Riding backwards

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Several people have asked for advice on how to ride backwards. No one replied to
the list, so I figured I would tackle it, and work on my file for the skill
level section while I am at it. I found a variety of methods in my reading, and
I include all that I found here. I also add commentary to most of the methods.
Feel free to suggest further methods, or add commentary.

Beirne


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Learning to Ride Backwards

Method #1

This requires one helper. The two people should ride side by side holding hands,
with the student on the left.

The student should ride around the front of the helper, switching hands on the
way, so that he ends up on the right side of the helper, holding the helper’s
right hand and facing backwards.

Once the student has reached the other side of the helper, he is in a good
position to immediately start going backwards. Stop with the strong foot down,
then go backwards, holding on to the helper.

Commentary: This method sounds needlessly difficult. The maneuver of moving
around front seems like extra work. Then you have to hold on to a unicyclist
while you go backwards, who will not be as stable as someone on foot. If you
want to ride with someone, though, this method does not require that the helper
be able to ride backwards.

Summarized from: “Learning to Ride in a Hurry” in Tidbits for Beginners,
Unicycling Society of America, Redford, MI, 1989.

Method #2

This requires a helper, who may or may not be able to ride backwards. The two
riders should ride side by side, holding hands.

Both should stop, go backwards a half pedal, then go forward again. Try this
several times.

Increase the backwards distance to a full pedal.

Increase the backwards distance as you become more confident.

When both riders are sufficiently confident they should let go of each other and
try riding solo.

Commentary: Riding side by side allows the riders to concentrate on front-back
balance. They can also give each other advice. This could be a case of the halt
leading the blind, however.

Summarized from: “Learning to Ride in a Hurry” in Tidbits for Beginners,
Unicycling Society of America, Redford, MI, 1989.

Method #3

Ride along a fence or wall without gaps to catch your fingers in.

Reach out and touch the wall, and let the pressure on your hand turn you around
180 degrees.

Put your other hand on the wall, go backward a half pedal, then go
forward again.

Do the same maneuver in the opposite direction.

As you feel comfortable increase the amount to 1 revolution, and then more. Try
to decrease your reliance on the wall.

Commentary: The advantage here is that you can do this without assistance. I
don’t know why it includes the turning around maneuver.

Summarized from: “Learning to Ride in a Hurry” in Tidbits for Beginners,
Unicycling Society of America, Redford, MI, 1989.

Method #4

Use a wall or broomsticks to brace yourself.

Start going backwards and practice until you can do it without aids.

Commentary: I learned with broomsticks and I didn’t have too hard of a time. You
can learn solo, but you may find yourself concentrating more on the wall or
sticks than on the unicycle.

Method #5

Start with two helpers, one on each side. Reach out and hold their hands.

Go backwards a half-revolution at a time, and then stop.

As you become more confident, increase the distance.

When you are comfortable, go to one helper, and then let go when you can.

Commentary: This method lets you start in a relatively comfortable position,
with two helpers. My guess is that this is the quickest method, but it requires
the most helpers, which may make it less practical.

Method #6

Make up your own method! If you liked the way you learned to ride forward, use
it to learn riding backwards.

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Beirne Konarski | Subscribe to the Unicycling Mailing List bkonarsk@mcs.kent.edu
| Send requests to unicycling-request@mcs.kent.edu “Untouched by Scandal” |
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