Unicycling - as easy as falling off a bike. (fwd)

Forwarded message:
> From bkonarsk@mcs.kent.edu Sun Sep 18 10:58:33 1994 Message-Id:
> <9409181458.AA13466@uqcspe.cs.uq.oz.au> To: unicycling
> Cc: julian@cs.uq.oz.au Subject: Unicycling - as easy as falling off a bike.
> Date: Mon, 19 Sep 94 00:58:11 +1000 From: Julian Orbach
> <julian@cs.uq.oz.au>

> 2) Is zig-zagging bad?
> At one stage I found I was continually accelerating until I fell off. I
> attempted to straighten up to slow down without luck. Soon I started to
> zig-zag fairly violently (around about 30 degrees from the direction I was
> heading); I find this checks my speed.
> Another learner here tends to keep the wheel fairly straight. Another is
> somewhere in between.
> Does anyone have any comments about the zig-zagging? Is it a bad thing that I
> should actively try to overcome? Is it something which will naturally wear
> off? Perhaps it is a positive thing, as I imagine someone zig-zagging would
> find it far easier to turn around? Do experienced unicyclists zig-zag?

Riding with your weight on the seat, rather than the pedals, elimanates a lot of
the zig-zagging. This takes some getting used to, since you have to fight
instinct, but it will make you a more stable rider.
> 3) How long is it all going to take?
> I think I have had an advantage over most learners; having read much of the
> archives, I have had a fair idea that unicycling was not going to be an easy
> task. Unlike juggling, which is often a lot easier than it looks (few people
> believe they themselves could be juggling 3 balls in well under an hour,)
> unicycling is much harder than it looks - several comments from first-timers
> have convinced me of that.
> Nevertheless, there were some disappointing periods where I (and others)
> seemed to make little progress. I think the FAQ should do its best to warn
> people "Unicycling is tricky. Learning to unicycle takes roughly <x> hours to
> learn to do the basic manouevres. Don’t give up!"

As FAQ editor, I’ll comment here. I have looked for the same kind of numbers in
other writings, and have not seen anything definitive. I have seen learning
times vary in my personal experience. It took me two weeks, but I have taught
others in 5 hours or less. I probably should add the question “How long will it
take me to learn”, and explain this somewhat. Unfortunately I won’t be able to
give a single time amount.

Regarding the disappointing periods, I find that learning goes something
like this:

  1.  Extreme awkwardness
  2.  Enough stability to move
  3.  Ability to let go and go a few pedals.
  4.  A long period with no apparent process.
  5.  Breakthrough rides of 30 revolutions or more.
  6.  Consistent longer riding.

Level 4 is the most frustrating. I have a hunch you really are learning during
this time, but its completion can be hastened by determining the cause of the
falls and applying a solution. The trick is knowing what to look for, and
sometimes I have been successful and sometimes not.


Beirne Konarski | Subscribe to the Unicycling Mailing List bkonarsk@mcs.kent.edu
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