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John Eucist

How to ride an electric unicycle - understanding the dynamics

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18 minutes ago, meepmeepmayer said:

But I guess for every skill level there's a speed where you get stable

That sounds right to me. And so maybe there is a crossover point where your balancing skill is increasing and your speed naturally goes up, and then all of a sudden you feel really stable. I think people's natural inclination is to slow down when they start wobbling, and that makes the situation progressively worse. So it's good that you encourage people to try to go faster.

 

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5 minutes ago, erk1024 said:

I think people's natural inclination is to slow down when they start wobbling, and that makes the situation progressively worse.

Quoted for truth:thumbup:

I want to mention to not confuse instability at low speeds (when you're too slow for your skill level) and speed wobble/death wobble (when you're too fast for your skill level). Calling both wobbles might confuse someone. Just for clarity:)

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Very well written:efefae4566: And really nice drawings! Did you do them yourself? Always impressive how many other talents people here have.

Consider copying this into its own thread, so people have a second way to find, read, and reference/link this.

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2 hours ago, erk1024 said:

This twisting motion is analogous to what you do with a bike wheel at very low speeds to maintain your balance. This skill is essential to ride an electric unicycle

I must say that I disagree with this sentiment. I have seen a few people write how it is the key for slow riding, or learning to ride in general. Yet I never did it, and the few people I’ve taught to ride have learned very fast without it.

For me the key moment in learning was tilting the wheel between my legs. I find it far more precise, and it works the same on all surfaces. Twisting a wheel on pavement is quite hard, while on gravel it twists easily too much.

Another point is that the twisting motion can only happen by twisting the upper body to the opposite direction. Having the upper body facing to different direction than the legs is a steering movement itself, and in this case to the opposite direction to the twist. It makes the twist a limited and unstable means of balancing.

I can see that balancing on an EUC can be based on either technique, which makes neither a crucial method. I just find tilting to be much preferable.

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2 hours ago, meepmeepmayer said:

Did you do them yourself?

Thanks @meepmeepmayer! I'm not an artist, so to do the illustrations I used a posable figure (Body Chan), took photos with my iPhone and then edited in Photoshop. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll post in another thread.

15 minutes ago, mrelwood said:

For me the key moment in learning was tilting the wheel between my legs.

Interesting! This is something to think about. Tilting does obviously turn the wheel (because of the difference in diameter between the center and the edge of the wheel) and once the wheel is spinning at a decent rate, then the gyroscopic effect will tend to steer/twist it in the right direction as well. In this video, this guy is tilting like crazy and it doesn't seem to work for him. But I've also seen people do some really tight turns with tilting. Hmmmm... 

 

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This is my brake wobble 😊

I dog came to the side and i had to slow down quickly and i went into a brake wobble after i accelerated again the speed wobble went away ,

I get a few wobbles here and there but i just ride them out. If it's a speed wobble i just slow a bit or change foot a tiny bit or lean my leg into the wheel on one side,,, all these methods happen in a second,,, one of them usally cures it then carry on riding.

Brake wobble vid😁

 

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4 hours ago, erk1024 said:

this guy is tilting like crazy and it doesn't seem to work for him.

Ah, but he wasn’t tilting the wheel between his legs, he was tilting his whole torso.

I’ll try to make a video in just a moment.

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5 minutes ago, mrelwood said:

I made a quick video on how to turn with the EUC by tilting the wheel between your legs. Notice how turning your upper torso to the direction of the turn makes the turn even tighter.

 

 

Ooooh come on @mrelwood you should be wearing full face helmet pads and gaurds , you went at least 10 yards and at crazy speeds your wreckless😂😂 

Seriously though nice little quick video to demonstrate 😊

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26 minutes ago, stephen said:

Ooooh come on @mrelwood you should be wearing full face helmet pads and gaurds , you went at least 10 yards and at crazy speeds your wreckless😂😂 

I knew someone would say about that... :P But that was the first time ever that I rode with no gear at all!

26 minutes ago, stephen said:

Seriously though nice little quick video to demonstrate 😊

Thanks! Smaller wheels will twist easier, but for example the MSX is not a wheel you can balance by twisting. You’d be exhausted in 30 seconds.

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, erk1024 said:

Unfortunately, there are several training videos that don't point out that you need to TWIST the wheel. The notable exceptions are the 2013 Solowheel videos which say to "twist your feet and lower legs" in the direction you are falling to regain your balance. And go on to say "This is the most important thing you need to know in order to master the [electric unicycle]." The primary method for staying upright is to have enough speed, and twist the wheel to regain balance.

It's funny you wrote this because, although I can twist sideways from mild to wild for hundreds of yards at a time (it was part of my learning regimen 2 and a half years ago), I NEVER USE IT TO  CORRECT FOR ANYTHING.  OK "almost never".

Additionally I have said here before I think this solowheel training video is possibly the worst video for the exact same reason you think it is the best.  @mrelwood s description of typical riding, at slow speeds, is spot on...TILT THE WHEEL not necessarily the rider for low speed control; although some avoidance maneuvers involve movement of the body too to maintain balance.  Riding frequently through the tourist areas of cities like Cambridge and Barcelona, I can ride at below walking speed for minutes at a time and never have to twist the wheel to stay balanced.  I only twist the wheel if i spot an obstacle directly in front of the wheel (like 6 inches to a foot) such as a small rock. But even out at a foot distance, a tilt of the wheel will usually cause enough of a course correction to avoid said rock.

I know you think you are providing a service to other new riders, but may I humbly suggest you thoroughly learn to ride, yourself, first before giving advice.*  And I do mean that in a constructive way.  You should have several hundred miles under your belt before your body has experienced enough different riding situations, and to develop your own understanding of what works and what doesn't.  Yes twisting does work, but it is SOOOO unnecessary when a simple lean of the wheel accomplishes the exact same thing, but with more finesse, more control, and much less effort.  It gets to the point where one is micro leaning the wheel to correct for the tiniest side lean, and the movement is so subtle, it is almost imperceptible to the casual observer.  Twisting can never reach these fine levels because the resistance of the tyre against the road surface has to be overcome and part of that process is the actual "deforming" of the rubber (for want of a better term) as the rider applies twist. 

* clarification. erk1024, at the time of this post is a new rider who is still learning the basics, (and bleeding :D),as we all were once, when YOU read this he will probably be a super experienced rider with tricks too.

Edited by Smoother
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Posted (edited)

Um... yeah... I think it's time to nuke my original posts. The last thing I want to do is put out misleading information. Chalk it up to too much enthusiasm and too little experience. 

The thing is: I don't even like twisting. Leaning sounds so much better. The bright side is I learned something. I think the consensus is that twisting is kind of a last resort. A tool in the toolbox, but one that's seldom used.  

Edited by erk1024
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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, erk1024 said:

Um... yeah... I think it's time to nuke my original posts. The last thing I want to do is put out misleading information. Chalk it up to too much enthusiasm and too little experience. 

The thing is: I don't even like twisting. Leaning sounds so much better. The bright side is I learned something. I think the consensus is that twisting is kind of a last resort. A tool in the toolbox, but one that's seldom used.  

Knowing how to twist is a good thing, don't get me wrong.  It becomes another technique that becomes incorporated into all the other muscle memory stuff you learn, that separates an accomplished, skilled rider(think @Rama Douglas and his dancing-- a lot of twisting going on there) from someone who can ride, but only in ideal conditions. As such I recommend a lot of practice on it. As i said, I used to ride hundreds of yards in a straight line twisting left and right continuously, sometimes shallow and fast  and sometimes very deep and slow.  It was all good practice for getting used to being on the wheel.  I suppose each movement has to be accommodated and assimilated by the rest of the muscle memory system, so that one day when you round a blind corner in a narrow street and a F..ing cyclist is approaching fast on the wrong side of the road (Sunday, Cambridge, me), it's literally a no brainer to twist the wheel and contort the body to not only avoid contact and continue riding, but it also frees up the mind to hurl the appropriate insult as you go by.  This (freeing up the mind to throw out the appropriate insult )  is one huge benefit of being a accomplished twister :D

As for "seldom used" I think, because it gets incorporated into one's general ability to ride, it gets used probably more than I gave it credit for, but, for me at least, its in the background, complementing ones overall riding skills package, and another tool to whip out specifically, when needed.

Edited by Smoother
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3 hours ago, Smoother said:

Knowing how to twist is a good thing, don't get me wrong.  It becomes another technique that becomes incorporated into all the other muscle memory stuff you learn, that separates an accomplished, skilled rider(think @Rama Douglas and his dancing-- a lot of twisting going on there) from someone who can ride, but only in ideal conditions. As such I recommend a lot of practice on it. As i said, I used to ride hundreds of yards in a straight line twisting left and right continuously, sometimes shallow and fast  and sometimes very deep and slow.  It was all good practice for getting used to being on the wheel.  I suppose each movement has to be accommodated and assimilated by the rest of the muscle memory system, so that one day when you round a blind corner in a narrow street and a F..ing cyclist is approaching fast on the wrong side of the road (Sunday, Cambridge, me), it's literally a no brainer to twist the wheel and contort the body to not only avoid contact and continue riding, but it also frees up the mind to hurl the appropriate insult as you go by.  This (freeing up the mind to throw out the appropriate insult )  is one huge benefit of being a accomplished twister :D

As for "seldom used" I think, because it gets incorporated into one's general ability to ride, it gets used probably more than I gave it credit for, but, for me at least, its in the background, complementing ones overall riding skills package, and another tool to whip out specifically, when needed.

when going slow, you cannot correct for the falling you do by leaning your wheel.  this is a big mistake.  you will quickly become really tired.  twisting the wheel is for going really slow. 

the solowheel video is great, except that it is for advanced users not for beginners.  beginners will never understand the twisting until they get the leaning.  

the bike example they used is great.  if you know how to ride a bike you know that when going at speeds you don't twist the handle bars.  when going slow or trying to not move at all, you need to twist the handlebars to catch yourself from falling.  

when you learn to ride a motorcycle, you will be taught there are two forms of turning.  one for slow, one for above 10mph.  it is the same principle for euc and for bicycles. 

 

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Posted (edited)

My big gripe about this whole thing is that the videos, especially the modern ones don't tell you how to balance. Their approach is just "ride the wheel and you'll figure it out..." That's confusing instruction. I want to know what should I be trying to do. Why is it a big secret? So with this dearth of information, I latched onto the only actual instruction that was there, the Solowheel video. 

So I can get rolling on the wheel and correct big imbalances with twists. But there's a problem, you can only twist once. Once you twist, your torso is turned and if you need more correction then your screwed. And (as mentioned above) the soft rubber of the wheel resists twisting to varying degrees depending on the surface, and it's maybe not as precise as you'd like. So now I feel really misinformed and yet I watched every video I could get my hands on. 

Edited by erk1024

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2 minutes ago, erk1024 said:

My big gripe about this whole thing is that the videos, especially the modern ones don't tell you how to balance. Their approach is just "ride the wheel and you'll figure it out .. and then someday it will click". That's awful instruction. I want to know what should I be trying to do. Why is it a big secret? So with this dearth of information, I latched onto the only actual instruction that was there, the Solowheel video. 

So I can get rolling on the wheel and correct big imbalances with twists. But there's a problem, you can only twist once. Once you twist, your torso is turned and if you need more correction then your screwed. And (as mentioned above) the soft rubber of the wheel resists twisting to varying degrees depending on the surface, and it's maybe not as precise as you'd like. So now I feel really misinformed and yet I watched every video I could get my hands on. 

There is no secret to learning.  You just need to get on and ride.  The only secret is that anyone can learn, they just don't know it or it doesn't feel that way.

twisting is for going slow.  nothing more.  most folks start out learning going really slow, but what they fail to understand is that going slow requires advanced skills.  Just like in a bicycle.  is it easier to go really slow or fast?  so to learn quicker, you need to put aside your fear and go at a reasonable pace, fall, get back on and try again.  rinse and repeat until your brain has enough info to figure it out.

Your brain needs info to figure things out.  The balance algorithm that your brain comes up with requires data.  this means you need to get on the wheel and feed it or try.  doesn't matter what you try, the mere act of being on it for any time allows your brain to figure it out.  That is just how it works.  No way around it.  

 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/13/2019 at 3:06 AM, mrelwood said:

I made a quick video on how to turn with the EUC by tilting the wheel between your legs.

Thanks @mrelwood this was interesting and instructive!  :)

Can't wait to get out and do some tilting.

 

Edited by erk1024

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Don't think I have ever twisted during normal riding tbh! I thought the only way to ride really slow was by tilting. I can ride my Z6 with the wheel barely moving this way, I just thought it was how you were supposed to do it. I have only twisted when wanting to do say a 90deg turn on the spot, but find I rarely need to.

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5 hours ago, eddiemoy said:

when going slow, you cannot correct for the falling you do by leaning your wheel.  this is a big mistake.  you will quickly become really tired.  twisting the wheel is for going really slow.

Please explain, why can’t this be done, why is it a big mistake, and why don’t I get tired at all like I would from doing just a few twisting corrections? Is this not going ”really slow”?

 

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Posted (edited)

You guys are shitting on @erk1024 way too much by focusing on the word "twisting" like it had some super specific narrowly defined and only allowed meaning, and like it wasn't clear what exactly he meant in this EUC context - rotating the wheel like a bycicle front tire to be stable at low speed. Of course you do that by a subconsciously controlled combination of weight shifts between the legs and rotating (dare I say twisting) your body at the hip.

In my opinion, his post was great and informative, there was nothing actually wrong with it, neither did it create any misconceptions, not sure why you piled on that. It's a shame he felt he had to remove his post.

Newbies stopping waving around their upper body (and arms) and only shifting weight between their legs, and starting to rotate (twist?) the wheel, is exactly how the learning progress happens.

Sometimes it seems there are two schools of people here (e.g. learner wheel vs. forever wheel, or foot control vs. upper body control as is the case here*) fighting each other instead of understanding that different people have different focuses.

* Actually, these two might be related. A learner wheel is going to be lighter and smaller (narrower!), and shifting weight between the legs is how you ride curves and fine control such a wheel. A bigger and especially wider stance forever wheel will be much more controlled by the upper body im comparison.

Edited by meepmeepmayer
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Don't think I was 'shitting on' anyone personally. In fact I tried to word my post like it was something I was doing wrong, not someone else.

FWIW, I just happened to slip into my way of riding, it wasn't a conscious decision. I totally get that newbies would think twisting an EUC wheel to the left or right (as you would a bicycle) is how you stop yourself from falling over (like a bike) but it doesn't seem to work that way, for me at least. Possibly because it would be very difficult to tilt a bicycle front wheel as much as we can an EUC. I don't know, I just found that tilting gives me all the slow speed cornering I need. In fact as time progresses I am finding that I hardly even need to turn my torso into the direction of the turn (unlike when I started learning, and I found helped a lot).

I hope no-one thinks I was criticising anyone, it certainly wasn't intended and I apologise if it was taken that way. I was more surprised to hear that you turn an EUC by trying to twist it, which was new to me and therefore thought I had learnt everything wrongly :ph34r:

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Posted (edited)

I didn't mean anyone in particular, just the overall effect:) Also since I'm not a native English speaker, some words might sound stronger for English speakers than they do for me (sorry, my bad then).

It seems "twisting" is the bad word here.

There are 3 ways (see video) to ride a curve (as in change direction) - #1 leg weight shift, #2 upper body rotating, or #3 actually a strong in-place twist (this being more for trick riders and not so much happening during "normal" riding).

All 3 methods flow into each other (#1 and #2 as well as #2 and #3) and aren't perfectly separable.

He meant (and I understood) #2 while apparently many people here interpreted "twisting" as #3 only?

And, as said, what works depends on the wheel.

Edited by meepmeepmayer
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1 hour ago, mrelwood said:

Please explain, why can’t this be done, why is it a big mistake, and why don’t I get tired at all like I would from doing just a few twisting corrections? Is this not going ”really slow”?

 

go half as slow as walking.  try that for a long time.  the leaning side to side cannot correct for your falling for too long, it takes too much effort  again, try going in a straight line going about 2kmph.  i learned the hard way by unicycling next to my friends in NYC side walk.  you quickly figure out the side to side doesn't work.  

you know how to ride a bike?  try standing on a bike and trying to go slow.  i mean in a straight line.  you can't do it without twisting the front wheel like crazy.  twitching back and forth is more like it. 

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27 minutes ago, meepmeepmayer said:

I didn't mean anyone in particular, just the overall effect:) Also since I'm not a native English speaker, some words might sound stronger for English speakers than they do for me (sorry, my bad then).

It seems "twisting" is the bad word here.

There are 3 ways (see video) to ride a curve (as in change direction) - #1 leg weight shift, #2 upper body rotating, or #3 actually a strong in-place twist (this being more for trick riders and not so much happening during "normal" riding).

All 3 methods flow into each other (#1 and #2 as well as #2 and #3) and aren't perfectly separable.

He meant (and I understood) #2 while apparently many people here interpreted "twisting" as #3 only?

And, as said, what works depends on the wheel.

When I mention twisting I really mean twisting the wheel.  not the upper body to lean the wheel.  it is two separate things.  

best way to describe it is when you are going really slow on a bicycle. i use bicycle because that is this is what most people know.  and solo wheel instruction video use the same analogy.  the twisting of the front wheel to catch yourself from falling.  

the closer analogy is when you start learning how to ride a unicycle.  not the EUC that helps you stay up front and back.  when you start learning to ride a manual unicycle, there are thing that you pick up that help you with riding an EUC.  also because with manual unicycle you are going slow.  really slow.  there is a twisting action of the wheel to catch yourself from falling. 

Shane came from unicycling so they are approaching teaching EUC from that mind set.  start from about 38 seconds.  

 

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