My thoughts on falling

Get idling down first. It’s not a gateway to one-footing, but it gets you ready for one-foot idling, which is only slightly harder than two-foot idling, which gets you used to the idea of only having one foot on.

One foot riding involves eventually getting to that place where you get that one pedal up and over the top, which takes some commitment and guts!

No protection riders

I’m sure there’s a few of you out there, so this advice is for you guys.
All other “helmet heads” just shush.

Rules for riding unicycle without protection:
1.) Never ride on unfamiliar territory. Both daytime and darkness. Yes, wear protection if you’re on unknown territory. However, 50’th…time100’th time…on same course? I ditch it.

2.) Never ride in public or on public streets. People, cars and distractions. Yeah better put on a helmet and stuff.

3.) You will “tend” to fall when conditions “slightly” change on your familiar territory. Such as light/darkness, when your legs are pumped up but you keep going, wearing different shoes. (BTW, unscrew those deadly aluminum spikes from any nimbus pedals, just rely on the plastic studs…they’ll scar you just the same)

4.) For off roading I never “go downhill”. I prefer to ride up hill off road on flats, grass, gravel, rocks, gopher holes. I found a converted park/rock quarry. Typically, you never go faster than 6 mph…and I don’t want to go any faster. Of course, if you just want to 17 mph, hop on a 36, never turn…you better wear it all.

5.) When you do “fall” and not just…what is that dumb acronym UDSSSD?.. just call it falling on your ass. You will tend to fall forwards and on your hands to prevent face/body/knees from touching the ground. Unless you are younger than 30 yrs old, you will pull a tendon on your wrist, shoulder or chest. To be able to fall again/again like that you must strengthen and build wrist/chest/shoulder. Otherwise, wear a helmet with a chin guard and knee pads. Then you can just fall flat on your face and body without worry.

BTW I’m no spring chicken…past the half century mark…I stay strong/flexible…I used to skateboard never broke a bone always stayed in my limits…but always pushed forward with micrometer increments. Keep on.

Learn how to static mount very slowly. Then do it on the other foot. That will teach you how to stay in control with only one foot on a pedal. Once you learn how to idle, one foot idling should come pretty easily.

There are times during two footed riding where one foot loses some control over the pedal. Learning one footed technique will help you in those awkward situations.

I had a pair of plastic pedals on my 20". Over time, the plastic teeth on those pedals wore down. Throughout the process of the pedals wearing down, certain techniques were easier or harder. I learned to adjust my feet more easily and ride closer to my toes on the smooth pedals, but riding one-footed across the 12:00 region of the pedal stroke was less reliable. When I first attempted jump mounts on the smooth pedals, my feet slipped off. But, once I learned to land with smooth pedals, I was able to adjust my feet into a proper position more quickly.

I recall reading an old thread in which someone observed that the best street riders were using plastic pedals. The reasoning was that plastic pedals allowed the rider to adjust their feet position more easily, which has to be done a lot in street riding.

My worst fall resulted in breaking my big toe. It was a freak accident. While practicing one-footed,I slipped off the back of the seat, fell onto the unicycle, and my toe ended up below one of the pedals, which crushed my toe as I fell onto the unicycle. Anyway, my pedals had gotten too smooth, and it became dangerous. I took off a few weeks and ordered some new pedals.

You might be using overly aggressive pedals. Consider rounding out the profile of the pins, whether they are plastic or metal.

Yup. This is my current plan. I’ve been working on idling for about 8 months and I am starting to have some success. The asymmetric nature of idling has been a head trip; I’m much better right-foot down than vice-versa, but already I can see benefits in other areas of my riding.

Yes. This is a game i already like to play and it is great advice. The feeling of balancing the many forces going on during the mount does translate to idling. My problem comes in when my foot slips off when I’m pedaling hard, which is why this…

is also excellent advice and something that I will be looking into.

On the other hand, with all the practice we get, I think unicyclists in general are probably pretty good at falling in general. Good armor helps :smiley:

Thanks everyone!

Well said! In my experience the most dangerous activity has been riding-the-highway!

However, for me, there are no other forms of unicycling that push the right buttons, so the danger of falling whilst surrounded by traffic presents itself regularly. The danger, I feel, rests in part to the ‘distraction’ many car drivers experience caused when encountering a 36er on the open road. I have been knocked off my 36 by cars, only twice, in several years. I was not injured too badly….but I suppose I could have been

So I guess, in response to your original post: I think riding the road presents a whole no ball-game that involves being surrounded by large lumps of metal driven by people who don’t necessarily cope with the site of a person seemingly doing the impossible (to them) on one wheel. Your original post highlights the ways falling presents itself through different uni styles. So let’s include road riding with the tag, D.O.D….Danger of Death!

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Falling into a cattle grid is at the top of my list of unicycle horrors:

There are some that have a nasty bump at the start… :astonished:

You never know when you will need your safety gear

Had a nasty fall last night when practicing 1 footed riding at the gym. My foot slipped off the pedal and I went down hard. My head hit hard enough that the ratchet strap you use to tighten it to fit your head stripped out.

I have had 4 nasty falls in the 3+ years I have been back to riding. I have been very glad I had my safety equipment on each time.

The 2 worst falls were 36’er Earl morning light and mud clumps on the path, I couldnt run it out;)
The other was a empty beer can hidden in a pile of leaves on a 26road uni.

As a beginner, when I fell forward, I instinctively reached out with the tips of my fingers toward the ground. This was not a safe way to fall (not for my fingers/hands). Once I learned to ride with the hand(s) on the seat/handle-bars, my hands were more tucked in toward my center, and I stopped reaching for the ground while falling. I was more likely to fall on my elbows than on my hands. Two bits of advice for beginners: 1. Wear pads. 2. Practice riskier stuff on a non-paved surface.

Falling forward quite a lot lately doing Muni (once every two/three weeks). My falls use to be backwards on my back/ass. The most annoying thing is that the bad falls tend to happen when doing easy stuff and because of this they catch me unprepared. So far I haven’t done a face plant yet but I am getting a long lasting back neck/upper back pain from jerking my head/neck backwards when landing flat on the ground.

A few weeks ago I was riding my 36 at night as I often do in winter. It began raining lightly and continued to get heavier until it was bucketing down. I diverted onto the most direct route home, a street I had only ridden once before, in daylight.

I discovered that in heavy rain a head lamp thoroughly illuminates the huge rain drops right in front of one’s face but not much else. After walking to the top of a hill the rain eased a little. I mounted then headed down a steeper than I remembered slope on a broken surface with water running everywhere and very limited vision.

Before I had time to get in control I discovered the wet brake didn’t work so well too. Something between a fall and a clumsy dismount as the uni flew out from under me and I was on my backside and elbows then laying on the road.

First time I had fallen backwards since I learnt to ride. I was surprised not to be much hurt. Just a small patch of road bite where one elbow protector slid up and a bit jarred. I think my hip pads took some of the impact. The wet road and slope probably made me slide rather than coming to a sudden stop. Lucky to avoid the kinds of forces that can break bones and dislocate shoulders. Could have been a lot worse.

Wow!! Where are they looking??

Were you crossing an intersection?