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  #1  
Old August 9th 04, 01:16 PM
rob.northcott
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Hi all,

I've been reading this forum as a lurker for a couple of months, so
thought it's about time I get round to introducing myself...

I was given a unicycle by my wife last Christmas and after a slow start
(well I am apparently rather old to learn at 34 according to many
people's opinions!) I have now reached the stage where I can ride around
on smooth ground and even venture out onto the local off-road trails
(VERY easy biking, challenging for me on the uni!) without falling off
too much. I can get back on if I'm on a downward slope or with a
stick/curb/stone to wedge the wheel against, but haven't mastered
freemounting on the flat yet. Did a couple of miles on a forest track
yesterday (mainly smooth mud/gravel) - this was the longest ride I've
done so far and my legs really ache now, which surprises me as I'm a
keen cyclist - perhaps it's just my poor technique!

I've got a couple of questions:
The seat post is at its maximum height, but is still slightly lower than
I would have it on a bicycle (which could partly account for the leg
ache). Should I get a longer seat post (I've got a unicycle.com
"adult's learner" 20", so it should be easy) or should I just get used
to it how it is? Most of my riding will likely be off-road, and I've
noticed that people seem to have the saddle relatively low for that
anyway - am I right?
Also I'm doing a couple of things that have been refered to as "bad
habits" on the forum, namely putting very little weight on the saddle
and flailing my arms for balance. Will these just go away with practise
or should I be doing something positive to correct them? If I try to
keep my arms still I usually fall off Tried riding up a steepish
slope yesterday and felt like I needed to hold the saddle to stop myself
just standing up, but I couldn't balance with only one arm!

Anyway, sorry about the long post - I'm really starting to enjoy
unicycling now I can actually get somewhere on it - will probably buy a
24 or 26" when I'm good enough to justify the expense, but for now the
learner's 20" does all I need.

Rob


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  #2  
Old August 9th 04, 01:35 PM
nickjb
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Welcome to the fold

You are never to old to learn. Sounds like you are making good
progress. You'll find your legs will ache a lot whole you don't have
much weight on the saddle. Go for a ride on your bike and without
sitting down and you'll soon see. Unicycling also uses some different
muscles (particularly when going down hill) so these will take a while
to strengthen.

Holding the saddle when climbing is a popular technique. You'll soon
get the hang of the ballance (it is pretty hard though).

Try riding your arms folded or behind your back. This is a lot harder
than it sounds but should help your reduce your arm flailing. Don't
worry too much, though. Just ride as much as you can however you
like.

You might need a longer seat post by the sounds of it. A longer
seatpost should help you sit down more. You will want the seat a bit
lower off-road but try both.

You can do plenty on a 20" but you'll soon find the need for more and
more unicycles


--
nickjb - I've lost a wheel (apparently)
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  #3  
Old August 9th 04, 02:35 PM
hecklar
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Yeah, it's pretty natural to put all of your weight on you pedals when
learning to uni. After i learned to ride, i always had to remind myself
to put my weight on my seat. You'll find that uniing is a lot easier
and smoother with your weight on your seat, and it will be a lot easier
on your leg muscles. So just keep reminding yourself while you ride -
write it on your hand if you need to.

And, i think that you are wrong about people's opinions about your age
and your learning to ride. Do a search. You'll find that many people
here are much older than you, and you'll find that the general opinion
is that you are *never* too old to ride. I agree. Man, that's a pretty
cool wife you have to get you a uni for Christmas. I wish i had that
much backing from my gf, but usually it's just "look what you did to
your legs, stop riding that thing!"

You think that you like uniing now? Wait until you get better. It's
like an addiction; the more you uni, the more you want to uni. I spend
most of my day at work daydreaming about trying new tricks. Speaking of
which, i better get back to work...


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hecklar
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  #4  
Old August 9th 04, 02:43 PM
brian.slater
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anyway, sorry about the long post

Long? it's not long, see some of Mikefules posts, their long and fun,
too!

Also I'm doing a couple of things that have been refered to as "bad
habits" on the forum, namely putting very little weight on the saddle
and flailing my arms for balance.

If you're still -actively- flailing, first try holding your arms as if
you were leaning on a mantel at shoulder height, ready to flail but not
actually flailing. When you get that, try to let them hang lower and
lower, until they are near your sides, then try the folded or behind
your back. Weight on the seat will come with practice, but work hard at
it; it will help a lot, both for aches and balance.

The seat post is at its maximum height, but is still slightly lower
than I would have it on a bicycle (which could partly account for the
leg ache). Should I get a longer seat post (I've got a unicycle.com
"adult's learner" 20", so it should be easy) or should I just get used
to it how it is? Most of my riding will likely be off-road, and I've
noticed that people seem to have the saddle relatively low for that
anyway - am I right?

For road (or very flat off-road) rides, set the seat post about the same
as on your bike, for off-road, as much as two inches lower (when you get
good, I'm still at about half an inch ).


--
brian.slater - Nellfurtiti, the Wonder Cat

Brian C. Slater
AKA: Snoopy

Ok, I am now officially in my normal state of -advanced- confusion.
Don't try to confuse me, it won't make any difference.

"To not decide is to decide" - undecided
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  #5  
Old August 9th 04, 05:57 PM
underdog
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Welcome. This is a really fun sport. It sounds from your description
that you're riding at exactly the same level as I am. I started in
March and felt that I was coming along too slowly but, I figure that
each fall equals more proficiency. One day we'll both be awsome
unicyclists. I was 49 when I started and I know that there are several
frequent contributors to this forum who are in their 60s.


--
underdog - level 1 rider

toast is god's way of saying 'eat more butter'
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  #6  
Old August 9th 04, 07:12 PM
sarah.miller
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AS your in the right neck of the woods, try and come along to the South
west Uni meet on October 23rd in Exeter. You can pick up all kinds of
usefull hints when you ride with other people around that you just
can't get entirely on-line.

Hope you can make it in October.
Sarah


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  #7  
Old August 9th 04, 07:47 PM
Borges
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Hi

Don't let your legs wory you too much. It will get easier with practice.
The better you get the less effort do you need to stay on the uni.
Raising the saddle would probably help too.

Happy unlurking.
Morten


--
Borges

"However, I confess that the ultimate wheel lacks the day to day
practicality of the conventional unicycle" -Mikefule
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  #8  
Old August 9th 04, 07:52 PM
Major Clanger
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Hi Rob,
rob.northcott wrote:
*I was given a unicycle by my wife last Christmas and after a slow
start (well I am apparently rather old to learn at 34 according to
many people's opinions!) *


I started unicycling back in January at the tender young age of 38.
Some people have told me I should grow up, especially my dad who likes
to think of me as a mature adult who would spend his weekends playing
golf. I don't subscribe to the 'your too old for that' metality, if
you enjoy it go for it.

My work colleague whos wife also bought him a unicycle for Christmas has
a Unicycle.com 20" adult learner like your self. I opted for a 20"
Nimbus II and have found this an excellent learner machine, and far
superior to the adult learner. The Kris Holm seat is more comfortable
for those long rides and easier to maintain position and the tyre gives
better handling.
rob.northcott wrote:
*The seat post is at its maximum height, but is still slightly lower
than I would have it on a bicycle*


The most import difference was my Nimbus has a longer seat post, I found
setting the seat to the same ride height as my bicycle made a world of
difference, even dropping it half an inch made learning harder.

I have managed to practice most days since January, usually about 30
minutes to an hour. I have been free mounting for some time and can also
manage a kick up mount from time to time. It helps that I have someone
else to ride with, although we are both beginners we are still able to
share knowledge as we learn something new. A few weeks ago I bought a
24" Muni and feel like I'm back to basics all over again, having a
larger wheel ceratinly seems to make handling a lot harder.

I recommend you buy the longer seat post and a Kris Holm saddle, also
consider a new tyre. Good luck with the mounting practice.

Enjoy


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  #9  
Old August 9th 04, 08:27 PM
RangerForrest
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Ride Ride Ride.

I learned to ride in a hard 3 days. (8-10 hours a day)

I spent a month learning to idle.
I raised my seat to my normal cycling height and learned to idle the
next day.

For learning unicycling having the seat up is essential.

For MUni and Trials having the seat a little lower is essential. If you
are going to do off-roading then you should learn to ride with the seat
low.

My suggestion is to learn freestyle skills first.

I am constantly amazed by the number of people who ride MUni and Trials
who don't know how to even idle or ride backwards.
I feel that because I have a healthy base in freestyle skills I can work
my way out of almost any position in MUni and Trials.


Everything gets better with greater general competency and comfort on
the unicycle. You can achieve these things by simply riding more.
Almost every problem I have is solved by riding more.

Use your uni to commute. You will become very confident and try more
and more new ways.

I had never touched a uni before Christmas and two months later I was
riding it to school backwards through the snow while eating a banana.


--
RangerForrest - Isolated Unicyclist

Dreaming of a KH Trials
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  #10  
Old August 10th 04, 06:01 AM
Klaas Bil
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On Mon, 9 Aug 2004 07:16:12 -0500, "rob.northcott" wrote:

I've been reading this forum as a lurker for a couple of months, so
thought it's about time I get round to introducing myself...

Welcome to the forum!

(well I am apparently rather old to learn at 34 according to many
people's opinions!)

Those people are not in the know! There is an age distribution chart
of the age that people on this forum learned to ride, about two-thirds
down on http://www.xs4all.nl/~klaasbil/agelearn.htm. 34 is perfectly
normal! (I wish I learned at that young age...)

done so far and my legs really ache now, which surprises me as I'm a
keen cyclist - perhaps it's just my poor technique!

Yes it probably is, but it'll get better with practice.

Should I get a longer seat post

Yes.

Most of my riding will likely be off-road, and I've
noticed that people seem to have the saddle relatively low for that
anyway - am I right?

You're right - but my guess is that you will be buying a dedicated
MUni in the future. Even then, your 20" should be well rideable -which
for you it only is with a longer seatpost.

Will these just go away with practise
or should I be doing something positive to correct them?

The flailing arms issue will largely correct itself (with practice)
although the suggestions given by others can hasten the process. For
the weight on seat issue, that is very usual when people are new to
unicycling, and it might use some conscious training to correct. Every
time you ride easily (as easily as it gets for a novice), make a
conscious effort to reduce weight on pedals. Maybe imagine there is
something fragile between your foot and the pedal. You'll notice that
the unicycle seems to ride itself more that way, and it is much less
tiring. Soon enough you'll do it without thinking.

Tried riding up a steepish
slope yesterday and felt like I needed to hold the saddle to stop myself
just standing up, but I couldn't balance with only one arm!

That'll come with practice. BTW, there's nothing wrong with standing
up when you climb a steep grade. If you have the seat low for MUni,
standing up can increase pedal power, especially if you pull on the
seat simultaneously.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict
--
I like the idea of not having to balance when out on a ride - joe

 




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