*still* learning...

Hi all,

Well 2 months on and I still can’t ride… :slight_smile:

I know it should take less than 20 hours to learn to ride properly, but I
do have some excuses:

… when I’ve got home from work it’s too dark to practice outside, and room
in the house to practice.
… it’s often too wet on a weekend to practice (in sunny(!) Bradford, UK)
… I still have a problem with frustration which I think is made worse by
most of my learning done on my back lawn (which has a nice patch of dead
grass from some idiot wheeling a unicycle back and forth across it loads of
times!)

I have got upto a point where sometimes (say 1 in 25 attempts) I can go
about 5 or 6 feet, sometimes a bit further before falling off, most attempts
I just get 1 or 2 pedal revolutions in (and go about 3 foot - the length it
takes me to fall off!)

Does it suddenly “click” and you can then unicycle, or do you just continue
to improve slowly and unnoticably?

I WILL try and get to the tennis courts this weekend… Previous advice was
right and it is a lot nicer/easier to practice on that surface.

Do you think there is any chance of me learning by mid-December? Also, does
cycling to/from work each day hinder or improve my learning to unicycle?

cheers

Neil

Re: still learning…

Well, if you work at the Louvre or the Met, I’d say it could be fatal- unless you take a snorkle; If the former, by all means avoid the Chunnel.

-Christopher

For me it was a click i went to a parking lot a block and a half down from my house and got up by holding to a ple and then just tried to ride and went for it all out and i made about a 25ft difference then my previous attempts.
What I reccomend is to go to an empty space(tennis courts are perfect) and try riding away from the wall and not along side anything because then youll get screwed up when you get too close. The main thing that helped me was just to pedal at a good pretty fast pace because the slower you go the faster youl start to wobble side to side.:smiley:

Good Luck
-Eric

when you first start to learn stuff it can take a while to get rid of the frustration factor, however if you just bang your head off that brick wall untilll it works then you have learned not only to do the thing that you were trying to learn but you will also learn that effort pays off.

learning how to do something dificult that requires weird motor skills will afect you for the rest of your life.

if your a juggler then you’ll already know this but if this is your first motor skill learning experience, then prepare to be amazed at your ability for learning and dedication.

oh and lean forward and pedal like f**k!
you need you weight forward of the center of the wheel in order to go forward without falling, because you are essentialy falling forwards and pedaling to keep the unicycle underneath you. there may be a more scientific explanation than this but it probably won’t make as much sense.

when i teach people how to ride i normaly teach them to freemount as soon as they can go forward a few feet.

in my experence people who hold on to stuff take longer to learn,
and so do people who don’t know any other unicyclists. if you don’t know any then find one who lives near you.

(these factors meant that i took about a month to learn to ride)

riding to/from work will only help.

I second Catboy’s advice. My method of learning was to start out holding a pole on a smooth, paved surface, and just ride away as best I could. After two or three hour long sessions, I was able to make it a good 30 feet or so, and that’s when things started clicking. Once I was able to consistently make it more than a couple of revolutions, I worked on the freemount, which didn’t take me that long to get down.

A couple of points:

  • Grass is by far what’s keeping you back. Find a good smooth surface (is there a non-busy street near you)?
  • Don’t let nightfall deter you. Get some shin armor, and you should be set for night riding. I went riding with my brother-in-law shortly after I learned to freemount. I found that, since there wasn’t much to look at immediately down, I did the right thing and focused on the horizon.

If you practice once or twice a week on a good surface, you should definately be able to ride. This weekend I’m going to make a trial run to work (4 miles or so), to see how practical it is (weather permitting, of course)…

-Jon

Re: still learning…

Have you got anywhere other than on grass to practise on? It’s nice and soft if you fall off, but unless you own a golf course it’s very bumpy; a smooth surface makes it much easier as you don’t have to learn how to cope with bumps and ruts quite so soon!

Phil, just me

Plugging away at learning, all on your own, in the cold wet and dark north of England at this time of year… commendable determination. Don’t let it grind you down.

I learned on a shared drive between two houses - I was able to ride from one house to the other as an achievable short term goal.

Yes, it does click. Then it unclicks. Then it clicks again. Suddenly you will be able to do it.

Is there a juggling club nearby? (Bradford has a university. Students would rather juggle than study.) If so, see if you can go along. Some of the members will be able to ride a uni. Also, you will get a warm room with a big open floor to practise in.

Good luck. :slight_smile:

Re: still learning…

Neil,

Just excuses I think. :wink:

Cycling generally does not help because most cyclists do not put weight on
the saddle and find it very hard to put weight on the saddle and do not
realise that it is critical to riding to do so on a unicycle. Although that
said cyclists generally do have better balance than the average person in my
experience.

Roger

----- Original Message -----
From: “[neil]” <neil@chemicalbrothers.yorks.com>
Newsgroups: rec.sport.unicycling
To: <rsu@unicycling.org>
Sent: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 9:49 AM
Subject: still learning…

> Hi all,
>
> Well 2 months on and I still can’t ride… :slight_smile:
>
> I know it should take less than 20 hours to learn to ride properly, but
I
> do have some excuses:
>
> . when I’ve got home from work it’s too dark to practice outside, and room
> in the house to practice.
> . it’s often too wet on a weekend to practice (in sunny(!) Bradford, UK)
> . I still have a problem with frustration which I think is made worse by
> most of my learning done on my back lawn (which has a nice patch of dead
> grass from some idiot wheeling a unicycle back and forth across it loads
of
> times!)
>
> I have got upto a point where sometimes (say 1 in 25 attempts) I can go
> about 5 or 6 feet, sometimes a bit further before falling off, most
attempts
> I just get 1 or 2 pedal revolutions in (and go about 3 foot - the length
it
> takes me to fall off!)
>
> Does it suddenly “click” and you can then unicycle, or do you just
continue
> to improve slowly and unnoticably?
>
> I WILL try and get to the tennis courts this weekend… Previous advice
was
> right and it is a lot nicer/easier to practice on that surface.
>
> Do you think there is any chance of me learning by mid-December? Also,
does
> cycling to/from work each day hinder or improve my learning to unicycle?
>
> cheers
>
> Neil
>
>
>


> rec.sport.unicycling mailing list -
www.unicycling.org/mailman/listinfo/rsu
>
>

Re: still learning…

Hi Neil…

I’m still learning too, but I ride straight and forward and some looooooong
radius turns. When I’ve got home from work, it’s too dark too, but I’ve
trained at dark… Now we are at the DST +1 and I’m training with one hour
of light plus…

Good luck!

Eduardo

Ypê Bike: http://www.ypebike.cjb.net/
Ypê Mono: http://www.ype.unicyclist.com/

----- Original Message -----
From: “[neil]” <neil@chemicalbrothers.yorks.com>
Newsgroups: rec.sport.unicycling
To: <rsu@unicycling.org>
Sent: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 7:49 AM
Subject: still learning…

> Hi all,
>
> Well 2 months on and I still can’t ride… :slight_smile:
>
> I know it should take less than 20 hours to learn to ride properly, but
I
> do have some excuses:
>
> . when I’ve got home from work it’s too dark to practice outside, and room
> in the house to practice.
> . it’s often too wet on a weekend to practice (in sunny(!) Bradford, UK)
> . I still have a problem with frustration which I think is made worse by
> most of my learning done on my back lawn (which has a nice patch of dead
> grass from some idiot wheeling a unicycle back and forth across it loads
of
> times!)
>
> I have got upto a point where sometimes (say 1 in 25 attempts) I can go
> about 5 or 6 feet, sometimes a bit further before falling off, most
attempts
> I just get 1 or 2 pedal revolutions in (and go about 3 foot - the length
it
> takes me to fall off!)
>
> Does it suddenly “click” and you can then unicycle, or do you just
continue
> to improve slowly and unnoticably?
>
> I WILL try and get to the tennis courts this weekend… Previous advice
was
> right and it is a lot nicer/easier to practice on that surface.
>
> Do you think there is any chance of me learning by mid-December? Also,
does
> cycling to/from work each day hinder or improve my learning to unicycle?
>
> cheers
>
> Neil
>
>
>


> rec.sport.unicycling mailing list -
www.unicycling.org/mailman/listinfo/rsu
>

I learned to ride almost a year ago now. When I learned, I used a series of poles about 15 feet apart in a walkway at my former elementary school. Every night for two weeks I would drive to the school and practice riding from one pole to the next. At first I never got from one pole to the next, but even if I just got a stroke or two away, I would walk to the next and try again. After a while I was able to make it all the way once in a while. At the end of the two weeks, I was able to make it almost 100% of the time. After I was able to ride a bit I worked on my free mounts. Once I was able to free mount, I worked on turning on the basketball courts.

I would have to agree with catboy, I don’t think riding along a support is as good as riding away from a support. In addition to the wall getting in your way, I think it teaches you bad habits. Unicycling is all about balance and leaning against a wall removes the element of balance.

The question I have is what size is best to learn on?
I learned on a 20 inch torker with 5 inch cranks. A couple days ago I bought a 24 inch torker with 6 inch cranks. To me the 24 inch was much easier to ride. Would a 24 also be easier to learn on?

5 inches is 1/4 of 20 inches.
6 inches is 1/4 of 24 inches.

So, in terms of resistance to pedal pressure, control on slopes and so on, the two unis should be very similar indeed. They are identically geared.

However, the 24 is that bit taller, and the bigger wheel will tend to smooth the pedal action, so in many ways it will be easier to ride.

As for ease of learning? Possibly the 24 would be that little bit harder, but not much.

I’m not sure which is best to learn on to start with, but I know what you mean. I started on my brothers 20", and after 2 weeks on that I could just about ride along in a straightish line, manage a freemount occasionally (very occasionally), and turn a bit, although without much control. I should probably say that for a lot of that I didn’t have that much to do, so I was practicing quite frequently. Then I went to university, and was uni-less for about 3 weeks, until I got a 24" nimbus II. I was a bit nervous because I suspected I was going to make a complete fool of myself for a good few weeks, but it seemed so easy to ride. It was like I’d practiced a bit for the last 3 weeks. Maybe being bigger it’s a bit smoother because its heavier, so everything happens slower.
Having said that, I decided to uni to my 9 o’clock lecture today, which was the first time I’d unicycled at 8:30 in the morning, and I made a complete fool of myself by falling off going down hill. Note the lack of “UPD” there, because that just wouldn’t do it justice. It was a fall. Forwards, down hill, coming off at pretty much top speed. Fortunately no severe injuries. Although after that, I kept going and had a great ride. Maybe a 20" is good to learn on and a 24" is good to improve on?
When I was learning I didn’t use a support much. To get on, yes, but then I just launched myself into space to see how far I could get. The difficult bit is the balance, and you can’t practice that too well if you lean on something. Once you’re used to the pedalling actions I wouldn’t bother.

Re: still learning…

On Tue, 12 Nov 2002 09:49:19 -0000, “[neil]”
<neil@chemicalbrothers.yorks.com> wrote:

>. I still have a problem with frustration which I think is made worse by
>most of my learning done on my back lawn (which has a nice patch of dead
>grass from some idiot wheeling a unicycle back and forth across it loads of
>times!)
As others have said: grass is far from ideal to learn on. Even if it
is as smooth as baby skin it still gives significant rolling
resistance.

>Does it suddenly “click” and you can then unicycle, or do you just continue
>to improve slowly and unnoticably?
Experiences differ. For me it was more “improving slowly” than
clicking. Try to avoid thinking in terms of “improve unnoticably”.
Enjoy whatever improvements you notice!

>Do you think there is any chance of me learning by mid-December?
I believe you will be riding before that, really.

> Also, does
>cycling to/from work each day hinder or improve my learning to unicycle?
My guess would be: neither of the two, assuming that you can ride a
bike easily. Otherwise, I would believe that someone who never learned
to ride a bike would be at a disadvantage learning to ride a uni.

evilewan said people holding onto stuff take longer to learn. May be
true but it’s what I did and I prefered it over launching in the
abyss. Some way it was less frustrating for me.

Personally I learned mostly on grass and holding onto a fence. I still do that now to learn wheel-walking and some other skills. I think the key element is persistence. Keep at it. After a while you’ll decide that something you’re doing is hindering you, and go on to the next stage. Everyone is different in the way they learn. One nephew of mine couldn’t use the fence - he wanted to hold onto my arm as I walked beside him. My daughter has done the best holding my hand as we ride side-by-side.

One thing about learning on grass is that rough surfaces won’t intimidate you later on!

I’m not sure what the answer to this is. But, I used to bike a lot, and I was very proficient at riding no handed. After about a month of unicycling and no biking I found that I was almost completely unable to ride a bike no handed. I think this may be because of the difference in steering and balance adjustments between a one wheeler and two. Has anyone else noticed this?

Re: still learning…

“Klaas Bil” <klaasbil_remove_the_spamkiller_@xs4all.nl> wrote in message
news:3dd1a600.11192232@newszilla.xs4all.nl…
> On Tue, 12 Nov 2002 09:49:19 -0000, “[neil]”
> <neil@chemicalbrothers.yorks.com> wrote:
>
> >. I still have a problem with frustration which I think is made worse by
> >most of my learning done on my back lawn (which has a nice patch of dead
> >grass from some idiot wheeling a unicycle back and forth across it loads
of
> >times!)
> As others have said: grass is far from ideal to learn on. Even if it
> is as smooth as baby skin it still gives significant rolling
> resistance.

Ok, thanks everyone for the comments…

it’s made me determined to have a couple of hours practice at the tennis
courts on Saturday, and hopefully some time on the quiet-ish road outside
tonight… hope it’s not raining!

cheers

Neil

Niel,

One more thing. If you have access to any protective gear you should wear it. Not neccessarily for safety, but mainly so you feel confident in knowing that if you fall you won’t hurt yourself. If you gain this confidence from the pads, then you will be more inclined to lean forward which is very important.

I found that on the afternoon I learnt to ride it took about 1/3 of the time to reach the stage that you seem to be at now. This may just be me though. It did ‘click’ for me once I reached that stage but don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t ‘click’ for you because people learn differently.

I think you’ll be able to ride by mid-december. In my opinion, one important thing is speed. This comes with confidence which will come with the use of padding. If you go at a reasonable speed it’ll be much easier than using ‘jolty’ and short pedal strokes.

I read somewhere about a guy who was finally able to ride a unicycle after 10 years of practice. How’s that for determination hey?

Good luck and please tell us how you go,
Andrew Carter

Re: still learning…

“evilewan” <evilewan.e0te0@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote
>
> learning how to do something dificult that requires weird motor skills
> will afect you for the rest of your life.
>
> in my experence people who hold on to stuff take longer to learn,
> and so do people who don’t know any other unicyclists. if you don’t know
> any then find one who lives near you.
>
> riding to/from work will only help.

When initially learning I did hold on to something, and I suspect it did not
help much. Later I found that running my fingertips along a smooth wall as I
rode helped a great deal. I could vary the pressure on the wall and thus
reduce it easily as confidence rose. It made a simple transition from
support that was there in plenty if needed, to a state where I could remove
the trace contact easily without significant trauma.

“Weird motor skills”: funny, I was thinking about that as I wobbled down the
gym last night. I realized my body had leaned ( sorry I Freudulently
mistyped that: learned ) this crazy balancing act largely by itself, and
primarily as the life alternative to death. Thinking about how I actually
did it would be unlikely to furnish a logically explained answer. Turning
is still not easy, but once I stop wondering how the hell I am gonna turn
this contraption at the end of the gym, then maybe, just maybe, it will get
easier.

Ewan, if I ever meet you, you must teach me this “freemount as soon as I can
manage a yard or so”.
…Evilewan? To me freemounting is more Evilknievel
Where freemounting is concerned I have all the skills of a cartoon female
learner driver. But cars are easy: on a unicycle there is nowhere, just
nowhere, to hang a handbag.
Ride one to work? You jest, that involves both right hand turns AND
getting out of the driveway…on the same day!!!

Naomi. (Honest: I have a perfect hourglass figure…head full of sand
and bottom getting heavier by the minute)
If God had intended me to ride a unibicile, I would have been created
without a brain…
I should be a natural at this.

Re: still learning…

> I’m not sure what the answer to this is. But, I used to bike a lot, and
> I was very proficient at riding no handed. After about a month of
> unicycling and no biking I found that I was almost completely unable to
> ride a bike no handed. I think this may be because of the difference in
> steering and balance adjustments between a one wheeler and two. Has
> anyone else noticed this?

I noticed the exact opposite - riding no-handed on a bicycle now - except
for braking and maybe shifting - is easier than riding with my hands on the
handlebars.

Re: still learning…

Neil,

> I have got upto a point where sometimes (say 1 in 25 attempts) I can go
> about 5 or 6 feet, sometimes a bit further before falling off, most attempts
> I just get 1 or 2 pedal revolutions in (and go about 3 foot - the length it
> takes me to fall off!)

It sounds like you are very near to riding. Grass is difficult to learn
on and may be slowing your progress. Perhaps if you had a spotter to
assist you on a smooth surface like blacktop you could go beyond your
current 5-6 feet.

Here is some standard advice (you’ve probably already heard all this). I
learned holding on to a railing, and found it a very valuable tool.

Make sure the saddle is high enough.

Sit down and put ‘all’ your weight on the saddle.

Sit up straight and look forward.

Try pedaling in half revs starting and stopping with the cranks parallel
to the ground. When you can do this smoothly, try a complete revolution,
then two… and so on. (w/railing)

Find a spotter and try longer rides where you pedal smoothly. If you
start to loose your balance, stop pedaling, regain you balance and move
on. My kids and I did this at a running track (1/4 mile long). I would
spot them once around the track and then they would rest. We did this
three or four times each visit.

The advantage of being spotted at a track is that when you feel you have
your balance (zen moment) you can launch into the abyss, then grab your
spotter’s hand when you start to loose it. You’ll start with the 5-6
foot long runs you are now experiencing, then 10 ft, 20 ft then +++ your
a unicyclist!

Cheers,

Jason