Well everyone, I must say that if you have a MUni saddle with a handle, you probably use that handle too much…I discovered I did.
I was riding mildly technical singletrack here the other day. I thought to myself it might be fun to ride the rest of the way without using my handle. (although there are some steep hills that if I wasn’t using my handle, I’d be walking, so I skipped the experiment on the handle-neccessary climbs)
Boy is it fun! You soon releaze that you overuse the handle without noticing. I found getting back to my roots in mountain unicycling with no handle (or knowledge of using a handle) incredible. You have to a lot more concentrating on finessing yourself through, instead of merely plowing through/over.
(one of the reasons I love riding the Coker on the trails)
I discovered it was a better leg workout as well. I came away from the riding feeling alot happier with the ride.
I used to enjoy a fun exercise where I’d ride down a semi-rocky trail with my fingertips on opposite hands touching each other. Like what’s-his-name in The Matrix with the pills… The challenge was to roll over everything in sight without letting my fingertips lose their connection. I used to do this exercise for ice skating and it transferred well.
However, I can’t do that anymore because I’ve trimmed the frame, lowered the seat quite a bit, and made some saddle changes that make it slip out when I stand up unless I’m holding the handle. It was fun while it lasted, though!
I still do the rolling thing, but now I use the handle a lot for unweighting. However, the more one-foot riding I do on the 20"er, the better and better I make use of finesse in rocky, rooty situations.
George Peck would think us ungraceful and full of overkill, eh, Sofa?
pull up on the saddle, stand up and mash on the pedals (while still keeping the circley motion) and as the hill gets really steep, you’ll see your seat way down behind you through your legs, it great for climbing!
By pulling up on the handle as your foot presses down on the pedal, you can gain more pressure on the pedal than just your weight. Theoretically, this allows one to go up steeper hills than without the use of the handle. In addition, using the handle on uphills gives one quicker access to hopping and unweighting, so it also allows one to go up rougher hills than without.
However, good, solid circular pedaling technique and body/hip action is worth three or four g’s of pressure.
George Peck’s use of no-hands hopping and unweighting is difficult with the modern CF/air saddles and heavy fat tires, wide rims, and heavier axle/hubs. But they have allowed faster riding, negotiation of rougher ground, larger drops, and, surprisingly, even higher hops.
Use of the handle on the flats is really helpful when rolling roots in succession. Your pedal position is almost surely not going to work out at some point. You can still unweight and roll the obstacle even though your pedals are in a very weak position.
I seldom pull on the handle for more than a few difficult pedal strokes on a steep section. I often ride with my fingers lightly resting on the underside of the handle, because that way I have an extra point of contact with the uni which helps me to sense what the wheel is doing on uneven ground. This gives me a lot more delicate control, leaving me free to stand up or sit down as the situation demands.
Yes, symmetrical cranks ARE a luxury. When I first started riding MUni on the LOTUS, it still had a cottered hub (which can be seen in the gallery) and by the time I tacoed the rim, there was at least 5" of play between the cranks back and forth before the rim went squish.