I’m new to both this forum and unicycling. I don’t have questions yet since I could find what I needed (so far) by looking around. So I figured I’ll start a personal log. Here goes.
I bought a trials/street unicycle a few weeks ago and received it the 13th. Since then, I’ve been practicing every day for about 90 minutes. Progress was slow.
It took me a week to realize that sore wrists and bloody shins weren’t necessarily essential to the learning process. So I ordered some protection gear, which I received two days ago.
Now, that made a difference! I was finally able to let go of the handrail for more than 4 or 5 pedal strokes, had a whole bunch of 20m to 30m runs and even finished yesterday with a glorious 45m. Yay.
Steering is still a bitch, though. Oh, and I was sooo close to free mount (the static version, with horizontal cranks).
And that’s it for now. Off to my daily (nightly) session.
Not a milestone per se but tonight I got 7 or 8 times over 100m and once 128m. More than twice my previous best!
Progress still feels slow but it is steady. Every single day (so far), I’ve had at least one run better than anything before, though usually not by much.
Steering is still very vague, especially on short distances. I’m praticing on a 200m running track now (just behind the local school) with four lanes. While I can roughly decide which way to go, I’m zigzaging all over the place and use all the width (getting dangerously close to that 6" cliff, with all those sharp pebbles at the bottom).
One full lap of the running track, 200m! More likely 250, considering I keep going left and right all the time.
Plus 4 clean, slow-motion, fully controlled static free mounts. If these weren’t out of a million attempts, I’d be proud.
27 hrs of pratice to get there. I’m glad I made it - barely - into the usual 15-30 hrs range.
The two parts of your comment sound completely counter-intuitive to me.
I would have thought a small wheel (20") with a fat tire (2.5") and a low pressure would give more stability.
Same thing about the cranks (mine are 140mm). Shouldn’t longer cranks give more torque and so better control?
Looks like I got it all wrong.
I first learned on a 90 EUR uni from OnlyOne. A very cheap and little too small uni, with narrow tires. Because I didn’t know I would get hooked to unicycles like I’m now, I didn’t invest in a good quality one. One of the last days of nailing it my tire happened to be nearly empty, but that gave me a lot of stability. Very much like riding on a trials unicycle. I would stick with just the stock lengths of it. The good thing of the trials is, that the chance of he wheel blocking and sending you flying is much smaller when you ride over a bump. A freestyle uni with narrower wheel is more prone to that and once gave me a nice face-plant.
I don’t understand why it gives you so much pedal bite, though my first uni didn’t have metal pins, like the trials does. I was 39 when I learned to ride and it took me 3 weeks of practising 2 hours every evening before I could go a good distance, though I hadn’t nailed free-mounting by that time.
I don’t feel like I’ve nailed anything yet. As I said, the successful free mounts are one in a gazillion (this is where most of the shin bites came from btw, before I had the leg pads). Even the occasional long rides are dwarfed by the countless failures (with just 2 or 3 pedal strokes and instant dismount). The feeling of being back to square one can be extravagantly infuriating.
As for the leg and wrist protections (KH leg armor and KH gloves), I’m never gonna take them off. Not ever. I’m considering having them permanently grafted.
Torque, yes. But the longer the cranks, the more side force you also put on the wheel. It’s easier to pedal smoothly, as a beginner, with shorter cranks. But don’t worry about that; you’re already riding it and you will only improve.
I experienced this in my early days, when I started practicing for races (on my own, with no coaching). I got volleyball kneepads and skate gloves. This was 1980.
That would really, really stink after a surprisingly short amount of time.
Interesting topic! I am trying to understand why you may be right, pierrox! If the cranks are shorter, then they are more immune to sudden, random changes in pressure. If the cranks are longer, the rider is able make quicker and more crude adjustments to balance. A beginner unicyclist tries to stay balanced over the unicycle. A more experienced rider learns to steer the unicycle under their center of gravity. Long, twitchy cranks may interfere with a beginner’s balance. But, once the rider improves and the flailing arms/hands are removed from the equation, maybe the longer cranks are more useful. I am a personal fan of longer cranks. I tend to see them as easier, not harder to learn on.
That’s a good explanation. Short cranks (not specific to beginners) also require more force from the rider, they offer more resistance when you accelerate - as you say, therefore it’s easier to keep the wheel slightly behind you when you move forward. The same thing that makes climbing a slight incline easier than riding down the incline.
Where are you based Garp? “Southern Alps” is not in the USA for sure… France? Italy? Switzerland?