Thanks for the advice, song. The thing is, I was going pretty much the other way.
Here’s my reasonning:
Since I’m going for flatland stuff, I don’t care much about riding (as in tracks, road or even muni). So a bit of wobbling shouldn’t be an issue.
On the other hand, robustness is important. I’m not 100% sure but from what I’ve read, a somewhat high and even tension is what makes a wheel sturdy.
Ideally, we should have both. But that would require a perfect rim and mine is not.
Right now, the tension is not exactly even but close and there’s a wobble of about 2mm.
I’m not sure what to do from here.
Also, when I’m idling on the left, I can hear some spokes ‘ping’ a little. Should I be worried?
High, even tension is good, yes, but tension will never be 100% uniform.
2mm of wobble is acceptable to me. It’s about what my wheel has. Others may disagree, and would probably be right to do so, but we are not talking about racing bikes here- not even racing unicycles!
What is imperfect about your rim? Did you set it on a table before starting your rebuild and it didn’t lie flat?
Noises coming from a unicycle can be a sign of serious problems, but most commonly it just means that the spokes need to be tightened, and in your case, that’s an even better guess than it usually would be, since you just built your first wheel. Loose spokes can be a serious problem, but they can also be fixed easily if you notice them in time. I would recommend giving all of them a half-turn and see if the noise goes away. If it doesn’t, perhaps you could do another round of tightening. Be careful not to over-tighten, though, as you can damage your rim that way.
I did and it didn’t. Two contact points, with the two high points each less than a centimeter up.
So it is wobbly but not by much. I’ve seen people (on youtube) retruing wheels that were waaayyyyy more twisted than mine.
The thing about tension is that I have no idea what a good tension is. I have nothing to compare with.
I am indeed afraid of tightening too much and messing up the rim.
If you have a “calibrated” musical ear or a frequency meter app on your smart phone or something similar, you can measure the tension and resulting stress on the spokes. Here is a write up about using the musical pitch to determine the stress on each spoke.
On my 36er I check the tone of each spoke as part of my regular maintenance. If I find a spoke that the pitch is lower then the others, I tighten it so all are about the same. Normally they stay the same but if I happen the hit a spoke with my foot or something, sometimes I find the spoke looser with a lower tone. If I don’t fix a loose spoke soon, sometimes it will continue to loosen and start to effect other spokes.
When I first built the wheel I used a frequency meter (PitchLab Pro) but for just checking every so often I do it by ear. They have had special bike spoke apps for checking the tension but I’m not sure if they are still available.
I was indeed plucking the spokes and comparing the pitches to determine their tension.
I did that based on my understanding of physics, not too sure if I weren’t overlooking other factors that made this approach inadequate. I’m glad to see it’s correct.
Thank you in particular for the second link. According to its table, the optimum pitch for my spokes (plain-gauge, 168mm) should be between F and F#, i.e. between 698 and 740 Hz.
Now I have something to work with. Thanks a lot, Mr T
A couple of months ago, I needed to improve my transitions between forward and backward riding so I started repeating a simple routine.
Back then, it usually took me 40 to 45 minutes to complete, thanks to a lot of failed attempts. Nowadays, I finish it in just over 15 minutes.
In order to spice things up and improve my balance, I started two days ago to do the same routine but with one hand holding the seat handle.
I was expecting it to be somewhat harder, but not that harder! Now the whole routine takes over an hour!
My balance feels like I’m back to when I first started riding 15-20 meters, almost 5 months ago.
This should keep me entertained for a while…
I’ve been able to idle for a few weeks but I can’t get past 40-50 cycles. I’ve very little weight on the seat and the thigh just gives up.
Every time I try to rest more on the seat I’m down.
Is there a trick to it? Or something specific I could practice that would help? Any idea is welcome.
Or is it one of those things that only get better over time? Like, maybe in 6 months I’ll be almost there
You could try practicing some variations on idling, such as going forward/backward a full revolution of the pedals. I can idle for long-ish periods, but I never got good at a small idle. The smaller I idled, the more energy it took to change direction, the more it hurt my knees. Big idles, where I go from the 3/9 position to the 9/3 position, feel more relaxed, like the motion of a pendulum, where the speed slows way down near the point of reversal.
It has frequently been my experience that the key to unlocking one skill may lie in a loosely-related other skill. For example, learning to slow down to a stop, then reverse…that improved my idling perhaps more than if I had exclusively focused on practicing the idle.
I also recall I could not get weight in the seat during the idle. Don’t worry about it. You’re getting an amazing workout.
Thanks for the suggestions, el. I’ll try them.
I do practice long idles now and then but my experience differs from yours: I find them more taxing and can do less of them than smaller ones.
I like them though. They’re soothing.
I agree about the workout but I do worry about it.
How am I going to remove one foot from the equation without putting more weight on the seat?
If you can idle 40 to 50 strokes, you are definitely ready to start trying one-footed idling. When I first started, my non-pedaling foot pressed heavily against the frame. Others on this forum started by simply taking their foot off the pedal and sticking it up in the air, but I still can’t do that! At first, I found that I had to really use my non-pedaling foot to push the frame backwards, and then the frame would come forward on its own, then I would push it back again, etc.
I suggest you get really good at the static mount first. That means you can perform it without rushing, and the first pedal is closer to the 9:00 position at the start. Think of it as mounting into a one-footed still-stand. Focus on pointing the toe of the first foot downward, pushing the foot toward yourself and getting your center of gravity more forward. The static mount indicates the position in the 360 degree pedal stroke where it makes the most sense to transition the second foot off the pedal. For me, this is somewhere around the 9:00 position, which is the same as the static mount. Once you improve at the static mount, you can mount directly into one footed, with your second foot placed on the crown of the frame. You might consider practicing that, and other difficult mounts, on grass. I learned to one-foot idle by mounting directly into it, and I learned to one-foot ride by transitioning from a one-foot idle. Learning in this fashion took some time, but it made transitioning from normal riding happen naturally. Another thing about the static mount that applies to the one-footed transition: You absolutely have to have weight in the seat while doing a static mount. So, if you want to know what weight-in-the-seat really feels like, the static mount is your friend. Another thing to practice is a slow, controlled dismount off the back, which to my understanding is just a static mount in reverse. Again, it indicates the position where it makes sense to remove the second foot.
Done. I static-mount in slow motion on either side, with only the odd miss once in a while. Same with the ‘static dismount’ (as you said, a static mount in reverse).
I do it ‘fluently’ for either riding forward, riding backward or just staying put (e.g. for bunny-hopping).
Oh! I like this idea a lot!
Since I can’t seem to be able to let my weight on the seat while idling normally, I might as well move on to the next thing in line, which in return should solve the weight problem.
Funny how good ideas always seem obvious once someone else has stated them.
Also, I’ve been practicing on and off getting one foot off its pedal when riding. I can manage at most 1/4 rev but it gives me a feel for that momentum thing.
I was thinking of riding one-footed first before trying with idling but your suggestion might make everything click into place a lot quicker.
Thanks a ton for the help, elp (see what I did there? uh? uh? see? uh?)
I’ll try right away and report back.
There are a lot of younger riders, I’m guessing, who can learn new techniques by just “going for it.” I am older and a slow learner; my path forward is a more slow and steady one. No guarantees on the above technique, but at the very least, trying some different approaches may be helpful. Good luck!
I suspect that, as a general rule, practicing harder techniques makes the easier techniques easier. Other riders have commented how learning to one-foot idle was not as hard as they thought it would be. Several riders, myself included, have mentioned that we are only good at it with one foot on the crown. I can go for a few seconds with one foot in the air, but it feels like a different, more complicated technique. The foot on the crown, I think, is what makes it easy. The foot is not merely resting there; it’s applying leverage for pivoting. Also (I need to check this next time I ride), one foot idling forces you to get weight/stability in the seat, whereas in two-foot idling, you can stand out of the seat.
Yeah, these two skills are far less connected than they might seem. PuebloUNIdo, as I recall, learned to ride one-footed by idling one-footed and than charging forward, but I don’t know anyone else who has done it that way. I can now go from a one-footed idle into a one-footed ride, but that’s definitely not how I learned!