RE: Steeeeep hills
> > distance. I was wondering this, how do you handle the big
> hills? Going
> > down that is. Do you zig-zag them? Or do you grit your
> teeth and take them straight down?
> Brakes: I have brakes on my big (28") unicycle. I have a handle attached to my
> saddle (under the saddle) and I can break when going downhill. So it’s like
> riding on a flat road (nearly). I know from several people who have breaks
> like this and it works very fine.
If you ride downhill a lot, brakes might be a good idea. I always considered
brakes a very specialized addition, until last Saturday when three of us rode
the Downieville Downhill.
Before this I knew of caliper brakes attached to shift levers for the guys who
rode the Swiss Alps a few years ago. They set the amount of friction and then
could ride long distances downhill with their heavy packs. More recently, guys
like Kris Holm have used stiffer brakes, with hand levers under the seat for
trials. In this sport, you want the wheel to remain rigid, and not rotate. The
brake holds it while you jump around.
The Downieville Downhill is a trail you can ride from the top of a mountain
northwest of Lake Tahoe, down to the town of Downieville. The ride is about 17
miles, and takes you downhill about 4200 feet. This is a little less than the
4400 feet some of us rode downhill on Mt. Wilson last summer at NUC, but that
was on fire road and Downieville was technical singletrack most of the way.
I rode with Brett Bymaster and David Poznanter, both “youngsters”. I’ve been
traveling a lot and not getting my normal amount of riding in, so I was worried
about getting burnt out on this ride. You catch a bus from Downieville, and then
ride back down to your cars. This is great on bikes, and lots of fun on
unicycles too, but we unicyclists have to pedal all the way.
Riding downhill takes a toll on the quadriceps. Dave and I were feeling it long
before we were done riding (if Brett ever felt tired from MUni riding, he was
probably alone going 40 miles). The next two days, I felt like a cripple! I’ve
never been so sore from a unicycle ride. But it was a lot of fun, and a great
trail. Beautiful scenery of mountaintops at the beginning, and of the rushing
Pauley Creek below us the rest of the way. I highly recommend it, as long as
you’re comfortable with 17 miles of riding, with almost a mile of downhill. Air
seat highly recommended also!
Stay on top, John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone