Shoes?

Hi, I’m Greg and I’m a newbie unicyclist. I’ve had the unicycle about 6 weeks
and am getting around on it pretty well and consistantly improving. My problem
is that I keep hurting my ankles when I fall off. It seems to be a result of
either direct downward pressure on the ankle or forward pressure forcing the
foot to bend farther toward the shin then normal. In any case, it’s inconvenient
and I’d like to see if there’s something I could do to help (other then ice on
the ankle for a day or two every few days).

The shoes I wear most of the time (Converse All-Stars, low tops) don’t offer a
lot of support, for either the ankles or the soles. They do, however, seem to
grip the pedals reasonably well. I wore a pair of old high top basketball shoes
for awhile, which I think might have helped, but they get hot and are kind of
uncomfortable. I’m wondering whether a different type shoe would help. I presume
that as I improve, this will become kind of a non-issue, but for the moment I’m
wondering what I can
do. Anyone got any advice for me?

Thanks, Greg

Re: Shoes?

You are probably putting too much weight on the pedals and not enough weight on
the seat. Put your weight on the seat and practice pedaling with a lighter
touch. It is common while learning to fight the unicycle and put more weight and
force on the pedals than is necessary.

Also check the seat height. For regular road riding I adjust the seat by putting
my heals on the pedals (while next to a wall) and adjusting the seat as high as
I can while still being able to do several pedal revolutions without rocking the
hips. If you have to rock the hips then the seat is too high. This method
generally gets you close to the correct height. If you are doing off-road riding
or some freestyle skills you may want to lower the seat a little.

When riding you will want to have the balls of your feet over the center of
the pedal.

I ride with low cut shoes with a flat sole. I haven’t found extra ankle
support to be necessary. Shoes designed for skateboarding or freestyle BMX
riding work well.

It is also a good idea to stretch before and after riding.

And don’t forget to sit on the seat.

John

>From: Greg House <greg.house@SPAMMENOT.lsil.com> Hi, I’m Greg and I’m a newbie
>unicyclist. I’ve had the unicycle about 6 weeks and am getting around on it
>pretty well and consistantly improving. My problem is that I keep hurting my
>ankles when I fall off. It seems to be a result of either direct downward
>pressure on the ankle or forward pressure forcing the foot to bend farther
>toward the shin then normal. In any case, it’s inconvenient and I’d like to see
>if there’s something I could do to help (other then ice on the ankle for a day
>or two every few days).
>
>The shoes I wear most of the time (Converse All-Stars, low tops) don’t offer a
>lot of support, for either the ankles or the soles. They do, however, seem to
>grip the pedals reasonably well. I wore a pair of old high top basketball shoes
>for awhile, which I think might have helped, but they get hot and are kind of
>uncomfortable. I’m wondering whether a different type shoe would help. I
>presume that as I improve, this will become kind of a non-issue, but for the
>moment I’m wondering what I can
>do. Anyone got any advice for me?
>
>Thanks, Greg


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Re: Shoes?

Wearing high tops may be a good idea for you while you are learning. After you
are past the learning stage the high tops should be unnecessary.

I’m not sure what you’re doing that is injuring your ankle. Maybe you are trying
too hard to recover when you sense you are about to fall. In any event, you
should probably work on your dismounts. Practice dismounts over the front and
off the back. Also practice dismounting with either foot and from different
pedal positions. Once you can dismount smoothly with either foot you may find
that your ankle injuries go away.

I’m taking a wild guess here, but you may also have short cranks on your
unicycle. Short cranks would make it harder to control, to slow down, and to
stop. Short cranks also make it harder to recover when you are about to fall. If
you have a 24" wheel you should be using 5.5" (140mm) cranks while learning.
Some 24" unicycles come with 5" (125mm) cranks. The short cranks are great for
racing, but are not ideal for learning. Crank length is measured from the center
of the axle hole to center of the pedal hole.

>Perhaps, I’ve noticed that you need to shift your weight back and forth a bit.
>For example, when I ride over something rough, it seems to help if I put more
>weight on the pedals then on the seat. But when I’m turning, it seems to help
>if I keep more on the seat.

That is true. When you hit bumps it is good to have more weight on the pedals
and less weight on the seat. This allows the legs to absorb the bumps and
helps prevent your rear from getting bounced off the seat and your feet from
getting bounced off the pedals. For some real excitement you ought to try
hitting an unexpected bump while the pedals are vertical and all of your
weight is on the seat – the result is a very unique dismount where you kind
of walk right off the uni.

john_childs@hotmail.com

From: Greg House <greg.house@SPAMMENOT.lsil.com>
>John Childs wrote:
>
>Thanks for the good advice, John.
>
> > You are probably putting too much weight on the pedals and not enough
>weight
> > on the seat.
>
>Perhaps, I’ve noticed that you need to shift your weight back and forth a bit.
>For example, when I ride over something rough, it seems to help if I put more
>weight on the pedals then on the seat. But when I’m turning, it seems to help
>if I keep more on the seat.
>
>But…my ankle pain isn’t from riding, it’s from falling off. The obvious
>answer is to not fall off, but in the mean time, I’m trying to keep myself from
>as much pain as possible. It’s hard to advance in your riding when you have to
>keep taking a few days off here and there to ice and rest your sprained ankle.
>
> > If you are doing off-road riding or some freestyle skills you may want
> > to lower
>the
> > seat a little.
>
>Having enough trouble with the on-road riding at this point. Definitely not
>ready to leave the pavement!
>
> > I ride with low cut shoes with a flat sole. I haven’t found extra ankle
> > support to be necessary. Shoes designed for skateboarding or freestyle
>BMX
> > riding work well.
>
>Sounds similar to what I’m wearing now, except as I remember skateboarding
>shoes had more of a stiffer sole.
>
> > It is also a good idea to stretch before and after riding.
>
>Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I hadn’t thought about stretching, but I’ll
>start giving it a try.
>
>Thanks again, Greg


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Re: Shoes?

Greg House wrote:

> Hi, I’m Greg and I’m a newbie unicyclist. I’ve had the unicycle about 6 weeks
> and am getting around on it pretty well and consistantly improving. My problem
> is that I keep hurting my ankles when I fall off. It seems to be a result of
> either direct downward pressure on the ankle or forward pressure forcing the
> foot to bend farther toward the shin then normal. In any case, it’s
> inconvenient and I’d like to see if there’s something I could do to help
> (other then ice on the ankle for a day or two every few days).
>
> The shoes I wear most of the time (Converse All-Stars, low tops) don’t offer a
> lot of support, for either the ankles or the soles. They do, however, seem to
> grip the pedals reasonably well. I wore a pair of old high top basketball
> shoes for awhile, which I think might have helped, but they get hot and are
> kind of uncomfortable. I’m wondering whether a different type shoe would help.
> I presume that as I improve, this will become kind of a non-issue, but for the
> moment I’m wondering what I can
> do. Anyone got any advice for me?

2 things,

  1. Wear ankle supporting shoes,
  2. Sit on the seat, you should have very little weight on your feet when
    riding. This should help you with your feet and will dramatically improve
    your riding.

Re: Shoes?

John Childs wrote:

Thanks for the good advice, John.

> You are probably putting too much weight on the pedals and not enough weight
> on the seat.

Perhaps, I’ve noticed that you need to shift your weight back and forth a bit.
For example, when I ride over something rough, it seems to help if I put more
weight on the pedals then on the seat. But when I’m turning, it seems to help if
I keep more on the seat.

But…my ankle pain isn’t from riding, it’s from falling off. The obvious answer
is to not fall off, but in the mean time, I’m trying to keep myself from as much
pain as possible. It’s hard to advance in your riding when you have to keep
taking a few days off here and there to ice and rest your sprained ankle.

> If you are doing off-road riding or some freestyle skills you may want to
> lower the seat a little.

Having enough trouble with the on-road riding at this point. Definitely not
ready to leave the pavement!

> I ride with low cut shoes with a flat sole. I haven’t found extra ankle
> support to be necessary. Shoes designed for skateboarding or freestyle BMX
> riding work well.

Sounds similar to what I’m wearing now, except as I remember skateboarding shoes
had more of a stiffer sole.

> It is also a good idea to stretch before and after riding.

Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I hadn’t thought about stretching, but I’ll
start giving it a try.

Thanks again, Greg

Re: Shoes?

I was just thinking about ankle support while reading your message. I was given
an ankle brace after I sprained my ankle playing squash. It was like a sock that
had two flaps that criss-crossed around the ankle. It was worn over your sock
and inside the shoe. This would provide the necessary ankle support and also
some padding from blows from the peddles or fork.

joel

Greg House wrote:

> John Childs wrote:
>
> Thanks for the good advice, John.
>
> > You are probably putting too much weight on the pedals and not enough weight
> > on the seat.
>
> Perhaps, I’ve noticed that you need to shift your weight back and forth a bit.
> For example, when I ride over something rough, it seems to help if I put more
> weight on the pedals then on the seat. But when I’m turning, it seems to help
> if I keep more on the seat.
>
> But…my ankle pain isn’t from riding, it’s from falling off. The obvious
> answer is to not fall off, but in the mean time, I’m trying to keep myself
> from as much pain as possible. It’s hard to advance in your riding when you
> have to keep taking a few days off here and there to ice and rest your
> sprained ankle.
>
> > If you are doing off-road riding or some freestyle skills you may want to
> > lower the seat a little.
>
> Having enough trouble with the on-road riding at this point. Definitely not
> ready to leave the pavement!
>
> > I ride with low cut shoes with a flat sole. I haven’t found extra ankle
> > support to be necessary. Shoes designed for skateboarding or freestyle BMX
> > riding work well.
>
> Sounds similar to what I’m wearing now, except as I remember skateboarding
> shoes had more of a stiffer sole.
>
> > It is also a good idea to stretch before and after riding.
>
> Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I hadn’t thought about stretching, but
> I’ll start giving it a try.
>
> Thanks again, Greg