Hey all, I searched but didn’t find a FAQ or what seemed like a thread on the best basic method of teaching an adult newbie how to ride a uni. Did I miss it?
I assumed that putting someone next to a wall for a few hours was the best way but I remember seeing a thread recently that contested that method. But where did it go? Anyway, I’ve got a friend in my hood who rides trials motorcycles and he wants to learn to uni to improve his balance. How best to get him going? Any advice would be appreciated. He’s about 6’4", strong, and ~40 yrs old so I figured a 24 would be a good size to learn on…
My apologies if I missed the FAQ or sticky somewhere. This must be a perennial question.
IMO, a wall is fine at the beginning, providing the rider doesn’t get the false impression they are actually riding. The wall is good for practicing getting weight in the seat, getting accustomed to the motion of the pedals, checking the bend in the knee and the seat height.
I don’t think your motorcyclist neighbor is in any danger of spending too much time at the wall. A lot of the conversations about ditching the wall are directed at overly-cautious middle aged riders who’re trying to avoid injury. I can’t blame them. The concern, however, is if they will eventually lose the wall.
I have taught three riders. All were riding within an hour or so in the saddle and a couple more would have as well if I had had enough trials unis with the right length seat posts for them. With the third guy I was trying to teach four at once which was too many on not enough suitable unis.
Spending hours on a wall is a waste of time. It teaches the learner to grab and distracts from concentrating on the real skills. More importantly it doesn’t teach what is most fundamental to riding.
Steering the uni where you are falling is what it is about and the wall gets in the way half the time. The other half of the time the learner reaches back to the wall instead of turning into the fall away from the wall.
It isn’t about forward and back balance while trying to stay perched on top of the uni which is what the wall encourages. It is about getting the uni under you as you move forwards.
I tell my learners to “put the wheel where you would step if you were walking”. It seems a simple and effective notion to focus on.
I expect there are two peaks of “failed learners”. One where thay fell on their backside the first time they tried and gave up. The other where they kept feeling like they were “almost there” but eventually gave up because they still couldn’t ride into the open after hours and hours of practice on the wall.