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Frustrations Learning to Ride: Mental Block and *Really* Sore Knees?



 
 
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  #11  
Old January 8th 09, 09:20 PM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
maestro8
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Default Frustrations Learning to Ride: Mental Block and *Really* Sore Knees?


natosha;1166572 wrote:
I know a common suggestion is to raise the seat, but my seat is already
as high as I can get it and still have my legs slightly bent when the
pedals are all the way down. I'm not sure what else to try? Would
longer cranks help?




It still may be the case that your saddle isn't high enough... you
might need a longer seatpost.

Longer cranks would cause your knees to bend even more. Shorter cranks
would be the remedy here.


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  #12  
Old January 9th 09, 03:57 AM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
natosha
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Default Frustrations Learning to Ride: Mental Block and *Really* Sore Knees?


Greetings,

Thanks for all of the great replies. I practiced this evening for only
30 minutes and I think it was better for my knees. This time I didn't
worry about trying to ride unassisted -- instead I practiced sitting all
the way down on the seat (I did raise the seat up slightly) and tried to
get the feel of pedaling along smoothly, using my husband for support as
little as possible. Although I feel like I "regressed" a little with
regards to my balance (I was actually having to rely on my husband's
hand for balance some of the time, and I *thought* I was past that
point), it didn't cause me pain in my knees and I was able to go in a
straighter line (rather than zig-zag all over the place). The only
times I came off were when I got down on my own or when I hit a big
enough bump/crack in the concrete that I lost my balance and came off
forwards. I was even able to pedal fairly smoothly around corners!

I still have trouble getting started smoothly, though. When I start
going, my pedaling is kind of a
"start-stop-start-stop-start-stop-pedal-pedal-pedal..." kind of motion.
Does anyone have any advice for this? I found that leaning forward
slightly when I start going seems to help some.


saskatchewanian;1166596 wrote:
He told me I had a muscle imbalance in my quads. He said that it was a
common imbalance for both cyclists and runners. I was unicycling
100-150km per week and running 10-20.

To correct it he told me to sit in a chair and just raise my foot
flexing the knee ten times in a row three times a day.




I think I will try this. I am a software engineer so I sit at a desk
all day. I can do these exercises while I'm at work.


munimutant;1166666 wrote:
the mental block, GET MAD! Tell yourself you WANT to do this. You
are GOING to do this. Look at a spot in the road 20 feet ahead and RIDE
to it with determination.




Well, the few times I have tried this, it resulted in a (I'm sure) very
amusing fiasco that ended up with me flying forward off the unicycle and
sliding on the concrete. I think, however, that once I get the hang of
pedaling more smoothly, it will help.


McNerdius;1166711 wrote:
As for the knee pain... an informative page is:
http://www.drpribut.com/sports/spknees.html




I will definitely check this out. Thanks.


Naomi;1166762 wrote:
Been said many times before but: In my experience many novices THINK
they have much of their weight on the seat. In reality they still have
a lot of weight on the pedals, meaning the right leg is constantly
fighting against the left. The workload on the legs can thus be many
times higher than that for an experienced rider.
You can tell the difference the first time you get the weight right.
It feels very different. Somehow "floaty". Effortless on smooth level
ground.




I did notice that things are much smoother when I just sit all the way
down on the seat. I guess I thought I had more of my weight on the seat
than I actually did.


wobbling bear;1166793 wrote:
One I noticed is too many "transversal" efforts to keep balance. So work
on "straight" pedaling and have someone spot and correct the alignment
of legs, knee, pedals .... try to pedal more quickly first (" ok the
death dive now!") and later slow down.




I agree that this is probably the cause of my knee pain. I think my
legs are fighting each other and it puts a lot of stress on my knees. I
did notice tonight that I wasn't having knee pain.


scott ttocs;1166943 wrote:
Do not hold hands, but rather put your hand or finger on your Husband's
wrist so that you can let go at any time.




This is pretty much what we've been doing; he will hold his hand out
flat and I will touch his hand with my fingers.


scott ttocs;1166943 wrote:
We used the same unicycle, and in my experience a comfortable riding
pace is a FAST walk, not a slow walk. You may be going too
slow--Unicycling is easier if you get up a little speed. A comfortable
pace for a 24" Nimbus with 125 mm cranks is a slow jog.




I did notice this evening that my husband was having to walk much more
quickly than usual, so perhaps I am on the right track here.
Unfortunately, I am kind of afraid of the speed. I know that one of my
problems when I try to ride unassisted is that I get afraid of falling
as soon as I pick up some speed and I end up hopping down off the
unicycle for no apparent reason before I even have a chance to think
about it.


scott ttocs;1166943 wrote:
Regarding your poor knees: have you ridden a bike recently?




Yes, and I don't have any pain from riding my bike.


scott ttocs;1166943 wrote:
Here are some (standard) suggestions: Relax and put your weight on the
seat. Try standing on the pedals and then settling into the seat and
lifting up your feet until they are barely touching the pedals to get a
sense of the difference. You will need to put force on the pedals, but
it is much less than you think.




I will continue working on this. I thought I was doing a good job of
not putting my weight on the pedals, but my practice tonight was proof
that I was wrong.


GearQueen;1166948 wrote:
I think women are a bit more cautious than men, and our brains want to
understand what is going to happen. We are more cautious about getting
hurt.




This is definitely the case for me.


GearQueen;1166948 wrote:
What I see, when I'm walking along side her, is that she is not doing a
very smooth pedal stroke, almost a stop and start.




This is the case for me, as well. I will continue working to correct
this -- I think this is the key to being able to ride on my own. Taking
my weight off the pedals help a lot.


olduniman;1166965 wrote:
Your practice sessions of one hour or more sound rather long for a
beginner. There is a lot of tension associated with unicycling at the
start so you just may be pushing too hard.




This is probably part of my problem. I'm going to try limiting my
practice sessions to about 1/2 hour and see if it helps.


olduniman;1166965 wrote:
I had a lot of trouble with knee pain early on, but raising the seat to
the proper height made a big difference. If you pedal standing up as
much as possible, (that is, no weight on the seat) and there is more
than an inch or two of "crotch clearance" your seat is probably too low.
Do you need a longer seat post?




No, I definitely don't need a longer seat post (I have a few inches
that I could still move it up). I did move my seat post up about 3/4 of
an inch tonight and, although it made mounting harder, I think it did
help me get more of my weight on the seat.


maestro8;1167037 wrote:
It still may be the case that your saddle isn't high enough... you might
need a longer seatpost.




I do think the saddle wasn't quite high enough (raising it about 3/4"
seemed to help). Luckily I still have several inches I could go up
without "outgrowing" my seat post.


maestro8;1167037 wrote:
Longer cranks would cause your knees to bend even more. Shorter cranks
would be the remedy here.




I think the pain is from my legs fighting each other, though -- not
from the bending itself. My understanding is that longer cranks would
be easier on the knees but more work on the leg muscles, and shorter
cranks would be easier on the leg muscles but would put more strain on
the knees. Is this not true?

Thanks again for all of the great responses!


--
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  #13  
Old January 9th 09, 08:38 PM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
Unicorn
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Default Frustrations Learning to Ride: Mental Block and *Really* Sore Knees?


Your practice sessions are very long. I suggest cutting the sessins down
to 15 to twenty minutes. However try to do a session every day and even
two on the weekends. As the session lengthens concentration wanes
muscles tire and you leave the session feeling bad. When I work on
leaning riding I also finish my practice session after I have a good
run. That way I walk away feeling confident rather than frustrated.

125mm cranks are harder to learn on. with 150 or 165 you should be able
to learn faster.

Sounds like you are putting to much weight on the pedals and not enough
on the seat.

When riding try looking at at a point on the horizon or the fence on
the oposite side of the court or a poster on the fall wall of the gym.
do not look at the floor 2 feet in front of your tire or that is were
you will go.

Keep in mind that unicycling is a series of accelerations and
deccelerations. That is how yo keep the tire under you. As you become
more experiences you will make smaller and smaller accelerations and
deccelerations using your by then stronger and much more coordinated
muscles much less. I taught a good friend who completed both the NY and
Boston marathons to ride. In the beginning he used to get nausous from
the exertion after just 15 minutes of riding! Now he does 3 hour MUni
rides with me.

I do like Saskatch's beer suggestion. I like doing what i call the two
beer test - I learn a new skill and then if I can still do it
consistently after two beers I feel that I have mastered it! Good luck
you have began the exciting and rewarding voyage of unicycling!
Unicorn


--
Unicorn

Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the pedals, and you will
accomplish great feats!

'The Unicycling Commune' (http://tinyurl.com/3xkd8d)
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  #14  
Old January 10th 09, 01:42 AM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
Klaas Bil
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Default Frustrations Learning to Ride: Mental Block and *Really* Sore Knees?


Unicorn;1167572 wrote:
I do like Saskatch's beer suggestion. I like doing what i call the two
beer test - I learn a new skill and then if I can still do it
consistently after two beers I feel that I have mastered it!


Hey, Sask meant that two beers would make it easier. You make it sound
as if the two beers make it harder.


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  #15  
Old January 10th 09, 10:34 PM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
dtecum
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Default Frustrations Learning to Ride: Mental Block and *Really* Sore Knees?


I can sympathize with the sore knees and mental block. My quads still
ache after a practice. I cured my mental block by convincing myself I
was riding a bicycle. It worked. I practice on a small downgrade taking
advantage of gravity. More improvement. I raised the seat. More
improvement. I look down the road while riding. More improvement. I keep
practices to 20-25 minutes per day during the weekdays. More
improvement. Longer practices on the weekend. More improvement. Keeping
my weight on the seat has been a challenge to me. It still is. But even
that is improving. I use my truck as a push off to get started. My
longest ride has been about 700 yards or when my quads give out ( about
3 minutes). I bought a stock Sun uni 20" standard cranks and a stock Sun
24" 152 cranks. The longer cranks are better on the 24". I plan on
buying even longer cranks for the 24".

I started in Sept 2007. Don't give up. Everybody has their own
learning curve. Kaori Matsuzawa has been a great inspiration to me.
Check her out on youtube.


--
dtecum

You can't always believe a word I say.
I wouldn't join a club that has me as a member.
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  #16  
Old January 13th 09, 04:58 AM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
natosha
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Default Frustrations Learning to Ride: Mental Block and *Really* Sore Knees?


Well, I am finally making some progress. I have had 3 more practices,
for a total of 11, and I'm definitely doing better. This evening I spent
about 25 minutes with my husband trotting/jogging along side me so that
I could touch his hand and we went back and forth down this long alley
near where we live several times without incident. After that, I tried
pushing off from him while he was standing still, but didn't have any
luck (I'm still scared to try and get going by myself). So, we tried
having him walk with me for about two revolutions while I get up some
speed and letting go. I was able to ride well over 10 meters by myself
It was the farthest and smoothest I've ever ridden unassisted
before. We did this a few more times, and I almost always ended up
stopping because I got turned kind of sideways and ran out of room in
the narrow alley. I'll have to pick a wider area like a parking lot
next time. (I did take one bad fall that made me glad I was wearing a
helmet, but overall I think it was a success).

My problem was that I wasn't putting my weight on the seat. I'm sure I
wasn't putting my weight on the seat because after two practices of
sitting all the way down on the seat and pedaling around for half an
hour, my crotch was so sore I ended up buying gel-padded bike shorts.
Since this hadn't happened before, I take it as a sign that I wasn't
putting my weight on the seat. My pedaling is also smooth now (and it
wasn't before).

My knee problems are just about resolved. The pain in my knees has
been going away little by little every day since I started sitting down
all the way on my seat so that now they barely hurt at all. I was able
to do a 10K run yesterday without my knees giving me problems.

Part of my progress is related to a changing in thinking, as well. I
had always focused on the unicycle rather than my own body. Once it
occurred to me that I am just changing the speed of my pedaling to keep
the unicycle underneath me (rather than trying to stay on top of the
unicycle), pedaling along smoothly and quickly got a lot easier.

I'm fairly confident that if I just practice now, I will be able to go
farther and farther. Now my current struggle is to not panic when going
fast (I think I'm still scared of the speed). I also need to get up the
guts to try and start off faster so that I won't have to have anyone
walking with me while I gain some speed.

Any suggestions for my current problems are appreciated. I am sure
practice is the only real cure. I appreciate the advice -- I think it
helped me get past both the knee problems and a large part of my mental
block.


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  #17  
Old January 13th 09, 07:29 AM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
scott ttocs
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Default Frustrations Learning to Ride: Mental Block and *Really* Sore Knees?


Congratulations! It sounds like you are well on your way. If you can
get in a 10 M ride, it is just a matter of practice until it gets easy.

Here is some standard advice. Sit up straight, use good posture and
look ahead in the direction you want to go. Relax and pedal smoothly.
To get started from a dead stop, lean forward and let yourself start to
fall before pedaling. Riding forward on a unicycle is just a matter of
falling forward and pedaling the wheel to keep up.

Have fun!


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  #18  
Old January 13th 09, 08:04 PM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
skilewis74
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Default Frustrations Learning to Ride: Mental Block and *Really* Sore Knees?


I used to have some knee pain and I discovered it was because my knees
were diving to the inside (the pain was a bit less w/ longer cranks for
me). I tended to do this at technical spots, when I was about to loose
control, and on hills. Two weeks of focusing onconsously keeping my
knees in line w/ my feet cured this, starting on my bike, and later on
the uni by looking down, at my shadow, or reflection in a window. I
still need to pay attention to this every once in a while.

Increasing the strength of my lower abs and hip flexors helped reduce
the # and severity of my UPD's.

For UPD's you can't run out, practice doing running falls onto grass.
Run then dive putting your hands down w/ your arms bent, and roll over
one shoulder. Practice this until you are equally comfortable w/
touching either foot last and rolling to either side (six combinations
total).


--
skilewis74

Ride everywhere and never just ride anywhere. If you can ride where you
are going within a hour, do it, and if you can do a trick 50-75% of the
time do it along the way.- Bob Burnquist

What next? 'IUF skill levels'
(http://www.unicycling.org/iuf/levels/)*'
Street'
(http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/The_Unicyclopedia/Street)*'unicycletips.com'
(http://unicycletips.com/)*'Trials class system'
(http://tinyurl.com/yqpvxk)*'Trials Building'
(http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/showthread.php?t=64235)
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  #19  
Old January 16th 09, 04:12 PM posted to rec.sport.unicycling
UekiTylor
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Default Frustrations Learning to Ride: Mental Block and *Really* Sore Knees?


saskatchewanian;1166596 wrote:

He told me I had a muscle imbalance in my quads. He said that it was a
common imbalance for both cyclists and runners. I was unicycling
100-150km per week and running 10-20.

To correct it he told me to sit in a chair and just raise my foot
flexing the knee ten times in a row three times a day. Two days latter I
was walking without pain for the first time in over a month and four
days latter I was running and riding pain free.
ERIC




Thank you for the advice! I've been having sore knees and just
stretching has not been helping. (Disclaimer: I've been afraid to
stretch too much as I have a hernia and the knee stretches I do for
running feel weird right now.)

I have a coworker who has been swearing this exact same thing fixed his
knee problems (also from running) and I never took him seriously! He
says whenever his knees start to hurt, he just practices making a muscle
around his knee whenever he thinks of it waiting in line, sitting at his
desk, watching TV, and the pain goes away.


--
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