Riding with your EYES closed.

Balance. <blinks>

I was thinking that looking where one was going made a big difference, well it does in horse riding, so what about unicycling?

(This is on going from standing with ones eyes closed).

So I tried it, well I went as far as I dared before I opened my eyes, not because I was loosing my balance, I was worried I’d ride into something! It’s a big big yard, not once did I open my eyes because I felt a loss of balance.

How far did I go, 100 feet may be. So how does that work if eyes are integral to remaining balanced?



There was a blind unicyclist by the name of John Lizza.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Was John Lizza the guy I used to read about in the USA newsletter- (it’s now called On One Wheel) back in the 1970s? He used to ride with the Jenacks, who founded the USA.

I think that, as compared to standing on one foot, it might be easier to ride with eyes closed because of the movement. Like it’s easier to roll a quarter than to just keep it balanced on its side.

By the way, did you notice that the NYC Juggling festival is having unicycle races and a eyes closed juggling competition? the New York City juggling festival is less than a month away, on April 1-4th You can find out more info at our web site at: http://www.ntscomputer.com/mystere/csi/jugglethat/index.html

I don’t know that unicycles have very much angular moment to keep them upright like bikes do. Angular momentum is what keeps a spinning something upright (like a wheel).

I don’t find riding with my eyes closed at all difficult. Like you, I’m more worried about running into something.

I think it is the movement, and with it the ability to correct, that makes it easier. Stand on one foot with your eyes closed. Now hop up and down on one foot with your eyes closed. Because you have the ability to move your bottom foot around you can balance easier.

I also found this to be the case when we had a giant excercise/stretching ball. Huge rubber, inflated ball. I could balance on my hands and knees. It is much more difficult to balance without rocking back and forth. When you rock you can make adjustments.

you look forward to prevent your head from pointing down.

ride with your eyes closed and your head pointing down, and see how hard it is :slight_smile:

When jumping off a 20’ bridge into the water (trying to remain in a ‘standing’ position on the way down):

if you look at the horizon, your feet will hit first, if you look down, your body will start rotating itself into a bellyflop

This may or may not be related

Yes, that is John Lizza.

I’ll be at the festival on Saturday. The gym, as it says on the page, is very unicycle unfriendly and I think the games are on Sunday, so I wont be bringing any unis. But I will have my tattoo, so look for the guy with a unicycle tattoo on his left calf.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

I was able to do it for about 20 metres, and this was when I had only been riding for about a minute. I don’t feel as though I really rely on my sight for much. I only stopped because I thought I was gonna go off the side of a road. So yeah, I seemed to do well in the balance with your eyes closed test on one foot, and not too bad on the unicycle considering I had only been doing it for one week. Either that or it’s really easy.

Now try idling with your eyes closed. I haven’t tried in a while, but as I remember, it was pretty hard.

I’ve often ridden the Coker for 10 - 15 wheel revs on uneven but generally level ground, with my eyes closed. It’s a good confidence building exercise.

I just watched the More Than Human clip (search for thread on that). They did a test where the subject had to stand on one foot with other foot raised in the air, and both arms out to the sides (think of the Crane position from The Karate Kid). I assume this is a much harder test than riding, because you don’t have an easy way to correct your balance. When riding (bike, uni or other), you can make slight steering corrections and have more leeway in feeling where you are in relation to a balanced position. I think the one foot test would be harder.