Riding down stairs...

>>>>> “Greg” == Greg Alt galt@asylum.cs.utah.edu (Greg Alt) writes:

Greg> I plan on picking up that video that everyone is talking about, and taking
Greg> a look at OOW magazine, but for now, I’d like pointers for learning how to
Greg> go down stairs.

In case you’re wondering, the video wont help you learn this (at least not

Greg> I’ve practiced going off curbs, and that is pretty easy, but the thought
Greg> of moving on to 2 steps is pretty scary. I was thinking about trying some
Greg> steps that are spread out more, with each step about 4 feet or longer. It
Greg> still seems that going to 2 steps is the tough/dangerous part, after that
Greg> 3 steps wouldn’t be much more difficult.

I can give you some help. One thing that is very important is seat height. As
you ride down the stairs, it helps a LOT if you’re not sitting on the seat.
By this I mean that not very much of your weight, if any, is ever being
supported by the seat. In order for this to be true at all points during
your descent, you have to ensure that the seat is low enough so that you can
stand on the pedals no matter where they are. If you go down enough stairs,
you will inevitably pop down one and land in a position with the pedals
straight up and down.

Try riding off a curb with all your weight in the seat and you’ll understand why
you don’t want to try it on a bunch of stairs.

I put my seat down about an inch or even two from where I normally have it
(normally I have it as high as I can so that I can still reach the pedals
without having to stretch my legs).

OK, so now your seat is down. The next things to try are:

1 stand in the pedals 2 ride quickly 3 ride at an even pace 4 lean forward 5
keep pedalling 6 hold on to the seat with one hand at the front 7 lift the
seat upwards

The first should be obvious from the above discussion.

  1. is important as the faster you go, the smoother your trip will be (until
    you reach the bottom). Don’t go so fast that you skip stairs though…
    otherwise you may experience extreme unsmoothness. In the ideal descent,
    your wheel will lightly touch each step. The recommended speed depends on
    the angle of descent. Of course for some sets of stairs it will be
    impossible to lightly touch each one, but for most normal flights, you can
    do it. Knowing the right speed for each staircase is a matter of practice -
    I’m not too good at this yet.

3 & 5) Keep the pace the same as you go. This means you have to pedal
:slight_smile: You should try to remain in control of the uni and not let things
get out of hand.

  1. If you lean back, you wont make it. You need to commit to doing the trick.
    It’s just like skiing in this respect - if you don’t lean down the hill
    you’ll lose it backwards off the uni.

6 & 7) This is a great stabilizer. Another thing to try (highly recommended) is
pulling the seat up towards yourself. Pull hard. This will keep the pedals on
your feet for longer. One problem you’ll initially encounter is your feet
getting bounced off the pedals. This helps to solve that.

Apart from all this, just try it. Yes of course the smaller and further spread
the steps you try, the better. For a sense of scale, I have ridden down a
maximum of 9 fairly normal stairs. I haven’t yet screwed up the courage to do
more and flights of ten or more around here all seem pretty steep. I’ve gone
down sets of 6 stairs that I’d rank as as steep as any normal flight.

Greg> I’d appreciate any help or safety tips (I assume falling off the back is
Greg> the preferred panic maneuver).

It’s preferable not to panic at all :slight_smile: I have always managed to keep my feet,
except for once when I twisted my ankle :frowning: I actually prefer to “fall” off the
front - jumping over the uni to clear steps.

That’s it for now I guess. Today I signed up about 4 or 5 new people to the
mailing list. At least one of them is verrrry good (Andrew Cotter), and has
competed nationally and internationally. His sister (Connie) is also the current
women’s world champion I believe. She might be on the net soon too. Maybe the
new people know more about riding down stairs?

Derek Smith (dsmith@cs.unm.edu) is a stair riding expert, but he seems a bit shy
about posting…


i didn’t know the forums started that long ago!
thats kinda cool

that is the most comprehensive writeup i have ever seen for something so simple.

wow :astonished: , lol

This thread is older than I am!

Wait… does Terry = Terry- Uni geezer?

They didn’t, this would have been posted on the user group.

that makes sense… that is how you post to the forums using google right?

Must admit I don’t know exactly how it works but yes i think you can post from google. Before that it was just an email list.

That old post is from the Unicycling Mailing List. That was an email list you could subscribe to. The WorldWide Web didn’t really exist yet, or barely existed in 1993. Nobody was using it. I think Terry might have been the guy who originally set that up; one of the grandfathers of the community we have on these forums.

That was followed by getting a Usenet newsgroup. I know Ken Fuchs was instrumental in that, along with possibly others. We are Rec.sport.unicycling.

Gilby created Unicyclist.com and the forums, then linked the main forum to the existing newsgroup. The newsgroup is still there, but I think the vast majority of users use the forum as it’s an easier format to work with.

You post to a newsgroup using a newsreader. I guess Google offers a way to do that without using any separate newsreading software.

google groups also has a gateway to rec.sport.unicycling much like cyclingforums.com has

Haha, I thought somebody might ask that!:stuck_out_tongue: But I didn’t even start riding (after 35 years absence) 'till almost the beginning of 2006.:smiley: