Newby Learning Journal

Good update and nice progress! It sounds like it’s coming together for you. Pretty cool feeling, isn’t it?

Look at discussions among folks who have been riding for a year or two, at how much of the talk is about road camber, twisting upper bodies, how to ride with both hands on bars, etc; all side-to-side business. I’d say that front-to-back balance isn’t as hard as it looks but side-to-side is trickier than most would guess.

Yeah, we all start out like a wobbly bear, its universal.

When I started out, my child and some of the school kids started chasing me. Not the greatest idea, i told them, because I could lose control of the wheel suddenly.

Now, I just simply exhaust them, and they call it quits.

Thanks for all of the encouragement. I went out in the parking lot for another 15 minutes or so. I was able to go 5-7 revolutions like earlier. Wobbling like crazy, but that’ll work itself out eventually. For now I’m just happy to stay up at all.

Would the wobbling possibly be from putting too much weight on the pedals instead of the saddle?

wobble your way to success

Every time you wobble and make a correction, you are learning to steer, sort of. If, hypothetically, you were able to keep the unicycle riding completely straight (for example, by lowering the tire pressure), that might inhibit your acquisition of left-right steering. The fact that you’re able to nevertheless ride 5-7 rotations, while at the same time wobbling, sounds like a good thing.

So, you are making a correction when you wobble, or else you would immediately veer off to the left or right and UPD without making the 5-7 rotations. With practice, this correction will happen more immediately and without conscious deliberation. This will keep you riding straight. The key is practice.

Putting more weight on the saddle is good advice, but I don’t think it can be necessarily rushed. We are not accustomed to balancing on our butts, but we are accustomed to balancing on our feet while standing. Later on, you will find yourself resting more on the seat. My advice: Err on the side of maintaining connection between your pedals and feet; you will avoid ugly falls this way.

You might try to raise the seat a teeny tiny bit, very incrementally. I guess the theory is that having the seat wedged between your butt cheeks (sorry for the visual) helps to stabilize the uni in a left-right direction. My own evolution involved getting the seat up higher, but it happened incrementally.

Sounds like you have some nice neighbors! My neighbors responded differently when I began. To put a positive spin on it, they were probably aware that I’m somewhat of a kook, and that their opinion of me unicycling wasn’t going to change my motivation. So, I got a lot of comments regarding how awkward I looked and a lot of oblique references to falling, as well as remarks related to the “family jewels”.

My story has a kind of happy ending. Many of the neighbors, later on, remarked about how impressed they were at how well I was riding and how much I had improved. Some of these people were the same neighbors who’d made the snide, dismissive remarks when I was learning.

Still, I wish I had your neighbors!

There are many ways to keep from wobbling. Using weight on the saddle is one of them. But veteran unicyclists can ride perfectly straight while completely off the saddle.

As you ride more you’ll learn to keep more weight on the saddle and to quickly shift your weight to the pedals and back as you need to. You’ll also figure out what to do about wobbles. The biggest part of it probably comes down to feeling small imbalances before they get to be big ones, making smaller corrections sooner, anticipating and not overcorrecting. But don’t sweat it too much. Keep on doing what you’re doing and you’ll get it.

Aaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhhh!!! Rain and a cold are keeping me from practicing! I’ll have to wait untill the weekend for more wheel time…

Ah’ Johnny Mojo.

You’ve got a cold ? You’ve caught the unicycling bug :stuck_out_tongue:
Get Well Soon :slight_smile:

It’s been a full work week since I last got on the wheel. This evening I went to the plaza to practice, and started off pretty much where I left off: very clumsy mount (1 hand on a low wall), and a few pedal strokes. I kept getting a bit farther and a smoother mount (hand on wall). I simply got up, pedaled, walked back to the wall and immediately hopped up and started over for 15 minutes. I worked my way up to often making it to another wall about 5 meters away. I took a breather (it was quite a work out), then got back to work for another 15 minutes. I worked my way up to usually making it to the other wall, with less clumsy mounting from the wall. I took another breather and got back up for another 10 minutes. This time my mounts were much more controlled, as was my riding, and I made it to the other wall almost every time, being able to come up to the wall and hold on for support rather than just touching it and falling off. Even with the long break between practices, I am very happy with my progress.
Here’s some thoughts: Always bring plenty of water. I do well by setting a goal, acheiving it, achieving it comfortably, the setting a new goal. My body just needs to learn how to adapt, how to balance and how to make minor corrections, being on the wheel is the only way. Little breathers are important for me to not have diminishing returns. Go back and do it again, and again and again.
It seems like the uni’s going to be great for riding around the neighborhood with my daughter on her bike. It’ll give me a fun work out- it seems like great exercise for the core muscles and legs.

If and when you eventually get into muni/road unicycling, I would highly recommend a Camelbak. Having a constant, easy to reach source of water while riding is crucial.

Yeah, the camelback popped in my mind, for pretty much any kind of riding, especially over 15 minutes.

Another little session tonight, about 20 minutes or so in the parking lot. I went about the same as earlier this evening, but I was a bit more consistent when I had a goal to reach the wall- in the parking lot it’s just off into empty space. I’m starting to get the hang of this wheel. This is fun!

Just a short 15 minute session today. It went like yesterday, going from wall to wall, but I’m gaining in my confidence in riding, mounting and falling off.

Dont under estimate the importance of mounting and falling off. If done enough it improves balance, joints, reflex, confidence , which leads to the ability of bailing out at much higher speeds without injuries, especially on the bigger wheels.

I got in 2 practice sessions today. This afternoon I got in 15 minutes in the park, going wall to wall as before. In the evening I got in about half an hour, and made some big improvements. I started out going wall to wall, and built up to going between 20-40 meters straight down the sidewalk, setting the next bench or lamp post as a target. Just get up, go back, get up, go back, get up, try to go longer. I busted up my elbow a bit, but other than that I land on my feet. I can plan to dismount, and do it gracefully. Riding is still wobbly, but improving. Thinking about how I can make it to the next target while I’m riding really helps, the body’s going to balance it out so I try not to think much about the actual mechanics while I’m on my way. Thinking positive makes a really big difference. If I’m convinced I can do it, I usually can.
Remember to straighten the seat after it hits ground, a quick release is a great tool!

If I’m able to practice a bit this week, I’d like to work my way up to a complete circuit of my parking lot, a total of about 50 meters with 4 turns. If I keep improving at the rate I am, I should be able to do it!

Another 45 minutes of practice today, in 3 sessions. I was in our parking lot, which is a circuit. I’m still quite wobbly, but getting a bit better. I even worked up to getting this first and sometimes even second turn of the circuit. At this rate it won’t be long before I’m wizzing around with the kids here in our court!

15 minutes yesterday and 45 minutes today. I’ve made some big improvements, mostly in riding less wobbly and with more confidence. I’ve started working on right turns, and even made it all the way around my parking lot circuit, and I can consistently make it half way around.

Rock on! Great stuff, Johnny. Keep it up.

I went out with my daughter on her roller blades this evening and just rode. I alreadyreached my goal of making it around our parking lot circuit, then we went to the piazza and I just kept on going! I’ve still just started and I still have tons of room for improvement, but that’s going to come about from just riding the durn thing. Let the fun begin!