Worst ride ever!

I’ve been struggling with a bad back all week. Last Sunday it locked up as I was flushing the loo. By Thursday my back had loosened enough for me to do some gentle dancing. On Friday I did a little bit of fencing, but had to retire early. This morning, I awoke stiff (no, stoppit!) but I felt I ought to take advantage of a rare break in the weather to have a ride.

Common sense took over: most of my recent riding has been on the 26" MUni with 170mm cranks. I fancied a ride on the 700c, but thout the sudden change to the slightly larger wheel, and the, er… 102 mm cranks might be too much. So I swapped the cranks for 110s, found my kit (scattered widely about the house) and drove down to Trent Fields:

I walk the short distance to the field, and get a “Do you know you’ve lost half your bike, mate?” I respond with the thinnest of thin smiles.

Hmmmm. So, who forgot to lower the seat then? Cranks 8mm longer, so seat should be 8mm lower. It makes more difference than you might think…

So, freemounting is easy enough, but it feels like a stretch to reach that bottom pedal. The skinny high pressure tyre and light weight make the uni skittish. I get off to adjust the seat, and realise that unlike every other unicycle in my fleet, this one needs an Allen key (hex wrench) as it has no quick release. So much for form over function.

I set off across the field, and lose traction in the mud, UPD-ing. The impact of seat with ground knocks the seat out of alignment, and I have to apply a firm blow with the heel of my hand to knock it straight. A dog walker comments, “Heavy going?”

I walk to the riverside path and remount. I ride uncomfortably. The seat is way too high. I must have had it exactly right before, or even a touch high, for the extra 8mm to make that much difference. I stop at a bench seat and search my tool kit. For years I carried an Allen key and never used it. I must have rationalised my toolkit some time because the Allen key is no longer there.

I reach a section of path covered with slimy wet autumnal leaves. Randomly, I UPD. I realise that this is no fun. After less than half a mile, I turn back.

It’s about 15 minutes to get home, and allowing for time spent adjusting the seat and a further round trip, the window of opportunity for a ride today has gone.

I adjust the seat. It takes several goes, and I have to lower it further than I expect. Eventually, I get it just right, and I find myself idling comfortably, with either foot, and riding backwards as well. That short time on 102s 9and a brief period with 89s) must have done some good. I was never this confident on 110s before. The dancefloor effect has worked.

Over-cocky, I lose concentration and fall off the back, landing on my backside, jarring my bad back, and cutting my hand. I also jar my wrist because I’m not wearing wristguards.

Back in the house, a thought strikes me. I find a ruler. The "“110s” I’d put on were actually 125s. No wonder 8mm made so much difference. It was 23 mm! I had been riding with my seat an inch too high.

How I laughed.

Wow, That does sound like a harsh ride. Falling at the end was nasty icing!

Stochastically, your next ride will be a better one. :slight_smile:

Hope your back and wrist feels better. Sudden falls are jarring to the body and ego! I haven’t had one since July, so I’m due…

Tut! “Stochastically” and the “gambler’s fallacy” in one short post.:wink:

Thanks for the kind thoughts. It was a disappointing expedition, but I can see the funny side. Too many cranks: that’s the problem with my spare parts bin and with the world in general.:slight_smile:

Yes, I know about the gamblers fallacy. :roll_eyes:

But if you roll a 1 there is a 1 in 12 chance of your next roll being a one and a 11 in 12 chance of it being greater than one. SO you are likely to have a better ride next time. Right?

Beyond this. If you look at a distribution of ride quality, you might get a Gaussian-like function. The probablilty of ending up in one of the distribution tails is far less likely that ending up near the mean. Correct? Each ride is most likely to fall within a standard deviation of the mean, so your next ride (or any ride) will likely be better than the one you had this morning that might be categorized as a “lower tail ride.”.

We have the first snow of the season this morning and it is lovely>

“too many cranks” …that’s the problem with the people in my office!

Re my post. Rolling using a D-12 not D-6. Must have been all those years of D&D!

Bummer! I’ve had annoying rides like that where nothing goes right - usually seems to be when I’ve actually made the effort to drive somewhere different rather than just being lazy and riding the tracks around home. I had a pretty depressing ride in Haldon woods (near Exeter) a few weeks ago - spent most of the time bogged down in slimey mud then frightened the sh*t out of myself on a bit of MTB downhill track.

I haven’t ridden any form of cycle since my crash last Monday - neck took ages to stop hurting and the bruises on my arse didn’t help much either :frowning:
Got a new helmet yesterday, so I should be back bi- and unicycling tomorrow.


Yes, I know about the gamblers fallacy. :roll_eyes:

But if you roll a 1 there is a 1 in 12 chance of your next roll being a one and a 11 in 12 chance of it being greater than one. SO you are likely to have a better ride next time. Right?

Yes, but my jocular reference to the gambler’s fallacy referred to your equally jocular comment that you “were due” a fall because you hadn’t had one for a while.

Presumably the probability of having a fall on a given “standard ride” is either a constant, or decreases slightly as you gain experience. It doesn’t beome more likely as the sequence of successfully fall-free rides continues.

As for the dice - of course you meant 1D12, because you can’t throw 1 on 2D6… although we had a regular D&D player at school who used to roll his characters at home “to save time” and could pretty much roll anything he wanted. A typical character had at least three eighteens and max hit points.

As for the Gaussian stuff, you lose me there. I’m not a mathematician; all of my understanding of probability being based on many years of rpg design, and just general chats with a like-minded friend who is a statistician. My knowledge of the gambler’s fallacy comes from an interest in logic, rather than statistics.


That is a Gaussian curve. A guassian curve is basically a representation of normal distribution. Normal distribution occurs a lot in nature, ranging from people’s sizes to the amount of leaves on a plant. (Dice don’t have normal distribution, they have binominal distribution). The entire area (A) of the curve is 1, and the tallest peak is the mean. The height of the curve at a given point is the chance of that occuring. Now, as you can see, the further you get away from the mean, the smaller the chance of this occuring. For example, if dice had a normal distribution, the mean would be 3.5 ((1+6)/2), now, 1 is far away from 3.5, so the chance of getting a 1 would be smaller as opposed to the chance of getting a 3 or a 4. Luckily, dice don’t have normal distribution. Would make those RPGs a lot harder :wink:

Great write-up Mike. I can definately relate to your ride. I have been riding my 24x3 Muni exclusively (whenever I have a chance to ride at all) and decided to pull out my 700c uni for a quick jaunt. I had just built a new KK frame and had ridden it a total of maybe 100 yards/meters. Being as I was pressed for time, I decided to do the trail that runs between a few of the old Spanish Missions along the San Antonio River as it was near my hpme. There was a slight drizzle and I had also decided to try a different pair of shoes for this inaugural outing. Within 1/2 mile I had my first UPD because I had left the plastic pedals on instead of changing them to some quality pinned pedals. Between a combination of drizzle, crappy pedals and shoes that had no grip, I countinued to find my feet constantly slipping off the pedals, resulting in more UPD’s. I put up with this aggrevation for almost 5 miles before finally giving up and turning around. Surprising, on the return trip, the UPD’s became fewer and far between ( I guess it just took awhile to adjust to the shrter crank/ taller wheel/ slippery pedal thing). When I finally made it back to the car, I pulled out my trusty 24x3 Muni for a spin around the parking lot and couldn’t hardly ride it! I guess my body had become accustomed to the totally different feel of the other uni. Finally after about 5-10 minutes the 24x3 started to feel normal again. I will not be getting back on the 700c uni until I switch out the pedals for something with a more stable platform;)

Thanks for clarifying. I was familiar with the normal distribution curve, in a very general sense. I recall it from school as a “bell curve” and later as “normal distribution”. I didn’t know the Gaussian bit.

1 die has a uniform distribution.
2 dice would give a triangular “curve”
3 or more dice would give a bell curve. I don’t know whether that meets all the criteria for “Gaussian”. Does it?

We did loads of stuff with 3 or more dice for this reason. It all seems so long ago. Whither youth?:frowning:

I wasn’t sure whether the world had too many cranks or too many spare parts. It took less than a moment to plump for both