UPD experiences on Cokers

I read over and over again how fast, faster and fastest you can speed on a Coker.
I just got my Coker but have not ridden it yet(anti-rust chemicals dry for few days).
The idea of UPD while doing 15-20mph is making me nervous.
I even went out yesterday and got a helmet, wristpads, elbowpads, kneepads, and leather gloves for good measure.

My questions:
Can you Coker riders share your UPD stories on a Coker?
In an event of UPD, it is better to tumble/jump off your uni or brace for impact(like a tree or parked car)?

Also have you taco’ed your Coker after a UPD?


The only bad UPD I’ve had on a Coker is when I went off about a one foot drop and my foot came off the pedal, some other stuff happened, and I hit the ground pretty hard. I was going, eh, 10 mph or so, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. but I scraped my elbow, and smacked my head on the ground kinda hard, which is why I was wearing a helmet :wink:

Re: UPD experiences on Cokers

I have had my fair share of high-speed Coker UPD’s. The most dramatic one was probably when I was taken out by a cab door when a passenger swung the door open just as I was passing (it was totally my fault). I did about a 10ft - 15ft. Superman about 5ft. above the surface of 6th Ave. Onlookers were pretty horrified.

The most common cause of my UPD’s is usually hitting a fairly major depression in the road (not a pot hole, which can be seen fairly easily) at high speed (usually at night). I think you’re usually way more likely to have a forward UPD than a backward UPD.

Regarding, the best approach to handle a UPD… from my experience, I would recommend the following:

As soon as you realize you’re going down… get both feet off the pedals. You don’t want to get in a situation where you get one leg caught up or you start doing some accidental gliding (I think it’s gliding… I always get gliding and coasting mixed-up… anyway it’s whichever involves having no feet on the wheel)… because then it’s real easy to have a nasty UPD (and you could easily wind up falling off backwards, too).

You’ll most likely land on your feet initially, so if it’s possible to run it out, that’s your best bet. If it’s not possible to run it out, then absorb as much impact as you can with your legs and then tuck and roll. You may have to absorb some impact, with your hands too, so be sure to have a good pair of wrist protectors (in addition to the other protective gear you mentioned). I like the Harbinger wrist guards.

I’ve never tacoed a rim from a UPD, though I have cracked seats and bent cranks and/or pedals (don’t remember which it was) and cracked a few front seat handles off the seat, too (it’s a good idea to have a spare one).

Best of luck… and enjoy your Coker. Welcome to the tribe :D!

Peter, there are very few ppl who ride a Coker like I do, and even fewer who ride like Andrew. We both ride on streets and on sidewalks – almost exclusively “city riding” – the only difference being that Andrew rides even more sharply around curves than most humans. Because of his longer cranks, he can also make tighter turns, the downside being that he got ‘doored’ (as he noted) in a position where I would have already hopped off. He really makes it look like he’s riding a 24" uni the way he moves.

I’ve put in 4000 miles on my Coker, most of it with 110m cranks. I recently switched to 125s, and the difference was striking. I’d recommend you stick with the stock cranks (150s?) for quite some time. It can take about 500-1000 miles to get used to a shorter sized crank, depending on rider as well as riding conditions.

As for UPDs, Andrew is totally right. He really nailed the essentials, which are:

  1. Most UPDs cause you to fall off forwards and occur because you’ve hit a small depression. Occ’ly they happen bc you’ve hit a small rise in the road (this happened to me two weeks ago).
  2. The danger isn’t UPDs in general – it’s the gliding thing. So DO take your legs off and attempt to land both-footed, absorbing the impact with your legs before rolling it out (if you can’t just run it out).
  3. Wear a helmet for sure and 2nd-most important: wrist guards. The other stuff is fine, but I don’t wear anything but those two items. Shin guards are prolly more important than knee pads, at least for me. I’ve never hurt my knees badly but have scraped up my shins and calves pretty badly.

My recent accident caused me to lurch forward as I lost my balance, glide momotarily, and then slide one-handed on the asphalt. I cut up my hand pretty badly at the heel – woulda been fine had I remembered the wrist guards – and scraped my calf a bit on one leg.

The other thing is this: You’re going to have UPDs and will learn how to handle them just as you’ve always done on smaller wheels. It takes some getting used to, but you’ll be fine. Staying alert at all times will really minimize UPDs. Eating sushi, talking on the mobile, and otherwise distracting yourself can really cause problems, as can causing yourself to have to pay att’n to too many things at once. The reason I fell recently is that I had to pay more att’n to the cars that might have been turning thru my lane than I could to the bumps on the road.

Learning your route will really help, too.

Best of luck!

I wouldn’t worry about the 15-20 mph UPD for awhile;) You’ll probably start out riding 8-10 mph comfortabley. I believe the inherrent danger on a Coker is a combination of the speed plus the higher saddle distance from the groun. I’ve been able to “run out” of most of my Coker UPD’s. The few instances where I was going to fast to run out, I’d end up falling and automatically rolling. So far, my Coker spills have been injury free. Good luck and enjoy the beast. :smiley:

After reading HardcoreCokerRider and David_Stone’s UPD experiences, I should sell the new Coker and go back to my old safer sport of Hang gliding.

Actually, I think I’ve sustained more injuries on my Coker than flying my hang glider… so you may be right! Don’t sell the Coker, though… that custom machine you built is way too beautiful too part with and you’ll miss riding it (if you absolutely must part with it… let me know, however - I want first dibs)! Just manage the risk… the same way you do when you go hang gliding… though I guess those strong, impenetrable headwinds can sneek up on you the same way cab doors sneek out on me. I watch out for them now with vigilance, though… probably the same way you’ll be studying the weather conditions when you get back into hang gliding!

I’m planning to fly my Demon at Ellenville May 14th (if the weather cooperates) for the first time this year. Let me know if you want to meet me there some time.

[I need a new harness with/chute, so if you know anyone who has a pod-type harness/chute for a good price, let me know. Also… sorry I haven’t responded to your last PM yet… I have a tendency to forget about PMs, since I use my email almost exclusively… but now that I remembered that I never got back to you, I’m going to respond this weekend]

Forget UPD’s- when you are riding at Coker speeds- you need to think like a Bicyclist, not a Unicyclist. If you rode a bike and tried to visualise how you’d disentangle yourself from it if you were going to fall off at say, 40km/h- you’d never go anywhere fast.

Only advice for riding a Coker- dont’ fall off! That means looking well ahead, anticipating obstacles/road surface/turns etc etc. And stay relaxed, most falls happen when you are too tense.

This is a lot like telling a pregnant woman being told labor horror stories before going into labor. Not a real good idea. Just ride it and have fun. Try more difficult stuff as your skills improve.

Two quibbles:

  1. Bicyclists have handle bars and other gear that make spills really dangerous. It’s easier to fall safely off a uni than a bike, at least in the forward or backward direction.
  2. Most falls happen when you’re not paying att’n to one or more of the prevailing conditions (road surface, traffic, etc). Being too tense isn’t a good idea, but most uni’ists have to worry about being too lax.

Gizmo is totally right about the importance of looking well ahead and avoiding problems before they happen. One thing I tell ppl all the time is that Cokering is like driving a truck: You have to plan your turns and stops (and decelerations) well in advance.

One more thing: If you sense you MAY lose control, you’ll find yourself jumping off (uni in back) in order to avoid a bad fall before it happens. Do NOT try jumping off with the Coker in front – that can cause those nasty glides and can also lead to other disasters (like having the uni zoom into traffic).

Thanks David,

The point I was trying to get across is that you should NEVER fall either your bike or your unicycle when you are going faster than you can run! That means being in control and anticipating what is ahead.

I have to disagree about being too lax. I think if you want to be able to compensate quickly to anything that might throw you off balance, you have to be relaxed. If you’re too tense then when you hit a bump not only will your muscles react slower, it also magnifies the bump. And it makes you wobble from side to side when peddling really fast.

What Krashin Kenny said.

Don’t worry about going 15-20 mph, b/c you won’t be doing that unless you’re flying down a hill. You’re more likely to roll along at 8-10 mph, just enough to get a little air going by your ears.

I’ve been riding my coker all around campus, even during the night. The night part is tricky b/c you won’t see a pothole, and then you’re trying to recover. Even when the uni flies out from under me, I simply run out of the fall. You can probably run at least 16mph, so it’s not a big deal until you start going faster than that. :slight_smile:

What are you talking about?!?! I can easly get above 17 on flats. I’ve only fell a few times, but when I do, I don’t think about my self. I keep thinking, “I hope my cokers ok, I hope my cokers ok!” One time I could hardly walk because I fell on my left hip, but I was still more worried about my coker.

Right. I guess by “lax” I was talking about being asleep at the wheel.

And another point we might as well make: You should generally be riding with good posture. Slump too far forward as you ride and you won’t be able to lean forward to compensate when you hit a bump and get pitched forward a bit. When I ride ‘normal’ pace (12-15mph), I sit up straight but comfortably. When I race downhill (or on a nice long, smooth flat), I occ’ly hit speeds I really couldn’t outrun. At those times, I’m always in a slight forward lean and in a ‘ready’ position. I also have an extention, which is a great thing to have for that little extra control you somex need.

My fastest bad UPD happened on a bumpy street at night. I fell both forwards AND backwards and mysteriously broke the PDA in my butt bag AND scraped my knees, shins, and palms. It still eludes me how I managed it.

My worst UPD was actually off a 29" uni when the tire exploded (this was last year). I rolled it out and popped right up, but I later realized I’d hit my wrist really hard right as I started the roll. It took many months to heal completely. This UPD caused my heel to hit REALLY hard (I’d guess 15mph), and my heel was bruised for a few months. That’s a significant area of injury to consider. It might be a good idea to ensure that your sneaks have good soles esp in the heel. You can def’ly damage your heels on those UPDs where you have to run it out.

The Coker UPD I had today was triggered by a small patch of hardpack that got a little too wet in yesterday’s rain. I was riding along just fine at about 12-14 MPH when my wheel hit the layer of soft mud and sunk in a bit. The sudden deceleration of the wheel cause me to get thrown off. I went from riding to running in a split second. It felt a lot like jumping on a tread mill while it’s already moving.

This UPD went a whole lot better them my last one. The last time, I was going much slower, but my pedals gripped my shoes a little too well and I supermaned. My wrists were spared because Scot Cooper was wise enough to make me wear a pair of wrist sliders. My knee was slightly less fortunate.

This is another one of those times where having a brake can come in handy. I’ve only tried it a couple times, but if you find yourself suddenly in a situation where you know you want OFF of the Coker, a quick tug turns your brake lever into an “Eject Lever” and off you go frontwards in a semi-planned flight.

Of course, the landing will still be improvised…

my recommendation for aggresive coker riders is get a good pair of shoes(vans) with the proper soles And pair them up with a sticky pair of platform pedals with pins. I find that when my feet stay on the pedals even during unexpected bumps or dips in the road or trail I have a much bettter chance to recover than I did with a normal pair of hard soled shoes or plastic pedals. Not to say that it wouldnt be a little more difficult to dismount unexpectedly, but overall they have worked wonders for me.

The rest of the recommendations were all very helpful.

I ride on and off road 5-7 mile a day(very aggressive). Almost all injuries have been before I discovered those two very important products, Vans and the proper platform pedals(many available).

So far they have made my riding safer and more enjoyable.

Never get rid a coker before you’ve experianced it.

There is no better ride than a coker once you master it. Nothing!

Have fun!!!


Re: UPD experiences on Cokers

I’m not a very good tumbler, but I have seen it, and it is awesome. People pop back to their feet ready to go after hitting concrete. It’s worth learning and practicing, I think.

The Harbinger wrist guards are worth getting. My fastest crash has been at 12 mph, which I personally could not run out of (at least at that time). I wore another cm or so off my wrist guards sliding on the pavement. Protection without the hard plastic sliders would catch on the ground and produce much more damaging results.

I couldn’t taco my Coker if I tried. :smiley:

Re: Re: UPD experiences on Cokers

And, just why is that? (As if we didn’t know):smiley:

I’d say that here is a good place for me to announce my recent cat ass trophy on my Coker (with a new Un-Taco-able Stockton wheel), last week (4-28-5), while I was on my way to work, at 11:20 PM, when Marvin, the Coker, reminded me who’s boss. I came in for a multi-point landing on my left side with my arm stretched out above my head. As sometimes happens, there was just no time to try to run out or tumble (hey, Dave, not this time). I sustained two fractures just outboard of my left shoulder, one horizontal, and one vertical. Luckily I’ll not require a pin, but will be totally incapacitated for at least two more weeks. I’d probably have a shattered wrist, too, if not for my wrist protection, where there was a minor mark.

On a scale of 1 –10, 1 being no pain and 10 being maximum imaginable pain (as they say in the ER), I’ve managed to hit about 25 several times, so my scale has been revised. When your entire universe is pain, you know you’re hurt.

Been sleeping in a recliner since, can’t lie down on a bed, much to painful getting there. Sitting and getting back up are interesting, too – keep your back exactly vertical.

Nellfurtiti has, of course, been disdainful of anything not cat related and still insists on being feed on time, no excuses, although early would be OK. She does, however, appreciate the increased available lap time.

Wow, sorry to hear that, Brian. That pavement is hard! If you need any assistance from East Connecticut, please don’t hesitate to call.