Thoughts on my coker, after 100 miles of riding.

Well I’ve owned my used, remanufactured Coker for about 1.5 months now (thanks, Andrew, for selling it to me!) and had promised to post some feedback after I had it for a while. Last weekend I nudged the odometer over the 100 mile mark, so I guess it’s a good time to post. So far I have added my Cateye Enduro 8 cyclocomputer and an Odyssey A brake (using a Big Cheese Linear Brake Plate) to the Coker. I will be adding a handlebar set up sometime in the future.

So far I’ve done a total of 10 rides, for a total of 108.6 miles.
Longest ride was 18.56 miles with an avg speed of 9.3 mph.
Shortest ride was a hilly 5.56 mile ride with one killer hill.
Average speed varies from 8.2 mph to 10.6 mph.
Fastest avg speed (10.6 mph) was done on a flat “Rails To Trails” path on a 8.63 mile ride.
Best max speed was 20 mph and second best was 18.5 mph.
(I’m not totally sure the 20 mph really happened, but that’s what the odometer tells me.)
Typically, my max speed per ride is 12 – 15 mph.

Most enjoyable moments:
Learning to freemount only after a few attempts and feeling very comfortable mounting it after 10 minutes of practice.
Making it to the top of a big hill that I didn’t make on my first attempt.
Seeing people smile when I ride past them. This happens often.
Looking down on the world from the high saddle. (Slight ego trip here?)

Least enjoyable moments:
Getting sore and numb from the saddle.
Can’t seem to get rid of a slight lean to the left. I don’t know if it’s the Coker set up, me, or both.
Crashing at the end of the ride that pushed the odometer over 100 miles.
Having a bottle of water thrown at me from a passing car.

My most eventful ride was done this past Saturday. My goals for the day were to cover at least 5 miles so I could get the odometer over 100 miles. I also wanted to average over 10 mph for the ride. Most of the rides that start from my home have many hills. I wan’t feeling energetic that day, so I took the one route, an out and back ride, that didn’t have significant hills, just a few rolling hills. The ride started uneventful, just warming up and settling into the ride. As always, I am feeling a slight lean to the left. Bummer. I hope riding with other Coker riders in Tennessee next month will help me find a cure for this lean. I am conciously working on keeping my cadence a little faster than typical so I can be assured to have a 10+ avg speed.

About 1.5 miles into the ride, a compact green sedan comes up from behind. Most cars give me lots of room and are very considerate. This car stays close to me and then one of the passengers yells as they are right next to me. The yell startles me, but I do not waiver from my line. If appears that 3 youth are in the car. I think to myself, why do they do that? Is it worth the cheap thrill? Or maybe they don’t realize that it really is scary to have that happen to a person?

A few minutes later, the same car drives past me in the other direction. Yes there are 3 people in the car, probably 16 – 22 years old. Hmmm, maybe they had come down this road just to ride past me and yell and now they are going back to where they were headed. In another minute, a car overtakes me from behind and a plastic bottle of water is thrown out the window at me. If missed me by about a foot as the compact, green sedan dirves away. JERKS! It’s the same inconsiderate people. I’m choosing my words carefully here because I don’t want to stoop to their level of human interaction. It’s one thing to be a “natural jerk” and do something that startles a person, possibly not knowing that you are being inconsiderate. But now I have seen a planned and deliberate act of total disrespect for another person. I find myself wondering how I would react if they stopped and I had a chance to respond to their act. I don’t like the thoughts I am thinking and am glad they didn’t stop.

Another mile down the road I am stopped by a couple young men who need directions. They apologize for stopping me for directions and are very considerate and polite. I am thankful for these young men as they help me to keep a balance on the grumpy thoughts that still fill my head from the jerks in the green sedan.

I reach my turn around point and take a short saddle break. My avereage speed is over 10 mph. Yes! I hop back on and keep a brisk pace as I head back home. For the rest of this ride, I find myself watching the cars closer as they pass me. I feel a little paranoid that I might be the victim of another “jerk attack”. Nothing happens. Despite my sometimes negative thoughts, I am still enjoying the ride.

The last section of my ride is a deceptive little hill. It’s not a long or steep hill, but my wife (a bicyclist) and I have talked about how it always feels bigger than it looks. I settle in to my hill climbing pace and easily crest the top. I feel my legs are tired from the brisk ride and and then this hill at the end. I’m only .2 miles from the end of my ride and it happens. I am going down. I don’t know what happened, but I am being launched forward onto the road. I manage to get in two steps, but I feel my legs giving out with each step and I am still falling. (I surmise that a combination of the tired legs and the speed kept them from holding me up.) I am going down too fast to stop on my hands and feet, so as soon as my hands hit I started into a tuck and roll. I hear the distinct sound of the Coker bouncing on the pavement as I roll into the grass next to the road.

A quick assessment found a muddy knee but no injury, a small cut on my thumb and a a small cut on my wrist. I had on padded fingerless gloves, which I am sure helped prevent further injury. My back and shoulder felt fine, but I would later find minor abrasions on my back. I walked the last part of the ride as I sucked the blood of my thumb to keep it from getting on my clothes.

So this is how I celebrated my 100 miles of riding on my Coker! As a result of this crash, I am now a firm believer in gloves and am considering full fingered gloves. Helmet was on for the crash, but did not take any impact. I could have easily hit my head on this crash. Helmet will always be on for my road rides. I will be putting together a basic first aid kit to take on rides. If this crash had happened further away from home, a few bandages would have been nice to have.

If I ever attempt a speed run to see if I really did hit 20 mph for a max speed, I will also be wearing knee pads and forearm/elbow protection. I’ll probably wear my camelbak back pack for back protection in the event of a tuck and roll crash. I’d really like to know how fast I can go, but I REALLY don’t want to do a high speed crash. Especially when I consider what happened at a 10 or 11 mph crash. What to do, what to do?

I enjoy the Coker and am looking forward to more and longer rides. As a result of my crach, I have gained a new respect for the height and speed of the Coker. I am also more concerned about being around traffic on the Coker. A crash like mine, next to car would certainly add to the excitement!

Coker goals for this fall:
No more crashes.
30 mile ride.
Riding with other Cokers in Tennessee.
Get rid of that slight lean to the left.
Handlebars.
Get more comfortable with turning, especially slow, tight turns.
Upgrade to an Air Foil rim (probably a winter project)

I will post a link of my Coker brake and odometer set up soon. The internet connection today is very slow.

Up, up and away (description of mounting a Coker),

Bill

I just got a Coker recently too. I haven’t been able to do any real distance rides yet, only about 5-6 miles. I also run XC, though, so I have an excuse. (-:

As for those people in the car, all you have to do is find those people amusing. Wonder about what they think of unicyclists, and then think of what unicyclists really are. That makes this situation much better, neh?

Bill, nice writeup and welcome to the awesome world of Cokering. It’s sad that just as you’re starting out you already met up with some of those bottle-throwing types. I’ve been lucky so far. Generally people are pretty good to unicyclists all over. If you want to read a great story about unicycling and meeting great people, read Keith Cash’s story: http://www.unicycling.org/unicycling/tales/kcash.html

Happy riding,
Nathan

Billham,

Nice summary, and great to see someone else joining the ranks of distance fanatics. It’s addictive!

You raised a question on your max speed. Just a guess, but based on the rest of your stats the 18-20 mph reading may not be accurate. Even for people with many many hundreds of Coker miles, 20mph is approaching pants-soiling speed. If you were really there, I don’t think you’d have a question about it. I actually had a very similar experience with my Cateye Enduro, and double checked my 18 in a car to verify that “No, there was no way I was going that fast…”. Because the cyclometer records speed by measuring the intervals between “sensor readings” from the magnet, simple things like a botched mount or even a roll-back mount where the magnet passes the sensor first on the rollback, then immediately again on the pedal forward, can fool the computer into thinking you’re traveling faster. I used to have the Schwinn computer and never noticed this problem. Now I have the Cateye and notice it all the time. I think it is because the math that the Schwinn uses requires at least three revolutions before it determines a reading, whereas the Cateye may require only two. Hence the roll-back or idling can fool it.

Tip: when I’m doing a ride where I really want to track my max speed, I take care to remove the computer from its bracket anytime I’m mounting or pulling up to stop or dismount…basically any situation that might lead to a false reading. Kind of a hassle, but it works.

Ride on…

Tom

Bill, Looks like we are a pretty close in ridding time on our new Cokers(New to Us anyway.) I just wrote up my most recent ride in the What a Difference a Week can Make. thread.

You didn’t mention anything about your brake other than you have one. I am not a huge fan of mine yet, and when I didn’t have it I thought it would be a neccesity. I may find more need for it in the future. Of course some of the more advanced riders said to get rid of it. They should know.

I really don’t like comming off the Coker. It is a long way down, and you are usually going much faster. Some of my spills, have been quite spectacular. I must say the camelback is nice when you roll out of the fall.:smiley: I had my new phone in there on one of my falls and was sure I would be replacing it. I am going to buy a padded aluminum case to protect it for riding. I like your idea of putting a first aid kit in the Camelback too. I haven’t needed it yet, but better to have it and not need than the other way around. I usually have one in the Jeep/Van, which hasn’t been more than 2-3 miles away on any ride. I do plan some longer rides on the Silver Comet Trail in the near future. My goal/dream is 50 miles in one day. Twenty-five out and back seems possible.

The biggest issue I have is getting used to the seat for long periods of time. I need to learn how to stand up w/o using too much energy. If I try to stand long enough to let the blood flow to all the needed areas, my legs just about come off. I use way too much energy. I’ll figure it out eventually.

The worst part of it all is the constant desire to upgrade everything. I am having a lot of fun on the Coker the way it is, but I can see how some of these upgrades would increase the fun. In good time. Maybe I will make it a goal. Upgrade when I wear out the tire or hit 1,000 miles.:smiley:

Look forward to riding with everyone in a couple of weeks.

Nathan - The Keith Cash story is great. It boggles my mind to consider doing such a task. I often imagined doing it on a bicycle and even that is amazing to think about.

Tom - I mounted the magnet in a location that was least likely to pass the sensor accidentally. I avoided the location that would be common while mounting and in my favorite power position. But like you, I suspect and incorrect reading due to a Non-riding Double Sensor Pass. I believe that would be an NDSP. :slight_smile:

Bugman - I find the brake very useful for going down hills. I still find it a little touchy and I only use it enough to keep me from needing heavy pedal pressure to control my speed. I live in Southwestern PA and we have lots of serious hills. I could live without the brake, but it does a lot to save my legs on a downhill. One of the reasons I want an Air Foil rim is to have a truer wheel and a better braking surface. The chrome rim is hard to get true and has spots that tend to grab a little bit.

Bugman - Maybe we need to do the 50 miler together. While riding the 50, we’ll have plenty of time to plan our century!

So what is a common average speed for a 36er?

Bill

On flat ground you will be able to cruise at 10-15 mph depending on your fitness and comfort. I prefer about 12-13mph. Max speed of 18mph is fast, 20 is very fast. You would definitely know if you went 20 mph - I’ve done it a couple of times and it is very different from just riding fast (say 17mph).

—Nathan

I found braking on the 36er to be much more challenging than on my muni 24, so much so that for the first 100 miles or so I just renamed my brake handle the “Eject Lever”. I’ve gotten better at keeping it feathered to just the right pressure, although on steep descents–especially bumpy ones–I still have a challenge with hitting my brake hand with my thigh as I’m pedaling, which can lead to sudden loss of pressure :frowning: .

That’s a great write up and made me laugh out loud in places. Nice to see words like “surmise” used with a straight face. And only unicyclists use the Victorian term “bicyclist” so well done on that!

As for the 20 mph. Like you, I doubt it. I’ve had similar ghost readings on my Coker. My Coker only has a few hundred miles under its wheels - it takes a lot of 10 - 15 mile rides to add up. However, I spent several weeks in hard training against the clock last year and the highest max speed shown legitimately on my odometer was 16mph. (Depending on how it works, that could be anything from 15.51 mph to 16.99 mph, I suppose.) I did a fast ride the other day and it only showed 14mph max (13.51 - 14.99, depending).

What happens with a cycle computer is quite simple: the sensor passes the magnet, and the reed switch in the sensor clicks. A reed switch is just a thin springy piece of metal which makes or breaks a circuit. The magnet is enough to bend it, and it’s own springiness is enough to bend it back.

So, if you ride over anything corrugated (rough textured concrete, a rumble strip at the side of the road, a slatted bridge, etc.) it is possible for the vibration to rattle the reed a few times, quickly enough for the computer to “calculate” a completely bogus speed. It may only be for a few seconds, and make no significant difference to your distance recorded, or average speed, but it will fake a spectacular top speed for you.

20 mph is well fast on one wheel. :astonished:

Curious about the top speed of 20 mph (according to the Cateye computer), I did a few caluclations to see what I could theoretically do. As I ponder the possible injuries from a 17 – 20 mph crash, I may limit my speed trials to pencil and paper. They say that as you get older, you get wiser. Maybe this is wisdom that is telling me theoretical calculations are sufficient.

So you can correct me if I am wrong, here is how I arrived at the following numbers:
I have my odometer set at 280 mm which is 110.236” per wheel revolution.
63,360” per mile.

MPH X 63,360 inch/mile X 1 revolution/110.236” X 1 hour/60 minutes = RPM
63,360 inch/mile X 1 revolution/110.236” X 1 hour/60 minutes = 9.579
MPH X 9.579 (conversion factor) = RPM

MPH RPM
6 57
7 67
8 77
9 86
10 96
11 105
12 115
13 125
14 134
15 144
16 153
17 163
18 172
19 182
20 192
21 201
22 211
23 220
24 230

From back in my bicycling days, I would usually pedal at a cadence of 90 rpm. That would put me at a Coker cruising speed of 9 – 10 mph. This agrees with my stats listed on my first post for this thread. When I would try to spin as fast as I could on a bicycle trainer, I could hit 190 – 200 rpm pretty consistently. It was squirrelly, but I could do it. Since the Cateye cyclocomputer only takes 2 sensor passes to predict it’s speed (per Tom’s info), then theoretically I may have gone 20 mph on that ride. I can remember pedalling very quickly and pedalling even faster when I was falling forward a bit. I did fell like I was going fast. But of course, I am not sure how different it feels to pedal 190 rpm on a uni versus a bike. That was many, many years ago, have I slowed down a bit due to aging?

Bottom line is that I think I have the ability to hit 20 mph. Did I do it? I’m still not sure. Based on your feedback and experiences, probably not. Bummer. Will I ever find out? Now that is the million dollar question. Should I gear up and go for a speed run or should I call it wisdom to let the numbers do the talking? If I go for it and don’t crash, it feels good and I know for sure. If I go for it and crash…… well… was it really worth it? Maybe I’ll just go for the distance numbers. Impressive, yet safe. Well, safer.

Up, up and away!

Bill

You have inspired a vision for another competitive event. Charge up to the high bar on your 36er, lean back hard, slam on the brake and eject yourself up over the high bar. I’m estimating a possible bar height of 9 - 10 feet with a well timed roll over the bar. Sounds like you have the experience to win the competition. :stuck_out_tongue:

Bill

I did those same calculations in math class instead of the worksheet, I lost 10 points, but it was worth it.

I don’t own a coker, but I figured it out

The way to tell is to look down and see the cyclometer reading at the time :slight_smile: Actually since that is impossible at very high speeds, what you do is get used to looking down and seeing at a reasonable fast speed (say 16mph). After you really know what 16mph feels like, then you know when you go faster. If you go a little faster and the max speed registers as 17 or 17.5mph you can believe it. But if you know you only went a little faster and it says 19.5, then it is spurious. I think the fastest I’ve ever seen with my eye is around 18.8mph and that is scary.

If you have the cyclometer mounted down on the seatpost then this is really really hard to do. But with a GB4 handle it is possible to look down and read it at reasonably fast speeds. If I remember right, bending over to look at a cyclometer down on the seatpost is scary even at 10 or 12 mph.

—Nathan

The calculations are corect. Here is a previous thread and post that goes through the calculations to figure out the cadence on a Coker based on speed: Coker cadence calculation

The numbers in that thread came out to
RPM = MPH * 9.66

Or in round numbers that are easy to calculate in your head
RPM = MPH * 10
for a quick and dirty estimate of your cadence

Hey Bill,

Glad to hear your enjoying the uni, you’ve put much much much more miles on it then I have, and would have, so i’m glad I got rid of it.

About the leaning, I slightly remember one time noticing a lean on one of my unicycles, and I supposed that could be the one, so it may not be you. Have the experianced guys take a look at it and you’ll find out I guess, have fun on your ride.

Andrew

Currently I have my cyclometer on the back of my seatpost. So trying to read it is scary proposition.

Has anyone tried putting the GB4 handle on a KH seat?

I noticed that Nathan has an Aluminum GB4 handle, is this going to be a production part, special order, or one time deal? I could see the steel one being a little heavy.

Also since the KH seats are not as stiff, would it be better having the handle attach to the seatpost? Does this make it harder to balance?

My computer is on the seatpost and yes, it is scary to view it at any speed. When I put together a handlebar set up, it will include a mount for the computer that will allow viewing from an upright position.

If you fall when looking at your seatpost, do you land on your head or your back? :astonished:

Bill

Re: Thoughts on my coker, after 100 miles of riding.

Thanks for the write-up, a nice read for me as an aspirant Coker
rider.

On Tue, 24 Aug 2004 13:17:08 -0500, “billham” wrote:

>JERKS!

Indeed. Luckily they’re in the minority. (Well in your case it was 3
to 1, but I mean that most people are friendly.)

>I reach my turn around point and take a short saddle break. My avereage
>speed is over 10 mph. Yes! I hop back on and keep a brisk pace as I
>head back home.

That wording makes me wonder: do your average speed readings include
rest breaks, or are they ‘riding only’ averages?

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“The more you think, the less you have to do. - Leo Vandewoestijne”

Re: Re: Thoughts on my coker, after 100 miles of riding.

Klaas

Avg speeds mentioned above are for actual riding time. I also keep track of my total ride time (riding and break time). On the ride described above, I was off for a 1 minute saddle break and another 2 minutes off for giving directions. I keep my saddle breaks short, usually a minute or so. But if I see someone I know, I’ll stop to talk and take a longer break.

Here are a few stats with riding time and total ride time:
Miles - Riding time (hrs:min) - Total Ride Time (hrs:min)
15.32 - 1:38 - 2:15 (Had several social breaks)
18.56 - 1:59 - 2:10
7.38 - 0:49 - 1:00
7.01 - 0:40 - 0:43
5.56 - 0:40 - 0:40

Hope this helps. As I start to work toward long rides, I hope this data will help me to determine ride and break times.

Bill

… then land back on the uni. Now THAT would be impressive to see :sunglasses: