trying to reconcile with my Coker

I have had a Coker for two years… and it’s mileage is very low.

all started when I smashed an Achille’s tendon while failing a freemount.
I was out for 8 months
then last year I was out again with persisting problems to BOTH achille’s tendons.

So Mirza my Coker is getting bored on its rack…

This year things are getting better… I’ve no problems with my 29er. So it was about time to restart Cokering…
On saturday I trained for freemounts: it was near perfect on my 29er then I tried on the Coker and after some tries it was ok! I did freemounts and short runs on a forest trail.

Today WAS the big day: I took Mirza on a bike trail in the woods … I felt I could do all the 30 km of it: I am in physical shape and everything is ok.
weather is fine: not too hot (I hate heat!)
I flex my muscles and drink…

At the start of the trail there are people (I am shy to perform tricks when people stare at me)… I succeed my first freemount! and go!

something is amiss: I am wobbling in an unusual manner, I cannot control the beast. 1km and UPD.
no problem let’s start again.
miss first freemount, then another, then another…
breathe , relax, have another try
I miss 31 freemounts in a row :angry: !!!
I am sweating like mad, my heart pounding but I know I am not going to give up…
then success …
The Coker is still wobbling… 6.5 km from the starting point I stop then realise that the bolts of my KH seat are loose I have all the tools I want …except the proper one!
I decide to go back, still wobbling. then I overcome a group of cyclists from a club and ask them for a tool: hurra they’ve got one! I fix my saddle. and start again … while the group applause.
And so it goes: the magic of Cokering thru the woods the group of cyclist is chasing me but I keep the pace, it’s fantastic! now I am back to my starting point: one hour and a half for a 13 km ride- bad but why care?- it’s noon, the heat is bad.

I am happy: no doubt Cokering is back. I flex again and I decide to go home and have another try in the evening when the weather turns cooler.
Then in the evening I feel my achille’s tendons and hear the doctor’s voice “if you fall when your tendons ache this way one may snap”

so Mirza is back to its rack… I feel like crying

bear in despair

Whoah! It is not worth snapping a tendon.

I read that write up and thought, here’s a rider trying too much too soon - and I write as one who knows.

Failing to freemount a Coker is exhausting, demoralising and sometimes humiliating. I’ve been there. The way to ride a Coker is with as few dismounts as possible.

The first step to being confident at freemounting a Coker is to become confident at riding it slowly. More than any other uni, the Coker takes some starting from a standstill. Getting on top is fairly easy. Starting it rolling is more of a challenge.

Until you are very good at freemounting, make it easy for yourself by riding only on hard smooth surfaces. Gradually introduce bits of rough ground. Don’t go for flat out speed all the time. It takes skill, but does not teach you complete control of the machine - and a fall will hurt you a lot.

The Coker is a very special machine to ride, but you need to develop your relationship with it over hundreds of miles, starting with rides of 5 - 10 miles or so, and building up gradually.

And this sport is way too much fun to put yourself out of it for months by damaging a tendon.

Take care.

I also have problems with an old inflammation in the achilles which I got from persistent biking a few years back. It won’t heal completely. Every time I Coker the darn thing becomes tender and sore.

I am going to do three things in order to make life easier for my heel. First reducing the rotating mass of the wheel thus making it lighter (changing from stock Coker gears to airfoil rim and 29" tube). Then I will use shorter cranks (going from 150 mm to 125). A smaller pedalling circle will be less strenous unless I push very hard. Lastly I will learn how to free mount with my sloppy left leg. Using both legs in turns will reduce the wear and tear of my right foot by 50 %.

As Mikefule says: Keep at it, but in small doses :slight_smile:

maybe some stretching. I don’t know. Keep Cokering but take it easy.

QUICK dont hurt yourself… give me your coker :smiley:


Re: trying to reconcile with my Coker

On Sun, 3 Jul 2005 14:42:40 -0500, “goldenchicken II” wrote:

>Then I
>will use shorter cranks (going from 150 mm to 125). A smaller pedalling
>circle will be less strenous unless I push very hard.

That will indeed reduce rotating mass a bit but I doubt it’s a good
idea. It will probably INCREASE the average stress on your Achilles
tendons since the required forces to maintain balance will generally
be larger.

Bear, that’s awful. But indeed heed your doctor’s advice and take it

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“As with all great social movements, the origins of mountain unicycling are unclear. - Hannah Nordhaus (Los Angeles Times)”

Re: Re: trying to reconcile with my Coker

In road cycling it is the large number of revolutions that kills my achilles (it works the same on a bike). If I don’t freemount or idle there is no heavy load on the foot while riding flatland. When it comes to Muni or other technical riding I agree that shorter cranks would put more strain on the heel.

It could be worth seeing a sports physiotherapist. Doctors just say “don’t do it” while a physio will say “do these exercises to help improve things in the long term”, and offer additional advice on taking it easy/stopping temporarily.
I had exactly that with my knee ligament problems.

I had achilles pain for months from jogging. I got advice from several experienced runners I know. (Don’t miss the distinction I’ve made between my “jogging” and their “running”.) My friend Pam said that every morning when I woke up I was re-tearing the little micro-tears. In fact, I was retearing them every time I stretched in an effort to correct the situation. Every time I walked away from bed in the a.m.

Solutution: Every morning, as soon as my eyes opened but while still in bed (before the foot hits the floor), rotate the foot around so as to loosen things. Her PT actually says “draw the alphabet with your big toe”. This gets a full range of motion and takes long enough to be effective. Don’t take shortcuts. A…B…C…D…E…F… Caps and/or lower case. Print and/or cursive.

Specific to Cokering: I might suggest moving your pedal more to the middle of your foot. More under the arch. Moving the point of force closer to the pivot point (ankle) should relieve some of the stress. You will be using less calf muscle and more thigh muscle. In theory, you could ride this way with a motion arresting splint on your ankle. (not recommended). Bikers clip in at the ball of the foot. Runners launch from that same spot. But you have a little adjusting that you can perform (unless you use straps or clips on those Coker pedals… :astonished: )

And take it easy. Flatter paved rides for a while. There are times while Cokering that it hardly feels like much effort. Like magic. Floating while the Beast does all the work. But on hills and twisty spots I can see where it would be tough on a tender tendon.

The alphabet advice worked pretty good for me. Every morning for months I had been re-injuring myself. Oh, and ice. Use ice after the ride.

I think a trip to the physiotherapist as mikepenton suggests is a real good idea. I’ve gotten similar “don’t do it” advice from Docs. It is sound advice. Lay off for a year or two. NOT!

Quite often the preventative for Achilles tendon problems is pre-activity stretching, coupled with anti-inflammatories. However, your sports doctor is the expert.

If the Coker is the initiator, why not stick with the 29er for a while, then try again?

I’m not sure how you come up with that conclusion, Klaas.

The centre of the balance envelope (or thereabouts) is the place where riding forwards at a steady speed requires no more than a very gentle and very predictacle power input, supplied via the leg, feet, pedals, cranks, wheel system. In real life unicycling, however, the rider tends to get away from the centre of the balance envelope every now and then. Let’s talk about fore-aft balance only. In that case one will need to ‘correct’ the location of the wheel, i.e. bring it back under the ‘centre of gravity’, against the direction that it ‘wants’ to go. Note that gravity (and inertia, to some extent) wants the wheel to shoot to the direction that it already has gone a bit. With shorter cranks and hence a smaller crank/wheel ratio, one needs more force on the pedal to overcome this natural gravity-driven tendency and exert the correction, when compared to longer cranks. Because of the usual placement of the foot on the pedal, a downward force applied to the pedal will tend to bend the ankle, i.e. point the foot upwards (rendering the whole correction movement less effective, as well as overly stretching the Achilles). The way the rider counteract this bending tendency is to tension the Achilles tendon more. A larger required force on the pedal, as is the case with shorter cranks, will therefore mean more tension (stress) in the Achilles tendon.

That was wordy but it should be clear.

Klaas Bil

Ok, Klaas. I thought you were saying that lightening the wheel will increase the forces, but in fact they would decrease with a lighter wheel. Shortening the cranks would increase the forces until the rider adapted to the new length and was able to anticipate and correct with subtlety.

Another thing to think about is side pressure on your Achilles. If your shoe is exerting pressure on that tendon it can cause problems. It may be necessary to change shoe type.

thanx for your replies

thanx to all who replied.
(I started to draw an alphabet every morning)

my analysis after that:

  • Uniing is not the sole cause (I tried this year to stop uni and nonetheless had tendon troubles). Being an hypertonic and stressed person is part of the problem. There may be another cause but I’ll have to wait to prove that…
  • Uniing aggravates the problem because of some quick tensions when I try to regain balance. Those happen mostly on rough terrains (even with a 20") and on a Coker (heavy wheel and shocks). Though I always had the pedals under the arch these tensions put stress on my tendons : the 29 er being far lighter I seldom feel shocks.
  • I have to change (again) my freemount method on the Coker … rythm (no hurry) might be part of the solution + overcoming fear of Coker freemounting.