Long day on a 28

The 28 is the misfit in my stable of unicycles: less manoeuvreable than the 24, less rugged than the 26, slower and (to me) less fun than the Coker. However, it is capable of covering distance quite fast. So let’s make those comparisons again: faster than the 24; longer legged than the 26; more manoeuvreable than the Coker.

Anyway, I decided today that it deserved a run out. So I set off with a vague plan to do 28 miles. My theory is that a ‘long ride’ on a unicycle is one mile per inch of wheel diameter. I’ve done 20 on the 20, and 36 on the Coker. I think I’ve done 28 on the 28 before, too.

I won’t give a blow by blow account, but the ride included:

Urban river bank, the river bordered by concrete steps, buildings almost to the water’s edge, families out walking, and men in unfashionable sun hats carrying picnic baskets to the cricket.

Urban riding: a cycle track by a busy road, then a subway (pedestrian underpass) with the walls bright with graffiti - steep slopes down, up, down, up, down and up… then after negotiating all these, I UPDd 10 metres after leaving the difficult section. PTSD - not Post Traumatic stress Disorder, but Post Technical Section Dismount!

Rural riverbank: huge dragonflies, dainty damsel flies, trees heavy with berries. Hard baked single track which was slimy mud last time I came this way. Today, on the way out it was tricky; on the way back, it was a minefield and I UPDd enough times for morale to slump. Perhaps the pint of Leatherbritches (ABV 4.5) at The Steamboat had something to do with it. I took a break, and paddled in the lake, cooling my legs, and after that I had no further problems.

Urban streets - in Long Eaton, looking for a cafe, because my intended food stop was closed. Heavy traffic, and a narrow painted cycle lane which petered out when the road narrowed.

Urban canal bank: 18th century slab sided buildings with soot-blackened smoke stacks, now festooned with mobile phone network aerials. These dark satanic mills are now mainly empty, but some are used for small scale industry, and bored workers catcalled to me from behind barred windows. One, friendlier than most, promised to look out for anyone riding past on the rest of my bike. How I laughed.

Rural canal bank: more nature notes - dragonflies, butterflies, waterfowl. Lovely. A stereotypical ‘stage’ irishman who was fishing said, “When I get some money, I’ll buy you the rest.” A nice variant on a theme.

By 20 miles, my Velo seat was making itself known. My plums had been pushed so far up that I had to loosen the chin strap on my helmet.

At 22 miles, my Camelbak ran dry. I sucked as hard as I could, and when I stopped, the suction trapped a bit of my tongue in the slit in the mouthpiece. Ouchth!

Figures for the ride:
28 inch (700c X 32) wheel.
110 mm cranks.
Total distance: 40.72 miles (65.5 km)
Riding time: 4:55.45 Add an hour or so for stops, though.
Average 8.26 mph (13.29 kmh)

Maximum recorded speed, an amazing (to me) 17mph! (27.35 kmh)

How does it compare to the Coker? Well, the comparison of a 2.5 inch medium pressure tyre and a skinny road tyre at high pressure isn’t really fair. The Velo saddle is noticeably less comfortable than the Viscount, and it is too short to lean the heel of my hand on the front to take the weight off my er… seat. The 110 cranks allow a faster cadence, but you can’t take advantage of this for long, especially on uneven ground. The Coker rolls over stuff that has to be ridden carefully on the 28.

Still, the 28 is surprisingly capable. One thing I did notice: while it’s less impressive, or spectacular, than the Coker, it’s more understandable and less intimidating to the public. I seemed to meet more people, and have more friendly chats. Perhaps it’s because remounting is that bit easier, especially when you’re tired or the ground is uneven.

20 miles on a 20" wheel! :astonished:

Wow, I am exhausted after less than 6 miles total in a day.:frowning:

Way to go. Keep the stories coming.

Nice one Mike,

I’ve just got back from a night ride on my 29"-er, nothing like your voyage, just 45 mins riding round the local streets/park.

I think I’m going to persist with it this time, the new tyre makes for a more comfortable ride and it makes a nice change from the muni.

I’m using 125 cranks, I’m starting to get comfortable with them now so maybe I should consider something shorter.

One Wheel Dave mentioned 125mm cranks on a 29, and said he might consider something shorter.

From a ‘gear ratio’ point of view, the difference between 28 and 29 inches is negligible. On this basis, 110mm cranks are a good ‘all round size’. I was immediately ‘at home’ on the 28 with 110s. I tried 102s and they were rideable, but felt wrong. (I love 102s on the 24), and I tried 125s on the 28 and found them tediously slow.

I strongly recommend trying the 110s. Idling is fairly easy, with caution. Technique will get you up more hills than an extra few mm on the cranks. You will cruise noticeably faster.

Back to the original post on this thread: I didn’t realise until afterwards, but last night’s Coker ride and today’s 28 ride added up to just over 50 miles in under 24 hours. Is that a 50 mile day? Prob’ly not.