Along with my many talants, I play rugby for my school. This means 3-4 days a week I have to ride 2 miles to school and back on my uni (I don’t own a bike) with my backpack and a bag with rugby gear. This makes for very akward riding. I know a coker would increase my speed, but I don’t want to pay for one. Does anyone have tips for a faster ride on a 24" with this load? I already have short cranks that I put on for distance riding which I will use during the season. Other than that…?

JC :::::hint,hint::::

Why? This is unicycling related.

haha…Total uni put his foot in his mouth…AGAIN

i like the taste of my foot!!!

Proper Breathing is Essential for Athletes and Non-Athletes Alike
By Perry Fields, November 4, 2004

Learning and practicing the principles of good health is not an easy process. In fact, it is a process that is overlooked by many people who find themselves in poor health or with indications of poor health, like that migraine you get every now and then.

I am a professional track and field athlete. I run the 800m and 1600m, two grueling events and arguably the toughest races to prepare for and to race in track and field. Believe it or not, I was once 50 lbs overweight, extremely sick with a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, anemia, ear infections that lasted five years straight, and the list goes on. I went to more than 19 doctors to try to get well. So when I refer to getting or staying well as a “process” I mean just that. Even if you are in totally good health right now, it is important to gain the necessary knowledge and live in such as way as to ensure, as much as possible, continued good health throughout your life.

At the pinnacle of my health crisis (three years ago) I started searching for answers. I kept an open mind about everything and found that conventional medicine just treated symptoms, and that many times, at least in my case, the doctors misdiagnosed what was actually going on. Some doctors, who didn’t have any answers at all, even went so far as to tell me that the problems were just in my mind, implying that I was a bit crazy. In response to this lack of real answers, I went down several alternative paths, and the two that I found most intriguing were kinesiology and breathing. Kinesiology made me aware of a simple problem I had: food allergies. It helped me discover that I am gluten intolerant and allergic to citrus fruit, and eating these foods was making me terribly sick—a fact that had escaped the conventional doctors that I had seen. That was the first major turning point for me. The other occurred this past year, when I discovered the importance of good breathing.

Yep, breathing sounds like a simple concept. Like many people, I just took it for granted. But I suddenly discovered that that way I breathe has a lot of do with my track and field performance, as well as my overall quality of life. In track and field, training is high anxiety. I get on the line at the start of the race and I have seven or more girls who want to pound me physically. But I discovered that I could keep my stress down simply by following the breathing principles I am about to discuss. I now practice these principles not only before racing, but anytime that I find myself a little stressed. The first step is to simply concentrate on my breath, also known as the Pranayan Technique. This simple technique, which involves focusing on my breath and learning to listen to what it is telling me, helps me relax. I do this kind of breathing when I am resting before a race or sitting around waiting to compete. It has its physical benefits as well.

Most of us simply don’t breathe deeply enough. Breathing using all four stages: inhaling, full pause, exhaling, and empty pause helps increase oxygen in the blood. The more oxygen in your blood, the less fatigued and more mentally alert you are. There is a strong connection between respiration and one’s mental state, so it is obviously beneficial for everyone to start working with their breathing. Shallow breathing does not exercise the diaphragm and lungs enough and most people only use a small portion of their lung capacity. In learning to breathe more fully, you will see many benefits whether you are an athlete or a not.

Oxygen in the blood is critical for ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). ATP is how your body makes energy. Before I do any kind of hard practice, I always make sure to practice healthy breathing to get my body ready to perform. Good breathing is far more important than stretching before running. One misconception about stretching is that it reduces your chance of getting injured while running. The truth is that this has never been proven. Of the studies done on stretching, all of them are inconclusive as to the prevention of injuries, in spite of the fact that you see every sports team on the planet stretching before their games.

Warming-up is the key. Warming-up can be done simply by jogging and doing exercises like jumping jacks. Warming-up the muscles is vital; you can have a successful warm-up just by breathing well, walking, and jogging. Breath comes into play because by breathing deeply and using relevant breathing techniques you are oxygenating your cells. What the heck is more important than oxygenating your cells before a work-out, or, for that matter, before and during a stressful situation in your life? Nothing! It is a very powerful and simple concept, and yet I hear very little, if anything, about it. Knowledge about health issues and creating good health is a journey, a process. You have to be determined to find it.

Many runners and non-runners breathe by expanding their chest, which is sometimes referred to as “high breathing.” This kind of breathing isn’t as effective as relaxed diaphragmatic breathing. When inhaling fully, you should relax your belly so that it can move outward on the in-breath and your diaphragm can expand and move through more of its full range of motion. When exhaling fully, you should allow your belly to retract toward your spine, which supports the diaphragm’s upward movement to help empty the lungs. This is sometimes called “low breathing.”

So, let me briefly tell you how I begin my workouts. If you are a runner or participate in any kind of athletics, try this before you begin your game or work-out. I start by walking before my track workouts and before runs. I usually walk anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. During the walk I breathe deeply in a steady rhythm, making sure during inhalation that I keep my belly relaxed and allow my diaphragm to expand to its fullest. On the exhalation I breathe out slowly and allow my belly to fully retract. Then, after walking, I begin jogging, but I make sure to jog slower than someone walking. (This type of jogging is an African approach I picked up from my fellow Ethiopian and Kenyan training partners. They do this as a ritual before any type of workout). The two slow movements of walking then slow jogging gives my body time to prepare on a cellular level.

It is important to note that I breathe only through my nose, which as some of you may know filters impurities from the air and can help regulate body temperature. Only during intense track sessions or intense long runs will my mouth ever be open. Even during hard workouts and long runs, I breathe only through my nose for as long as possible. Then, right after a hard interval on the track, I close my mouth and force myself to breathe through my nose using “low breathing.” This helps me recover before I begin another interval, leaving my cells better oxygenated.

In beginning to work in this way I discovered that as the season progressed I was able to run my long runs at a six minute/mile pace (for those who don’t know this is a pretty brisk pace) for up to ten miles, with my mouth closed almost the entire time using "low breathing”! Though you may not be used to it, your body will adapt to breathing only through your nose. By just breathing deeply through your nose, you are decreasing your stress and allowing your body to progress physically on its own. So each time you run or work out in this way, you will notice yourself progressing in your own proper and unique way. Many people have the tendency to over train, which can actually undermine their performance. By practicing breathing through your nose and the other techniques I have described in this article, you are allowing your body to improve its performance in a healthy way that won’t lead to crashing later on.

Breathing properly is so vital to decreasing stress and promoting proper physical stamina and development, that you would think that more people would practice it. It is simple knowledge like this that can keep you fit and healthy for a long time.

Even if I win a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, it might just be icing on the cake. No one can take my pride away for the determination that I had to search for these types of answers that promoted my health and changed my life forever. It can be a long, intense journey to find the perfect answers, but no one should give up. The information is out there. A smart man or woman knows that their body really is their temple, their foundation; so do everything you can to promote it. Do it—even if it is “simply breathing.”

Breathing will not only make your ride easier but also allow you to keep energy to go faster, longer. Some of this is unnessesary but still is very useful just for breathing and war-ups and whatnot.

Thanks for the novel on breathing, but that’s not really what my original question was about. Still, this is very interesting. The part on streching though… It is important to warm up, yes. That means (in East High Rugby terms) you jog around the pitch (feild) twice, then strech. If you streach without jogging, you run the risk of pulling a muscle without having done any kind of contact, i.e. your teamates think you are a pussy. Jogging gets blood flowing, and breathing is imperative at this time in order to get oxygen to the muscles so that no lactic acid will form. This means that you shouldn’t do one without the other.

But none of this answers my query: is there any sugestions as to how to ride 4 miles 3-4 days a week with a heavy load (backpack and rugby bag) and still make good time without having to get up at the buttcrack of dawn and getting home at late hours? Larger tire has been ruled out because I’m cheap, and smaller cranks are already covered.

Sorry but that’s really all you can do. A bigger wheel and smaller cranks do help alot, but if you can’t do any better on the way of buying a new wheel, then it’s all in technique(IE: breathing, warm-up, pace) a good thing to do is to maintain your unicycle regularly, so you dont have a peice come loose while en-route. Have fun breathing!

Yeah, I was afraid no one would have much advice I haven’t come across already. It was worth a shot though. Thanks for your input. I do take very good care of my uni. The only things I need to take care of is a couple rust spots around the nipple holes on the inside of the rim (comes from not clearing off snow and ice after snow riding), and I think I should regrease my bearings. New pedals would help, they don’t like my urban assult much. Poor schwinn parts, I’m not worthy…

maybe a different kind of tire?
like if you have a really knobby tire get something that’s more smooth? that will probably be less friction on the ground & be smoother “sailing” (like a freestyle/gym tire instead of a muni type of tire)

and… how hard is your tire pumped up to?
i know that tires that are slightly flat and squishy are harder to pedle. (made my knees hurt personally when i was first learning) so if you pumped up your tire really hard you might go a bit faster.

unless these are actually bad ideas.
i wouldn’t really know!

Can you supply a bit more info, such as how long it’s currently taking you to cover the distance, and, what kind of terrain is it (road, off road trail etc) and how heavy is the bag and kit.

Is the problem mainly the distance, or is it the weight you’re having to carry?

My tire started out as a whitewall indoor tire. That was a year ago. Now the poor thing is grey walled and bald. I usually change tires every other year, but I think it’s time, but if the reduced traction is good in this case, I might stick with it. I also keep it inflated to 65 psi (recomended) when I’m not doing street or other kinds of abuse to my beloved schwinn. (sorry to you all, I am bent on always mentioning the brand of uni I ride)

Yeah: I ride 6 blocks down the street, then 3 blocks on a dirt path through the golf course, then 11 blocks on a sidewalk. I make the distance in about 15 min. (10 on a good day, but not usually more than 20 (20 is the extreme: SNOW!!!)) The backpack ranges from 10 lb to 30 lb. The kit weighs about 15 lb. The main problem is just the akwardness of the bag I guess. I have to hold it the whole way otherwise I get a bruise on my leg from it flopping around.

have you tried getting a bigger bag to hold all of your stuff? That could help on it being so awkward. Heavy but much less awkward shazam!

or this one (cheaper)

I guess I should just bust out my welding skills and make my own uni. You think 48" is too big for me? (inseam 32")

On Fri, 24 Dec 2004 19:54:03 -0600, “TheoELind” wrote:

>is there any sugestions as to how to
>ride 4 miles 3-4 days a week with a heavy load (backpack and rugby bag)
>and still make good time

Doing 2 miles in 15 minutes works out to 112 rpm, that is not very fast. Pedal spinning rate can increase with practice. It helps if you apply ‘ankling’, that is using your ankle joint so that the legs (which are heavy) don’t have to move that much. Combine with “thinking” your feet actively in a circle, as opposed to pushing just up and down.

You say short cranks is covered but what size cranks do you have on it now? Maybe you could move down one more step?

Klaas Bil

(reposted on the forum because of a problem with my news server)

What are you doing playing Rugby in Colorado? :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, you didn’t say what sort of MUni you’ve got? You can always go shorter cranks if you can find them (usually easier if you have square taper cranks). If it’s flat it’s surprising how short you can go…the guy that won the 10km road race at Unicon was using 65mm cranks on a 28" wheel- averaging over 25km/h.

Next step is to pedal faster. The most important thing is to relax as much as you can and keep loose so the wheel will just spin under you. Aside from that having a good handle might help take some pressure on your hands and let your legs spin faster (because it’s not supporting your weight as much).

It sounds like the difficulty isn’t to do with the wheel size or cranks; after all we’re talking about a 15/20 minute ride.

As I understand it you’re carrying a heavy backpack AND a hand held bag?

If so then I would have thought that the problem isn’t lack of speed, but discomfort with the kit.

The last thing you need on a unicycle is a heavy bag in one hand- it’s really awkward, affecting balance and getting in the way, having to be switched from one hand to the other.

So I’d get a bigger back pack and put everything in there- it’s not ideal to ride with a heavy pack on your pack, but it’s feasable for a 15/20 min ride.

If you continue to carry hand luggage, try splitting into two bags- I’ve found that quite heavy shopping can be carried as long as it’s split evenly between both hands (in fact, because the center of gravity is so low, it can compare favourably to a backpack for heavy weights).

Concerning cranks, as covered in other threads, the knee-jerk response ‘shorter=faster’ is not necessarily true.

Sometimes, particularly in situations where control is an issue (rough terrain, carrying heavy stuff etc), a longer crank will result in more speed as you’ll be able to ride over dodgy stuff easily, have less dismounts/UPDs etc.

I certainly found,during my 29-er experiments, that on my rides with varying terrain and steep hills, that 150mm cranks were superior to 125mm cranks- less UPDs, a more relaxed ride and an improvement in speed.

Incidently- what length cranks are you using? Is the ride good,or are you getting UPDs?

As a bit of lateral thinking, it occurs to me that the rugby may be the real problem here. If you scrap that you could spend the saved time unicycling and the journey wouldn’t be spoiled by having to carry rubgy kit :slight_smile:

You say you play rugby for the school; couldn’t you unicycle for the school instead?

Lastly, a Schwinn with an indoor tyre isn’t the best thing for the job. Maybe you should get something new, for example, a Nimbus 24" with a 3" knobbly off road tyre, or maybe a Nimbus 29-er.

Re: Rugby

On Fri, 24 Dec 2004 19:54:03 -0600, “TheoELind” wrote:

>is there any sugestions as to how to
>ride 4 miles 3-4 days a week with a heavy load (backpack and rugby bag)
>and still make good time

Doing 2 miles in 15 minutes works out to 112 rpm, that is not very
fast. Pedal spinning rate can increase with practice. It helps if you
apply ‘ankling’, that is using your ankle joint so that the legs
(which are heavy) don’t have to move that much. Combine with
“thinking” your feet actively in a circle, as opposed to pushing just
up and down.

You say short cranks is covered but what size cranks do you have on it
now? Maybe you could move down one more step?

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“Deflating pi does not reduce calories, it just concentrates them. - billham”