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Gasmantle

How long did it take you to learn to ride backwards?

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A quickie question to those who have mastered backwards riding, how long did it take ? hours, days or even weeks?

I just have a cheap and cheerful V5F and now that I can ride forwards in a relaxed manner I want to learn how to ride in reverse. Admittedly today is my first day of trying but after about 2 hours at it I'm getting absolutely nowhere.

I'm reasonably confident I'll learn it with practice but I must say it is harder than I expected :(

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Thanks :) I'll have another go tomorrow for an hour or 2 - I'd like to think after a week I ought to have managed ride a few yards in reverse.

The video of Ian at Speedyfeet is useful, at the moment I've been trying from a standing start and holding onto a fence but trying to ride backwards from a forward movement has to be worth a go - luckily I can ride very slow and almost stay stationary.

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I used the Speedyfeet tutorial, but you may already know how to ride backwards if you practice pendulums often enough.

If you just practice pendulums, mostly slow pendulums, and do it smooth enough that you don't jerk the wheel back onto balance, then you'll eventually and drama-free be riding backwards. Being able to do pendulums is necessary, because the pendulum is how you get into going backwards.

Although I suppose one could mount and immediately go backwards. Or push off a wall. However, practicing pendulums has the advantage that as you mess up going backwards, you then snap the wheel to go forward, and don't have to dismount, then remount.

I do remember that practicing slow pendulums was extremely hard, but once I had that under control then going backwards was quite easy, if disconcerting.

Finally, I will point out that I often cross controls going backwards, and indeed during such a brain fart I had the worst injury that saw me out for a month and crawling up stairs and needing help to get off the toilet seat (laugh, but I assure you being crippled like that is serious business).

I'm not so sure going backwards is even advisable, because it's so much more difficult to catch yourself; I would definitely advise wearing a helmet that goes pretty far down the back of the neck (not a road bicycle helmet).

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Definitely easier on the M10, for me it was practice, practice and more practice. 

I've pretty much sussed it - but it would be much easier if I had eyes in the back of my head. (Turning your head behind you can knock you off balance)

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Gasmantle said:

A quickie question to those who have mastered backwards riding, how long did it take ? hours, days or even weeks?

I am in the belief it took me about as long learning riding backwards as riding forward, so it took rather a few hours than minutes, but I certainly didn't practice it with the same sense of urgency, so the hours were distributed over a few months. At low speed I mostly feel as comfortable going backwards as going forward by now, with the exception of climbing up curbs and steep hills and spinning.

Edited by Mono
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It took me about 5 sessions, approx. 15 min each to start riding backwards. What worked for me the best is to stand stable by holding my truck bed and then push off. Make sure you wear helmet and other safety gear.

I started riding 2.5 months ago and learned on Ninebot C+. Few weeks ago I got MSX and I love it.

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took me i would say about three solid hours to get good at it... after many many many failed attempts it finally just clicked and magically i could do it... went from this is impossible never gonna happen, to click, ok this is easy.. no progression whatsoever like with riding forwards lol... just keep on trying until you can.. the fear is the worst thing to overcome especially since i dont own any padding the thought of landing straight on my ass and possibly hitting my head on to the pavement was a terrifying one but youll get over it.. worst thing that happened was i backed up a little too far and slammed backwards into the bike rack in my parking garage, hurt like a mother but couldnt stop laughing for some reason.. anyways i learned on my ninebot one since its my starter/beater/loaner wheel and i dont care what happens to it, once it clicks you can do it on pretty much any wheel straight away but i find actually my v5f is the hardest of all my eucs because it is so dang thin that my legs never make contact with it so its much harder to stabilize than the ninebot or my ks16 for example, if you learn on the v5f any other wheel will be a breeze haha

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7 hours ago, scotchtape said:

Going backwards is easy, but riding backwards with controlled turns.. after a year I have gotten nowhere. I can go backwards but no real control, and I can idle ok, but not great.  It's hard looking backwards!

yea turns were absolutely terrifying at first lol... i found being in a familiar place like my parking garage i could say ok when i reach the blue car thats when i turn left, then the mini van and i turn right, after a few failed practice runs i could turn no problem.. getting over the fear is the hardest once you do that its easy... actually looking where i was going took a bit longer, quite disorienting at first would make me dizzy lol but i practiced turns a couple more hours and now i can ride backwards and look where im going... just get a sore neck xD

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Posted (edited)

For me, learning to ride backwards took weeks, whereas learning to ride forward only took days--it was decidedly longer. And I still can't just steer wherever I want while going backwards, but I can keep my balance and go mostly straight, or make very gradual and ugly turns.

Edited by AtlasP
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I waited until a year after learning to ride. It was cool because it was like starting all over. First few days were super frustrating, then after several days it will suddenly click. Now I can do backward figure 8s and carve. I think it's helped my balance and comfort particularly at slow speeds with regular riding. I had about 550 miles in a year on a Glide3/Inmotion V8 before trying it. Did it by going forward first then backing up, 100 times over several days. No injuries and only dropped it about 5 times. My advice would be wait until you're so comfortable with regular riding that you're starting to get bored. My next goal is to play around at the skate park on some of the sloped curves :unsure:

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3 months of messing around and 2 weeks of serious practice. Now if I could only dismount with my left foot without looking like the wheel and rider are going to fall over...

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Many thanks for all the replies :)

It sounds like I'm not the only one who finds backwards riding to be a challenge. I've had another go today for about an hour but don't seem to be making any progress, at the moment I find the problem is my mind won't let my body lean back. It's as if some primative survival mechanism tells me it's not safe to lean back and I can't yet override that feeling.

I think a few days on grass may help, it's not as easy a surface to ride on but it may get me past the fear of falling stage.

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Gasmantle said:

Many thanks for all the replies :)

It sounds like I'm not the only one who finds backwards riding to be a challenge. I've had another go today for about an hour but don't seem to be making any progress, at the moment I find the problem is my mind won't let my body lean back. It's as if some primative survival mechanism tells me it's not safe to lean back and I can't yet override that feeling.

I think a few days on grass may help, it's not as easy a surface to ride on but it may get me past the fear of falling stage.

it will help, for me it was my ass into concrete and a bike rack... you have to overcome the fear one way or another or you will never achieve it, once you break through you wont have the trouble again

Edited by Rywokast
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20 minutes ago, Gasmantle said:

at the moment I find the problem is my mind won't let my body lean back. 

I used this method to fast track my GF:

Holding her in the required positions and sequence and tell her to remember her brain sensations. I did not have that luxury so it took me longer than her.

I hope this helps.

Every single one of the advanced maneuvers: the spounz, the pedal cross over, the thompson, riding on top of the unicycle take each around 3 months of dedicated practice. If they were easy, everyone would be doing them...;)

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1 minute ago, pico said:

I used this method to fast track my GF:

Holding her in the required positions and sequence and tell her to remember her brain sensations. I did not have that luxury so it took me longer than her.

I hope this helps.

Every single one of the advanced maneuvers: the spounz, the pedal cross over, the thompson, riding on top of the unicycle take each around 3 months of dedicated practice. If they were easy, everyone would be doing them...;)

you sir, have an unparalleled amount of patience :P ive seen a lot of your videos.. fantastic

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Thanks guys :)

I guess its a bit like trying to lean backwards to the point of falling over, if you know there is a soft mattress behind you then it's easy but if it is solid concrete your mind won't let you do it.

It seems to me the difficult bit is 'teaching' your primitive instincts it is safe.

At this stage I'm not too worried about learning turns but just the ability to back up say 5 or 10 yards could be useful and being able to pendulumn while waiting at traffic lights etc would be great.

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Just now, Gasmantle said:

Thanks guys :)

I guess its a bit like trying to lean backwards to the point of falling over, if you know there is a soft mattress behind you then it's easy but if it is solid concrete your mind won't let you do it.

It seems to me the difficult bit is 'teaching' your primitive instincts it is safe.

At this stage I'm not too worried about learning turns but just the ability to back up say 5 or 10 yards could be useful and being able to pendulumn while waiting at traffic lights etc would be great.

yup.. its difficult to overcome the evolutionary instinct to not fall backwards straight on to your ass lmao.. but you just need to teach your body, its ok.. the wheel will catch you, similar to the trust fall kids do in elementary school haha.. and yes it is useful for more than you think, especially in case of emergency but dont expect to do pendelums while waiting for traffic lights any time soon, at least not with any amount of grace :P on an mten its easy, but anything else you might embarass yourself hehe

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41 minutes ago, Gasmantle said:

I've had another go today for about an hour but don't seem to be making any progress, at the moment I find the problem is my mind won't let my body lean back.

I find that when I am riding in reverse it is more about my feet being in front or behind my upright torso to control engagement, speed and braking. 

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I would suggest some good arse protection when learning as it's gonna take the brunt of the fall

Speaking from my experience 

IMG_20181105_200614.thumb.jpg.c81ea91f0822c3a9da40cebd5cca4dc8.jpg

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1 minute ago, Gaz Bon said:

I would suggest some good arse protection when learning as it's gonna take the brunt of the fall

Speaking from my experience 

IMG_20181105_200614.thumb.jpg.c81ea91f0822c3a9da40cebd5cca4dc8.jpg

thought i had accidentally clicked on another browser tab when this image popped up haha.. but nope, ouch that looks very painful, i imagine sitting was very uncomfortable for some time

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