Reflections on a poor ride

Yesterday’s commute was awful!:frowning:

I had trouble mounting, I wobbled, I “zshed” back and forth, and I UPDd on a relatively easy corner.

While going through these trials and tribulations, I had time to think about why things were going so poorly. This is the list of possible causes (I suspect some combination):

  1. My pack was heavier than usual (included a 2 pound computer repair tool kit).
  2. I had more of an audience than usual (for the initial, frustrating, mount).
  3. I hadn’t rode in 5 days (I normally don’t like to go more than 1 day without riding).
  4. The last riding I had done was all on rough surfaces (grass “roads”, gravel road, etc.
  5. My broken forks.

Option number 4 comes up because I noticed that I was “over riding” the sidewalks I was on. The type of riding I had been doing required me to be light in the seat and ready to make large corrections when hitting obsticals. It wasn’t until I was almost home that I made a concious effort to settle into the seat and peddle smoother.

Option 5 was more of an issue at the end of my ride as some of the hills put extra stress on the frame and I think that the lollipop bolts worked a little loose (again). I will re-settle my cracked frame on the lollipops again before taking it out tomorrow (or tonight).

Also, while riding, I thought about the fact that I get so nervous just before riding. I am introverted by nature, but unicycling is, in some ways, an extroverted sport. I find myself talking to more people on my commute than I normally would. Also, it is like I am on a stage, even though I just want to ride for my own enjoyment. Is this the makings of a psychosis? :slight_smile:

Now for the questions:

Does anyone else have trouble transitioning from rough terrain to smooth, or is it just because I am new at this?

Should I stop riding until I replace my frame or otherwise fix up the crack on the lollipops?

i can’t answer any of your questions, but when i ride on sidewalks i get honked at more than i think i would if i were naked. each time i hear a car horn, i automatically think it’s a ‘get out of my way or you’re gonna get run over’ honk and either almost upd, upd, or almost ride into traffic. besides the horns, all the chicks talk to me too. i always thought of myself as introverted, or at least very bad at being extroverted. unicycling, while maybe not a lifestyle, makes a huge impact on the way i/you live

You get good days and bad days when riding. Any change of machine, terrain or style can make it difficult for a few minutes, but I’m surprised the effect is as great as you have described. It sounds like you’re too tense. To ride well, you have to reach the stage where you no longer think about the mechanics of riding.

Some ideas which might help:

First, get a new frame. A decent frame can be bought remarkably cheaply. Most of the cost of a unicycle is in the wheel/tyre set. If your frame is broken, it will have a direct effect on your riding (however minor the damage) and it will also nag away at your mind.

Then adjust your tyre pressure. A soft tyre can cause weave and poor response on a tarmac/concrete surface. 30 seconds with a foot pump may transform the uni.

Cranks: as the Vogon guard didn’t say, “Resistance is useful.” On tarmac/concrete, a uni set up for more difficult surfaces can be hard to ride because the cranks are too long. Shorter cranks will ‘gear up’ the uni, smooth out your pedalling action, and make you go faster.

Practise. For smooth control, practise idling and reversing, but also practise riding forwards very very fast.

Cracked frame

If you do not want to pay the full price of a replacement frame, you could consider fixing the cracks. My first unicycle had lollypop bearing holders, and it cracked between the bolts. I took it to the bike store and they suggested I use some of the sturdy Mountain-bike seatpost material that they had lying around. The shop was going to fix it for me but I couldn’t wait to go riding, and they seemed to be having trouble drilling through the seatpost shods. I took the shods off their hands and bored them out on Jake’s drill press. After that, the frame was as good as new, or probably even better. A better frame design will not crack anywhere near as easily, such as one with main-cap style bearing holders.