To start with, I am not a real great unicyclist. I can mount, ride, turn and sometimes idle and that is about it.
I borrowed our club’s Coker for a while just to try it out.
Surprisingly enough, I was able to mount without a lot of problems, but as soon as I took a couple of pedals, it came out from under me. I made several attempts with the same results. For whatever reason, I couldn’t keep the wheel under me (or keep myself on top of the wheel).
Obviously, I need practice, but is there any other helpful advice you can give me?
I think I had the same experience. I was used to keeping my balance on a 24, by pedaling back and forth. Once you get a Coker moving, you can not exert enough pressure to balance by pedaling backwards. You can slow down, but you can not continuously ride by making the pedals go back and forth, or if you could you would not be able to for long. You need to start off slowly and RESIST the temptation to go too fast. I only rode a 24 for about 3 months. I was not really good. I could ride 4 or 5 miles, turn but that was all. Then I got my Coker. Within about 2 hours, I was riding around the block. I always wanted to speed up, but that gets really scarry at first. Remember, Helmet, kneepads and wristgaurds are mandatory for a Coker.
That was about March this year. Now I ride my Coker exclusively. I have 850 miles on it so far this summer. I love it. I go anywhere from 15-40 miles in a day. I very rarely fall. When you do fall, remember, you are going fast, and you need to RUN LIKE HE!!, otherwise you will be doing a faceplant.
On little unis you can jam some pressure on a pedal and get some immediate and dramatic response from the machine. Not so with the Coker. Jamming your foot on a Coker pedal and you’ll walk right off the thing.
The cruising speed is faster than on little unis.
Get up on the beast and get her going about 5 mph. Maintain steady speed.
Changing speed is a gradual thing.
Build up speed gradually…come to a stop veeeery gradually. Turn gradually.
Its a Mac Truck not a Spitfire.
Initially you have to persuade and coax the beast into doing what you want. You shouldn’t try to be the boss just yet. Today the beast is the boss. You should be nice to the beast. Be thankfull for every ride that the beast doesn’t kill you. Be respectful of the brute.
With experience, the two of you should come to a mutually agreeable understanding.
I guess what I experienced with my first rides on a Coker is that simply rolling along the path is not a problem, but every maneuver requires about four times as much muscle, space, and time as on a smaller uni. The main problem that you have right now is that the control inputs that you’ve become used to using to keep your little uni underneath you aren’t having much effect on the giant one. You just have to keep doing it until your body figures out what it needs to do to manage the thing, just like it did with the smaller one. It really is a quite different ride. It took me a while to feel comfortable turning, but eventually I got used to it, and I can maneuver pretty well now. I still need the 6" cranks in order to idle confidently, though.
But not too slow! A coker is a lot harder to ride at very slow speeds. I find my self far, far less stable on a coker when trying to keep a slow pace (eg walking pace).
The original problem described sounds to me like you are not riding fast enough. If you mount and don’t build up enough speed it is much harder to stay on then if you get a little momentum going. The initial few metres before you pick up speed are the hardest.
I understand how it can “get out from under you” as you travel much farther for a given movement in the pedals. My experience is that it’s much easier to keep a coker moving once you are up and moving than a 20" or 24". Everything happens much slower.
I was amazed at first that if I started to fall foward or backward, I had several crank cycles to get back in balance. On a 20", you have less than one crank cycle to get back in balance.
Turning will come later. I’ve probably ridden a couple hundred miles on my Coker, but I still can’t always make a u-turn on a street.
A Coker is like driving a bus compared to a sports car.
The answer to all Coker questions is to get the miles in.
When you first have a Coker, it’s a novelty. It’s a challenge just to ride it. It’s exhilerating.
Then you start to cruise at a steady speed, and cover distances, but you find that you fear dismounts, obstacles, hills, junctions and the like.
After a while, it seems more trouble than it’s worth. Is this all it does? It won’t idle, turn quickly, or stop.
If you get past this stage, you will find that it will do almost everything that a 26 or 29 will do. It can be idled. It can be mounted. It will stop. You can tiptoe across difficult ground. You can stomp up hills. You can hold it back on long descents.
Riding a Coker is all about developing an intuitive understanding of Newton.
Here is what works for me. I put the left pedal just between 3 and 4 oclock. I then gently step up and forward. With luck your momentum will take you to the balance sweet spot on top of the seat. Then make sure your other foot hits the pedal and start to push. A few side to side wobbles and pedal strokes, now you will be moving and it will smooth out.
I have been riding my Coker since about March - 900 miles and I can mount about 80-90% of the time. The 10% I can’t is usually when someone is watching me!!!
Cokers are fun!! I rode a coker for the first time this monday night and I just couldn’t get off of it. I was able to only mount next to a wall, and because I am kinda short, I used to tire to pull myself up. The coker that I used had a brake on it, but I didn’t dare use that because it locks up the wheel, and I didn’t really want to go flying off of it the first time I was on it. Once I was able to ride pretty good I started to pick up some speed. And boy was I moving, and with the nice short cranks, I didn’t have to pedal that much to go the distance I wanted to. And when I tried turning it felt so good, turning on cokers has an awesome feel, because you can lean pretty far, and it feels cool. Well that was my first time experience on a Coker. When I had to leave I wanted to bring the coker with me. I am probably going to order a 29er within the next year, or even maybe a coker.
The easiest mount for most people is the standard mount, you don’t need to mess around grabbing the wheel or anything, just step up onto the unicycle and pedal off, just like a smaller unicycle. The step up bit involves a bit more of a push off to get yourself higher but that’s all.
I learnt to mount using the rollback mount, I still find this a bit easier, but most people seem to have difficulty with doing a rollback on a coker. Again, just like a little unicycle, but do a bigger step up.
I did some videos of the coker mounts ages back, they’re in the album below.
Initially!!?? I know who’s the boss and it ain’t me! It’s just that, sometimes, Marvin The Coker condescends to let me think I might be the boss and that’s the only “mutually agreeable understanding” Marvin permits.
I mount with left foot back. Walk behind Cokie at a slow speed. When left crank is rounding the 6 o’clock position, I get that left foot on it. At the same time, give a little jump off of my right foot. The inertia of that heavy wheel will lift you up like an elevator. The jump helps put your center of gravity Over the lift. If you don’t jump up or forward enough, the pedal will just hurl your foot in the air while you fall back onto your right foot. Soon you’ll learn to “hit the sweet spot” where you seem to hover for a sec before gently rolling away.
I hold the front of the seat with my left hand. When I reach the zenith of my jump, my right arm uncontrollably jerks out to the right. In a split second, it is fully extended and then folded back to my side. It is almost imperceptible. If you blink you’ll miss it. Like a lightning fast boxer’s jab. Shwaack!
I never realized this was happening until I smacked my friend Charles right in the mouth. He was passing me from behind at precisely the wrong moment and… Zabing!! It shock us both. Him more than me.
It is 100% reflex. I can’t control it (and still successfully mount the beast).
So now when I’m mounting Cokie, everyone gives me the same zone of respect as a helocopter. MUCsters require that I must shout “CLEAR!” before performing the manouvre.