”

Jayne, it sounds like you’ve reached the “can only ride a set number of pedal strokes” phase. When I was in this phase I could ride a fairly large number of pedal strokes (10-20) but then would spontaniously UPD. It was as if my body thought the “new trick” it was supposed to learn ended after that many strokes. It took me a little while to break through that barrier.

I would find a nice soft spot to crash and every time you make it start a little farther back. In other words, work with the psychological barrier instead of against it. ("Ok body, you can do the trick with 14 pedal strokes? Wonderful! Good body! We’ll get ourselves a massage later if you can do it again with 15…)

Good luck,


I’m going to have to be placed in the Stick with the coker and dont use the 24’’ group. You’ll feel much better about yourself if you stick with the coker and if you go witht he 24’’ youll wish youd had gone through with learning on a coker.

When it comes to wearing shorts/pads VS pants/pads. You should definitly go shorts/pads. This will help you out as far as heat goes. The long sleeved t-shirt could also be traded in for a short sleeve if you think you can avoid arm scrapes when you fall…But you’ll have to make that decision. And if your problem with wearing shorts is not so much falling but more chaffage issues, then you should wear biking (spandex) shorts underneath you shorts - or you could just wear the biking shorts if you feel comfortable with that.

Best of Luck - Stick it out with the coker!
Cole Chapman

Re: Learning to ride on a Coker - the saga continues

On Sat, 27 Mar 2004 03:45:07 -0600, “Jayne ZA” wrote:

>Do I wimp out on the coker and switch to the 24 or do I
>just use the 24 for experimentation while mainly learning on the coker?
>Decisions, decisions, decisions. My gut feeling is to lock the 24 away
>and stick to the coker.

You know the answer, otherwise you wouldn’t say “wimp out”. Now that
you’re this far - and you’ve posted so much about it, including a
promise to provide a near-unique
learning-on-Coker-statistics-datapoint - stick with the 36" beast.
Very good work so far, build on your success!

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

I think profile should make some stronger 145mm cranks - Ryan Atkins

Hi Everybody
As always, thanks for the suggestions.

It seems like I have to clarify a few points, and ask a few more questions while I’m at it.

I am not avoiding shorts because of the chafing issues. The only chafing issue I have had is the inside seams rubbing on my thighs if I stay in the saddle for a long while, which I don’t do too often at the moment. Its one of those “it’s great to be a girl” issues.

All the padding I have is : knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards (which I have wrecked and which I need to replace) and a helmet. I get to ride in a hall with a nice wooden floor once a week, the rest of the time (assuming I get my butt in gear to practice during the week) I have to ride on paving, cement, or parking lots. I’m not even sure if I can get proper armour over here. I will visit a “Sportsman’s Warehouse” this weekend or else look out for a bike shop that caters to mountain bikers. Honestly I can’t recaall any of the local mountain bikers I’ve seen (on the roads or on TV) wearing any kind of “loose” protection. They seem to stick to heavy duty clothing and helmets or else regular bike stuff.

I have checked and the cranks are the same length on both the wheels. How do you measure them anyway? They are both about 7 inches from top to bottom. Is the length the “whole length” or just the bit between the hub and the base of the pedal?

You guys might not think any less of me for baling on the “learning on a coker” thing, but I’d be beating myself up about it for ages afterwards. I’m going to ignore the 24 unless I have another confidence busting fall. The last time that happened a bit of messing around on a smaller wheel got me back on the coker.

Winter is coming so heat won’t be such a problem in a while. Once those midday temperatures drop to 15 dec C and below (59 for those of you working in Farenheit), it’s chilly enough that I’ll need the extra warmth. By the time summer comes round again I’ll be riding well enough to worry less about scrapes.

Signing off now. I’ll try to get some practice in this afternoon (kids permitting). I’m just waiting for that switch to flip to the side where my brain will shut up and let my body get on with the riding. I feel like I’m stuck on a plateau. It has to end sometime.


The only meaningful measurement is the hardest one to make… measure from the center of the hub spindle to the center of the pedal spindle. This is the radius of the circle the pedals go around in while riding.

Glad you chose to continue learning on the Coker, even though it does raise questions about the theory that all redheads are intelligent. (For what it’s worth, I’m a redhead and I would have made the same decision. Except for the ladies underwear, of course.)

Good luck,


If you ever need to replace your current knee pads I’d recommend going to www.jensonusa.com and buying a pair of sixsixone full leg armor. It will cover from around your angle to a couple inches above your knee, and they are most likely around the same price as what it will cost to buy a new pair of knee pads. Your legs would thank you for this, believe me.

Well, as a kid I tested as “gifted” when they did the whole IQ test thing at school. I take it as an indication that intelligence and common sense don’t always go together, but my common sense keeps rearing it’s ugly head whenever I try to ride away from any means of support.

By the way - what’s wrong with wearing ladies underwear? I’ve been doing it all my life and over 50% of the human race can’t be wrong :wink: .


Re: Re: Re: Learning to ride on a Coker - the saga continues

My apologies, Ms Cokeur

Re: Re: Re: Re: Learning to ride on a Coker - the saga continues

That’s OK. We all have those “reply before coffee” moments.

I went out on the paving (mostly wall assisted) again today. Everybody has been commenting that I have the seat on the coker really low. I raised it an inch or two and it is actually a bit easier. I’m finding it difficult to get the seat height right on such a big wheel. I’m sort of raising it a bit every now and again as I get a bit more confident about what I’m doing. It’s not like the smaller ones where you can comfortably stand on one foot and adjust everything. I wound up lying on the floor with the wheel raised up in the air while pedalling to check the fit. Yes it does look as strange as it sounds and no I don’t have any pictures.

I did have about 5 minutes messing around on the 24, mainly because the 4YO was out watching and I don’t want to fall on her when riding the coker. I am pleased to note that unsupported stepovers are much easier on the 24, but that I am just as inept on both wheels. The 24 is also such a jerky ride compared to the coker.

I am still working on stepovers on the coker. Once I get that right I’ll be one step closer to facing the scary abyss. It is amazing how much difference 20cm or so can make.


Here’s a way to get the seat height real close to the ideal height. Sit on the saddle with one of the cranks at the 6 0’clock position (straight down). Now, adjust the seat so that the HEEL of your foot barely touches the pedal. Next, lower the seat about 10 mm, and that should get you real close

Kenny, I can do that fine with one of the smaller wheels, but when I try to do that with the coker it just throws me off balance. I haven’t got anything firm enough to wedge the wheel in to to stop it moving, and none of the guys I know are too keen to hold the wheel steady between their legs while I put my weight on it. I wonder why :thinking:

I think of it as a kind of manual iteration. I go with what is comfortable for me at the time. As I gain confidence (and hopefully skill) I find that I am happier with a higher seat. It’s not like I have a set height that I am already comfortable with. It’s all a work in progress.


Once you get the height mark it with electrical tape or something so that, when someone borrows it, you don’t lose your position. Just tell them they CAN’T move the tape. Or you can scratch the seatpost with a screwdriver, which ends up to be a pain because you end up with 20 scratches and not able to remember which means what.

permenant marker pen works reather well. no glue to get stickey or grunged up when some one tries to lower the saddle. more precise than a scratch, and you can write above it whats its for. One of our seat posts has three or four lines for different people and different wheels…