The horror of being unable to fall.

The horror of being unable to fall.

Today had another fall, again in the park next to the skate park.
I’m posting it not because it was a particularly bad fall but because it involved something which is rare, but has happened several times and I was wondering if any of you are familiar with it.

It happens when the fall starts; I’m not particularly concerned as I expect to come off and land either on my feet or land on the ground strategically and be protected by my pads.

Then I realise that in a freak set of circumstances I am perfectly balanced on the uni which, in refusing to let me fall is inflicting terrible pressure in a most sensitive area.

Although it is probably over in fractions of a second it feels a lot longer, in addition to the pain there is the uncomfortable feeling of knowing that I am going to be dumped in a random and unpredictable direction.

On my way down my arm hits the seat hard and I now have a big patch of purple developing on my bicep.

I find it ironic that when riding the uni with control we are in a continual state of unbalance (i.e. going forwards we are actualy falling forwards and bringing the wheel beneath us), and the one time perfect balance is present it is most unwelcome.

As I said this has happened to me before, always with the same consequences- crushed nads, panic and an uncontrolled fall in a random direction.

Is it just me or is this a fairly well known phenomenon?

It’s always down a hill, too… you’re accelerating, with no control at all, and you’re about to fall off but you’ve no idea when or where. 'Tis scary…

Phil

Re: The horror of being unable to fall.

This happens to me routinely when practicing riding backwards or attempting to change directions quickly (not as in turning, but as in going from backwards to forwards riding and visa-versa).

It begins with the described panic and then a twisting of the body to force the uni to roll away or some kind of contortion that allows one of the feet to hit the ground first. It’s been a while since my rear was the first thing to hit the ground, but this was usually the cause.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

I had this a couple of times when trying to jump off a unicycle onto a pogo stick (which isn’t that difficult it turns out). It’s particularly likely when doing stupid things with quite a high seat.

Joe

Ooh, I hate it when that happens. It feels weird, and painful.
Have you ever been riding when your foot slips forward off the pedal, and gets stuck there? Your foot goes in front of the pedal, so you try to stop, but the wheel keeps oging and the pedal keeps scraping the back of your leg, so you take your other foot off the pedal behind it, and you get twisted up and the only way to recover is to fall off? That’s happened to me twice. It sometimes takes about 5 seconds to realize I have to fall, and by that time it already hurts.

You’re still falling? Why? Doesn’t it hurt?

We have a name for when this happens:

Unintentional coasting.

It’s kind of a joke among unicyclists. To coast on purpose is one of the hardest tricks, arrived at only with many hours of practice. Coasting is a beautiful, flowing thing when done right. But to coast unintentionally is always terrifying, usually ugly, and takes virtually no practice at all!

Re: The horror of being unable to fall.

In article <onewheeldave.okflc@timelimit.unicyclist.com>,
onewheeldave <onewheeldave.okflc@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:
)
)The horror of being unable to fall.
)
)Today had another fall, again in the park next to the skate park.
)I’m posting it not because it was a particularly bad fall but because it
)involved something which is rare, but has happened several times and I
)was wondering if any of you are familiar with it.
)
)It happens when the fall starts; I’m not particularly concerned as I
)expect to come off and land either on my feet or land on the ground
)strategically and be protected by my pads.
)
)Then I realise that in a freak set of circumstances I am perfectly
)balanced on the uni which, in refusing to let me fall is inflicting
)terrible pressure in a most sensitive area.

I believe that when this happens, it usually means that you tried to
bail out when you were actually still in your balance envelope, and
furthermore, you tried to bail out in the wrong direction (off the front
when you were behind your balance center, or off the back when you were
ahead of it).

It’s a pretty nasty thing to have happen. It’s definitely happened
less for me since I started bailing out less.
-Tom

been there, done that, got the scars on my elbows :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s happened several time when I first got into MUni. I dont think I was pulling up on the seat enough and I got bounced right off the pedals. I remember once I UC’d going along a narrow track with a drop on one side (only a metre or so) I felt my feet coming off the pedals but managed to stay on until the uni hit a bump, stopped, and I carried on moving.

it is really a horrifying experience. especially with a high seat and grippy pedals. i remember when i first started riding outside. balancing was difficult, and falling off, like in skiing, was a fail safe method to reset. but when i would intend to fall, and as tom said, the wrong way, i would remain on the seat, one foot dragging my weight onto that special spot and the other leg helplessly pedalling me along. nasty.

It happens to me too, and I don’t like it either. It’s particularly unpleasant when it happens on the Coker. Downhill is worse, and if it happens when you’re going downhill on the Coker it can spoil your day.

I think the problem is psychological. You lose your nerve, or you lose the will to stay on the uni in a difficult situation, and you try to bail out. However, the fear of the difficult situation has already put you in a balanced (indecisive) position. Result, the uni has no reason to fall in any particular direction, but you’re no longer in control of it.

Better to avoid the situation by hanging on longer before starting to bail out, or deliberately tipping the uni so you know which way you’ll fall.

johnfoss

We have a name for when this happens:

Unintentional coasting.

‘Unintentional coasting’ -in isolation it sounds so innocent

============================
joemarshall

I had this a couple of times when trying to jump off a unicycle onto a pogo stick (which isn’t that difficult it turns out). It’s particularly likely when doing stupid things with quite a high seat.

I think in a thousand lifetimes of unicycling, the idea of jumping off a unicycle onto a pogo stick would not occur to me!

Mikefule

It’s particularly unpleasant when it happens on the Coker.

=============
I shudder at the thought of it happening on a Coker

Yes, I definitely have had the misfortune to experience this ‘unintentional coasting’, as John describes it, and downhill, as Phil mentions. Strangely, the three or four times it has ever happened to me, my feet have come off the pedals and in this amazing - time stands still - feeling, I am perched atop the seat with only my butt left to connect me to the uni. Along I roll, at a decent speed, well aware that I am ‘coasting’ but completely lacking any appreciation for this unexpected moment of skill! No I can’t enjoy the experience of coasting that the unicylce goddess has gifted me with but rather my mind is racing in a verging-on-panic mode trying to predicte when, where and how I will fall. :frowning:

Last time I experienced this unsolicited opportunity to coast I actually, for some unimaginable reason, kept my feet once jarred free from the pedals (this has only ever happened to me while MUni’ing) going through a cycling motion but not in time with the pedals which were racing along in a circle slightly slower than my feet until, WHAM, they caught up and I was rather rudely kicked in the calf by the competition and to prove the point was then dumped unceremoniously off the uni.

Yeah, gotta love that unintentional coasting. Truely one of the unexpected joys of unicycling.:smiley:

Erin

This “unintentional coasting” has happened to me on several occasions, one or two of which were before I discovered leg pads of any sort, and I have an inch-long scar on the back of my leg to show for it. [not deep, but a healthy layer of skin taken off… leaving a gouge the width of one pedal pin :frowning: ]

I am currently riding with a pair of used neoprene XtraSkins [motto: Cheaper Than Stitches] donated by Adam / AccordNSX / Accord442 / AirBourne, which surprisingly do an excellent job of protecting both front and back. I had a run-in yesterday, though, with another bout of Unintentional Coasting, that makes me fear for the new design roach pads…

First off, let me say that having seen Adam’s first set of 661 4x4s [which he lost somehow :P], and their quite-thin nylon calf covering, I was worried by the reports of the new design roach pads having only mesh on the back… I pictured something stretchy, but the netting is quite beefy, looks very solid for a mesh. I do have a question for anyone who’s inspected/owned both designs: how thick was the cloth that covered the back before in comparison?

Anyway, I was headed down a moderately steep incline on my new 24xfireball_or_knobby_depending and got jostled as I was barrelling down, sending my left foot off the pedal and starting my right foot loose as well, as I hit a slight dip in the slope. The left pedal then proceeded to circle around a full rotation, and whack the back of my shin with the full force of my attempted backward fall, dragging the pad around my leg and toward the ankle, undoing one of the straps as it went, and me and the uni [the uni and myself?] landed in a heap at the bottom of the ravine.

What I’m left with is really more akin to taking a baseball to the quad, I think, than any of my previous unicycling injuries. I do have a healthy set of scrapes on the back of my leg, as much from the friction of the pad being dragged across my leg, as the pedal pins themselves, but from upper calf down to where the muscle leaves off and the tendons take over, it feels like I’ve been punched in the leg. It still hurts like heck when I’ve left my ankle still too long, and stretch it outside my normal range of motion, and I’m waiting for it to bruise up.

All of this the day we decided on a “take it easy” ride.

can’t win for losing,
John M

Re: The horror of being unable to fall.

On Thu, 5 Jun 2003, onewheeldave wrote:

> The horror of being unable to fall.

Yup. One of the reasons I’m not keen to learn coasting. I’ve only
ever had a few bad falls. One was learning gliding downhill where
I landed on my leg at a very strange angle. All the others have
been when trying to coast.

The problem is that you need to be perfectly balanced for coasting.
This then gets you into the situation you describe. Very unnerving.

If anyone has learnt coasting without coming across this problem, please
tell me how!

Cheers,

Stu

You could try practicing a suicide dismount*, which is where you try to get this happening on purpose. Maybe if you did that enough you’d get used to the feeling and better at landing safely when this happens.

  • Suicide Dismount - just ride along, quite fast and stick both legs out to the side so they’re clear of the pedals and keep it going until you fall off.

Joe

ps. Jumping from a uni onto a pogo stick is one of those tricks you’d only think up if you happened to be down the park with two unicycles and a pogo stick amongst your toys.

My worst unicycling injury was due to a UC (I like having all these initials that mean something. I feel like I’m ‘in’). I was riding across a road when I hit a patch of loose red rock*. It did something weird to my balance (I think it twisted the unicycle slightly) and before I knew it, I was laid out in the air Superman style. Unfortunately, I can’t fly. So my trip was relatively short and I landed on the ground and slid for a while. Since I wasn’t wearing any gloves, this didn’t yield pleasant results. My hands were tender for a few days, but unfortunately the scars healed so I don’t have any battle wounds.

*the ironic thing is that they put down the red rock to keep people from sliding when the ice covered the road. When the ice and snow melted, however, we were just left with a unicycling hazard.

yeah I have done that a few and backwards once when I was 180ing with out warming up it was bloody scary!
Ben

I did this yesterday.

I was at the end of a MUni trail, when I decided to dismount. I kicked both my legs out to the side expecting the Uni to come out in front. …and it didn’t

…well, eventually it did. Actually, it SHOT out in front of me forcefully striking a parked car with two passengers! The driver had this livid expression on her face until she saw there was no damage to her car. Only the rubber of the tire hit.

Ooops.

Re: The horror of being unable to fall.

I realize I’m quoting you from June of last year, but aren’t you the guy who was posting about never hurting your nads? :slight_smile:

If you were perfectly balanced on the uni, you would never fall. Unless you got scared and started moving your arms and legs in an attempt to protect yourself…? We are almost never balanced that well. Unintentional coasting is what happens when we don’t fall in the direction we’re expecting, and don’t fall the other way either!