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About bigdog

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  • Location
    Pacific Northwest
  • EUC
    Nikola 84/2100

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  1. Once it clicked for me, if someone asks me how I stay up on it, I have to say “I don’t know.” Whereas the day before it clicked, I could have explained in detail every single thing I was doing to try to remain upright.
  2. Thursday was Thanksgiving day here, and family wasn’t going to arrive until evening, so I went for a ride. One of my first in public, I’m still learning to trust myself and the wheel. So when I say “ride”, I mean I did a lot of practice going up and down the same hill repeatedly and that it was ridiculous amounts of fun. (I’ve had an allergic reaction to practice my entire life. The wheel is the first thing that I don’t mind practice and I actually look forward to it and for opportunities to squeeze it in.) When I got home, grandma (my mom) was waiting on the steps, early. She had no idea I’d started riding, and was satisfyingly surprised when she saw me roll up. I did a quick demo in the parking lot, and then we went inside to catch up. I told her how I’d started looking into this hobby, and how learning to ride it was literally the hardest thing I’ve ever learned in my life. And I told her about stepping onto this thing and zooming away like I’m flying—something that I would have guaranteed you just a month ago that I could never do—and how rewarding and awesome that is. And so, as she was leaving after the delicious Thanksgiving dinner, full of family, food and the requisite amounts of gravy and joy, she told me just how inspiring it was to hear about my experiences with the wheel. She’s retiring soon, and confessed she’s been at something of a loss about what to do now. She’s been working her entire life, and sometimes it’s hard to see past that, to be able to realize that there are more things in life than simply earning a paycheck and providing for family. I am exactly like that, and I guess I know where that came from. I am 99 percent sure that she has no intention of getting anywhere near stepping onto a wheel. But she told me that the very idea of me learning and doing it has made an impact on her life and her realization of the paths she may choose ahead. It’s never too late to learn something new, even if, maybe especially if, it’s something you know in your bones has got to be impossible for someone like you.
  3. Today I got a few minutes to ride outside the safety of the parking lot at work for the first time. Lots of kids and cars, but everything in mostly slow motion due to speed bumps everywhere. So I was feeling pretty good just zooming around in public for the first time. I pass the playground, and I hear: “Did you see that guy?” ”What was that?” “That guy was so cool!” “That’s my dad!” “Your dad is SO COOL!”
  4. This guitar stand cost me $14 and holds my 60 lb Nikola like it was built for it. The part where the wheel rests against is padded slightly with a grippy material. The tire even rests perfectly in the lowest dip. I’m going to get another one to keep at work.
  5. One that just occurred to me, for testing ability to ride at low speeds: Able to go up one parking space stripe and back down the next one over, doing a zig-zag, for several repetitions, in no less than X seconds. Longer times are better.
  6. 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? Thanks!
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