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So my Brother Learned to Ride in 15 minutes

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Twisting at the waist (counter steering) is an action both beginner and experienced riders need in order to have quick and complete control of their wheels. Even those using body action to turn their wheels are mostly using counter steering.

First, let's look at what counter steering is.

https://www.motorcyclistonline.com/how-to-ride-motorcycle-body-steering-vs-counter-steering-riding-tips-how-to-steer-bike-keith-code

Peg weighting can account for, generously, perhaps 1 or 2 percent of steering. Do it if you wish, but understand that without the countersteering inputs at the handlebars, a bike will not weave through cones at 15 mph, carve precise lines at speed, avoid a pothole, or enter your driveway. It isn’t steering.

Here is a wonderful example of people trying to learn to ride an EUC. Note the reliance on tilting the wheel to keep the contact patch underneath them. That doesn't work so don't do that.

You need to twist at the hip in order to keep the contact patch directly under you.

An EUC fundamentally behaves like a bicycle with an invisible rear wheel, and therefore you can imagine your legs as the front forks.

Here's an example of very slow bicycle riding. Note how strongly they twist the front wheel to keep the center of the contact patches underneath them. Now imagine if the front wheel was locked in place and they had to solely use their bodies. There would be a huge amount of body leaning.

Interestingly I'd wager all EUC riders (especially those of us who are ride mechanical unicycles...hehe that includes me) would win that contest and it wouldn't even be close.

For new riders, learn to twist at the hips sooner than later. For experienced riders, make a concious decision to be very aware of how your wheel works via counter steering; it will allow you to quickly place your wheel within half an inch of wherever you want. Even though our heaviest wheels are 1/10 the weight of motorcycles, there's still a lot of mass there, so much that I'd wager about 80% is counter steering with 20% or less is actual body leaning. You can confirm this by simply sitting on your wheel and trying to turn it using only your body weight. It can be done but you really have to yank on it.

Again, learn to twist at the hips as soon as possible.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, pico said:

1:57, 2:25 , 2:34, 2:40 and I stopped counting. ;)

Shoulder slump before looking at the pedals. Typical. I guess my eyes are trained. Caught the GF hundreds of times. ;)

 

You must have bionic vision. I checked your reference points and still saw nothing :(

Edited by Smoother
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I remember when i rode the first day, not so long ago, when i had the first click.

I took a deep breath told myself to relax and most important i found was to put my arms down, i had to force them to stay down, but with that i could ride nearly without a problem. 

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15 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

I took a deep breath told myself to relax and most important i found was to put my arms down, i had to force them to stay down, but with that i could ride nearly without a problem. 

Good tip. Worked for me, too. It forces the rider to twist/countersteer/whatever it is called, because body bending and arm flailing is out, so only one option left. Helps you form the proper riding motions.

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Posted (edited)

@LanghamP you mean something like this:

But don't you think that's a bit too much to grasp on day 2 of learning?  If I ever do this it is by accident and I've been riding for 2 years. I may  put in a little practice of this technique.  Anybody else steer right to go left on a regular basis?  He's basically thrown his contact patch out from under him to his left, which then puts his weight off center to his right, so as a result he starts to fall to his right,  whereupon he steers around  the corner he has just created.

Edited by Smoother
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17 minutes ago, meepmeepmayer said:

Good tip. Worked for me, too. It forces the rider to twist/countersteer/whatever it is called, because body bending and arm flailing is out, so only one option left. Helps you form the proper riding motions.

During my first winter, where I had to put my gloved hands in my coat pockets, was when I stopped flailing and reduced my body movement. Off-road, though, I flail and keepy arms up with quite a lot of enthusiasm. Anything to try to stay on.

Side note: I do very gently ride my front wheel drive eBike off road, yet there is a lot of slippage. I believe where an eBike merely slides but continues on is where an EUC simply dumps you. Off road riding on an EUC is extremely difficult.

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3 hours ago, meepmeepmayer said:

@Smoother Also a good point. @seage just do what feels right and what you're comfortable with. But a little excitement can't hurt. Or maybe it can in this case? Who knows:efef77eaf5:

Lmfao! Trying to kill me, i see!

Imma try to give it a little more gas when it gets squirrely. The worst that can happen is i fall on my pads. 

3 hours ago, meepmeepmayer said:

I get commissions from a lot of hospitals🤑 Remember guys, speed, speed speed;)

(Actually I'm serious about the speed if it isn't too much. 20kph/12mph is fine for learning, I think.)

LOL. Oh man. And 20 huh? Cant run off one of those, haha. Crazy speeds. For one wheel, geez. Why did i get into this again? I can do 40-60 (with a good wind and a hill, lol) on my bike comfortably, but going 10kmh on a uni is scaring me. This is lame af. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, pico said:

"Look where you want to go!"  Repeat this as a mantra. I repeated that a hundred time to the GF. She learned fast.

I dont have any room, i just want to go straight!

3 hours ago, pico said:

Every time things got iffy was when you started looking down...(this is not where you want to go ;) )

This is the most important of all. It will come handy when you will want to turn. 

Even as you will progress. Eyes, head, shoulders (arms and hands will eventually follow automatically), hips, feet in that order. Cheers!

Well damn... I rewatched my video. And through the laughter i noticed my head looking down quite often. Its subtle because i know its mainly my eyes shifting and sometimes you can see my head go down. But you're right. Damn...called out LOL. Thanks mate!

3 hours ago, Smoother said:

I thought you were onto something, so I watched some of the video again, and I couldn't see @seage looking down before any fall.  Did you?

I actually caught it a few times. There are some obvious ones for me when i go down. Some are quick glances AND im off. Its usually when I lose my confidence, or the wheel isnt going "perfectly" i start to think about my escape. 

3 hours ago, Smoother said:

BTW @seage nice editing to take out all the walking back to the start, drudgery.  Gave a real "Ground Hog Day" feel to it.  Maybe that's why it was so funny.  Nah, the falling, definitely the falling, and the flailing, oooh..oooh and the wobbling.. :D

But, you had it good, In my day (pull on his old man pants) I didn't have a fricking trolley, and my 14" wheel was stocky.  It did my back in, hunched over, pushing the wheel back to a launch sight dozens of times a day.  Learning how to launch with one foot saved my back from a permanent stoop.  As you get better try to stay near your launch site.  That way when you come off, the walk back is shorter.  Not too close though, those stands will rearrange your face in no time flat.

And loll..nobody wants to watch the walk of shame back to the bleachers! I had to snip snip, haha! I was showing my dad the video earlier and he just couldnt stop llaughing, so i feel like everyone is with you on the falling and flailing. Its hilarious. If it wasnt me literally right now, id be loving this. BUT I WANT TO LOOK BACK AND LAUGH FROM A BETTER POSITION! LOLL. 

Should have strapped a rope around it and put it on your back like a backpack. Innovation. If only there was more of a paved area, i could ride in a circle or something. Its literally like the people who made it were like "The grass is lava!!" and just put the bleachers on their own island. Yeesh..

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2 hours ago, pico said:

1:57, 2:25 , 2:34, 2:40 and I stopped counting. ;)

Shoulder slump before looking at the pedals. Typical. I guess my eyes are trained. Caught the GF hundreds of times. ;)

 

I see you're in canadia too. Need a temporary new brother? Lol. Your eye is sharp af. Thats kinda crazy that you noticed, haha. 

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@seage the basics are all there in your video, you just need the reps! (might even be overthinking a little too now). And possibly a better spot / conditions, don't they ball or play tennis in Toronto? LOL

@meepmeepmayer and @Roadrunner might have a point too, on second thought, I didn't arm flail quite as high and as much starting out, more like waist arm counterbalancing just when needed. A lot of the motion is hips & lower legs, like balancing a pencil on your hand: the pencil is your upper torso (calm, upright), and your hand (much more motion) is your hips & lower legs. 

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2 hours ago, LanghamP said:

Twisting at the waist (counter steering) is an action both beginner and experienced riders need in order to have quick and complete control of their wheels. Even those using body action to turn their wheels are mostly using counter steering.

First, let's look at what counter steering is.

https://www.motorcyclistonline.com/how-to-ride-motorcycle-body-steering-vs-counter-steering-riding-tips-how-to-steer-bike-keith-code

Peg weighting can account for, generously, perhaps 1 or 2 percent of steering. Do it if you wish, but understand that without the countersteering inputs at the handlebars, a bike will not weave through cones at 15 mph, carve precise lines at speed, avoid a pothole, or enter your driveway. It isn’t steering.

Here is a wonderful example of people trying to learn to ride an EUC. Note the reliance on tilting the wheel to keep the contact patch underneath them. That doesn't work so don't do that.

You need to twist at the hip in order to keep the contact patch directly under you.

An EUC fundamentally behaves like a bicycle with an invisible rear wheel, and therefore you can imagine your legs as the front forks.

Here's an example of very slow bicycle riding. Note how strongly they twist the front wheel to keep the center of the contact patches underneath them. Now imagine if the front wheel was locked in place and they had to solely use their bodies. There would be a huge amount of body leaning.

Interestingly I'd wager all EUC riders (especially those of us who are ride mechanical unicycles...hehe that includes me) would win that contest and it wouldn't even be close.

For new riders, learn to twist at the hips sooner than later. For experienced riders, make a concious decision to be very aware of how your wheel works via counter steering; it will allow you to quickly place your wheel within half an inch of wherever you want. Even though our heaviest wheels are 1/10 the weight of motorcycles, there's still a lot of mass there, so much that I'd wager about 80% is counter steering with 20% or less is actual body leaning. You can confirm this by simply sitting on your wheel and trying to turn it using only your body weight. It can be done but you really have to yank on it.

Again, learn to twist at the hips as soon as possible.

 

I get what you're saying, and thanks for the videos! A few other people mentioned too. To twist into falls and so on.I think I did it subconsciously a few times. Its more when i was actively thinking "What do i do next?" That i started to lose control. But yeah, i get you, being the forks on a front wheel. Its funny because i dont move my frontwheel that much. Probably would be having an easier time if i did! But yeah. I will keep proactive in trying to twist and just overall using my lowerbody more that my upper body to move. 

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1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

I remember when i rode the first day, not so long ago, when i had the first click.

I took a deep breath told myself to relax and most important i found was to put my arms down, i had to force them to stay down, but with that i could ride nearly without a problem. 

 

1 hour ago, meepmeepmayer said:

Good tip. Worked for me, too. It forces the rider to twist/countersteer/whatever it is called, because body bending and arm flailing is out, so only one option left. Helps you form the proper riding motions.

 

 

41 minutes ago, LanghamP said:

During my first winter, where I had to put my gloved hands in my coat pockets, was when I stopped flailing and reduced my body movement. Off-road, though, I flail and keepy arms up with quite a lot of enthusiasm. Anything to try to stay on.

Side note: I do very gently ride my front wheel drive eBike off road, yet there is a lot of slippage. I believe where an eBike merely slides but continues on is where an EUC simply dumps you. Off road riding on an EUC is extremely difficult.

Oh what? Forcing my arms down? LOL...oh maaaaaaaaaaaaan. Alright.... You guys sound crazy to me, but if its worked for everyone...................... I guess it does make sense though. Im gonna try to clear my mind, relax my body, and keep my arms down while looking where i want to go and giving it a bit more speed instead of slowing down immediately like what my mind wants to do after a while, when i start envisioning my death. 

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9 minutes ago, houseofjob said:

@seage the basics are all there in your video, you just need the reps! (might even be overthinking a little too now). And possibly a better spot / conditions, don't they ball or play tennis in Toronto? LOL

Im in a smaller city (village) just outside of toronto, but far enough that i cant get there easily. Although........let me do a google search and see if theres a hidden tennis court anywhere here. Theres like 4 spots i can look, lmao. This place is one long road and disappointment. Im gonna cycle around tomorrow and see if i can find ANYTHING with close to decent conditions than what I have now, but im guessing it'll be a no. Just no options. But just busy enough that I cant ride in the street safely. How annoying.

16 minutes ago, houseofjob said:

@meepmeepmayer and @Roadrunner might have a point too, on second thought, I didn't arm flail quite as high and as much starting out, more like waist arm counterbalancing just when needed. A lot of the motion is hips & lower legs, like balancing a pencil on your hand: the pencil is your upper torso (calm, upright), and your hand (much more motion) is your hips & lower legs. 

I see.....the more i bend my knees, the more my arms kinda have to flail to keep me going. I was advised to give a straighter stance a try, just to see what its like. I think there MAY be too much give in my legs that im kinda perma squatting and cant keep stable for too long of a time, at a time? Thats just a theory tho.

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, houseofjob said:

@seage the basics are all there in your video, you just need the reps! (might even be overthinking a little too now).

Yep, that's true. You can already ride, you just need to get better, that's all. Only thing that helps is practice.

But if you want tips so you have something to consciously try/consider, twist'n'speed and a wide open street;)

(Twisting isn't even about "leaning into the fall", simply rotating the wheel along its vertical central axis, to keep it balanced by rotating into the direction you'd tilt so the motor can do its thing. But don't worry about it, once you get the idea, you do it automatically. Just try it a few times so your body "knows" about this motion. You can do it standing in place while holding on to something!)

I wouldn't go to a tennis court, way too small. When you have barely accelerated you'll have to stop already. Always something in the way, physically and mentally. Same as your park. You just need a long road with nothing much in your way so you can "just ride".

It's not about not using your arms, you'll always do that to some extent. Just trying to consciously keep them down and see how you react to keep your balance. It's a good form exercise like the stereotypical book-on-head-thing for runway models. Not necessary, simply helpful.

Bend or not bend your knees just like when you stand on slightly moving ground (like a boat). Not completely extended (or whatever the right word is), but just a relaxed stance ready for a bit of bumpiness. No squatting, it will just tense your leg muscles, then you're unrelaxed, then nothing works. The right stance is the one where you're relaxed, and if you really fully extend your knee, the first pothole will break that habit or your spine:D

Edited by meepmeepmayer
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26 minutes ago, seage said:

Im in a smaller city (village) just outside of toronto, but far enough that i cant get there easily. Although........let me do a google search and see if theres a hidden tennis court anywhere here. Theres like 4 spots i can look, lmao. This place is one long road and disappointment. Im gonna cycle around tomorrow and see if i can find ANYTHING with close to decent conditions than what I have now, but im guessing it'll be a no. Just no options. But just busy enough that I cant ride in the street safely. How annoying.

Hmmmm... maybe a nearby, nicely paved dead-end street / cul-de-sac?

 

26 minutes ago, seage said:

I see.....the more i bend my knees, the more my arms kinda have to flail to keep me going. I was advised to give a straighter stance a try, just to see what its like. I think there MAY be too much give in my legs that im kinda perma squatting and cant keep stable for too long of a time, at a time? Thats just a theory tho.

Like @meepmeepmayer said, the no locking legs is more about relaxed legs & mobile legs (more control), not necessarily complete bending.

Even past the beginner stage (where I could *adequately* travel around the city), I had trouble not locking up my legs, especially on tiltbacks, where my legs would lock, and instead of slowing down in response to the tiltback like I wanted to, my locked legs would press forward on the pedal, keeping me speeding along. Took me a few months of riding I think for me to get that out of my riding system.

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12 hours ago, seage said:

I see you're in canadia too. Need a temporary new brother? Lol. Your eye is sharp af. Thats kinda crazy that you noticed, haha. 

Not during the winter bro. Off to Puerto Vallarta practicing my other hobby.

Good luck with slush, ice etc... GF joining soon.

Bionic eyes, no :( . But used to quick action, yes.  ;)

You are doing well. Just keep practicing...

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Smoother said:

Sorry, I'm not laughing :( There was nothing comical about that video.  Why are you so hard on yourself?  Massive improvement over the last video. And as for one foot launching! are you kidding me?!! I couldn't do that for weeks, I mean weeks.

110% in agreement! You are doing surprisingly well and very quickly at that.

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10 minutes ago, Smoother said:

Sorry, I'm not laughing :( There was nothing comical about that video.  Why are you so hard on yourself?  Massive improvement over the last video. And as for one foot launching! are you kidding me?!! I couldn't do that for weeks, I mean weeks.

The way I rode this morning compared to the recorded session was like night and day. I really felt like i had control over the wheel. It felt natural. This time it was like i totally forgot what I had learned. So i decided to have a laugh about it rather than feel down. But i've always been tough on myself in pretty much all areas. But i still had fun! The ride and dismount at the end made me really happy, haha. And thanks man! It was actually @houseofjob's stanky leg comment that helped me get it. I ran the idea in theory in my mind a bunch while it was too cold. And when i got on the wheel it felt so much more stable! 

13 minutes ago, Smoother said:

The only problem I saw was your tyre.  I believe it is too low for your weight.  At 2:50 it clearly rises up as you get off.  I estimate for your weight and that wheel you need 50psi.  Pump it up a bit past that because some comes out when you unscrew the filler tube.

Be careful.  It will be a lot more responsive with the tyre pumped up

I had the tire at 40psi before and i felt so off balance so i took air out, but from playing back the video, its clear to see i took out a bit too much,  I felt it too. When i had it higher, some of the wheels behavior changed, so i think you're right. Im not experienced enough to know what exactly the tire pressure changes will do to the ride. I felt, in theory, that the lower air would make it a bit more sluggish and thus give me a little more wiggle room to not go down, rather than being on a full wheel where im right on that point and its easier to tip left and right. 

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1 minute ago, pico said:

110% in agreement! You are doing surprisingly well and very quickly at that.

Thank you very much, pico. Its all because of everyones encouraging, tips and patience with me. I wasnt able to ride for a few days because of the weather (The snow was falling horizontally, i noped out), and everyone gave me info to use when i went out there today. Which i was super excited to apply to my riding! 

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4 minutes ago, seage said:

had the tire at 40psi before and i felt so off balance so i took air out, but from playing back the video, its clear to see i took out a bit too much,  I felt it too. When i had it higher, some of the wheels behavior changed, so i think you're right. Im not experienced enough to know what exactly the tire pressure changes will do to the ride. I felt, in theory, that the lower air would make it a bit more sluggish and thus give me a little more wiggle room to not go down, rather than being on a full wheel where im right on that point and its easier to tip left and right

You're not wrong there.  A flatter tyre is sluggish and squishy, so it might help a learner, or it might hinder.  None of us can go back to being a learner to say one way or the other.  As an experienced rider, that squishy feeling is not wanted.  Maybe put it up to 45 as a compromise until you feel more in control.  There is always a danger that a squishy tyre might become a crutch that holds you back.  If your morning ride was better than this, then I don't think you need to rely on a squishy tyre.

Having said that, now I think of it, my learning tyre was at 65psi, and I had a devil of a time, so maybe you're onto something. I didn't try lowering the pressure for months (after advice from people on this thread). There is a compromise pressure, that's why I suggested 50psi for you as you look to be about 210-220lb.  I have a 16s weigh 185lb and ride at 45psi.

FYI A low tyre can lead to a flat.  "Snake eyes" they call it; where the inner tube gets pinched between the road and the rim.  Trust me, replacing a tube is no fun.

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You're doing great. Some advanced maneuvers there, the free mount and narrow curves! At these low speeds! What were you ever so worried about?:)

I'd still like to see some more twisting (or just the slow motion equivalent of twisting: doing turns by rotating your head/upper body instead of shifting weight between the legs). Less leg work, more full body smooth relaxedness. And the tire pressure is indeed to low

But you're damn good already!

Maybe this helps.

Edited by meepmeepmayer
clarification
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