Notes and thoughts from a beginner for other beginners
This is my attempt at ‘paying my dues’ to this newsgroup. OK, some thoughts and comments from a 40+ learner.
Get a friend or practice partner, much more fun as a social activity. One of you will be better than the other, it’s a chance to develop some skills, show off to each other and encourage each other to practice. They’ll probably be the only ones who really appreciate how excited you are the day you first get a free mount to work !!
Find someone to learn from - easy if there is a club. If not, go to where you bought your uni and ask them (that’s what I did).
Go to www.unicycling.org/iuf/levels and print them out. If you’re a level 1 wannabe like me, use them as a skills progression (when you get that first ever idle you can say to yourself "wow, a level 3 skill). It does help structure things if you want to go that way.
I learnt freemounts by learning a freemount with the uni propped up against a brick (no rock back - go straight forward). I’m a strongly right footed person, so I had the pedals at about 10 to 4 (and I dropped the seat about an inch). Once I could do that most of the time I tried with a medium sized branch, stops some rollback and is a great psychological prop). From there it was a free mount (about 1 in 10 worked initially). With practice
I started to improve, then one day it all fell apart, every time I tried to mount I rolled back and lost it. Then I accidently did a free mount with a rock back.
Buy some protective gear - learning is hard on the body, and if you are older than the average high school student, it takes a while to recover from a spill.
Give it a go, even if you ‘know’ that you can’t do something. Break it down into it’s parts and start working up to it. Don’t stay on something to get it perfect before you go to the next skill (yes, you keep practicing once you’ve learnt it - but that’s because we’re beginners and we haven’t mastered it yet)
Basic exercises I work on -
- ride with arms crossed
- ride with arms up in the air
- move from one to the other
- distance, I soon got to the stage that fitness was the limiting factor instead of skill
- circles (initially with a helper so I could lean on a shoulder, then
around a basketball pole, then just circle work
- figures of eight -I’m working at around 3m radius on a 20" so I’ve still got a long way to go
- ride along and take the weight of one foot on the up stroke
- every practice session I try and do a series of freemounts - have to anyway, I get off often enough
- freemounts on the weak foot - a long way to go on this one
- backwards next to a wall - I use our local oval with a walkway and handrail around it
- I try and vary the riding surface, so footpaths, roads, the oval, paths through the local park, and a mild gravel track next to the creek when I feel really adventurous
- try and do some mild up and down slopes, fun and it burns the legs a bit until you get used to it
PS Sorry if I duplicated this post