Thought I’d post an update to my previous thread, which concerned my fear of falling, as there must be plenty of newbees or wannabees of my sort of age (I’m 65) who are wandering whether it’s wise to try.
I now say “Go for it”
October 2012 bought uni.
Hours 1 and 2 (October 2012)
Did all the basics then took a backwards fall.
I had not touched the uni since then.
Several days ago got some good advice in response to my other thread, on how to restart the learning curve, and headed on down to the marine lake path.
Got padded up with all the gear including helmet, then went for it.
Hour 3 (May 2013)
Went along using the rail for support, letting go occasionally to test my balance. Tried to concentrate on sitting on the seat and leaning forwards.
Several UPDs but no falls.
Back to the lake path.
More practice with the rail, eventually letting go and doing 6 or 7 pedal revs.
Some UPDs and 1 slight fall.
Hour 5 (today)
Real progress today.
Spent the first half hour moving along the rail and back, letting go to see how far I could go. Six or seven revs an average.
One thing I noticed was that I was better when my right (dominant) hand was next to the rail, as if I had more confidence in grabbing the rail if needed.
I then realised that being near the rail was stopping my progression as I was depending on it being there and subconsciously leaning toward it.
I then started to move away from the rail immediately, and into the centre of the path. This brought immediate results and I managed much longer runs.
Towards the end of the hour I was able to make 100 foot runs three times. On the other hand I was still occasionally doing 5 foot then UPDing.
Previously I had been running my 1.95 ins Kenda at 35 psi (recommended pressure 40 - 65 psi) to improve control but could hear it “scrubbing” the path due to being quite soft and flat. Today I increased the pressure to 45 psi and noticed it was more responsive.
It seems to me that each new training day I have taken one step back from what I had already achieved, taking twenty minutes or so to get a reasonably fluent ride.
However after half an hour, finally started to get some longer rides in. Several 130 footers, and two 170 foot runs. Still peppered with shorter runs where I totally lose it and UPD. It seems very difficult to attain consistency when riding. Some rides are smooth and relaxed whilst others, although of reasonable length, find me flailing my arms for balance.
I am constantly having to remind myself to “sit on the seat” and “lean forward”.
Q: How long does it take before the arms calm down and a more natural balance occurs?
Q: Also, is it correct to grip the saddle between the thighs or have the legs more relaxed? I find myself alternating between the two.
The arms calm down… when the arms calm down. Not to be a complete smart aleck, but you’ll look up one day and realize you’re no longer flailing about like an epileptic chimpanzee. Sooner, rather than later, if that helps.
For all questions, the answer is “more relaxed.” The more relaxed you are, the more comfortable you’re riding will be. There may come a point where you grip the seat purposely, for off-road control or some other reason, but for tooling around the neighborhood, you should be pretty relaxed.
How are your UPDs? Getting comfortable w/ planned dismounts w/ a particular foot and spot reducesed scary UPDs for me. Practice both legs.
To speed up the rate of arm relaxation, put one hand, say on your belt buckle, then somewhere else (like on your head, etc). Try not to move it or the rest of your arm & switch. When that gets easy put both hands on your buckle. Try to make all corrections w/ hips or lower.
Not much IMO but FMing will improve ride time since u don’t have to walk to a support. Static mount is best IMO since its really useful in trials and Muni.
For turns go to a large playground or curbless parking lot and start w/ 40ft+ diam. When u can get down to ~ 20’ start figure 8’s. first big goal is for each circle w/in a parking space. Lead w/ your hips and shoulders & try to keep them smooth.
What kind of riding u want to get into? Watching vids usually helps.
U may want to get some pads depending on the riding your doing. (I don’t have much natural padding so I allways wear my 661 Bomber shorts and helmet, + knee/shin & elbow/forearm pads for Muni.)
More of the same, following the lakeside path, holding the rail to start off.
Settled down more quickly today, but no real progress.
Several 130 foot runs.
I need to put more weight on the seat more of the time.
Tried a couple of static free mounts, but not sure I’m ready yet.