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I started to compile a list of riding skills that I myself found somewhat relevant for safety. I have been practicing all of these (and many more which didn't make it to this list because I do not deem them relevant enough for riding safety). The bad news: lack of riding skills is IMHO not the most important safety concern. The greatest safety hazards are, as far as I see it speed (in combination with potholes, hidden corners, lack of alertness to road conditions and obstacles and the natural power limits of EUCs, etc.), aggressive acceleration, overconfidence, stiff knees, lack of knowledge or understanding of EUCs capabilities, fast moving heavy objects like cars, and complacency. Without further ado, a listing of relevant skills with a few tips: Beginners: a learning belt is of good use to prevent the wheel from running away hitting and getting between the legs after hopping off getting lots of scratches (not a safety concern though) relax, remain upright, look ahead (not down), avoid to fully straighten the knees avoid using the arms for balancing, instead twist the wheel left-right to balance and use the feet to control the wheel important: be always mentally prepared to hop off when hopping off, focus to stay away from the wheel. The wheel may hit your legs and this hurts and can lead to (usually minor) injuries or it can be a stumbling block to fall over learn and practice to brake Intermediate, learn and/or practice to: brake hard, I haven't yet stopped to practice emergency braking almost every day relax the arms and minimise arm movements and let the feet do all the control of the wheel and balancing instead; this means to give leverage to use arms in a critical situation when they may be really needed be mentally prepared to run off and away from the wheel (without a learning belt) avoiding to let the wheel hit you or get into the way between the feet after separation; I am not exactly sure how to practice this intentionally, but I usually lose the wheel a few times during a single play-around session (on loose ground), which gives practice in a relaxed setup put, at the same time, almost all weight to the tip (the ball) of one foot and to the heel of the other foot; it is not too difficult to even lift one heel and the opposite front foot at the same time; this is a first step to freely position the feet on the pedals by twisting foot which should move while standing with one leg on the ground, "lock" the wheel with the other leg; in this position, move the wheel anywhere around with the loose leg, also further away from the supporting leg thereby spreading the legs and distributing weight to both legs keep the upper body vertical; lean forward (and backward) by bending the knees (and moving the hips slightly forward or backward), not by leaning the upper body most important: keep the knees soft; soft knees are our suspension and allow to negotiate anything unexpected on the ground (bumps, holes, slippery spots) and go over curbs of 3-4" relatively easily (depending on wheel size); I manage 5" curbs on a 16" wheel with this technique. Keeping the knees soft enough needs quite some practicing, unfortunately. go over speed bumps with soft knees such that the upper body doesn't move vertically at all; fixate a point with your eyes to know whether your head has moved most important: acquire the reflex to bent the knees in any critical situation; many if not most critical situations can be saved this way; when separating from the wheel, the body should always be low enough that the heels of the feet can touch the ground instantaneously; flying in the air means giving up almost all control over the further course of events, being closer to the ground means to have a larger area available where to place the next foot turn the head into any possible direction, include up, and keep it there for a couple of seconds; look anywhere, including and in particular behind or nowhere (closed eyes) Advanced, learn and/or practice to: dismount effortlessly and smoothly (with bent knees); there is no need to lift the body center of gravity while mounting (by keeping the knees bent); ideally, the mental effort to dismount is small enough to never be tempted to hold onto something for dismount avoidance; consider one foot on the ground as part of the natural riding process fully relax the arms; like when walking, the aim is, for example, to be able to effortlessly take sunglasses out of their case and put them on while riding ride on any surface you can get hold off, the more slippery or the softer the better (start slowly!), search for longitudinal grooves to ride over, and keep the arms relaxed (the knees do the trick) brake hard on a downhill slope move/position the feet freely on the pedal while riding while driving moderately slowly, touch the ground with one foot also putting weight on the ground foot; the ground leg must always stay away from the wheel to not clip the leg with the pedal; keep the body low enough such that the heel can reach the ground; easier to begin practicing while riding a curve ride down stairways; when on stairs keep ground contact as long as possible, think of each stair as a bump, think of skiing mogul, apply a (slightly) tighter grip on the shell as usual; start with 2 stairs, then 3... turn the hip, like for sitting down to the side, while driving straight (a typical body posture of skiers and Z10 riders); mastering this move gives more leverage to look anywhere around and behind and to take tight turns riding backwards, at least a little. Start by moving one inch backwards after braking to a full stop and increase the distance gradually. I always practice both sides, left and right, when applicable. Of course many of these could in principle be combined, showing that the movements have become automised. Many combinations I am not capable of doing (I can't climb a larger curb with closed eyes or run off the wheel while putting on the sunglasses Based on my experience and on reports of many others, clipping a curb or a wall or anything on the ground with the pedal or the foot is one of the main reasons for unexpected falls of more experienced riders (besides of overspeed). I started to experiment practicing this situation, and I seem to have become better in managing the situation over time.
Does anyone have any thoughts about what kind of material/manoeuvres could be included in a very basic EUC practical test to demonstrate basic rider competency? I was having a look at: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/cycling-in-london/cycle-skills and I understand Project 42 occasionally run "Academy" days in London. @Hunka Hunka Burning Love started a thread on a basic theory test: In the future, if riders are able to demonstrate a basic set of skills/competencies (by completing some kind of certified course) then it may facilitate acceptance of EUCs by the insurance industry*? * In the UK, the main barrier to this is the legal situation. Maybe the community could come up with a half day programme that could be easily adapted to run anywhere in the world (with a set of cones in a park/basketball court)?
I am wondering how important 'natural' balance plays in riding skills; especially riding backwards and other tricks! Since fainting once about one year ago I find standing on one leg with my eyes closed very much more difficult. Before I could do a minute and stopped because I became bored. Now I am doing well to make 15 seconds!! I wonder what people like those doing tricks can do on one leg?