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Albatross

Damn, this is effing hard... lol

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I just learned to ride these crazy things recently. It took me from mid January to mid February of almost daily practice to be able to stay on it well enough to make down my street. Hang in there. Wear the gear. Keep watching as many training videos as you can. People show things and say things different ways. You'll see and hear things that resonate with you if you watch a good variety. Things get a little easier each day. Your body seems to process what you learned overnight. You'll come back the next day and things that gave you a hard time will be easy, .... easier.

If an old lump like me can learn this, I'm sure you can. Just stay determined. I stayed stubborn. Now I'm riding all over my little town of 20,000 or so. One guy pulled his Jeep over when I was taking a rest break today. He said he saw me on the other side of town and that I sure got around. Then the questions about the wheel itself started. Anyway, you'll be a rock star when you get it.

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Posted (edited)

Its not as easy as people try to make it appear to be. All this talk of everyone being able to easily do it and it being a viable form of basic transport for the masses... utter nonsense imho. I've about 300 miles and 3-4months on mine and its still not the simplest thing. I find that controlling it with one foot is not the easiest part by far. Just so you don't lose interest, maybe you should practice against a wall and have FUN rolling back and forth. I KNOW everyone says to practice start/stop first, but if you dont make any progress and arent having any fun, you WILL give up. If you give up, then the order of how you learn is a moot point. Grass is challenging but easier on you when you fall. I spent 2 days on grass and when i finally had the nuts to hit the street, it was a LOT easier. Soft yards condition you to have to put TOO much input into it. Its not a bad thing, but its tough. Dont give up man, it isnt easy. Once you get rolling and the gyro effect keeps you upright, youll begin to 'feel' how its possible to do this at all. DOnt wear yourself out. Im 42 and in mediocre shape, and still found that practicing for 30 minutes a day was much more benefit than trying to practice for longer. Ignore the doubters, you WILL learn this if you pace yourself and keep after it. Let your wife talk shit. In about 2 weeks, youll get to say 'i told you so' and 'you were wrong'. My wife figured I would learn it, but she also thinks I'll kill myself on it. Sadly, she MAY still be right.  Again, don't let everyone fool you. This isnt easy for all of us, and if you need some more assurances, go watch my wobbly ass on some of my videos. Keep in mind, I'm not a brand 'newbie' anymore and I have a history of motocross, regular unicycles, skateboards, etc. Even with this background, I find it challenging everyday.

Edited by ShanesPlanet

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55 minutes ago, ShanesPlanet said:

Its not as easy as people try to make it appear to be. All this talk of everyone being able to easily do it and it being a viable form of basic transport for the masses... utter nonsense imho. I've about 300 miles and 3-4months on mine and its still not the simplest thing. I find that controlling it with one foot is not the easiest part by far. Just so you don't lose interest, maybe you should practice against a wall and have FUN rolling back and forth. I KNOW everyone says to practice start/stop first, but if you dont make any progress and arent having any fun, you WILL give up. If you give up, then the order of how you learn is a moot point. Grass is challenging but easier on you when you fall. I spent 2 days on grass and when i finally had the nuts to hit the street, it was a LOT easier. Soft yards condition you to have to put TOO much input into it. Its not a bad thing, but its tough. Dont give up man, it isnt easy. Once you get rolling and the gyro effect keeps you upright, youll begin to 'feel' how its possible to do this at all. DOnt wear yourself out. Im 42 and in mediocre shape, and still found that practicing for 30 minutes a day was much more benefit than trying to practice for longer. Ignore the doubters, you WILL learn this if you pace yourself and keep after it. Let your wife talk shit. In about 2 weeks, youll get to say 'i told you so' and 'you were wrong'. My wife figured I would learn it, but she also thinks I'll kill myself on it. Sadly, she MAY still be right.  Again, don't let everyone fool you. This isnt easy for all of us, and if you need some more assurances, go watch my wobbly ass on some of my videos. Keep in mind, I'm not a brand 'newbie' anymore and I have a history of motocross, regular unicycles, skateboards, etc. Even with this background, I find it challenging everyday.

Oh craziness!!!!

Took an hour break, went back to it and was doing things that I couldn’t an hour before. Figured out how to do the half moons and can now stand in my left leg and ride the wheel with my right in circles. Figured out that for me to control it my leg has to be pressed against the wheel to the point that it’s uncomfortable and even painful. But what I’ve seen from videos, that goes away. Super excited.  Taking another break and going out again later. 
 

ShanesPlanet, I’m also 42, have a 2nd degree belt in Karate, but in not my best shape, because I had surgery on my hand a few months back, stopped working out and let myself go.  You lose a lot in 4 months of not working out when you’re 42, I learned.  But I’m back on the horse or as I will say from now on, back on the wheel.  Lol 

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Posted (edited)

Bruising on the inside of the leg is par for the course. Funny how these little details get avoided, when people talk about how easy and great it is to learn. No worries tho, I found the tenderness and bruising to go away within a month of routine. I still get bruises, but its from getting bitten, not riding. My neoprene cover makes for softer on the legs. Even now tho, there are times (thru fast curves and bumps), that youll grab on with those legs for dear life, bruises be damned. Good ole conditioning ftw! Youll also notice your calves getting WAY stronger. I found myself also learning by sleeping. Just as you may notice, practice in smaller session seems to give us time to improve during the 'down time' . Things we find near impossible one day, magically become possible from a simple reset and rest period. Like a bicycle, once you learn it, I dont think youll completely lose it. Im glad you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Proving your wife WRONG can also be somewhat of an incentive. As you get comfy, you will ride LOOSER on the wheel under smooth conditions. It becomes somewhat effortless really.

Edited by ShanesPlanet

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51 minutes ago, Albatross said:

.....Figured out that for me to control it my leg has to be pressed against the wheel to the point that it’s uncomfortable and even painful. But what I’ve seen from videos, that goes away.....

Ankle and shin guards make the learning process a lot more comfortable.  

Stick with it, it will happen.

Bruce

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4 hours ago, PennBruce said:

Ankle and shin guards make the learning process a lot more comfortable.  

Stick with it, it will happen.

Bruce

High-top sneakers too!  I still have scabs on my ankles from learning, though they're almost all gone now finally.

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Posted (edited)

@Albatross Here's how you learn to ride correctly: B)

0. Take some bubble wrap or cardboard and wrap it around the unicycle. When you think it's enough, double it. I estimate that I've dropped my unicycle around a 100 times before I learned to ride.
2. Find a pole/fence on a pavement! Grass makes learning more difficult. Acquaint yourself with mounting/dismounting while holding a fence. Learn to ride forward/backward 0.5m while holding a fence.
3. Learn to ride the whole length of a fence while holding onto it - you let it go for 0.5s and you catch it 1m later. And you ride the whole 10m like this. Rotate and repeat until easy.

After you're proficient holding a fence:

Alone:
4. Let go off the fence and try to ride as long as possible. The length of your ride will slowly go up. :-)
Do not try to mount without a pole! First learn to ride, then learn to get on. I rode > 100km before I learned how to jump on a unicycle with 50% success rate. :D

With someone (better):
4. Hold onto them (shoulder or a tense hand) and use them to help yourself balance. They should be walking forward quickly. After a few km this way you should be able to ride alone.

It took me 3h until I was able to ride 1km without falling. Happy hunting!

Edited by atdlzpae

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Thank you everyone for the tips. I have my alarm set to early so I can get up before the wife and kids and put some practice in. 

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Hello @Albatross, welcome to the fun!

Whether to learn to ride first, vs. learning to mount first, is almost a religion and people on these forums are in two camps about it.  I won't argue it one way or the other, but FYI I learned to mount first (sort of), then learned to ride, and then learned to mount confidently.  My suggestions below are based on that progression.

Now that you can do the half-moons, try this sequence:

First: Put your left foot on its pedal like you're going to do a half-moon, and place the right foot right next to its pedal. Not behind or ahead, but right next to it so the wheel is under you. Put the shin of your left leg against the case (hopefully you've found a way to cushion the shin pressure, as discussed above) and lean the case slightly toward the right, away from the mounted leg. Now try raising the right foot straight up, just a tiny bit.  A 16th of an inch...an 8th...a quarter, whatever you feel comfortable with trying.  Try to keep it raised for a split second.  Feel how the wheel tries to tip over toward the right. Angle the wheel a bit more and try again, note that it tips less quickly. If you find the right angle, and apply enough shin pressure, the wheel won't tip at all and you can keep the foot raised for a half second before tapping it back onto the ground.  Work that exercise, trying to raise the foot progressively higher and keeping it up longer.  Switch legs and do the same exercises on the other side. This is the first step toward learning to mount without holding on to something, and it also helps you start getting a sense for wheel balance.

Second: Once you feel you can lift your leg for half a second or longer, without losing control of the wheel's angle, do some "skates:" left leg on pedal, right leg right next to its pedal (again, it's important that the wheel is under you, not ahead or behind). Give yourself the tiniest push forward with the off foot, just enough to roll a few inches, and lift the foot just an inch off the ground while the wheel rolls forward. As soon as the wheel slows to a stop, or if you feel it's tipping on you, put the foot down.  The foot is right above the ground, so all you have to do is move it 1 inch and you're back under control.  Do it again, and again, and again.  As you get proficient with each speed/distance, try pushing a tiny bit harder. Later, try lifting the off foot 2 inches instead of 1 inch.  3 inches. Again you're on the way to learning to mount, to do a "skate start" (one of two start methods), and to getting a visceral understanding of the wheel's lateral dynamics.  When you can skate for a few feet at a time, with foot raised inches off the ground, not only will you note that the wheel beings to become naturally stable (the same gyroscopic forces that make a bicycle more stable as it beings to move), but you'll also realize that you're only a few inches away from lifting that foot the rest of the way to rest it on its pedal. In fact, in the latter stages of proficiency with this exercise, you can push off and slowly lift the off foot just enough to tap the pedal, before putting it back down.

To me, these two exercises were the foundation of learning both to mount and to ride.  It's boring and feels stupid to just do little half-mounts (first exercise) and skates (second exercise), but the hindbrain is gathering valuable data on how to balance the wheel. Watching videos will only get you so far.  Same as reading this. Ultimately you just have to do, and do, and do some more, and don't get ahead of yourself.  Please report your progress!

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, svenomous said:

Hello @Albatross, welcome to the fun!

Whether to learn to ride first, vs. learning to mount first, is almost a religion and people on these forums are in two camps about it.  I won't argue it one way or the other, but FYI I learned to mount first (sort of), then learned to ride, and then learned to mount confidently.  My suggestions below are based on that progression.

Now that you can do the half-moons, try this sequence:

First: Put your left foot on its pedal like you're going to do a half-moon, and place the right foot right next to its pedal. Not behind or ahead, but right next to it so the wheel is under you. Put the shin of your left leg against the case (hopefully you've found a way to cushion the shin pressure, as discussed above) and lean the case slightly toward the right, away from the mounted leg. Now try raising the right foot straight up, just a tiny bit.  A 16th of an inch...an 8th...a quarter, whatever you feel comfortable with trying.  Try to keep it raised for a split second.  Feel how the wheel tries to tip over toward the right. Angle the wheel a bit more and try again, note that it tips less quickly. If you find the right angle, and apply enough shin pressure, the wheel won't tip at all and you can keep the foot raised for a half second before tapping it back onto the ground.  Work that exercise, trying to raise the foot progressively higher and keeping it up longer.  Switch legs and do the same exercises on the other side. This is the first step toward learning to mount without holding on to something, and it also helps you start getting a sense for wheel balance.

Second: Once you feel you can lift your leg for half a second or longer, without losing control of the wheel's angle, do some "skates:" left leg on pedal, right leg right next to its pedal (again, it's important that the wheel is under you, not ahead or behind). Give yourself the tiniest push forward with the off foot, just enough to roll a few inches, and lift the foot just an inch off the ground while the wheel rolls forward. As soon as the wheel slows to a stop, or if you feel it's tipping on you, put the foot down.  The foot is right above the ground, so all you have to do is move it 1 inch and you're back under control.  Do it again, and again, and again.  As you get proficient with each speed/distance, try pushing a tiny bit harder. Later, try lifting the off foot 2 inches instead of 1 inch.  3 inches. Again you're on the way to learning to mount, to do a "skate start" (one of two start methods), and to getting a visceral understanding of the wheel's lateral dynamics.  When you can skate for a few feet at a time, with foot raised inches off the ground, not only will you note that the wheel beings to become naturally stable (the same gyroscopic forces that make a bicycle more stable as it beings to move), but you'll also realize that you're only a few inches away from lifting that foot the rest of the way to rest it on its pedal. In fact, in the latter stages of proficiency with this exercise, you can push off and slowly lift the off foot just enough to tap the pedal, before putting it back down.

To me, these two exercises were the foundation of learning both to mount and to ride.  It's boring and feels stupid to just do little half-mounts (first exercise) and skates (second exercise), but the hindbrain is gathering valuable data on how to balance the wheel. Watching videos will only get you so far.  Same as reading this. Ultimately you just have to do, and do, and do some more, and don't get ahead of yourself.  Please report your progress!

Went out in the morning for an hour. Used my car as a wall/fence. I now can consistently mount the wheel in a slow roll and ride forward for 3-5 feet without support. The wheel has gained a lot of new scratches. Lol

I’m taking an hour break to cook breakfast and feed the kids and then going back out for another hour.  Planning to do these on and off sessions throughout the day. Might ask my wife to help and walk besides me so I can use her as a crutch. 

Edited by Albatross

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Everything seems to be going nicely.

I second what @atdlzpae says above!

A few more random tips:

  • Not on grass! Pavement.
  • Go fast, not slow. Walking speed is extremely hard. 15+ kph is a breeze in comparison.
  • Be aware of the principles of how a EUC works.
    They react to your center of gravity. If you are standing on the wheel, still while holding on to something, relaxed, you should be neutral. If the stance makes you move, that is an imbalance you will constantly have to fight against while riding, making you tense and unrelaxed, making everything harder.
  • Enjoy the process, you only get it once:)
  • Go fast. Seriously. A lot of new riders make it hard for themselves because they think walking speed is where it's at and they slow down when they get wobbly instead of speeding up to stabilize.

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I think you would benefit from a pole/wall to assist you in mounting the wheel. You're not too slow, but your stance is probably uncontrolled/bad because you get up there so hectically (that's normal for a learner!). Better stance = no reason you can't go forever. Likely you're fighting your stance more than the wheel.

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9 minutes ago, meepmeepmayer said:

I think you would benefit from a pole/wall to assist you in mounting the wheel. You're not too slow, but your stance is probably uncontrolled/bad because you get up there so hectically (that's normal for a learner!). Better stance = no reason you can't go forever. Likely you're fighting your stance more than the wheel.

I am mounting and moving forward. Have learned how to correct the wheel by moving it in the direction of where I’m falling and increasing speed. Stoping and dismounting do not exist for me yet.  

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Oh yeah, my Ninebot one e+ looks so beat up after today’s sessions. Lol

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Just wrapped up for today. At the end of practice session mounted the wheel rode 20-40 feet and stopped with a sort of a dismount, sloppy, but not jumping off the wheel.  Ripped one of the pads, bummer. 
 

my son keeps commenting, damn pop you tell me to take care of my things, but you got this thing a few days ago and it looks wracked. Lol. How do I explain it to him without flipping out and yelling lol. 

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13 minutes ago, Albatross said:

Just wrapped up for today. At the end of practice session mounted the wheel rode 20-40 feet and stopped with a sort of a dismount, sloppy, but not jumping off the wheel.  Ripped one of the pads, bummer. 
 

my son keeps commenting, damn pop you tell me to take care of my things, but you got this thing a few days ago and it looks wracked. Lol. How do I explain it to him without flipping out and yelling lol. 

You tell him the same thing I told my son... you bought a  cheap one to learn on because you knew it would get beat up.  When you buy your "real" one, you'll take much better care of it.  But having one that you're not afraid to wreck lets you learn with fewer mental hangups.

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Some people literally wrap some bubble wrap around the parts of the wheel that get banged up in the tumbles that inevitably happen during training. It's ugly, but it keeps the wheel from falling apart or looking too ugly later. On the other hand, battle scars are viewed by some as a mark of pride.

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21 minutes ago, svenomous said:

Some people literally wrap some bubble wrap around the parts of the wheel that get banged up in the tumbles that inevitably happen during training. It's ugly, but it keeps the wheel from falling apart or looking too ugly later. On the other hand, battle scars are viewed by some as a mark of pride.

There is a Russian saying that loosely translates to, Scars decorate the man.  Guess could be applied to wheels as well.  (I’ve been living in the US since 1989, but originally from former Soviet Union, so Russian was my first language).

I thought of putting padding on the wheel, but I didn’t. So it is what it is, I guess.

On the bright side only about 5 some hours into it and I was doing much better today.  It is so true what some folks said in the beginning. Speed is a noobie’s friend.  Mounting is much easier.  The wheel just fucking moves so much better the more relaxed I am.  Stoping by slightly bending knees and leaning back feels so cool!!!

 

 

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