One footed stuff

> Paul Makepeace writes:
> >> Later you may wish to learn to ride with your foot off of the fork. While
> >> you are first learning this skill, though, the fork will give you extra
> >> leverage to control the unicycle.

(I didn’t write this, but anyway…)

> >I disagree. All beginning one footers start with the non pedaling foot
> >suspended in midair, and later they learn how to get it onto the fork. It’s
> >easier with the foot on the fork, because that foot helps you to grip and
> >control the unicycle. That’s why it should be encouraged from the time a
> I must be an exception because from the very start I worked at lifting my
> right foot from the pedal and getting it hung on the fork ASAP. It is easier
> to control the unicycle this way.

I was going to reply along these lines as well: I think having one foot flailing
around wouldn’t help at all. My foot was bang on the frame pretty much as soon
as possible.

I can’t honestly remember which I learnt first: idling or riding. The latter I
do remember was a pain in the ass to learn as you just have to keep trying and
falling off. For quite a while it feels like no progress is happening which is
very disconcerting.

Pre-practise by riding with the ‘foot-off’ foot really loosely. I’m learning
(every few months between practising…) to ride one footed on my wrong side and
this has helped a lot. Visualise the feeling of not using one foot at all while
it is still on and really ease the pressure off. Lean slightly forward and
feel the pump - rel-a-x, pump, rel-a-x as one foot does all the work.

I think idling one foot probably wasn’t that hard, just stubbornly learning it
(he says helpfully…) It’s a similar idea to learning riding: relax over the
bottom of the stroke and feel the pressure come on at either end. You’ll
probably have near half wheel rev wobbling everywhere. I found the wheel
didn’t go back and forth but in a curve but this happened when I was learning
two feet…

Take the foot off the frame to one side, just relaxed not
straight/uncomfortable. It’s surprising how much the foot on the fork actually
helps… Now you have to use your ‘rear-end’. Really ‘sit into it’ and use the
counter effect of pressing into the seat and the pressure of the foot. It’s
difficult to describe. You do need quite a lot of pressure from the foot though
and it’s quite tiring. When I actually have access to a uni I’ll try it and
elucidate further…

> I agree that you have to be able to get that foot on the fork without looking,
> you are simply too busy with other things to look down.

Yup. For some reason I find it quite tricky getting my right foot up and not
slipping on to the tire (which will be the most likely cause of failure when you
start idle -> ride away, one footed).

> I feel the building blocks to successful one-footed riding are:
> 1) being able to get one’s foot off the pedal and hung on the fork crown,
> quickly without looking.
> 2) pre-adjusting side-to-side weight distribution to offset the tendency to
> fall to the pedaling side.

Hmm - I don’t find this. I certainly wouldn’t recommend riding
semi-‘side-saddle’. Just get used to it.

> 3) learning the proper application of power with one pedal (fast on the
> downstroke, slow-but-not-too-slow on the upstroke).

Yeah, this is a good point. I find there’s a significant pause either end too.

> 4) learning to use the non-pedaling foot to leverage the frame of the
> unicycle.

You do indeed need to do this although I can’t remember how. Which reminds me:
don’t try to analyse what you’re doing too much and just do it. That sounds
facetious but just let your motor neurons sort themselves out on their own…

> Could some knowledgeable person explain the difference in techique between one
> footed riding with the off foot on the fork and the leg-extended variation?

I can’t ride one-foot off only idle - sorry! My attempt would probably involve
just tentatively removing my frame-foot (and falling off). Hmm, I’ll try this
some time…

> Dennis Kathrens

Cheers, Paul.