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erk1024

Learning to Ride: Twisting and Speed are Key

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Thanks @erk1024.  I'm a newbie who's made it past that initial phase of achieving stable forward motion, so what the heck, I'll contribute my erudite "knowledge!"  What I'd say about twisting vs. tilting is that at speed, tilting (by bending one knee and straightening the other knee, and tilting the entire wheel off vertical) is the primary means of directional and stability control.  At slow speeds, tilting does work also, but it has to be exaggerated.  I've had the wheel tilted at what felt like 30 degrees while practicing circles in a parking lot at walking speed, because that was the only way to get a useful turning radius via tilting at that speed.  Therefore, at very slow (walking) speed I found that a twist, or a lean combined with a twist, works very well, but at higher speeds the twist becomes increasingly unnecessary and increasingly unpredictable/dangerous.  At faster speeds the only time I've done a twist was in case of a sudden unexpected upset, like going over a crack in the asphalt, and in those cases the twist is tiny, almost subliminal.  I hope this makes some kind of sense.

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Posted (edited)

The problem with all this technical talk is it makes things worse for the beginner. Because they start thinking about it. And you absolutely don’t want to be thinking about what you’re doing. 

I have excellent success teaching people. I keep my prompts very simple and never explain to people the technical details or what they’re doing because it will cause them to rationalize instead of using instinct. 

What happened to most of us is we fail enough times and suddenly it “clicks” and we can slowly but surely ride as long as we want in a straight line. That moment is your brain finely coordinating with your body in sync, something that can’t be done at a rational thinking level because thinking isn’t fast enough. 

I tell all my beginners to twist, or “wiggle” left and right and DO NOT try to go in a straight line. Many beginners want to just go in a straight line and thu never get the hang of it because the twisting motion is a requirement to learn how to ride in a straight line and not vice versa. Twisting teaches your brain how to save the wheel from falling and after enough tries it will connect the dots and you get that “clicking” moment. The brain and body correct the aberrations and you find yourself able to go in a straight line without twisting anymore. 

I don’t advocate holding on to fences or holding someone’s hand. They need to go out in the wide open space and fail. Repeatedly. The only thing I advocate is well placed hurdles (like ones at a track) where they can go 5-10 meters between two hurdles, touching them for balance as they go between them. 

Everyone ive trained has reached that clicking moment on day one within two hours. It doesn’t mean they can ride, but that they can stay on in a straight line. 

Edited by Darrell Wesh

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4 hours ago, erk1024 said:
(Disclaimer: Most of the people on this forum know all this already, and the principles have been described in various ways multiple times. I just wanted to get this written down for my fellow newbies, and to emphasize what I think are core issues. I've also over simplified the explanation for easy explanation. The actual physics involved are more interesting.)
 

Hey man - 

I think you did a great job outlining this.  Your point of view or description may touch a newbie in a way my ideas and suggestions might not.  If the goal is to spread the word about the fun and fanaticism of the mono wheel riding (I'm beginning to cringe writing "electric unicycle") you are certainly approaching this with insight, voice and effort.

Kudos.

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No disagreement from me, @Darrell Wesh.  Knowing about twisting vs. leaning didn't really help me learn.  Didn't hinder my learning either, I think.  It was good to see the two methods demoed on YouTube, and eventually once I was able to somewhat control the wheel, I found it useful to know that there's a difference, and to try to explore it.

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Obviously all three (twist, tilt, fly & burn) methods can be utilized, since all of them have been used to teach new riders. When teaching, the key is indeed to be very straightforward, and give as few as possible, and only simple and logical instructions.

I do say this though:

2 hours ago, Darrell Wesh said:

Everyone ive trained has reached that clicking moment on day one within two hours.

Not to make this a contest, but I think two hours is quite a slow progress if there is someone there to teach you. I was riding bicycle paths and crossing traffic with my friend within 30 minutes from the start. My brother was even faster, but he has balance related hobbies that obviously helped.

Perhaps just a little more guidance might work even better, to reduce the amount of required fails before it ”clicks”?

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3 hours ago, mrelwood said:

Not to make this a contest, but I think two hours is quite a slow progress if there is someone there to teach you. I was riding bicycle paths and crossing traffic with my friend within 30 minutes from the start. My brother was even faster, but he has balance related hobbies that obviously helped.

Perhaps just a little more guidance might work even better, to reduce the amount of required fails before it ”clicks”?

It took me around two or three hours to click and I’m an Olympic athlete. I learned on my own after watching many tutorial videos etc. 

Understand this; your short learning curve is abnormal. It takes much longer for the majority of people. 

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9 hours ago, svenomous said:

What I'd say about twisting vs. tilting is that at speed, tilting (by bending one knee and straightening the other knee, and tilting the entire wheel off vertical) is the primary means of directional and stability control.  At slow speeds, tilting does work also, but it has to be exaggerated.  I've had the wheel tilted at what felt like 30 degrees while practicing circles in a parking lot at walking speed, because that was the only way to get a useful turning radius via tilting at that speed.  Therefore, at very slow (walking) speed I found that a twist, or a lean combined with a twist, works very well, but at higher speeds the twist becomes increasingly unnecessary and increasingly unpredictable/dangerous.

I don't have as much time on the wheel, but I think at a certain speed I don't do any more twisting--for the reasons you mentioned. So it seems like there is a crossover point where twisting is no longer useful. It's the same for bikes, but I think on a bike the crossover happens at a lower speed. And the thing is that tilting / leaning is so ingrained from other vehicles, that it feels intuitive when you get to use it.

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I simply tell beginners to pretend they're sitting on the handlebars of a bicycle, and then hold their hand so everytime they are about to fall off I prop them up again. Without fail people instantly understand the mechanics of needing to twist the wheel without being told to do so, because most everyone has ridden on the handlebars.

Where @Darrell WeshWesh might help is the mounting of an EUC...perhaps it takes two hours to learn to mount, as that is a new skill entirely.

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5 hours ago, mrelwood said:

Obviously all three (twist, tilt, fly & burn) methods can be utilized, since all of them have been used to teach new riders. When teaching, the key is indeed to be very straightforward, and give as few as possible, and only simple and logical instructions.

Now that you've mentioned it, low speed tilting something I want to go out and try and explore. I'm really just trying to figure it all out. ;)

 

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I watched some videos and learned on my own as well, took me hours before I could do a wobbly straight line.  Took me 2 weeks to get muscle memory down and ride relatively decently.  I almost threw my EUC away after the first hour.  Then I spent some time on the internet until I found the steering tip and that got me going in hour 2.

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@Darrell Wesh Some people won't find peace until they know WHY something works. Also knowing to do something specific consciously can kickstart the subconscious process that was missing.

But you're right that all the "talk" doesn't do much. Just like you don't learn to ride a bike by reading about it and watching videos, you don't learn to ride a EUC that way.

"Don't think too much, just ride" is true. But some explanations can help.

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31 minutes ago, meepmeepmayer said:

@Darrell Wesh Some people won't find peace until they know WHY something works. Also knowing to do something specific consciously can kickstart the subconscious process that was missing.

But you're right that all the "talk" doesn't do much. Just like you don't learn to ride a bike by reading about it and watching videos, you don't learn to ride a EUC that way.

"Don't think too much, just ride" is true. But some explanations can help.

I dreamed about riding an EUC in anticipation before I even received one. I read and viewed every morsel of information I could before my cheap eBay learner wheel arrived. 

It didn’t matter. No amount of info my brain had digested prepared me for the learning curve. The only thing I could do right away was free mounting. I could kick start Mount like a skateboard almost immediately but struggled for the first hour to stay on. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, meepmeepmayer said:

Some people won't find peace until they know WHY something works. Also knowing to do something specific consciously can kickstart the subconscious process that was missing.

I was struggling to figure out how to say it, and then this paragraph said it exactly right. :efefae4566: 

I don't think I would have tried twisting left to my own devices, and would have spent more time failing to find balance. I also think people mentally approach things differently. Some people can go with instinct and intuition where others need to build a model of reality to understand it.

Edited by erk1024

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7 hours ago, mrelwood said:

Not to make this a contest, but I think two hours is quite a slow progress if there is someone there to teach you. I was riding bicycle paths and crossing traffic with my friend within 30 minutes from the start. My brother was even faster, but he has balance related hobbies that obviously helped.

Perhaps just a little more guidance might work even better, to reduce the amount of required fails before it ”clicks”?

Did I hear contest? I taught a friend within 10 minutes and that was on the Ninebot S1. After I helped him on and he held my hands while going forward a bit and getting used to it, he then took off and rode around the block without issues. lol.
However, I will admit his experience is completely abnormal. He rides regular unicycles, as well as performs balancing tricks professionally, so the balance clicked right away. haha

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, erk1024 said:

I was struggling to figure out how to say it, and then this paragraph said it exactly right. :efefae4566: 

I don't think I would have tried twisting left to my own devices, and would have spend more time failing to find balance. I also think people mentally approach things differently. Some people can go with instinct and intuition where others need to build a model of reality to understand it.

There is a huge difference between giving someone a cue vs explaining the cue. 

If I told you to twist left and right to keep straight that is dramatically different from me telling you to twist left when you’re falling to the left to catch yourself and Twist right when you’re falling to the right to have the wheel catch you. 

Edited by Darrell Wesh

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41 minutes ago, Darrell Wesh said:

If I told you to twist left and right to keep straight that is dramatically different from me telling you to twist left when you’re falling to the left to catch yourself and Twist right when you’re falling to the right to have the wheel catch you. 

I Agree!

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Posted (edited)

What have you found is the best way to instruct a group?  I took my KS16S out on a campout with a group of Boy Scouts last weekend, and they all took turns trying it out on the grass (no extra padding on the unicycle; I didn't know better!). 

The most effective learning method I found recently went something like this. I'd teach them the "triangle technique" to mount. Then I'd simply to get them started going in a circle around me, holding onto my shoulder and maybe a hand, too, if they really needed help at first. We'd go in circles both directions to get the feel of turning both ways.  This would transition to them just holding onto my shoulder, then we'd move to arm, then just fingertips. I'd walk or jog alongside them as they started to learn how to go straight.  Shortly thereafter they were cruising around the patch on their own having great fun. Four adults, eight kids taught in about four hours on one 16-inch electric unicycle in the grass. Every person was able to mount the wheel on their own and ride a bit before we were done.

Some other parents want me to do this again on the next outing because they thought it was awesome. Might have to buy a second wheel :D

Is there a faster/better technique than what I outlined above? This seemed pretty effective, but I just felt like I lucked into a reasonable teaching mechanism. It left me flatly exhausted by the end, though; other parents were subbing in for me to teach their kids using the same technique.

Edited by Matthew Patrick Barnson
verbiage

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11 hours ago, Darrell Wesh said:

It took me around two or three hours to click and I’m an Olympic athlete. I learned on my own after watching many tutorial videos etc. 

Understand this; your short learning curve is abnormal. It takes much longer for the majority of people. 

I also learned by myself based on Youtube videos, and it also took me several exhausting sessions to even be able to leave the wall I took support from. But when there is an experienced person teaching you personally, the learning time is (or could be) cut down a whole lot. I should have a few more learners coming in at some point, so we'll see if my students have so far just been abnormally fast learners.

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