Finally the day has come. I was allowed to go down to the cellar to
get my birthday present out of the big carboard box that has been
tempting me every time I go down there (a bit sad for a 32 year old!).
I stuck the pedals on, adjusted the seat and pumped up the tire. I’ve
taken a couple of days off from work, I’d a few days to take before
the end of the month or I’d loose them. What better excuse to spend
some time playing on my new Pashley Muni. A quick blast up to the park
where there are loads of paths and an almost always empty basketball
court. It looks like the Scottish Outdoor Basketball Initiative,
“Scoobi” had over ambitious ideas of it being used all the time (too
much watching American movies and mistaking their culture for the
mainly football oriented Scottish culture), anyway, it made a perfect
unicycle practice area.
I’ve not spent a decent amount of time unicyling for nearly 10 years,
but I’m usually pretty good at remembering how to do various physical
skills so I thought it wouldn’t take long before I was at least free
mounting again and riding smoothly. How wrong I was! First of all, I
seem to have turned in to a tree hugger! Now it may be harder to mount
a 26" uni than a 20" uni (or is it meant to be the other way round?)
but for the first few tries I couldn’t get much further than a few
feet. The trouble is that the trees I was using to help mount were
about 2 feet from the path, so I’d start on the rather slow muddy
ground and then either the uni would shoot out from under me as I hit
the smooth path, or it would grind to a halt as I tried to get it up
the small lip onto the path.
Time to lower my sights a little. I walked over to the basketball
court and started using the baskets for support. Now I could get a
decent distance, but the uni kept twisting to one side (usually the
left), at other times I could cycle exactly where I wanted in an
almost graceful way rather than looking like a demented semaphore
signaller. I think it is just a case of needing more practice to start
picking things up again, but it was rather frustrating being so
inconsistent. Perhaps the gusting winds we have in Edinburgh today
aren’t helping, I’m not conscious of them having a big effect, but you
I tried a few more attempts at free mounting and managed successfully
quite a few times, but still with a very high failure rate. Looks like
jump mounts are well off into the future, possibly never unless I
replace that Viscount saddle. Again, mounting is probably something a
little (lot?) more practice will almost certainly help.
I even tried a little hopping. I did cheat big time though, hopping
whilst holding a fence doesn’t really count but it gave me an idea of
what to do (I’d never done that when I used to uni).
I received a couple of comments during my practice session too. And
neither of them were of the “where’s your other wheel?” variety. One
woman out walking her dog was very encouraging and another woman said
“You don’t see that very often.” I bet that if the kids from the local
school had been out on their lunch break it would have been a
different story - “Gies a shot mister! Go on!” or more likely “Ha!
Look at that prat on the funny bike!”
So it looks like I might spend some of the rest of today reading up on
the “How to…” sections that some of you guys have on your web sites.
I’ll keep you posted as to my progress, that is unless everyone’s
fallen asleep before reading this far
(above address is defunct, try graemeATgpdodsDOTcom, anti-spam
address, you know what to do!)