Schlumpf learning journal

I think I’ve found where I will learn this - on one of my regular trails, there’s a slight downhill where I managed 5 full rotations on Saturday. I think the downhill just helped me lean in to it better. I had enough time to think about how it felt, and started trying to pick up speed when I lost balance.

I’m going back there after work today and we’ll see if I can reproduce it.

Thanks for your PM, @mindbalance. Was gonna write a long reply, but the bottom line is probably just: know your limits, and ride within them. Crossing them comes with a price tag, and the higher the speed, the higher the price you‘re gonna pay. If you‘re not comfortable riding faster, then it‘s probably best not to, even if it may be easier from a purely technical point of view. I have a similar mental barrier when it comes to the kick up mount or jump mounts. I had one successful kick up mount so far. While I know (from experience) that nothing will happen to the :bell: :bell:, so far it costs me too much of an effort to do it again.
By the way: The reason I‘m reading this thread is that I‘m considering to buy a Schlumpf for my 29er to ride a bit faster than now, or to ride at the same speed but with a more relaxed cadence. I may have to redo the math, though, and possibly decide to go for a smaller wheel. How confident am I that I’ll be able to push my limits far enough to safely ride a G29er? We‘ll see.

3 Likes

Great points and summary!

I should say that for learning I was glad to start on a 26” wheel but the reality is a G29er is the sweet spot for the hub - and this comes from the pure fact that 1:1 is useful and 1:1.5 can be decently fast / offer a good change in cadence.

If you think you’ll do less cross country / commuting type riding, more muni or general purpose then perhaps a G27.5 would be an option but if I only had one schlumpf it would be a 29” wheel - a bit harder to learn in that a smaller wheel but everything is possible given, time, determination and a healthy dislike of being beaten by ‘fear’ :grin:

2 Likes

Funny, I was just debating wheel size when I saw your reply. Guess 29“ is the way to go, then.
That‘s cool, ’cause I wouldn‘t need to buy an additional frame :wink:. Of course 29“ is also a bit easier than 26“ on the roughness of the gravel roads that I often use, so that‘s an additional reason to go for the bigger wheel size.

Just wanted to add a few of my own thoughts to this thread. I’ve been learning to ride a G36er since April - my first Schlumpf hub. Quite the ambitious wheel size to learn on :face_with_peeking_eye:

At this point I feel quite confident riding in 2nd gear. Mounting in 2nd and switching gears mid-ride are still a struggle, although mounting is improving quickly.

A few of the things I’ve learned so far:

  1. Absolutely ride within your limits. Know when too much is too much. In my case, in 2nd gear I enjoy an average pace of 10-14 mi/hr. I’ve pushed it to 15-17 mi/hr a few times but only on surfaces I’m 100% certain are smooth.

  2. That leads me to my next point. Bumps in the road are your enemy. I’ve rode a few paved trails that are absolutely lovely except for one thing: tree roots growing under the asphalt. Navigating them often means backpedaling before reaching them, which puts such a strain on getting back up to speed. I figure once I can downshift mid-ride that will help.

  3. The first few pedal strokes mounting in 2nd gear are super wonky but stick with it! It is quite embarrassing looking, though, so I try to avoid doing it around others. I look like I don’t know how to ride a unicycle at all. Then people are surprised when I’m zooming past them a couple yards later!

  4. Shorter crank length isn’t always faster. I feel much more confident going at high speed on the 150mm setting on my cranks than I do on the 125mm setting. Running out of UPDs are far easier and there’s less “twingy-ness” felt in my knees as a pedal. That said, the shorter length feels just fine in 1st gear with a higher pedal cadence.

Okay, that’s enough writing for tonight. I’m going to return to dreaming of carbon rims and chucking my rim brakes for a disk break :sleeping:

6 Likes

Sweet dreams! :sleeping: :uni:

Not everyone considers it but lighter weight rims, tires and tubes (lower rotational momentum) does make a wheel that can accelerate faster but it reduces the ability to ride over bumps, dips and rough surfaces. Even on smooth surfaces a lighter wheel does take more effort to maintain forward and back balance. Unlike a bike, that is kind of important with a unicycle.

2 Likes

I’ve spent most of my time learning to shift at 150mm, but the geometry means the button is pretty much at the same point as the medial malleolus (pointy ankle bone), which I kept slamming on the cranks. I had assumed it would be easier for me to figure out riding with longer cranks, because of the leverage I’d need in the higher gear. I also noticed I was having difficulty (at 150mm) getting a definitive shift, so I moved the button out a half millimeter or so.

It made all the difference today - 25 full revolutions post-shift, definitively riding. I was aware of the slop in the gear, but it wasn’t bothering me. Plenty of leverage, too; a few attempts wound up slowing down to near-stops and I was able to accelerate a few strokes before losing balance.

It’s starting to click…

1 Like

Good progress this week. I’m fairly reliably riding through an upshift, although I still don’t have the knack of riding in high gear itself. I’ve managed my first downshift and a number of planned dismounts from high gear.

I’m still not well balanced in high gear (it definitely feels like I’m re-learning how to ride all over again) but I’m up to about a tenth of a mile (42 full revolutions). I keep wanting to fix balance problems in high gear by stomping on the pedals, which is waaay too much force and needs over-compensation back in the other direction… and eventually it’s too much oscillation to recover. And between the two I’m very aware of the slop in the gear.

Quite unexpectedly: riding in low after having been in high feels amazingly like no effort at all. I wound up with a good 5 minutes of 11+mph in low, which ended with a spectacular off-the-front UPD that felt choreographed. I couldn’t have planned it better - a perfect slide on one heel l[and the other knee(pad) without my hands hitting the ground. Wish I’d had it on film. :slight_smile:

3 Likes