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John Eucist

How to ride an electric unicycle - understanding the dynamics

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On Sunday, December 20, 2015 at 2:25 PM, ThatCharlieDude said:

The carpet worked well for learning to balance. The extra little friction helped me to wobble less I think. It is a little harder to turn on it but we don't have very thick carpet. Most of the time I balanced or wiggled back and forth with one hand on a wall while watching TV.

With that said I don't think I would recommended riding on carpet because of the wear on it. I bet my wife would have killed me if she knew I was riding my wheel inside. :) 

Don't worry too much about the carpet, you just have to lift the wheel up, now and then to check if it can still rotate at a good speed.;)

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If the key to remaining stable is to steer into a fall, do training wheels teach the wrong skill? They encourage balancing by shifting to the other side.

I got a euc a couple of days ago and tried it without the training wheels at first, but, frustrated with my lack of progress, put them on. Was that a mistake?

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1 hour ago, gmusser said:

If the key to remaining stable is to steer into a fall, do training wheels teach the wrong skill? They encourage balancing by shifting to the other side.

I got a euc a couple of days ago and tried it without the training wheels at first, but, frustrated with my lack of progress, put them on. Was that a mistake?

The training wheels can help you get used to the feeling of controlling the motor in that first 10-40 minutes, but you won't get any better with them on because they don't let the wheel tilt. When you first practice, you'll learn how to use big movements to recover your balance when your wheel wobbles by constantly using wide turns to catch yourself when you're about to fall. Allowing your wheel to tilt steeply is actually an advantage to learning because it gives you more time to adjust your balance. Gradually, you can make those balance adjusting movements smaller as you get more precise.

With that said, the fastest way to learn is to holding on to a friend's hand or shoulder as you travel at a fast walking speed. Alternatively, the safer and slightly less quick way to learn is to practice in a hallway where you can touch the walls on both sides.

You don't have to think too hard about balancing. Just take off those training wheels and put in time. Your brain will automatically figure it out! :)

Edited by Skylightica

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How long does it typically take? I've had the thing for several days and still can't go than a few meters at a stretch, whereas in all the videos, people are riding down the sidewalk within the hour. It's depressing and zero fun.

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4 minutes ago, gmusser said:

How long does it typically take? I've had the thing for several days and still can't go than a few meters at a stretch, whereas in all the videos, people are riding down the sidewalk within the hour. It's depressing and zero fun.

Dont practice at home - go outside. You need space to balance side to side - dont practice in confined spaces

Start by practicing next to some railing. Or in between two rows of railing.

Push your limits - if you cant stay balanced, jump off the wheel but dont be afraid to go forward and accelerate a bit

Gear up and fall a few times - you cant avoid falling forever. Embrace it and you will learn faster.

good luck

 

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2 hours ago, gmusser said:

How long does it typically take? I've had the thing for several days and still can't go than a few meters at a stretch, whereas in all the videos, people are riding down the sidewalk within the hour. It's depressing and zero fun.

If someone gets the EUC quickly, it's because they have spent countless hours falling off something else. It's not really fair to compare your learning time with people who did other balance sports.

A week or two to learn to ride straight is very normal. It takes even more time to get comfortable with turning and obstacles.

Also, check out the ages of the riders here! :) There are all ages!

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3 hours ago, gmusser said:

How long does it typically take? I've had the thing for several days and still can't go than a few meters at a stretch, whereas in all the videos, people are riding down the sidewalk within the hour. It's depressing and zero fun.

Accidents that occured when I was still learning:

  • I fell on my knees after rolling for about 10 meters. Luckily, I have kneepads so I'm. OK.
  • I fell on my butt and hurt my wrists when trying to go down a slippery slope and it happened when I didn't wear my wrist pads.
  • I landed and twisted my right foot when I panicked and dismounted because I think I was about to fall.
  • I stretched a lower rib on my left side because I was trying to catch my EUC during a sudden dismount on a street corner.

Incidents that occurred after my learning phase:

  • A  minor pedal scrape while trying to do tight slaloms and turns. 

I advice you to have somebody hold your hand to maintain you balance and roll and not to let go until you feel you can manage by your own which will depend upon your confidence level. You will soon get the feel of it and it will be just as natural as riding a bike. It took me 2 weeks learning alone.  My wife and daughter learned for about 2 hours with the hand assisted technique and they themselves bravely asked me to let go.

Edited by SlowMo
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4 hours ago, gmusser said:

How long does it typically take? I've had the thing for several days and still can't go than a few meters at a stretch, whereas in all the videos, people are riding down the sidewalk within the hour. It's depressing and zero fun.

I suppose everyone is different. It is 20 days I have a Ninebot One E+ and have not been training everyday but quite frequently.

Sometimes I Amber able to ride 200/300 m but others I fail miserably to start or do more than 10m.

Main problem is I have a tendency to turn left.

But it has been better last days and sometimes I am able to "relax" while riding.

One of the things important is having lots of space around so you are not worried about obstacles. Also being in a flat surface also helps but I find it is more difficult than it seems. Patience...

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Initially I went through the "I give up" and "this is impossible" phase, in fact I exhausted myself the first day trying to just go 2 feet.  I did not use the training wheels or strap because of what I read bout it hindering your learning so it was HARD!  

I learned that you have to lean into your falls and trust the wheel to catch up, also going faster makes it easier to balance.. after a few days I was able to ride circles around my car on a 16" IPS wheel, then after a week I was able to ride long distances and after 3 weeks I was able to hop up and down curbs!

Here is where I regressed...  Any input is appreciated.

I realized the limitations of the 16" wheel and 340wh battery so I "upgraded" to a 18" Msuper2 680wh...  I felt like I am learning all over again... I am having trouble turning, and can't imagine going up a curb!  

I realized that on the smaller wheel I was able to manipulate the wheel more with my feet, by turning and angling it with ease... now with the bigger wheel I am having trouble turning.  The Wheel body presses against my calves and I cannot tilt it like I used to...  what the heck?  I'm going to go out today and practice more, but without the freedom to manipulate the wheel with the feet I feel that I have to learn all over again.  Very strange and I did not expect this, but I'm sure i'll figure it out, and I always welcome the challenges :)

Any feedback on the tougher transition from 16" to 18"?

 

 

Thanks in advance!

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@Kells  I only have experience of riding a 14 inch wheel, but I think is important to understand that there are at least three ways to make turns with an EU.   Those ways are clearly explained in this video by Simon Tay.    Hope it helps.

 

Edited by Frankman
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@Frankman that 2nd turning style where you bend your leg is EXACTLY how I am used to turning... now that with the MSuper there is no room between my calf and the body of the EUC I cannot allow the unit to tilt which makes perfect sense now that I can actually SEE what I was doing!

So I will try to ride with my feet halfway on the pedals which is NOT ideal, but It should give me the "play" I need between my calves and the body of the EUC...  Thanks for posting that link, it's exactly what I needed to see!!

Edited by Kells

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Newbie comments after riding for 1 hour:

I am a physicist and a skier...so I tried to use both these skills to get started. I have a 14" Mohoo with all sides now covered by foam.  Held onto a stack of roof tiles that was 4 feet high beside the house.  Without the trainer wheels I could not step up on 2nd petal.  I literally leaned over the right petal to the ground and stepped up on left side sticking high up in the air and pushed it down until it was level.  This allowed me to move forward and backward and stand still to practice balance.  But always one ankle would buckle and that foot would go to the ground as I moved forward and back about 5 feet.  My trainer wheels swivel 360 degrees and allow 5 degree lean to both sides. Then with the training wheels on, I could "hop on" the 2nd petal after some practice.  Within 30 minutes I was out on the street going for several blocks at a time.  I was always "touching down" on the trainer wheels as I leaned from side to side.  Turning was combo of swinging shoulders and bending knee.  Rocking backwards, and forwards, and standing still became a piece of cake.

Skiing told me that to do parallel turns I had to lean forward and point my torso in the direction of the turn.  This has turned out to be my best technique for unicycle.  At 1 hour of practice I can do 8-10 mph and turn whenever I need to.  But I have a big problem.  With the training wheels off, I cannot regularly hop up on the 2nd petal.  I have seen the "triangle diagram" and tried it, but with right foot on petal and I step up with left foot I almost always fall over on my right side. 

I just saw the video about "triangle method" and to "lock the knee".  I have not done this.  I will try it this week.  All the videos make the step up of the 2nd foot as effortless and no wobble.  I just don't seem to have enough time to get the 2nd foot in position and be leaned ever so slightly forward.  Would appreciate any suggestions on how to make the "hop up" smooth without trainer wheels.

Observations:

1) placement of feet forward/backward on petals is absolutely critical.  My toes have to be 3-4" beyond end of petal to allow good forward and backward balance practice.

2) to adjust a foot position on a petal, you must come to almost a complete stop.  If you do it at 5 mph I loose balance and wobble badly.

3) must have foam padding on side of unicycle where the legs touch.  My Mohoo arrived with no padding.  Really hurt ankles and calves.  With thick padding it is now comfortable to ride for 20 minutes with no pain or abrasion.

4) Mohoo has good Bluetooth on unit.  It is amazing how listening to music with a good base beat makes you turn more regularly and forget about falling.  It sets your mind into "going with the flow".

5) strap is essential for 1st 30 minutes for upright balance and so that you don't let the unicycle run away.  But after that you let the strap hang loose so that you can use both arms for balance and shoulder rotation.

6) always wear the safety gear.  Two falls have shown me that "hard-bar" wrist pads are absolutely needed.

    tjcooper

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6 minutes ago, tjcooper said:

I just saw the video about "triangle method" and to "lock the knee".  I have not done this.  I will try it this week.  All the videos make the step up of the 2nd foot as effortless and no wobble.  I just don't seem to have enough time to get the 2nd foot in position and be leaned ever so slightly forward.  Would appreciate any suggestions on how to make the "hop up" smooth without trainer wheels.

Have a look at this video. It shows a simple hop of the left foot with the pivot foot holding the wheel.

 

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Here's a video where we give 2 programmers a crash course to get through the learning curve in less than 2 hours!

All you need is the safety belt and perseverance:

 

NO WALL AND NO PHYSICAL HELP. YOU WILL DEPENT ON IT AND IT WILL TAKE YOU LONGER TO RIDE INDEPENDENTLY.

Edited by Michael David de Gans
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Human help is still the best if that person knows how to support and gives tips.

A Safetybelt btw has the same issue, people depend on it while learning and need to re-train later to ride without. But to each their own ;-)

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1 hour ago, Jag_Rip said:

Human help is still the best if that person knows how to support and gives tips.

A Safetybelt btw has the same issue, people depend on it while learning and need to re-train later to ride without. But to each their own ;-)

When we started learning people through our courses we helped them physically but we quickly switched to safety belts without physical help. Of course tips and technique explanations always speed up the proces. But we discovered relying on a persons assistance compared to relying on yourself holding the belt is a whole different experience in terms of letting go and having the confidence in yourself. 

To each his own, but in our experiences teaching the person to rely on himself early on helps to speed things up.

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Using the safety belt limits you learning the balance faster. You've not the perfect position (balance on the wheel. You're focused on the area in front of the wheel and it's quite important to fix a level point far away. Look on the videos from France and the Paris tours. People use them way to long and then tow them to the waist belt (is that the correct word for the belt you've on a pair of trousers/ a pant?). People must feel the balance point or they never learn to ride well. No fear try it ;)

Get the people on the wheel, walk beside and if the balance point is under control ride beside them and put them at their hand. Riding beside each other will get the beginner a faster secure feeling. That's my experience.

In the next step the beginner should drive circles, a 8, step on and off. If you show them what to do they can learn to stand on the wheel in good manner in 3-4 hours (can be faster depending on the balance feeling). Not perfect enough to ride on street but the basics are there.

People used to ride a mechanical unicycle, do dancing, ride a snowboard, do surfing have a big advantage. I've seen people riding stable alone/ by self after 10-15 min.

 

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On 3/14/2016 at 7:58 AM, tjcooper said:

I just saw the video about "triangle method" and to "lock the knee".  I have not done this.  I will try it this week.  All the videos make the step up of the 2nd foot as effortless and no wobble.  I just don't seem to have enough time to get the 2nd foot in position ...

Triangle method is useless, because it doesn't work, unless you already know how to keep low speed balance. And once you figure out how to keep balance at low speeds, you don't need any special method how to hop on EUC.

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27 minutes ago, mich said:

Triangle method is useless, because it doesn't work, unless you already know how to keep low speed balance. And once you figure out how to keep balance at low speeds, you don't need any special method how to hop on EUC.

I have to disagree, but of course to each their own.

The triangle method is essential to make sure you can control the euc with one foot on it so you won't kick the wheel away when stopping/getting off or (what many do before controlling their unit) quickly jump on with the other foot and hope it'll be allright when moving forward.

Control your forward/backward movement of the wheel with one leg through the triangle technique by locking your shin/knee to the wheel and getting off and on will be easier and less catastrophic voor things/people around you.

(and I'm not just saying that because we made that video...)

Beginner tutorial videos: http://futurewheels.nl/videos/

Edited by Michael David de Gans
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18 hours ago, Michael David de Gans said:

When we started learning people through our courses we helped them physically but we quickly switched to safety belts without physical help. Of course tips and technique explanations always speed up the proces. But we discovered relying on a persons assistance compared to relying on yourself holding the belt is a whole different experience in terms of letting go and having the confidence in yourself. 

In courses I can see why you use a belt, usually there are less trainers than learners. Also the better they get the faster you run as trainer next to them :D which gets exhausting fast.

I dont to trainings professionally but I helped about 15 people to do their fist meters on a EUC and those picking up the techniques the fastest were clearly those that I walked next to them. I was also paying attention that my pupils didnt just lean on me, I wasnt their "wall" to hang on to, so if they lost balance I didnt support them too much so they had to do the most work, I helped when they overcompensated their balancing and start to wave with their arms. After a few meters of rolling I would deny them most of my stability so they depend on my help as little as possible. As soon as they were rolling mostly on their own, all they got was a finger or a shoulder to put their hand on.

Many ways lead to rome, I guess there isnt THE perfect way to learn a EUC. :) Good job on providing trainings nonetheless!

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18 hours ago, Michael David de Gans said:

I have to disagree, but of course to each their own.

The triangle method is essential to make sure you can control the euc with one foot ...

Beginner tutorial videos: http://futurewheels.nl/videos/

You are correct sir,  triangle method is important for all the reasons you stated. Only the tutorial videos for beginners explaining triangle method are useless and very much unhelpful. They make it seem like the difficult part is how to put your feet on pedals. In reality that's easy, difficult part comes after, that is how to keep the balance and not to fall immediately.

I've received my EUC last week, and I've the same experience as tjcooper above. After about an hour of practice on parking place, it was impossible for me to hop on EUC without support.

Edited by mich

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