Speed; bending down

I have been trying to get faster… yup ._.
I have a 20" cheap uni
24" club
29" drak

Each time, I upgraded, I only increase a bit.
Today, i decided to put both hands on the front grab handle, as if it were a handle bar, lean forward, and rode
I increased my max speed from just over 10mph to just over 13mph

My two questions:
Is this bad for my back…it feels sore after just a short ride(lower back)

Why does this work…? When I sit upright, once I hit a fast speed, I lose my balance, and to readjust, I feel to prevent upd, I suddenly slow down and go back to a slow pace, (if i try, I go into cycles of fast, lose balance, slow, fast, lose balance, slow)

I didn’t even realize that I did the exact same technique on my last ride. I can’t really say why, but it seems we both can really spin it up there.

I didn’t notice any back pain from it. I probably rode an 1/8th mile on my 26er at full tilt to dodge a downpour. Made it to my car just in time.

If it’s hurting your back, then it’s bad for your back. You might be crouching too much, bending your back acutely. Your back should be straight with the body rotating on the hips when LEANING forward. I suggest that you check your posture in the leaning position. If you’re going to be leaning forward for long periods of time then you might attach a set of adjustable unicycle handlebars. The handlebars can be adjusted for comfort and purpose.

Answering your second question. I think that the unicycle is always trying to run away from you when cycling forward, which is why when you mount your unicycle your first point of pressure is on the rear pedal. This tendency kicks in even more as you pedal harder and as the wheel goes faster. Coupled with the fear of falling backwards the inclination is to lean forward in order to keep your body over the wheel. That’s just my opinion for what it’s worth

Hope this helps

It’s not aerodynamics at those speeds. It’s that bending over allows you to use different muscle groups more effectively. Your back will ache after any new form of back exercise. Listen to your body use common sense, and don’t overdo it. Build up slowly.

For developing speed, I used to find that short sprints in the context of a longer ride was the best way to improve.

Becareful trying to go fast, speed can lead to nasty updated on a unicycle

From your description, it would seem your principle limitation on going fast is balance rather than anything else. Hence what you’re doing is improving your balance - it seems most likely that this is down to having your hands on the handle, kind of like using a handlebar. Using a proper handlebar would likely give the same result, but better.

Not a unique experience - there’s a reason why people use bars for distance riding. I certainly find I’m a lot more stable on my guni when using a bar (to the point where I find riding no hands in high gear quite a scary experience - though I do worry that I rely on the bar too much). I even find two hands on better than just one when travelling at speed, despite the instinct being to have one hand off to wave about for balance.

Especially glutes.

I’ve found that I can go faster balancing better when leaning down. I’m pretty sure it is because when I bend down I also shift my center of gravity forward, leaning the whole uni forward, allowing/forcing me to pedal faster to maintain balance.

my thigh(quad muscles?) were burning afterwards…
never was able to use so much force while unicycling before!
I will start with less bend on my next ride
I agree, I just feel more stable… maybe cuz I have more force to control the wheel.

Probably the most important component in getting more speed on a small-to-medium sized wheel is improving your spin. That is, being able to pedal fast with minimal wasted energy. Many riders, for example, find a pedaling speed that causes them to bounce up and down, or otherwise to lose their smoothness. It takes practice to work past those points, and break through to faster levels of rpm.

You didn’t mention crank arm length in there, which is also a factor. Shorter cranks take less energy to spin fast (on level ground at least). If I want to go fast and I’m not limited by competition rules, I’ll have 100mm cranks on my 29".

Leaning forward does not, in itself help you make big increases in rpm. But as a new position, it may have helped you make one of those breakthroughs to a higher rpm. Sore back? Probably mostly because it’s a new exercise. This is why people have handlebars on Road unicycles. The stability of having something to hold onto, and also a place to rest the forward part of your body. In other words, don’t make your back hold you up, lean on your seat handle or handlebar. This also takes weight off your crotch, which makes a big deal on long rides!

Enjoy going fast. Kneepads and gloves recommended. Mikefule’s advice about doing on-and-off sprints is a good one. Really high speeds are hard to maintain for long periods of time. Back in my Track racing days, I loved the 100m race because it was over so quick. The longer ones were basically trying to maintain close to that speed for a much longer distance. 400m was the worst! :slight_smile:

ah, yes
im using 125mm atm
I do have 100mm cranks…but my freemounts, even on the 125mm, arent 100% yet. Contemplating whether or not to switch to 100mm now, or to wait.
If just doing short sprints, daily, is that decent training? (half mile) (decent practice? xD)
they dont seem to help me much in the short run :\

I gave a try at applying what you are saying, johnfoss. On my very bouncy Monty Eagle Claw and 125mm venture2s, I was spinning faster(in rpm) than I have ever before. Managed to hold it very smooth for the sprint I was running(100ish feet or something), but I thought I was gonna lose it when I tried to drop back to normal cadence.