On Saturday I had an afternoon that consisted entirely of curb mounting. As I stated in other threads, I didn’t go more than 2 or 3 feet at all, except for twice (the two documented on my web page at http://lwb.org/vault/stuff/ ). It was a hard day.
On Sunday, I put more air pressure in my tire, and I had a great cycling day, and I did some stuff I’ve never done before, like cross from concrete to grass to concrete again, and power through a lip/rise in the sidewalk, etc. I went over 70 feet at least 30 times. It was a great day.
Armed with a little more confidence, I did some more curb mounting today (tuesday). I was waiting for my friends to arrive for dinner (Gonzo Dining Society, from which Chris has been painfully absent for 3 months now), so I got in a little over an hour.
Now, the conditions were harder than usual. I was doing it off my own front steps out into the yard. That means that I had to deal with concrete cracks, the concrete/grass border, uneven bumps in the grass, shrubs on either side for the first 2-3 feet, overhanging trees on one side, and the street 25 feet ahead of me. Adding to this was fear, because some of the shrubs have thorns, and there is a security sign I could fall onto (I moved it), and the worst part … it was wet out.
I have only tried practicing once before when it was wet, and fear was my biggest problem then too. Plus, the tires slip, my feet slip, the pedals slip … ugh. Not easy for me.
But I decided to do it anyway, to try to throw in a bunch of variables I don’t usually handle at the same time.
Well, the first 20-25 tries got me nowhere, but after my really good day on sunday, I was still confident. I could tell a lot of it was just fear. Once I got over that, I was able to analyze my problems.
I realized for one thing that when I am curb mounting, I’m not starting with my weight on the seat, at least not 100%. When I wall mount, I’m 100% on the seat, which is what I’m used to. I totally get on straight and stable, and then I ride. However, in the curb mount, I am planting one foot on the motionless pedals and kinda jumping up onto the other pedal, so I’ve got only a percentage of my weight on the seat. This dramatically affects my ride!
I also learned that in the curb mount, since I’m moving up onto the cycle, I tend to be a bit too far forward, so my ride is dominated by trying to not only get planted well on the seat but also by the need to lean back so that I’m in my normal position. Holding my hands straight out (like I’m the letter T) really seemed to help. Also, because of how I personally stand in order to not fall while preparing to mount, I am pushing across the cycle too.
So, I basically was having to get better at riding and having to do a form of recovery as I was starting up, all at the same time.
After I realized that, it was just trial and error. At my best (after I was good and warmed up and getting it) I was getting good rides out of 1 in 3 curb mounts (slick pedals, leaning too far forward, wobbliness, etc making the other 2 of 3). After an hour I was a little tired so I slipped to 1 in 4 successful tries.
Still, it was all good, and I felt I applied analysis to my ride and I managed to actually progress using reason and determination.
I even (a shocker for me) managed to slide my foot on the pedals on purpose when my feet were misaligned (another problem I have sometimes). Also, I managed to adjust my seating on the cycle several times.
Another good night. Boy was I sweaty. It is hot, humid, and it recently rained!
So, I’m mostly posting this in case anything is helpful to other newbies; and just cause it feels good to have accomplished some more.