vision and unicycling

I’m a beginner - 56 year old male. Been riding on a rails-to-trails bike path. Basically a bunch of long straight, flat stretches. When I’m passing people who are walking or biking going in the other direction it isn’t unusual for me to suddenly dismount (not by choice…) It occurred to me that I’m at a stage where I need to have better full vision. This would allow me to be more relaxed as people pass by. Do any of you more experienced riders have some advice about vision? Tomorrow when I ride I’m going to play with looking farther into the distance, and then playing with my peripheral vision, and then playing with looking right, then left. Just getting out of the 10 foot bubble that perhaps I’ve been riding in…

I know what you mean. I used to put it down to being distracted and losing concentration, you put it down to trying to relax by having better vision - it amounts to the same thing.

I think what it comes down to is just a need to be more secure and comfortable on the unicycle i.e balanced. If you are on the verge of losing your balance all the time it takes very little to put you off and result in a UPD - like suddenly becoming self conscious because you’re being watched.

You started by saying you are a beginner. Unicycling is difficult, if it was easy everyone would be doing it, hang in there.

Who wouldn’t be? Is it possible to feel so secure that one would never be on the verge of losing one’s balance no matter what terrain one is riding on?

I think unicycling is precisely ABOUT being on the verge of losing one’s balance. Otherwise, it would not be unicycling but something else.

You know what they say, a properly ridden unicycle is like an object in orbit; constantly falling but never landing.

this will work itself out on its own. i wouldn’t worry too much about it, just the trials and tribulations of a new rider

It’s because when you go to pass the person, your senses heighten because you do not want to crash into them. This makes you over-think your riding. As a result, you crash.

Try to be calm and confident. I just try to ride past whatever obstacle, I know that if I mess up, I can usually dismount and make it look intentional :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=Dane M;1470912 if I mess up, I can usually dismount and make it look intentional :)[/QUOTE]

Yupyupyup. True story. There is no falsifying this man’s words. These are the words every good unicyclist lives by.

Oh, messed up the quote. I, uhhhhh… did that on purpose.

I am also 56 and ride rails to trails. I started about about 5 months ago and have a 29er. I also had the same fears. I notice though that most people get out of my way when they see me coming. I always wear protective gear and have never crashed into anyone. I try to ride when the trail is used the least. I never look down at my feet and look at least 30 yds ahead or more.

Mike Adams

If you want more space on the trail, just ride in a wavering line and make lots of arm movements. Extra space is guaranteed from anyone that’s paying attention! :slight_smile:

I can’t comment on the vision thing, since I’ve been riding since age 17 and have only had to resort to using reading glasses in the last few years; outdoors I’m still fine.

Thanks for all the advice. I think I need to just keep riding. This morning there was only one other person out. A bicyclist who came up from behind. He said “On the left!” and then after he passed me I heard “Good job!” or something to that effect. I said “thanks” and then about 20 seconds later I dropped down. I had to laugh to myself. This time it wasn’t what I was seeing, but what my mind was doing. I’m at the stage where I’m riding quite comfortably - at least from where I was a month ago - but distractions like other people are an adventure. I need to ride when more people are out so I get used to seeing them. Practice, practice, practice. :slight_smile:

It’s not even so much that you need to ride around other people more, it’s just that you need to ride more in general. The more you ride, the less and less you think about your riding. But dodging pedestrians IS great practice. I love riding my 29 around busy pedestrian areas. Not so comfortable doing that on my 36 though :slight_smile:

White Belt Syndrom

I was experiencing pretty much the same thing the first several months I was riding XC trails similar to what you described early this year. Just being conscious of people passing me made me UPD like 75% of the time. Now after several more months of riding trails several times a week, it happens maybe 10% of the time. My skills and confidence have improved enough through frequent practice so that when someone is coming up to pass me going either direction, if possible I will immediately ride up onto the rough side of the path away from the singletrack trail to make room and get out of the way, and to also show them that I am in control and safe to pass and not like a horse they have to worry about spooking or something (weird analogy I know) since I think most people are unfamiliar with what to do near a unicyclist. I think you just have what I like to call “White Belt Syndrome”. As you get more experience most newbie questions and issues seem to work themselves out, for most folks thank goodness. I remember riding cocked / crooked on my seat and felt unable to align my sit bones onto the seat for months, but it magically went away in time!!!. Time heals all. Have fun! :smiley:

Experience will solve this problem. When more of your actions and reactions on the unicycle become automatic your consciousness will be freed up for looking around and paying more attention to what is going on around you. In no time you will find yourself thinking about a sandwich while you bomb down a rough downhill. :smiley:

A quick update. Today I rode my 20" torker 1.5 miles out and back (3 mile round trip) with only two free mounts - one at the start and one at the midpoint. There were a few people out on the trail and we exchanged pleasantries. So experience and practice seems to be having a positive effect, I’d say - it has only been a week since my initial post on this thread! Thanks again everyone for your advice and encouragement.

Good job! Three miles on a 20" Torker. Were you numb? That would kill me! I remember doing my first mile on a Torker and was so numb. I felt like a real unicyclist when I could outride my “sit-down” comfort.

Yes, that is an issue. Any suggestions? Sometimes I get up in the saddle and everything feels fine, and other times not so much. And after 10 or 15 minutes of riding the numbness sometimes becomes a mind over matter kind of dynamic…
I’m hoping to buy a new Torker LX 24" in the next month or so and I think the seat may be better. I have this idea that maybe I’ll ride the 24" to my buddy’s house which is 22 miles away on the bike trail. It strikes me that comfort will become an issue - and I think I’d better have that dialed before embarking on a long distance ride!