This is my first post, but I have been lurking here for about 12 months or so. I am the oldie that Peter Bier mentioned in the above quote. I am 71yrs 9mths old now and live in Hamilton, New Zealand. I don’t seek publicity but as I was mentioned in the NZ Forum, I felt obliged to reply there. Here is a link to that thread if anyone is interested:
As it has happened again (here), I guess I should respond in this forum also.
My ‘story’ is as follows: (some of it will be in the above link also)
Unicycling was one of my boyhood dreams ever since I saw them in a newsreel at the local picture theatre, (in black and white & probably about 1945 - 1948?). It showed 3 unicyclists riding along a street somewhere in America. I was really captivated by that.
It was not until 1959 that I actually saw one in real life, (at age 24). The owner loaned it to me for one day and I managed to ride it by the end of the day. I didn’t get the chance to ride it again. 46 years later, at a bit over age 70, I got my second chance to try to ride one again. It took me about half an hour against a wall and then I managed about 4 metres away from the wall. I bought the 20" entry level uni then, knowing that I would progress further with practice.
I feel privileged that I have been able to give it a go now at my time of life. One of these days, no doubt something will happen that will stop me, but I don’t focus on that as currently I am having too much fun learning various aspects of riding, I just love it.
This forum and the NZ one are great and I have learned a lot from them in the last twelve months or so. (& thanks Peter Bier for the idling tips, I am working on them still). It is good to see that there are lots of other oldies unicycling too. Some of you 50+ year olds are doing incredible things that I can only wish to achieve. I would love to be able to do even a little bit of muni and some longer distance riding, but I doubt that will happen. I’m fairly happy with my progress during the last 18 months though.
Just for the record, here are my riding abilities to date:
(I am short, 5’2" [157.5cm] in bare feet, (not that I ride in bare feet though ) and weigh about 57kg [127lbs])
I don’t feel particularly relaxed when I first mount and ride off. It takes about half an hour or more before I settle down. I am self conscious within my own neighbourhood and much prefer secluded places with no onlookers. As I progress I am overcoming this a bit. My upper leg muscles ache a lot at times, especially on gentle/moderate uphill slopes. I put this down to learning to ride without enough pressure on the seat and am trying to overcome this.
Currently I can static mount ok, jump mount well (even managed a 28"), suicide mount with caution, rolling mount a little, ride backwards about 10 metres (33ft appx), ride down an 8 inch (200mm) drop - scarily, very infrequently do a successful kick-up mount on the grass - just starting on concrete now, go from seat-in to seat-out and back to seat-in over a 10 metre distance (I think my bad learning habit of not enough weight on the seat helped with this), briefly rode a 5 foot giraffe on two occasions (a demo model), I can ride about 1 to 2 kms with brief stops/dismounts, once I did a 5km round trip on the 20" with lots of stops-that took it’s toll.
Basic things I can’t do are; idling, the roll back mount, jump up a curbside, hop more than about 8 times (did 20 once), ride more than three times up and down a 40 metre 11(?) degree slope-that really makes me sweat, or ride smoothly in right-hand circles.
Things I have experimented with whilst holding onto a railing are: Sideways hop up and down 8 steps, one foot idling, one foot riding (scary when the pedal goes over the top-can’t get past that yet), wheel walking. There is a very slight possibility that I might achieve one or more of those. It’s fun trying anyway.