Schlumpf learning journal

Ride 2

G-KH26 is now fully set up with Magura HS33 (changed to blue tube and bled myself - that was “fun”). Decided to leave well along with this nice uni-build and run rim brakes as I don’t think I’ll be needing disc brakes for what I plan to do any time soon.

From more testing of 1:1.5, it’s an amazing ride in high gear :gear: but…

My simple summery after today’s first proper ride along my favourite path is that a G-Uni is:

Absolutely terrifying :scream:
Absolutely achievable
Absolutely enjoyable

I suspect that the achievable and enjoyable sides will come up in volume and drown out the fear I had today. But unicycling without a bit of terror here and there wouldn’t be the challenge we all enjoy right? So I’m going to embrace the fear of high gear :gear: and go with it.

Today, I rode to warm up in 1:1 and then was thinking.

How would it feel to shift over to 1:1.5 with my heel?

And I half-tested the action, thinking nothing would happen having read it’s super hard to do. But it changed and I rode three revolutions when sadly my brain :brain: kicked into its gear - and that’s when I wiped out fast and flat on the road in front of me. Silly brain.

It’s a case of needing a new lexicon of muscle responses to the terrain, all for riding in high gear.

I can ride on a flat rode no issues - but my reflexes for any root or incline or bump, are still hard wired to exert pressure form a 1:1 gear mind set. The rest of the day’s ride felt like living in terror - but happily I ended the trip by forcing myself to test shift again in an empty car park… this time consciously - and I was pleased to again hit the super amazing sensation of having more torque in the wheel than normal (I’d shifted to high). But I wiped out again shortly after it shifted.

Main takeaway is that high gear on paper doesn’t sound much but it really is a big jump in real money / wheel terms. I think I finally realised the notion of going from 26” to a virtual 39”.

It’s just takes a lot of tumbles I feel to learn this shifting malarkey.

Going to try more riding start in high gear without shifting more to get that feeling fully soaked into my muscles - and likely change the slightly slick tyre (Hookworm) for something more knobbly, as today I feel I was in part fighting that tyre in ways I’m not used to from other more MUni-ish kitted out wheels I have around me.

Fingers crossed :crossed_fingers: for some more successful stages ahead. I sense next time I try the shifting up I’ll wipe out a few more times but then it’ll start to click.

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Great to read about your experiences, how long have you been riding this setup? Personally I cannot mount my 36" in gear it seems impossible to me and not really worth learning since it’s far easier to take off in low gear and shift.

You’re right that you need to learn to ride everything all over again in high gear. I’m reasonably proficient at it now where I can ride rough terrain and go over the odd bump without a UPD. I haven’t tackled many hills in high gear since mine is in a 36" but I think should be ready to try some moderate hills in gear now.

There’s this sensation when riding in gear and you do a regular pedal rotation and you feel the uni pull yourself forward which is kind of odd at times but after a while you sort of get used to where your body/weight should be positioned when pedalling in gear.

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I’ve only been in possession of the Schlumpf for a week or thereabouts - so I guess it’s early days.

Do enjoy the feeling and cadence when I get helped on to the uni in high gear (by my wife!) and the I’m fine riding for a bit of a stretch as long as it is an easy path.

It really does pull on you when you shift. The machine is just incredible and I hope it’ll keep running for years and years. Hats of to Mr Schlumpf. Such engineering!!

I’m in the learning stage. 100% like learning unicycling again. Same fears and caution I had when I first started.

I don’t think I’d stomach a G36er as this G26er feels already too fast for me to run out of safely.

If I ever changed the build or get another hub I’d probably prefer it in a compact 24” unicycle. But at the moment I’m just so happy to have found a second hand GUni that has needed barely any updates or changes.

Just looking at tyres now to make this feel more MUni and grippy….

Roll on the weekend and 9 days of holiday where I can get some daily practice in :grin:

I’ve been riding my KH36" guni since February (6 Months). It took about a month to reliably shift gears with upshifting being easier. I highly recommend safety gear for riding a guni even though I was very proficient riding ungeared 110mm crank 36" but learning high gear I had many UPD’s in the early stages and still do occasionally.

You should practice shifting on the fly more as it’s a fundamental skill for riding guni’s. If you haven’t seen it already Corbin did a great video on guni’s.

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Saw that and hoovered up tons of vids.

But that’s really reassuring to hear what you’ve achieved in 6 months.

I’m itching to get back out to a nice big flat and empty car park and just hammer away at shifting up and later down - I don’t think I mind the odd tumble when I know I will be getting the skill in my arsenal :slight_smile:

Fully protected with KH gear for sure. It boost confidence too.

I’ll prob post updates here and there in this thread - while trying not to bore everyone with my GUni diary :joy:

Thanks for your insights!

New Tyre - Test Ride

So a very short update on progress (or going backwards, kind of!…)

I have made some updates the the G26er.

Namely a Maxxis Minion DHF 26x2.5 which happily fits the older narrower KH26 frame - and a KH T bar set up (along with maggies)

Now the Minion rides so much more like I expect my unicycles to ride in 1:1 over the Hookworm - which is great…. But in 1:1.5 gear it feels totally like I’m back at the beginning of learning to Schlumpf.

Could a tyre feel fine in 1:1, but markedly different/harder to ride in 1:1.5?

Doesn’t seem really logical like it would, but I guess the pressures applied are “different” and the balance envelope may then change.

I was riding late and it was a bit dark so I’m going to put this backwards step in progress down to lower energy and the dusk gloom making my road awareness less assured and ‘in control’ feel. And maybe just having the T-bar there threw me off a tad?- I know it did when I first added one my to 36er… :thinking:

Wish me luck for my proper trip and practice session tomorrow - and hopefully I’ll report back the Minion is working in both high and low gears like a champ :crossed_fingers:

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Wow that’s beautiful looks very clean and sharp love the blue brakes. You really look after it.

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Thanks! It needs riding more. It’ll get more dirt on it soon… think the person I purchased it off second hand had it unused in a bedroom/cupboard. To my eyes it is hardly used and a 10 year old version.

I’ve enjoyed giving it a bit of TLC with a blue Magura brake hose and T-bar. Currently I can’t believe I managed to find a Schlumpf and have the scary-joyous challenge of learning this new UNIque-skill!

:grinning:

Not had the time yet to update this thread with my thinkings and learnings re GUni-ing - but yesterday I did confront a build up of fear that had crept into riding my G26er - and I was so happy when something clicked and I turned a corner. Both literally and metaphorically!

Not the most thrilling or advanced show of unicycling skill. But for me this was an achievement and I know I will now be ready to face my normal ride proper in high gear for a good stretch of the way :grinning:

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Some decent progress this weekend - two rides on G26er.

Not that impressive by experienced Schlumpf riders’ standards… But for me this is the start of being physically able to ride it for a decent distance (3-4miles) in High.

And I know this can only propel me forward to get more confident with the wheel / gearing overall and then introduce on the fly shifting.

Hope some here find this interesting or enjoy that simple fact of seeing my development in GUni Land :gear::heart_eyes:

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Great videos, it looks like you’re just casually riding but inside you’re razor focused. At least you didn’t take your daughter for a ride there was some debate about doing that I recall. Have you run anything to track the speed you’re managing?

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Thanks! Watching it back, I’m thinking why does it feel so hard and scary. But all aspects of unicycling are small mini personal milestones overcome - bit by bit. So I’m sure I’ll get more confident with things the more I ride. Just been a huge relief to actually be able to ride more than 100 meters.

I think from the back up speed of my wife in our Urban Arrow riding at the same pace behind me - I’m only at 8-9MPH - but this is not very accurate. I think I’d be happy to push myself one day to 10MPH but not at this stage.

If anything I’m working hard to keep the wheel slow and controlled as if I just rode it like a bike it could go really fast but I’d not be able to run out of it and I don’t feel like a bad UPD while in these early learning days.

Can’t wait to ride again! Fingers crossed for a nice weekend

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Ride 4 - High Gear has Clicked :tada::champagne::gear:

Ok this is probably more like ride 5-6 but posting as 4 as today’s ride was the best so far as not just a mini practice session.

For those that don’t fancy reading all my thoughts below but are interested in one day trying a Schlumpf Uni -

TL;DR - I would wholeheartedly recommend it. It’s such a wonderful, exhilarating and enchanting feeling in high gear.

The core achievement today: riding the full path back (Saltford-Bath) in high and no UPDs or just getting off due to feeling nervous. And towards the end I could have gone faster and further. It all just clicked and the muscles were doing most of the actual processing / compute power.

This was for me a breakthrough as before this I had ridden several long stretches but I wasn’t ever feeling happy or in the zone. And it never really felt like an achievement but more a practice session.

Today’s 2 miles or so in high gear - while it is tiny I know, was still something I’m so pleased to have managed.

The path is fairly easy going if I’m honest. Nothing that challenging - however for some reason I’ve been having days where fear of UPDing in high gear was overpowering as I ended up backing off and going home “early”.

Not a great feeling.

But today I found that all the trying / fearing / practice has paid off.

Things I feel I learned so far:

KYT (Know Your Tyre)

What I mean by this is be fully confident in riding the GUni in 1:1 and with the tyre you’re going to be running in high.

I’d come to this 26”x2.4” unicycle from fixed unicycles with fatter tyres, and as such this was in actual fact a new feeling.

Getting super confident in the 1:1 ride and knowing how the wheel rolls and reacts has been key.
Today, I rode part of the way there in 1:1 and was imagining how it would feel, and how I’d react in the high gear mode. Odd approach and perhaps not really possible, but I think it helped. Like mapping out muscle memory from one ride and trying to push some forward learning to help when actually in high gear.

BITZ (Be In The Zone)

Sorry I had to keep with my theme. This relates to finding a way to be comfortable sitting on the uni in high gear. Before, I was helped up on to my G26er by my wife (Thanks Terez!) in 1:1.5 but then pushed myself to ride forwards. This sometimes worked for a bit but I wasn’t seated properly or connected to the unicycle. Taking the time to in effect sit and guided idle a bit gave me the sense of how the backwards / back pedal pressure worked and feel more “in control”.

The same process I’ve found is needed when going back to 1:1 after riding in high. (I’m not currently interested in learning to shift or freemount as at this stage I simply want to enjoy both gears and now I can ride without too much active thinking.)

CYS (Control Your Speed)

For me to have gained enough confidence to ride without worrying or stopping, I’ve realised I needed to work harder at controlling my speed. This doesn’t mean just riding slowly. But being deliberate in how fast I wanted to ride. This is more about, riding the unicycle than having the unicycle ride you (if that makes any sense). Sometimes I’ve felt that when not in control the unicycle is dictating the day’s ride, and really it’s better when it’s the other way around.

Knowing I can slow down and speed up consciously has given me a great deal of confidence - and today’s ride I feel this is the final piece of the jigsaw that helped me to relax and just ride!

RTBAM (Relax That Body and Mind!)

Before: I was 90% focused on thinking: worrying, fighting the fear, hyper analysing every bump and just plain tense, mentally and physically.

And let’s face it it just isn’t fun to ride like that. Nope it’s just plain energy draining.

However, once most of the technical stuff sinks into your muscles and the brain allows you to stop worrying about all the above - you are much more capable at actually riding and preventing 90% of the aforementioned fears or areas that cause the worry in the first place.

Today, that happened and it was such a relief. To actually ride like I’m used to when confident and in the zone, as like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders - and I was no longer riding with a gorilla on my back. To have the wheel be for the most part under your control - and where your body position starts to lean in the direction of travel rather than be tense and reticent - it is just amazing, and I love the sensation that came from today’s ride as it reminded me of when I first felt like I could ride a unicycle without actually over-focusing. The body was doing the bulk of the work.

I knew I could UPD or a mistake might happen but I put that aside as focused on riding and not worrying.

To sum up, this Schlumpf purchase and journey has only just begun for me - but I’m in the path now good and proper and it’s hands down the best thing I’ve decided to have a go at since, well - learning to unicycle in the first place.

Onward and, err… forwards, I shall happily go!

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It’s great reading your updates on your guni journey just be wary of overconfidence. I see you did mention controlling your speed. I’ve had a few stacks on my guni because of that but I mainly have trouble controlling my speed on the downhills as I’m just so used to riding flats I forget how much faster a slight downhill can make you move, you really need to be in control from the get go.

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Thanks! And I can see what you mean. Thinking more about how my last post may read I can totally see the valid word of warning about being over confident re speed.

Happily I was on a measure of -10 confidence wise for ages and recently I’ve moved up to a level +1 - but my exuberance in my recent post came from the fact I never through I’d feel confident in high gear.

And yes your point about being weary of getting overconfident is a super important one. I think with guniing it can at times be hard to sense how fast you’re actually riding as it almost feels slow - perhaps due to the leg based cadence making you think it can’t be that fast due to the slower leg motion.

I currently ride very short distances as we (my wife Terez and our daughter in Urban Arrow) ride together and speed wise I’m only going about 8mph.

It’s been nice to finally ride at 8mph and feel steady and in that unified and connected zone. Don’t really know what switch is flipped but something tends to click and you almost become one thing - human and wheel, just rolling.

Hope to be able to get more rides in before it just gets total wet and miserable for our outings this season.

Happy guniing! :smiley::pray:

Hope this is the best place to post. Half a video in its own right but also a continuation of my detailing the experience of learning to Schlumpf.

Hope those that watch it find it enjoyable.

The most complex filming and edit I’ve done yet!

:gear:

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I see you’ve removed the handlebar is that working better for you? You seem to be using your free arm to balance quite a bit. When I’m riding my 29" that doesn’t have a handlebar I tend to just keep my free arm in the same position hanging/pointing backward. Glad to hear your progress and updates keep us posted.

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Yes I removed it as I found it caused a huge mental block for me when I was in fear of the high gear and riding in general. Sometimes keeping things as simple as possible helps when trying to focus on one core challenge. In effect I found myself thinking about where to put my hands and this was too much mental energy when I needed to focus on riding.

But I totally agree that a bar handle helps streamline the body position.

On my Oregon I should probably add one, as I find I like to grip the saddle handle with both hands - and only fling out my left if I needs a quick adjustment / correction.

At present I think I keep my left loose and directed out mainly as a slight safety precaution (it reassures me) for any UPD. But I have already been able to put both hands on the saddle and ride.

It still amazes me how helpful to balance it can be to have one hand out held up like a conductor conducting their orchestra. Micro shifts in hand position help with the ride, still surprises me how it can help.

Already feeling up for a session of shifting practice - going to aim for a manual swap from 1:1 and 1:1.5 and back many times. To keep shocking my body into the two zones. All this without worrying about freemounting.

Then I’ll go for it from 1:1 and try a shift in a nice safe and empty car park I know. It will be fun and interesting to see how I adjust now I’m that bit more confident with riding.

Seriously this is such a lovely machine to ride!! :heart_eyes:

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When I first tried a guni the owner didn’t have a handlebar attached and I was so used to riding a 36" with one. After I got the hang of some UPD’s on the guni in gear I asked if he could attach one as it really helps with hand positioning. Even now after months of riding I’m finding it works much more smoothly when you have both hands on the bar.

One hand balancing is really handy skill as there’s a lot of benefit to keeping one hand on the saddle at all times. It’s very rare I need to use both hands to balance at the same time, usually when I’m trying to ride very slowly but for most dicey bits I can get by one handed which makes it a little harder to adjust to 2 handed riding but when you do it really improves your riding.

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100% agree on the bar for a 36er. I have one on my fixed standard 36er and it helps so much with that wheel. I can fully imagine how it works on your GUni!

I will try and add my spare TBar to the GUni again once I’ve played around with my trial and error shifting as I expect a lot of crashes.

I ride 100% of the time with my right hand locked onto the saddle and in the future I’d love to experiment with the Handle Saddle and alternative methods. I can imagine you could get quite a pace in with two hands on a TBar in high gear and the balance coming from core and legs alone.

So much to learn and I am itching for my next days off work! :grin: