paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by McNer » Sat, 27 Sep 2008 06:41:20


first things first... this is a long post.  :)

hello everyone.  i'm a (re-)beginning unicyclist.  I've been
interested for nearly five years now, and i bought my first uni a bit
over a year ago.  I practiced a bit indoors, mainly rocking and
whatnot, but there was no real opporitunity for me to practice
outdoors.  Needless to say, the uni was soon tucked away under the
bed.

And then there was today.  I currently live about 6 blocks from a
tennis court.  I'm going to be practicing about 3-5 days a week, 45
min to 2 hours a session, weather permitting.  I hope to be at least
at level 1, perhaps even 2, before the winter keeps me from practice.
By then, i won't need as much practice, eh ?  I'll still uni, just not
on a schedule.  That's my hopes anyway.

My uni is a torker lx, 24.  (I'm 6'1")  The tire is just what came on
it standard from unicycle.com:  a "cheng shin" or something to that
effect.  more on that later.  as mentioned, i'd done a bit of practice
before, but this uni has no more than a city block's worth of "milage"
on it.

After my 45 minute session today, which was about 50% remembering my
year-old practice of getting on it, combined with 50% of actual
MOVEMENT, my skills are as follows:  "Pulling" myself up atop it.
Leaning against a wall, or pushing up with something.  A mere balance
aid does not cut it yet.  i need to actually USE something.   -AND-
10-30 feet of VERY rough and slow riding, using the fence for balance
about 50-75% of the time.

I hope not to be a bother with all of the questions to follow.  I'll
just put it out there that i've read plenty, i've bought a book...
yada.  I've done my homework but i still have questions.  MY BAD !
i'm a newbie.  So here it goes...

Considering this was the first time i've moved on the thing i'm
encouraged.  I kept telling myself to keep my back straight and my
weight on the seat... and it helped a LOT.  except for that damn dead
zone.  so i get used to keeping my weight on the seat... the dead zone
is still killing me................ i'm not leaning forward enough,
right ?

so i lean forward more.  still problems.

so what i'm thinking is i have my seat too high.  I'm noticing the
tendency to put weight into the pedals as they approach 6:00.  it
could be just a newbie-ism, but i think it's at least partially due to
the fact that my leg is straight enough to lock my knee... and THEN
WHAT ?!?!?!  UPD !  Even if it's not terribly too high, i think maybe
it's high enough to encourage or enable me to put the weight on the
foot, "stand up" on it, lock the knee and go down... all in an
instant.  Dropping the seat a bit, just enough to make knee-locking
impossible, might just speed up my learning a bit.

Does this sound plausible, or is it overanalytical rubbish ?

On to the next thing.  24 vs 20.  I'm 6'1".  I bought this uni over a
year ago.  The reading i did at the time made me beleive that a 24 was
the best idea for me, being tallish.  The reading i'm doing today,
combined with my weight, make me think a 20" would be a better
learner.  I'm about 240lbs... so my "center of balance" may just be
that much more important a factor in choosing a uni.  Right/Wrong ?
Overanalytical rubbish ?

And lastly (for now), is the tire.  I'm 240, and i've pumped this tire
as full as my manual foot pump will let me.  i get on the uni and it
squishes to about half it's original height.
see (http://mcnerdius.blogspot.com/2008/09/unicycle-photo.html).  Am i
too fat ?  :)  Now that i look at it side-on for myself it doesnt seem
too bad.......

I know it's a long post, but what can i say, i passionately desire to
succeed.  I've always been a fan of efficiency and whatnot... used to
be into rollerblades.  But... till they have a set of wheels you can
attach/detach to/from your shoes in as long as it takes to mount/
dismount a unicycle... the unicycle wins.  It is compact, efficient,
and practical.  Oh and i'm fat, so i need the exercise.  Wish me
luck !  Oh... and there WILL be more from me as i practice more.
count on it... !!!!!!!!!!!! BWAGHHAHAHHAHAHA

yeah if i left anything out... well let me know duh.

 
 
 

paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by timekeepe » Sat, 27 Sep 2008 07:11:06

Don't feel bad.  Its tough to get through the initial friction of
learning.  Try concentrating on moving the wheel in a smoother movement
while telling yourself to put more weight on the seat.  You'll get more
relaxed as you go, just keep at it.  If you're leaning forward more in
the dead zone, that isn't going to help.  You need to let the momentum
of the wheel keep it going so it passes through the dead zone, which
means you need to relax more.  You'll know when this happens because
your turns will have more continuity.  Practice is progress.  That's
good that you're dedicating so much time to it.  I'm sure you'll be
getting tricks down in no time.  I'm shorter than you and I weigh the
same, so don't feel bad about a bulge in the tire.  I have only popped
one tire down a 4 set... so keep at it, and find people to ride with.
Its nice to watch and learn sometimes.

Paul

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paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by Klaas Bi » Sat, 27 Sep 2008 07:20:15

Welcome, McNerd. If you've done your homework and still have questions,
don't worry - that's what the forum is for.

It wasn't clear to me what (re-)beginning means. How far did you get
before now? "Rocking and whatnot" wasn't very descriptive. If I would
consider what you described for today as your first session, you're
doing allright.

You have to pedal through the dead zone with some speed, so that you
don't get stuck there. Even if, for the purpose of learning, you do
only half-turns at a time (as recommended in the pdf Learning to
unicycle that you can download from 'Tips for beginners)'
(http://www.xs4all.nl/~klaasbil/uni_beginners.htm). If your leg is
completely straight at the bottom, your seat is too high indeed. For
correct seat height, check that same link.

How exactly does the dead spot "kill you"? It seems from your
description that you fall off forward. In that case, it's NOT like
you're not leaning forward enough. One would rather say you lean too
much foward. But actually you should probably lean as much as you do,
but pedal though that dead spot without stopping.

Re 20" versus 24": I don't know about the connection with rider weight.
What crank length do you have on that Torker LX? I think for learning
150 mm is better than 125 mm. Most people learn on a 20" (which is
somewhat easier), but I learned on a 24", with 125 mm cranks for that
matter. It's not enough of a difference to buy a 20" now that you have
a 24".

The link to your tyre picture doesn't work. How many psi does your tyre
have when you pump it to the max with your foot pump? Oh well, I think
you don't know. But you're right: a too soft tyre makes handling more
difficult. Get a better pump with a manometer (pressure meter) and pump
to the maximum pressure stated on the tyre. 240 lbs is not too much
weight for a typical uni tyre.

Good luck!

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paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by OneWheelLes » Sat, 27 Sep 2008 08:11:44

1+ what klaas bill said :)

My 2 cents:
Don't overthink it! That tends to make things much more complicated
than they are. Much of unicycling is instinctive, and comes naturally
with practice. If your back is too bent, you'll straighten out as you
get more comfortable on the wheel. I learned on a 26" in a tennis
court, and it took about a month until I could ride a half mile or so.
Don't let yourself overthink it, if you feel like you're getting stuck
or too tired, take a short break. If you're getting discouraged, go
watch some uni videos or something. Have fun and don't give up!  

Oh, and your seat is definitely too high, lol

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Seriously, the other wheel just fell off one day.
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paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by xtor » Sat, 27 Sep 2008 10:31:38

First welcome the sport.

I 63 and learned on a Torker LX 24.  I was about 212, but the uni has
robed a few pounds from me.  I found that I that if I over-inflated (80
PSI with out problems) the tire it rode better.  The 24 is a good
choice.  I sold the 24 and bought a 20 to practice tricks. The 20 is a
bit small, I should have stayed with a 24.

        I also, went to the tennis court; it is an excellent place to learn.
Try to let the fence go as long as possible.  And Practice going around
the court in both directions.

You might find it helpful to standup on the peddles with them
in the 6 and
9 oclock position, and then lower your self in the seat.  That way you
will start off
Balanced, and with a good riding posture.

Again, Welcome.

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paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by skilewis7 » Sat, 27 Sep 2008 13:15:11

Welcome! :)

The best place for learning is a rail between waist and chest height
while seated on the uni on -SMOOTH- asphalt or a deck.  A fence or wall
also work, but not as well IMO.

I also was a paranoid learner, of getting hurt:rolleyes: :( (I broke my
back 9.5 yrs ago and have 95% paralysis in my lower legs as well as a
lot in my hips and glutes).  At first I had a death grip w/ both hands
on my practice rail and two weeks later a very firm gip w/ one hand and
frequent grabs w/ the other.  It took me 40 hrs over 8 wks before I
could consistently ride my 90 ft practice rail.  In two more months and
I could ride my 2.5 mi commute, and in another two I could do it at
night on well lit streets.

The only factor I can think weight would have is increased momentum of
your body, so if you start to fall, it'll be harder to recover,
requiring faster reflexes.  You'll figure it out w/ practice.

IMO you should learn to ride a ways, then to feemount.  For learning,
you want the seat kind of high, but your knees should always be a bit
bent.  Focus on 1/2 revs w/ the cranks horizontal, then single revs,
then 2, 3, etc, focusing on your legs moving in smooth circles and
weight on the seat.  After you can ride a ways I'd start learning
feemounting, for this it'll be easier w/ a lower seat, so I'd keep it a
bit too low untill you get at least 50% w/ each foot.  

For a while keep the air pressure pretty high (I've read that you can
usually safely pump up a tire up to 150% of the recomended pressure
marked on the tire on smooth surfaces).

--
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....
(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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paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by saskatchewania » Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:25:20

I am hoping that your long post at the start scared off all the younger
unicyclists on this forum and give a bit of advice that I have never
given on here before.

Drink two beer then give it a go

The first time that I was able to turn right I had been drinking. It
helped me relax and stop thinking so much about what I was doing. It may
be more of a mental problem then a physical one.

Sounds like you are doing everything right but maybe lower your seat 1
cm or so and stop thinking so much :)

and maybe try 150mm cranks if you are using 125s

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paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by Bond » Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:43:28

Howdy! Welcome!
Don't stress, just keep at it, you'll have it in no time.

Quote:

> You might find it helpful to standup on the peddles with them
> in the 6 and
> 9 oclock position, and then lower your self in the seat.  That way you
> will start off
> Balanced, and with a good riding posture.

> Again, Welcome.

I am sure you meant 3 O'Clock and 9 O'Clock

or 6 and 12!? ...Easy mistake, I'm just correcting it for the new guy.

Or maybe you installed your pedals wrong?

:)

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paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by Bond » Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:45:35

Quote:

> Drink two beer then give it a go

This is always good advice for any question!

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Apply Directly to a Unicycle.

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paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by McNer » Sun, 28 Sep 2008 02:44:48

On Sep 26, 11:25?am, saskatchewanian

Quote:

> I am hoping that your long post at the start scared off all the younger
> unicyclists on this forum and give a bit of advice that I have never
> given on here before.

> Drink two beer then give it a go

> The first time that I was able to turn right I had been drinking. It
> helped me relax and stop thinking so much about what I was doing. It may
> be more of a mental problem then a physical one.

> Sounds like you are doing everything right but maybe lower your seat 1
> cm or so and stop thinking so much :)

> and maybe try 150mm cranks if you are using 125s

> --
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BUAHA !!!  how did i not consider this !!!  I will have to let the
wife read this, so she doesn't think i'm slipping into some ***ic-
stage or something.   Any excuse for more drinking, ya know.

Seriously though, it sounds like just what i need.  :-D

 
 
 

paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by munirock » Sun, 28 Sep 2008 07:58:50

Quote:

> Drink two beer then give it a go

+1

= 3 beers, hmm, might be too much beer then:)

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<><mono for bono><>
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paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by xtor » Sun, 28 Sep 2008 09:02:29

Thanks for the correction, yes, 3 O'Clock and 9 O'Clock it is, I have to
stop

posting at night:)

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paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by ezas » Mon, 29 Sep 2008 03:02:01

I am relearning to ride after a 20+ year layoff and I am watching my
fiancee learn to ride so I hope i can offer some help. You need to get
that tire pumped up. Get it up to about 50 PSI, as you get better and
develop leg strength you can lower the pressure to suit your preference.
Also play with your seat height, a too low or too high seat can give you
problems with dead zones. While I  haven't seen you ride your
description makes me think you are too tense... wiggle your hands and
shake your arms before riding away. Don't be afraid to wave your arms
around while you ride. Also if the tennis court slopes slightly one
direction, ride that direction and that might help you with the dead
spots. Also that beer suggestion is not crazy. I ride my motorcycle
better with a (single) beer in me.

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paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by McNer » Mon, 29 Sep 2008 10:00:27


Quote:
> first things first... this is a long post. ?:)

> hello everyone. ?i'm a (re-)beginning unicyclist. ?I've been
> interested for nearly five years now, and i bought my first uni a bit
> over a year ago. ?I practiced a bit indoors, mainly rocking and
> whatnot, but there was no real opporitunity for me to practice
> outdoors. ?Needless to say, the uni was soon tucked away under the
> bed.

> And then there was today. ?I currently live about 6 blocks from a
> tennis court. ?I'm going to be practicing about 3-5 days a week, 45
> min to 2 hours a session, weather permitting. ?I hope to be at least
> at level 1, perhaps even 2, before the winter keeps me from practice.
> By then, i won't need as much practice, eh ? ?I'll still uni, just not
> on a schedule. ?That's my hopes anyway.

> My uni is a torker lx, 24. ?(I'm 6'1") ?The tire is just what came on
> it standard from unicycle.com: ?a "cheng shin" or something to that
> effect. ?more on that later. ?as mentioned, i'd done a bit of practice
> before, but this uni has no more than a city block's worth of "milage"
> on it.

> After my 45 minute session today, which was about 50% remembering my
> year-old practice of getting on it, combined with 50% of actual
> MOVEMENT, my skills are as follows: ?"Pulling" myself up atop it.
> Leaning against a wall, or pushing up with something. ?A mere balance
> aid does not cut it yet. ?i need to actually USE something. ? -AND-
> 10-30 feet of VERY rough and slow riding, using the fence for balance
> about 50-75% of the time.

> I hope not to be a bother with all of the questions to follow. ?I'll
> just put it out there that i've read plenty, i've bought a book...
> yada. ?I've done my homework but i still have questions. ?MY BAD !
> i'm a newbie. ?So here it goes...

> Considering this was the first time i've moved on the thing i'm
> encouraged. ?I kept telling myself to keep my back straight and my
> weight on the seat... and it helped a LOT. ?except for that damn dead
> zone. ?so i get used to keeping my weight on the seat... the dead zone
> is still killing me................ i'm not leaning forward enough,
> right ?

> so i lean forward more. ?still problems.

> so what i'm thinking is i have my seat too high. ?I'm noticing the
> tendency to put weight into the pedals as they approach 6:00. ?it
> could be just a newbie-ism, but i think it's at least partially due to
> the fact that my leg is straight enough to lock my knee... and THEN
> WHAT ?!?!?! ?UPD ! ?Even if it's not terribly too high, i think maybe
> it's high enough to encourage or enable me to put the weight on the
> foot, "stand up" on it, lock the knee and go down... all in an
> instant. ?Dropping the seat a bit, just enough to make knee-locking
> impossible, might just speed up my learning a bit.

> Does this sound plausible, or is it overanalytical rubbish ?

> On to the next thing. ?24 vs 20. ?I'm 6'1". ?I bought this uni over a
> year ago. ?The reading i did at the time made me beleive that a 24 was
> the best idea for me, being tallish. ?The reading i'm doing today,
> combined with my weight, make me think a 20" would be a better
> learner. ?I'm about 240lbs... so my "center of balance" may just be
> that much more important a factor in choosing a uni. ?Right/Wrong ?
> Overanalytical rubbish ?

> And lastly (for now), is the tire. ?I'm 240, and i've pumped this tire
> as full as my manual foot pump will let me. ?i get on the uni and it
> squishes to about half it's original height.
> see (http://mcnerdius.blogspot.com/2008/09/unicycle-photo.html). ?Am i
> too fat ? ?:) ?Now that i look at it side-on for myself it doesnt seem
> too bad.......

> I know it's a long post, but what can i say, i passionately desire to
> succeed. ?I've always been a fan of efficiency and whatnot... used to
> be into rollerblades. ?But... till they have a set of wheels you can
> attach/detach to/from your shoes in as long as it takes to mount/
> dismount a unicycle... the unicycle wins. ?It is compact, efficient,
> and practical. ?Oh and i'm fat, so i need the exercise. ?Wish me
> luck ! ?Oh... and there WILL be more from me as i practice more.
> count on it... !!!!!!!!!!!! BWAGHHAHAHHAHAHA

> yeah if i left anything out... well let me know duh.

I made some good progress today.  It was my second "lesson."  I took
merely 30 minutes and got much farther.  I think it was a beer that
helped.  I was less tense that way.  I did about 3 full revolutions a
few times,  and i got the "feel" of riding independent.  In no way
consistently, but i know what it feels like.  Most of the time i was
going 1-2 revolutions at a time, falling off every 1/3 of the way down
the tennis court.  I called it done when i made it all the way down
the tennis court without falling.  Slowly, choppy-like, and not yet
comfortably, but it is progress.  I can FEEL it in my legs and core,
so that's enough for me.  I LOVE IT.

oh... i lowered my seat, all the way.  i may try chopping the post
down and dropping it a bit more, just to get an idea how it feels.
But yeah, it helped tremendously.  I will be getting video of myself
sometime soon just cuz.  I'm also noticing where my feet like to be,
and that my pants and shoes are causing issues.   I'll wear shorts and
a different pair of shoes next time, which is probably tomorrow after
work again.  Weather permitting.

 
 
 

paranoid newbie looking for tips/advice

Post by hobo_chuc » Mon, 29 Sep 2008 10:16:53

Just don't be afraid of grabbing your nuts in public:)

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