Years ago I had been chastised for thinking about learning to rollerblade when I was studying an instrument. “You injure yourself and ‘poof’ there goes all the research you’ve done this semester! You won’t be able to demonstrate anything and you are the only person in the US able to prove 'X”!! "
I wonder, if there are any other unicyclists whose main career is performing music and if unicycling ever interfered with their vocation?
I was a working musician for a while but that was before I… err, settled down? and started unicycling. I haven’t yet injured myself to the extent that I’d struggle to play though.
This could really apply to any profession though. I wouldn’t particularly want a surgeon working on me who had a gammy hand from crashing his mountain bike, stopping him from holding the scalpel straight!
I am a musician (Anglo concertina and harmonica) and although I am not studying it formally, or performing professionally, it is a huge part of my life and I play as near as possible every day. I have regular lessons, I teach one student, I compose tunes, and I play for my Morris dance team. Point is, it is important to me.
Nevertheless, I ride unicycle and ultimate wheel, I ride a bicycle on and off road, I ride a 750 cc motorcycle, often with a mother of two sitting behind me and relying on my skill and judgement to keep her alive. I take a small boat out to sea when I can, I do wild swimming, I’ve snorkelled down rapids. I even eat bacon and drink beer.
Point is, it’s better to die than never to live. It’s all about accepting and managing risk at a sensible level, not avoiding it. You could sit on your arse, never do an extreme sport, and have a heart attack tomorrow.
My dad is in a wheelchair. An accident, 30 something years ago. When he was in hospital, the worse case of the whole floor was a guy resting on a beach towel, by the sea. A helicopter landed couple of hundred yards away, and the wind it created blew a sunbrella, which went off and landed on the guy. One of the sunbrella’s ribs went thru his eye and hit the brain, making him totally paralyzed.
Even resting on a beach can be considered an extreme sport. So let’s enjoy riding.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been unable to get onto the forum for the last couple of days. I was starting to fear it was permanent. Looking at the dates of recent posts, it looks like no one else had access either.
Whatever went wrong, thanks to whoever sorted it out. It’s only when you suddenly don’t have something that you realise how much you value it.
Music is not a profession for me, but a hobby. Still, it’s a “semi-serious” interest, and I play in a band. One time when muni riding I lost it and went superman-style into a bunch of rocks and bushes along the trail. When I stood up, the end of the ring-finger on my left hand had been sliced off. For a guitar player, this is a bad development, since one tends to use that finger a lot. This was on a Saturday or Sunday, and I had a gig to play the next Friday night. With the help of “liquid bandaid” and some tape I stumbled through it, but it was one of my worst gigs ever. From then on I vowed to wear full-fingered gloves when muni riding, even if it’s hot out. (I was wearing half-finger gloves at the time.)
I think the lesson (for me) is that we need to be prepared, and to mitigate possible injuries, but since there will always be freak accidents we shouldn’t stop doing what we enjoy.
I’m a classical guitar player so I’m a bit touchy about my nails (At least on my right hand) - Just about any smash to my hand can result in that being screwed up for a few days. Again, not sure how this is any different to any other profession that relies on your body being a certain shape to perform at your best, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it! Chances are if your injury is serious enough it’d mess up your working life for a while even if you’re an office desk worker
If musicians didn’t unicycle, how would we ever get this?
Sorry, just taking the excuse to repost this - my son isn’t a professional musician and neither am I, though I do play gigs with a band for which we get paid.
TBH I don’t even think unicycling is that dangerous a thing to do - not even compared to lots of other sports I’ve done, and most particularly the other two I’m doing regularly at the moment, roller skating and rock climbing! So if I did make my living from playing music I don’t think it would be unicycling I’d stop doing. But then what exactly is it you’re worried about anyway? I play trumpet and trombone, and I can only think of a couple of injuries I’ve got doing anything which would have stopped me playing - one when I hurt my shoulder crashing a bike on a jump and couldn’t lift one arm, the other when I broke a rib and breathing was painful.
Anyway, the plan for best visual impact is to play the trombone whilst riding my giraffe - mainly I just need to learn some good tunes to play when doing that (trombone is my second instrument and fairly new to me and the only things I can play without needing music are the parts for the songs my band plays, but they don’t really stand on their own - it’s actually a lot easier to play trumpet whilst riding and I have a decent repertoire of marches on that, but the visual impact isn’t the same!)
Also, we probably wouldn’t have had Kris Holm riding as he tells the story that he began to be curious about unis when he saw a street performer play the violin on it. And since he could play the violin too… and now thanks to him deciding to take a dangerous hobby we have those great blue munis!
How do we avoid superman type falls? Those are the ones mostly causing the finger/wrist/arm injuries.
Last week I muni-ed with another rider who had a couple bad superman falls in the last year and felt jittery to be back in the saddle. He was riding a 29". We discussed how a smaller wheel might be safer. I’ve personally had more UPDs on my 29" muni where I did NOT land on my feet, compared to the 26". The speed is greater, and I need more impulse to make a correction. I’m also riding higher off the ground. Same thing applies, I assume, to a 36".
Beginners are more likely to have superman falls. They haven’t yet learned how to hold onto the seat, and the unicycle can shoot out behind them during a fall, causing their legs to move backwards, making it unlikely they’ll land on their feet. After learning to hold the uni with one, then two hands, the uni was more likely to stay upright during a UPD. I either vault over it or push it out in front of me and UPD behind. Either way, I almost always land on my feet.
I wear wrist guards. And I do, on rare occasion, come down hard on them. I used to wear full finger gloves on top of the wrist guards, but I stopped doing that.
Learn to jump off when a UPD Is inevitable? I’ve always been very good at that, to the point I had to force myself to stay on because bailing too early was stopping me learning (I still bail slightly too early on the giraffe, but it’s far preferable to land on your feet when coming off that).
I’m not sure that’s anything to do with holding the seat either, it took me quite a while to start doing that and I still do a lot of riding without holding the seat - you can’t play trombone with one hand holding on! Yet I bail off plenty whilst not holding on and landing on my feet - your UPDs appear to be rather different to mine, apart from when doing tricks or riding backwards I don’t think I’ve ever UPDed with the uni in front of me, or in a situation where I could push the uni in front, not since the early beginner stage, it pretty much always shoots out behind. On the contrary when things get tough, the best thing to do is abandon the uni rather than holding on to it - that’s stood me in good stead since I was a beginner, and I never used wrist protection to learn and now only for difficult muni or for the Schlumpf.
It still seems strange to me that other people have trouble jumping off and landing on their feet, it just came naturally to me, though as suggested above you do have to bail early before the uni starts taking you with it. I’m not a gymnast, but it might be that my experience of lots of other balance sports helps here - apart from skating and climbing mentioned above (yes, climbing is a balance sport!) I’ve also done a lot of technical mountain running, which is the most obviously related thing to staying on your feet in a UPD.
The ballsiest way to do that would be to train yourself to do Aquaman falls. He swims, really fast, with his arms at his sides. So then you might slice off your nose, but your hands will be fine. I don’t recommend it, I just thought substituting a different superhero might help.
Yup, but I remember watching Dan Heaton do a couple of those; one into black mud! Dan Heaton is the maker of several classic “extreme unicycling” videos dating back to the year 2000. He was also a very good rider, and one of the originators of Street unicycling (if not the FATHER).
I was surprised to learn that Dan had minimal Muni experience, when we thought he was a veteran. In 1999, after a day of riding Vancouver’s North Shore with Kris Holm (and George Peck), he mentioned that almost all of the times he had done Muni were when I was there. This started with the 1997 CA Muni Weekend and included 2 of those, that Superman landing up near the Snoqualmie Pass in 1998 (prepping for the 1999 National Unicycle Convention), and a very few other rides! He was a natural.
Dan Heaton in 1997 at his first Muni Weekend (the second one ever):
I am a classical music playing Cellist. I started last year with municycling when I was 58 years old. I wanted to see how much I have to practice to have success. I admit, I had some smaller accidents which happen to every starters. Today I am proud that I can cycle 5 km on my 24’’-Muni without getting off.
Amateurs musicians can, as their own risk, but professionals shouldn’t…
I’m professional violinist (soloist and teacher), I already got issue to a wrist, I had to stop playing during almost 3 weeks, and it tooked me about 2 years to get back the level I lost, 2 years… so imagine if I had broken a bone, with twice more non-playing time ?
Anyway insurances always forbidden “dangerous” sports, crafting, even touching glass items… so if got hurt with unicycling, not any indemnisation will be given. Risky deal.
I’m impressed by the number of musicians among the unicyclists here. Re BenBrown’s remark about not learning to rollerblade while studying music, I’ve inline skated for a couple of decades more than I’ve been unicycling and I can only think of a couple of skating buddies who don’t play music with some degree of seriousness. I think there might a connection, that the mindset that leads someone to want to learn an instrument might also make them interested in taking on other physical skills.
My two cents: Learning is certainly riskier than riding once you know how; so yes, take that into account. If you have an important performance coming up, it might not be the best time to start. But there’s also a decent chance of slipping on stairs or while getting out of the shower and being injured trying to catch your fall so keep it in perspective. Also, the majority of us depend on being able to write, type, use a computer mouse, or operate tools for our day-to-day livelihoods more than playing music. Hands or wrists are complex and delicate things that we depend on a lot and they deserve some thought and care whether we play music or not.
I suppose a lot depends on the type and intensity of the riding. I did an hour of road riding today and was never in danger of a fall. In 30 years of road and trail riding, I’ve needed stitches twice (chin, then calf) and a wrist support once.
Someone who insists on using a nice round wheel for hoping and dropping and flying from pillar to post may be at greater risk.
Eating the bacon is the highest risk activity by far. Beer comes in second.
Unicycling and music should go great together! Except for the crashing part if you need your wrists and fingers for instrument control.
If I were to attempt to sing or play an instrument in front of a large audience, now that would be high risk. It would cause a riot, and the frenzied crowd would probably want to make sure that I never did it again.