Tightrope riding?

Greetings all you one-wheeled fanatics,

I, personally, don’t ride a uni but my son does, as well as various others in
our juggling club. Don’t hold that against me, I do think I’ll be trying it some
day however, I digress.

One of the guys in our juggling club has come up with some questions I thought
could be answered in this newsgroup. Here they are:

  1. He wants to try riding his uni on, either, a slackrope or tightrope. Does
    anyone have any experience with this? Does one work better than the other? Is
    there a special tire or wheel to use for this? We were thinking that if you
    took off the tire and wrapped something like grip tape on it that that would
    help with keeping a good contact surface between the wheel and the rope.
    Anyone have any other ideas?

  2. How about solo, unsupported mounting on a giraffe uni? He just bought one
    last week and looks like he’ll be pretty comfortable with it. Right now he
    need some help getting up on it. Should he get himself a small stepladder?

I checked the faq and didn’t see anything there in reference to these questions
so I was hoping someone here could shed some light on them.

Thanks, Tim

You can post your answers here or via email if you prefer.
te2961s@acad.drake.edu

Re: Tightrope riding?

>
>Thanks for all the good info on mounting a giraffe so far. What I would really
>like to know though is how you keep from killing yourself while you are
>learning this mount?
>
>How do you fall so you don’t get banged up every time you try? What do you do
>if the mount fails? I can imagine lots of bruises and scrapes from trying this
>over and over and over.
>
>
>Andy Arhelger andya5@aol.com
>

Simple - learn how to fall.

You should almost always fall on your feet while learning to mount a giraffe,
even if you perhaps then crumple up onto the floor after. The main thing is to
absorb the impact of the fall from this small height. You should be physically
warmed-up before practicing, especially your knees. A bit of basic learning of
martial arts-style fall/rolls would come in handy too.

I used to do a non-unicycling trick where I shinned up a 12 foot bamboo pole,
balanced on end. Once at the top I couldn’t do much except fall over. You may
think that falling from 12 feet sounds dangerous, but I never had the slightest
risk of a problem - I bent my knees deeply and that was that. The thing was, and
this is true with a giraffe too, that I didn’t fall directly downwards, but in a
slow outward arc.

========================================================
Tim Sheppard tim@lilliput-p.win-uk.net Lilliput Press - Publisher of fine books
in miniature

Re: Tightrope riding?

I’ve never tried to ride a unicycle on a tightrope, but I sort of tried to ride
one on a balance beam. It was pretty painful to fall off one of those things on
a unicycle. I’m guessing that it’s a great deal more difficult on a tightrope
(or a slack rope). I’m not completely sure, but I think that riding in an
absolutely straight line (as opposed to a wobbly straight line) is pretty
difficult, but necessary to remain on balance on a wire.

There are probably a few books on the subject of what to do on unicycles. You
might want to check unicycling/juggling catalogs to check for any books.

Ken

Re: Tightrope riding?

te2961s@acad.drake.edu wrote:
: Greetings all you one-wheeled fanatics,

: 2. How about solo, unsupported mounting on a giraffe uni? He just bought one
: last week and looks like he’ll be pretty comfortable with it. Right now he
: need some help getting up on it. Should he get himself a small stepladder?

There are two way that I know to mount a giraffe. One is to put the crank
parallel with the frame, so one pedal is all the way down (let’s say the left
pedal is all the way down). Place your right foot on the tire so your toe kinda
sticks in the forks. Then to mount it you climb up the unicycle like it was a
ladder. Right foot on the tire, step up to left foot on the pedal, step up to
sit on the seat. This is the freestanding mount.

The other mount is the running mount. While holding the unicycle in front of
you, hand on the seat, wheel ahead of you on the ground, start to run forward.
Then you will need to work on getting the timing down of jumping off of one foot
and taking the other foot and jamming down on one of the moving pedals. This
should stop the unicycle and then catapult you into the air ontop of the
unicycle. This is definately the harder of the two mounts for me.

Well, have fun and good luck.

Jim Barlow jjbarlow@prairienet.org http://www.prairienet.org/~jjbarlow

Re: Tightrope riding?

te2961s@acad.drake.edu wrote:

: 2. How about solo, unsupported mounting on a giraffe uni? He just bought one
: last week and looks like he’ll be pretty comfortable with it. Right now he
: need some help getting up on it. Should he get himself a small stepladder?

: I checked the faq and didn’t see anything there in reference to these
questions
: so I was hoping someone here could shed some light on them.

There is a page on mounting the giraffe, but it is under the “Fun things to try
on the unicycle” section. Here it is:


                      MOUNTING A GIRAFFE UNICYCLE

1. Have the pedal on your strong side set at just off its lowest position,
   slightly forward, when the uni is also pointing forward slightly (10
   degrees?). This causes the uni wheel to move forward, and align itself
   vertically when pressure is applied to the bottom pedal.

2. Now place the 'weak' foot as high up the tyre as possible, half wedging
   it between the frame struts. Hold the seat at the front/side. (I held it
   with my weak side hand and never got round to trying it with the other.)
   This is the 'launch' position from which unfortunately it's a series of
   fluid movements that all happen rather quickly, so you'll just have to
   go for it.

3. Now's the time to visualise the rest of the moves. Think about climbing
   stairs fast. Your aim is to put your weight first on the tyre foot,
   quickly placing the other foot on the bottom pedal. As soon as you've got
   this foot on, all the weight goes on to it and you push up. Imagine your
   body moving in a straight line up, as though you had jets on your feet.
   The idea is to keep the uni straight up and not bend forward. As you push
   up on the pedal foot, it's surprisingly stable. That's not to say it _is_
   stable, just it's not as scary as it'd seem. Nearing the end of the push
   up, as with normal mounts, make sure the other foot gets on to the high
   pedal quickly. With the hand holding the seat, stuff it in and sit down
   as fast as possible. Give the pedals a kick and idle.

4. So the motion is: left foot on tyre (if you're that way round), right on
   the pedal, left on the pedal, seat in. Imagine this all happening, and
   you just being propelled upwards (straight back, uni vertical(ish)). It's
   important to look forward and not let the uni lean forward. Imagine how
   the weight is transferred. The weight transfers need to be more or less
   complete, not sharing. *left* *right* *backside*.

5. It really is quick, step-step-step-sit-idle, all in a half second. I
   found it very useful imagining I was climbing up a ladder with rungs set
   far apart.

Notes and Hints

It will be helpful to lower the seat. If your seat is high, its hard to get
your second leg over and you end up riding seat out front.

One annoying thing is when you have two feet on the pedals and the free hand
to comes along and offer its assistance by gripping the seat. Use one hand to
hold the front of the seat, and the other hand for balance.

You may wish to start out with the wheel against the curb so it could only
roll forward until you feel more comfortable with the start.

Speed is definately a key factor. Too slow and you’re down before you’re up.
_________________________________________________________________

Paul Makepeace <cpsm100@thor.cam.ac.uk> Doug Borngasser
<dborngas@sdcc3.ucsd.edu>

Edited by Beirne Konarski <bkonarsk@mcs.kent.edu>

Last modified: Sun May 28 10:01:19 EDT 1995


Beirne “Bern” Konarski | Unicycling Web Page: bkonarsk@mcs.kent.edu |
http://nimitz.mcs.kent.edu/~bkonarsk/ Kent State University | “Untouched by
Scandal” |

Re: Tightrope riding?

Tim Sheppard <tim@lilliput-p.win-uk.net> writes:

>>Thanks for all the good info on mounting a giraffe so far. What I would really
>>like to know though is how you keep from killing yourself while you are
>>learning this mount?
>>
>>How do you fall so you don’t get banged up every time you try? What do you do
>>if the mount fails? I can imagine lots of bruises and scrapes from trying this
>>over and over and over.
>>
>>
>>Andy Arhelger

One thing that no one has mentioned here (and maybe it’s not obvious) is the
fact that a “spotter” can be used for learning the giraffe the same as it is
used effectively on the standard unicycle. Have a sturdy friend stand in front
of the unicycle, facing you with arm extended straight and holding the frame
with their hand. You perform the “free” mount, as described earlier, by climbing
the cycle like a ladder. The spotter can eliminate most of the side-to-side
wiggles, so you can focus on your vertical ascent to the seat.

Once you are on top, the spotter can tighten his/her grip and lock the arm to
provide some stability, while you re-adjust your privates, realign your feet on
the pedals, straighten your back in-line with the frame, and take a moment to
relax after discovering how high off the ground you are!!! All joking aside,
this is a great “crutch” point that, if only I had thought to use a spotter, I
might have learned in 1/10 the time it took me to master the freemount.
Definitely a skill that has been admired by many, but relatively few people
have mastered.

Good luck and have fun,

David Winston winstond@delphi.com

Re: Tightrope riding?

Thanks for all the good info on mounting a giraffe so far. What I would really
like to know though is how you keep from killing yourself while you are learning
this mount?

How do you fall so you don’t get banged up every time you try? What do you do if
the mount fails? I can imagine lots of bruises and scrapes from trying this over
and over and over.

Andy Arhelger andya5@aol.com

Re: Tightrope…Giraffe

>How do you fall so you don’t get banged up every time you try? What do you do
>if the mount fails? I can imagine lots of bruises and scrapes from trying this
>over and over and over.
>
>
>Andy Arhelger andya5@aol.com

One you are comfortable just riding the giraffe, you should already know what it
is like to fall. I had already been riding for a long time before I bothered
with the unassisted free mount and have seen my share of falls. The front end of
your seat might get banged up a bit at first, but landing on your feet should
not be too hard. Remember to bend your knees when you hit to absorb the
increased shock. When the mount fails, first get your feet toward the ground and
if there is any time left try to remember to keep hold of the seat. Always
remember if its you or the unicycle, its cheaper and easier to fix the unicycle,
save yourself first.

 _ _ Doug Borngasser
(o)(o)             San Diego CA db db@ucsd.edu \__/ You know you're a
                   unicyclist when walking feels strange.