Personal worst ever UPD, pedal considerations


I was out for a nice ride on my 36er and had just ridden up a long, steep uphill. Starting down the downhill side, since it’s a nice, empty farm road, I was starting to do sweeping turns back and forth across the road (sort of "giant slalom"ing).

I should have had a grip on the handle while doing this, but I didn’t. Suddenly, my left foot popped up off its accelerating pedal, quickly followed by my right foot. I hung on the seat with no way to really jump off as I had my longest and least desired coast of my 2 yr uni career.

Eventually my left shoe got ripped off and that leg got chewed up by the pedal pins (see nice pic at bottom). Worse, my right foot dabbed down to the road a split-second later and it was sort of point outward, as I was trying to step off that way.

My right shoe caught pretty quick and that knee, which, incidentally, already had one ACL replacement in its life, sort of folded quickly inward, with a bit of a knuckle-cracking noise, or twanging ligament noise. I stopped, sitting left leg out front, well-gouged, and right leg bent back in a hurdlers stretch, with my left shoe and the uni a few meters ahead of me.

I ended up riding all the way home (maybe 10 more miles), and then downing 800 mg of ibuprofen and icing the hell out of my right knee. It’s stiff now, but with a full range of motion, so I’m hopeful it was just a strain and not a tear. I will go to a doctor tomorrow. I want to make sure I didn’t hurt the original ACL repair (or its titanium screw in my tibia), and also, of course, that I didn’t tear the MCL, on the inside, stressed part of the knee.

My wife, a most patient and understanding woman, is less than pleased with the prospect of my having another knee-surgery, especially for something self-inflicted like this, and I don’t blame her.

I will be holding the handle whenever I descend a hill at good speed, for the leverage which helps me keep my darn feet on the pedals. I still believe the pedal pins save more injury than they cause, as feet could lose grip much more easily without them. What is the consensus?

Uni injury 20060625 sm.jpg


I just watched Hostel last night and your leg looks like a scene from it :astonished:

uh…disregard my last couple of PM’s, I’ll find someone else :slight_smile:

Lemme get back to you post-doctor about that.

EEW, poor you. I’m never going to slalem down a hill without holding onto my handle :frowning:


Hello SteveYo!
Ouch! Sorry to hear of this terrible fall. Looks bad. Hope the doc finds you OK.

You’ve only been riding 2 years! Why even last year you were a power house on those muddy trails up there in Albany and I’ve heard about the mountain riding.

I like pins on the pedals, and think they are worth the danger to the legs. I found that after using them a few months, I’ve stopped getting bit by them, but I know it is bound to happen sometime. I have stopped letting people try my unicycles because more often then not they get bit. It’s just not a good first impression for those potential unicyclist.

Lucky for me is that 10mph is my top speed, and I’ve been able to run out falls. But the thought of losing grip on a pedal, that or a shoe lace tangle in the cranks always haunts me since there can be no grace in those falls.

Heal quickly, It hope to ride with you again sometime.

Sorry to hear about your fall.
My girlfriend thought I was nuts when I replaced the cheap plastic pedals on my uni with metal pinned ones.
But even tough I’ve had some nasty pedal bites, I have to say I prefer pins over flat pedals any day.
Maybe not bear-traps though.


I use plastic pedals on the coker, but coould still get hurt. I don’t know what kind of leg armor to use on my coker. I generally use kneepads, but on my last longjaunt, about 16 miles, the pads seemed to put pressure on my kneecaps and I was barely walking by the e nd of the ride. Maybe shin guards are a better investment. I have 661s, but the amoun of sweat I generat on a long coker ride may make those miserable.

In anycase, Steve, thanks for posting this reminder about pedal dengers. I hope you fix up quickly and get back riding very soon!


i use odyssey twisted pc pedals for the 36". they grip really well with proper shoes and there’s no need to wear leg armor.

Hey Steve,

Who said pedals don’t bite? :astonished:

Get well soon!

Without the pins and proper shoes you wouldn’t be able to get the most out of your Coker.

The stability you get from pins and proper shoes help to control the Coker as well as keep your feet on the pedals (most important).

It’s another example of short term pain for long term gain.

Think of it like this, accept for the knee, One pedal bite every two years or so won’t kill you.
But your wife might.

I hope to see you at one of our upcoming MUni or Coker rides soon.


Pedal bites are nothing; knees are everything. I’m crossing my fingers for you, Steve. The last thing I know I want is another two years lost to a knee injury.

Thanks, everyone.

you could always try clipless. i know there’s at least one happy cokeur with some.

Ouch Steveyo, what a bummer. I agree with U-Turn, however, that shins and calves are nothing compared to knees. As an ACL and MCL victim, I keep my fingers crossed for you to have a positive diagnosis.

In regard to the sub-discussion on shin protection and pedal type, when I ride Coker, I want ZERO slippage opportunity with my pedals. I had the stock plastic coker pedals, hated them, swapped them for those POS Wellgo quasi-pinned pedals that came on the old Summits and original KHs, and finally swapped those for some sealed SNAFUs with big-a$$ pins. My feet now experience zero movement, and the only downside is if they’re in the wrong position when I mount, it takes a few seconds of “pedal ballet” to get into a comfy position.

To combat shin and calf strikes, I use a combination of cheapo volleyball knee-pads worn backwards to protect my calves, followed by soccer shin pads to protect my shins. It’s my “one-two punch”, and while it doesn’t protect the top of the knee, I find the setup much more comfortable than wearing the full 661 or Roach leg armour. I will not ride my coker without these, regardless of length of ride or outdoor temperature.

Here are a couple shots that show the setup:

Side view

Front view with newer shin guards.

this is a extreme hardcore sport hehe

have you tried wearing knee/shin pads that cover your whole leg and not just the front. i bought some the other week and they really are worth the money.

Ain’t that the truth!

Yeah - no grace whatsoever. I’m deciding that top speed is not an interest of mine anymore (assuming I’m still able to ride again soon).

My cycle computer showed a top speed for the ride of 15.75 mph, which I’m pretty sure was when I fell. There’s alot of fun to be had uni’ing, and I don’t really need to risk limbs just to exceed some sick, self-proposed speed limit.

Okay, and whew! I saw my orthopedist about the knee injury from this high speed UPD. He’s the same guy who did my surgery to repair a torn ACL on the same knee, sustained from Ultimate 3 yrs ago.

He said two things which made me happy. First, that the ACL and its repair is still holding tight. Second, that the MCL injury is only a grade 1 tear (on a scale of 1 to 3 where 3 is a total tear). I just need to use a brace for three weeks, and I should exercise starting immediately.

He did say that should be on a bike, but I said a unicycle is the same motion, and he said “yeahbut, I don’t want you falling off the unicycle.” So I said I just won’t fall, but I may just go back to two wheels for a little while.

In two and a half weeks, I’d planned on riding my 36er in a NYC uni ride with the esteemed Mr. MacKenzie and the NYers, and I think I’m still going to do it! Woohoo!!!

I blame her. You should be as self-destructive as you want. They’re your knees and if you lose one you’ve got a spare anyway. What’s the big deal? When I’m riding a Coker I use the pavement and the pedal pins as my protective gear. Ask Dave, he’ll tell you.

Sorry, but what does UPD stand for and mean?