Trials on railroad rails

In reading through the, inevitably very small, sections on unicycles and unicycling in various books on bicycling and cycling (in general) there is virtually always a comment on what can not be done or is prohibitively difficult to do on a unicycle. Many of these comments have in recent years been proven false.

However, in the book “Unicycling: from beginner to expert” by Sebastian Hoeher is this quote:

“Unicycling on railway tracks is a pointless exercise and inevitably results in a fall because to do it without even the tiniest side-to-side rolling movement is impossible” - pg 159 (English edition)

By “railway tracks” I suppose that he means the narrow rails. He makes this statement in a section on the physics of unicycles.

Has anyone tried this and succeeded or are track rails really too narrow?

PLEASE DON’T GET YOURSELF HIT BY A TRAIN TRYING THIS.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

I’m sure someone has attempted it but what is inherently more difficult I would think is riding along the top rails of fences and handrails, which many of us have seen performed.

How long ago was the statement written, Raphael? Is this part of your unicycle research or history project? How’s it coming?

Bruce

I guess handrails are as narrow or narrower than railroad rails, so that’s pretty interesting.

The English language version of the book came out in 1994.

The Coker article has stalled, unfortunately. However, I am actively working on the OOW indexing project that John Foss referred to in his post (http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20710&highlight=daniels) on the transfer of power in the USA. As with all things that we WANT to be doing, life, it seems, intrudes.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

My wife will tell you that one of my famous (famous within the bounds of my little circle of life, that is) sayings is, “This working for a living thing really gets in the way of life!”

Bruce

Last year I tired it at some tracks by my house that never got used, and I was able to make it about 10-15 revs on good tries. So it is possible, because I am not very good at riding thin obsticles.

Was the author of this book aware of trials unicycling, or was he just commenting on “general” unicycling. Riding the rails on a freestyle uni with the narrow tire would be near impossible, I’m sure. But if you try it out with a 2.5" wide trials tire or a 3" wide MUni, its going to be much more feasible.

An excellent question. The book was written in 1991 (original German edition) and I have no real idea exactly what the state of unicycling was at the time, i.e. the extent to which riders were doing off-road and trials activities. My guess is that Herr Hoeher was probably not aware of or concerned with other than normal riding for short distance transportation and free-style type riding. The closest to anything that would be applied to off-road skills discussed in the book is hopping up and down stairs. (There’s a great photo of a fellow named Gerd Waree hopping down stairs while skipping rope - http://www.musik-route.de/show-Kue/gwaree/gwaree_2.htm - he’s a performer but I’d be willing to bet that if he were to involve himself in organized competitive sport unicycling that he would hands down beat any of the current rope skipping while idling records.)

So, in response to your question, I suspect not but don’t know for sure.

Has anyone on this group ever met Sebastian Hoeher? Does he attend European unicycling events or has he ever been to a UNICON? I’ve emailed him and he has responded and seems pleasant, friendly, and willing to answer questions.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Re: Trials on railroad rails

>However, in the book “Unicycling: from beginner to
>expert” by Sebastian Hoeher is this quote:
>
>
>“Unicycling on railway tracks is a pointless
>exercise and inevitably results in a fall because
>to do it without even the tiniest side-to-side
>rolling movement is impossible” - pg 159 (English
>edition)
>
>By “railway tracks” I suppose that he means the
>narrow rails. He makes this statement in a section
>on the physics of unicycles.

The German text refers to unicycling in tram tracks; the kind of tracks that form a 5cm groove in the street and is used for trams/streetcars. Hoeher says that it’s not possible to ride in this groove because the tyre cannot move in a rolling motion like it does when you just ride on plain ground.

Regards,
Juergen

Re: Re: Trials on railroad rails

Thanks for the clarification, Juergen. Indeed riding within a groove and atop a rail are quite different. And it just goes to show what a tricky affair translation can be.

It remains to be seen whether anyone will dispute this (newly understood by the non-German speaking unicycling community) claim, but it’s nice to know exactly what he was talking about.

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Re: Trials on railroad rails

That sounds similar to my similarly famous saying: “Being unemployed is
great! Except for the lack of income part. :-(”

-mg

“yoopers” <yoopers.d31vm@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message
news:yoopers.d31vm@timelimit.unicyclist.com
>
> JJuggle wrote:
> > As with all things that we WANT to be doing, life, it seems,
> > intrudes.

>
>
> My wife will tell you that one of my famous (famous within the bounds of
> my little circle of life, that is) sayings is, “This working for a
> living thing really gets in the way of life!”
>
> Bruce
>
>
> –
> yoopers - Bruce & Mary Edwards
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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> View this thread: http://www.unicyclist.com/thread/21241
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