I bought my 84/2100 Nikola just over a month ago, and I’ve been slowly learning to ride, practicing every day in the parking lot at work. Last weekend a bunch of things finally clicked, and I ended up doing 27 miles over two days in that parking lot, starting, stopping, mounting, turning tightly by swiveling, turning by leaning, etc. Ridiculous amounts of fun. Of course, now I want to leave the parking lot and go see the world!
I’ve learned that, for me, a big part of success in riding the wheel is in the confidence that I’ve done this particular thing before, so I can do it again. I handled this bump, this turn, this speed, I can handle that one. When I get into a situation where I don’t feel confident, the chances I’ll need to get off the wheel, deliberately or otherwise, go up significantly.
The confidence thing is especially important for me due to my extensive experience with balancing sports, which can be summarized as: rollerblading: fell down; skiing: fell down; skateboarding: fell off, then down; surfing: fell down; bodyboarding: I cannot actually explain how this is even possible, but, fell down; windsurfing: fell over, then down; snowboarding: fell down; waterskiing: got dragged; ice skating: fell down; motorcycling: couldn’t convince myself to actually get on; standing: I can do this; walking: yes I can; bicycling: look ma, no hands!
Naturally, while learning, I’ve dropped the wheel, picked it up without holding the cutoff button, lost control of it in various ways. Some have resulted in me going one way (generally down) and the wheel going another, rapidly. In an empty parking lot, this is no big deal, but near pedestrians or traffic, mistakes and misjudgments could easily result in property damage or injury to others beyond my own faceplant.
So I got to thinking, what if I had an imaginary guy with a clipboard giving me specific tasks and marking off whether I passed each one? Like way back in the long ago, when I first got my license to drive a car. That way, I could be much more confident about my ability to ride safely in public.
Maybe my imaginary clipboard guy can grant me separate qualifications for being able to ride among pedestrians versus in a bike lane versus in traffic, etc, maybe at various speeds, daylight, nighttime? I dunno.
The more specific the checkbox, the better, so “Can come to a stop from X speed in no more than X feet” would be preferred over “Can decelerate quickly.” I guess some of these checkboxes might vary based on a wheel’s performance.
I can use pine cones for traffic cones, the lot is striped for ordinary vehicles, there are straight and curvy sections of sidewalk that don’t abut traffic, and there are a number of drains, pavement transitions and other bumps and dips. It’s pretty flat so I’ll need to go elsewhere if hills are an important part of being able to ride in or near traffic.
So, what checkboxes do you think I should put on my clipboard guy’s imaginary clipboard?