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How long to learn to ride WELL


Comrade

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So I'm exactly at the three 45 min sessions point in my riding practice. I can mount well about 60% of the time, do more-or-less straight stretches without losing balance about 90% of the time, and I'm starting to learn turns.

I am confident that I'll be able to turn with decent amount of control after the next session. But the question I have is how long does it take to learn to ride well?

I'm taking about the ability to ride that's as natural as walking: riding with confidence without ever losing balance, being able to mount well 100% of the time, ride backwards, execute J turns and avoid sudden obstacles

If I practice every day, use cones on a closed course and be methodical about it, are we taking weeks, months or years? Alternately, miles, tens of miles, hundreds, or thousands?

And yes, I'm aware that the learning never stops. But if I asked you how long it takes to learn to walk, run, skip, jump from rock to rock without losing balance, run backwards, and stop on a dime from full speed - all without falling; I'm sure we'd all agree it's somewhere between the age of 4 and 7 (depending on the need to learn all that).

I'm not asking about EUC parkour, but essentially if I make a point to practice a new skill every time I ride, how long before I can ride like a champ ūüėč

DAY 12 UPDATE:
I had an unfortunate mishap on my 3rd day of riding that wrecked my wheel. It took quite a few weeks to get it all fixed up, but once I did so, I'm happy to report that today, on my 12th day of riding, I went on a 5.5 hr ride - I took the wheel off road through gravel, mud, and up some rather steep hills. I'm a little surprised at how quickly an old brain can learn new tricks.

Anyway, a while back I made a list of skills I wanted to perfect, and so far these are the results:

Flawless:
* Riding in a straight line
* Tight turns right
* Tight turns left
* Slow controlled riding (slower than walking speed)
* Snapping J-turns
* Straight narrow paths
* Riding over grass or over/up gravel terrain
* Riding slalom

Almost there:
* Launches from non-dominant foot
* Adjusting feet position on pedals while riding
* Riding with one leg
* Narrow ramps with hairpin turns
* Riding up and down steep inclines
* Launching on inclines
* Changing direction 180¬į on inclines
* Dropping from curbs

Yet to tackle:
* Riding backwards
* Turning backwards
* Jumping onto curbs
* Riding down the stairs

Good luck with that:
* Anything and everything in this video: Damien Gaumet / EUC contest 2016 (HD) - YouTube

Edited by Comrade
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I agree with @ShanesPlanet That is a loaded question!   Totally depends on the person learning and what kind of access they have to other riders to siphon skill from [synergy].

Law Laxina mentioned in a Jimmy Chang vid I watched that he had been riding for just over a year.  Some would think he is a great rider.

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I think other commenters are missing the forest for the trees.

While I agree the term "riding well" is ambiguous, OP has provided a decent and perfectly reasonable set of criteria (minus riding backwards) that explain what they meant: "I'm taking about the ability to ride that's as natural as walking: riding with confidence without ever losing balance, being able to mount well 100% of the time, ride backwards, execute J turns and avoid sudden obstacles ...  are we taking weeks, months or years? Alternately, miles, tens of miles, hundreds, or thousands?".

And to that set of criteria, if you exclude riding backwards, the rest of it should be attainable in several weeks to a few months, and I would say 'hundreds' of miles (not thousands). Obviously there's still a lot of room to continue getting better beyond that, but it should be enough for core competency like the criteria described.

Riding backwards is a uniquely different (and more difficult) skill than the rest, which a great many/majority of riders will never learn, and no amount of experience riding forward will ever make you suddenly capable of riding backwards. Rather it is a skill you have to practice/learn from scratch by itself which essentially feels like learning to ride all over again, and which can take several weeks or more to learn by itself.

Edit: many of the rest of the comments in this thread are absolutely bonkers to me. If you can't consistently turn/mount/dismount/etc after several months/several hundred miles, you're doing something wrong.

Edited by AtlasP
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46 minutes ago, AtlasP said:

I think other commenters are missing the forest for the trees.

While I agree the term "riding well" is ambiguous, OP has provided a decent set of criteria that explain what they meant: "I'm taking about the ability to ride that's as natural as walking: riding with confidence without ever losing balance, being able to mount well 100% of the time, ride backwards, execute J turns and avoid sudden obstacles ...  are we taking weeks, months or years? Alternately, miles, tens of miles, hundreds, or thousands?".

And to that set of criteria, if you exclude riding backwards, the rest of it should be attainable in a few weeks to a few months, and I would say 'hundreds' of miles (not thousands).

Riding backwards is a uniquely different (and more difficult) skill than the rest, which a great many/majority of riders will never learn/never need to learn, and can take weeks by itself. No amount of becoming a better rider will make you suddenly better/capable at riding backwards. You just have to try/practice riding backwards by itself like a dedicated skill.

Mounting well 100% of the time? Does anyone believe thats really obtainable? Avoid sudden obstacles? This is a loaded question if there ever was one. What kind of obstacle? Are we talking a bolt of lightning, a 300mph airplane, a tiny dog? NEVER lose balance? We all know how the words 'never' and 'always' work. I don't think ANY of that criteria is obtainable. Riding backwards is actually the only one that is possible. I still maintain that the entire question is debateable. Learning to ride backwards is obviously easier than 100% mounting, as I dont see me ever doing the latter. Even if we sort thru the wording to assume intent, its still impossible to answer. Too dependent on personal ability and initiative. I wonder how long Fantomas has been riding? :)

Edited by ShanesPlanet
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43 minutes ago, AtlasP said:

I think other commenters are missing the forest for the trees.

While I agree the term "riding well" is ambiguous, OP has provided a decent set of criteria that explain what they meant: "I'm taking about the ability to ride that's as natural as walking: riding with confidence without ever losing balance, being able to mount well 100% of the time, ride backwards, execute J turns and avoid sudden obstacles ...  are we taking weeks, months or years? Alternately, miles, tens of miles, hundreds, or thousands?".

And to that set of criteria, if you exclude riding backwards, the rest of it should be attainable in a few weeks to a few months, and I would say 'hundreds' of miles (not thousands).

Riding backwards is a uniquely different (and more difficult) skill than the rest, which a great many/majority of riders will never learn/never need to learn, and can take weeks by itself. No amount of becoming a better rider will make you suddenly better/capable at riding backwards. You just have to try/practice riding backwards by itself like a dedicated skill.

Thanks for providing a straightforward answer and not getting hung up on the minutia.

I kind of expected that most answers will take the direction they did, but was hoping someone would cut through all that, and you did.

Sadly, we can watch now as others proceed to dice up your answer with comments like "no effin way anyone can claim they can mount 100% of the time" or "J-turns should be considered an advanced skill that 99% riders can't execute".

I often wonder why people prefer to do that in forums (it seems to be an online forum thing), rather than provide an answer that's in the spirit of the question, like you did.

Thanks for your answer and for being awesome ūüĎć

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itll take you 3 days... there ya go! Perhaps 3 months? Look thru the topic I shared and youll see a general FEELING of when people think they have it figured out. As for pro/champ.. hell, most of us.. never. If you knew your question was going to get unsatisfactory answers, perhaps it could have been worded differrently. Welcome to the nuthouse and dont worry, Im the worst of the bunch.

Edited by ShanesPlanet
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6 hours ago, Comrade said:

But the question I have is how long does it take to learn to ride well?

LOL, I've seen guys ride EUC for many years and still not look natural or fluid for stuff like turns, etc, just riding well enough to be on the street (these include supposed "experts" "veterans"); while I've seen other newbie riders pick things up and look fluid after just a few months. 

Like anything in this life, I think it's a matter of the brain inside the rider's head plus the approach they take to learning. 

IMHO work smarter, not harder. Practicing for months, years, but with flawed technique, and you're just spending time perfecting flaws. 

 

That said, I would say IMHO my riding got truly fluid after about 3-4 years, mainly because a.) there were very little truly good EUC technique resources past the beginner get-on-the-wheel stuff (kind of still true), and b.) because I spent the most time debunking for myself all of the popular myths about how to ride "well" on EUC socials, experimenting outside the stale EUC paradigms, ended up learning so much more by hack modding my decades of downhill ski knowledge to EUC dynamics and physics.

Edited by houseofjob
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There are folks in the world that like to simplify problems usually optimistically, then there are folks that tend to be realistic and are often regarded as being pessimistic.  I fall into the latter category and attempt to account for as many variables as I can track before giving an answer.   There is no way to tell if you are going to be a natural and ripping it up next week, any more than I can predict you will hit a learning\confidence wall and never pick it up.  I stand by my statement that it is a loaded question :P

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As most mention you can’t draw a line, it depends what the goal is, your body coordination / balance (do you dance?), whether you do technical training.. 

My progression; roughly: I got on quickly as I had ridden unicycles in the past. However I was too busy riding to train any technique, it’s only after several hundred km I learned to mount (luckily there are posts everywhere in the city) Around 3000km I remember I told a friend I felt my ride was firm and confident. Since then automatic responses have improved with the mileage, riding over the giant pothole you didn’t see, sliding on mud or gravel..

What @houseofjob says about foot placement is very true, in the beginning foot placement is very important but as time goes you barely notice it except if it’s hard to brake or accelerate. Flexibility and variation is also key to avoid cramps and need special shoes and all that.

To get back to ‚Äúideal‚ÄĚ being a newbie thing, there are several domains where beginners strive for perfection, only to slowly go¬†for a more ‚Äúwhatever works‚ÄĚ approach.

That first phase is probably needed to understand the essence of things though.

Edited by null
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  • 2 weeks later...

One important thought that I didn't see here: A talent will take you only so far and "only" makes you learn faster or slower. But it won't make you a pro. Most of it is a practice and challenging yourself. It's the same as with anything else - the moment you become complacent and only do things you already know, you won't get better.

I was able to ride on a sidewalk within an hour of unpacking my first EUC, but then I quickly got on an "able to get to work and home" level - and if an emergency appeared, I had no skills to handle it and I stopped getting better for a few hundreds km. Until I began to learn tricks, offroading, and so on. That catapulted my skills forward again. On the other hand, my GF took way, way longer to learn the basics, but because she wanted to ride with me on the trails, at a 250 km mark she was way better rider than I have been at 500 km.

And learning to ride backwards is like starting from the scratch, but with blinded eyes and balance issues. :D I did it too, but I'm still far from perfect and it took me many, many hours and bloodied ankles.

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  • 11 months later...

After 100kms felt that I will survive my commute pretty ok. But after 3 years I know that you are never finished. I will survive the pothole which I faceplanted before. I can pendelum the red light. I can jump curbs and even clear the usual surprises. I usually get the most zen experience when riding slowly in the city or more aggressively in the woods.

After changing from MSP to V12 I kind of lost the joy. 

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Totally depends on the person, I've got nearly 3000 miles between 2 wheels under my belt in a little under 6 months. I haven't messed up a free mount since I had under 300 miles, and the only spill I've taken has been from ice around a corner. I cruise 31-40mph. I haven't learned how to ride backwards yet, to jump, or ride up/down stairs. I can do tight hairpin turns, inclines, one legged riding (albeit not very long due to leg fatigue) and doing carves so wide I end up scraping my pedals on my 18XL. I don't do much offroading, I ride flat dirt trails but haven't tried anything much harder than that, that's something I wanna do more this summer. Maybe if I decide to get an S20, Master, or a Sherman Max. My wheels both have street tires which last time I tried some harder offroading my 18xl was a little scary, but I also didn't have pads on it so that didn't help. 

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On 2/15/2022 at 4:23 AM, HardyM said:

The only difference between a kid and an adult learning to skateboard is the level of control. But what makes good riding is learning the basics, which is a standard for riders of all ages. 

Objectively and uequivocally false. The single biggest difference between a kid and an adult learning is the consequences of falling--both the potential physiological damage and time to recover, as well as the corresponding impact to their lives (including potential threat to their livelihood/ability to support themself during recovery) as a result.

Edited by AtlasP
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  • 1 year later...

Hi,

My name is Andy. I am a greenhorn. After a two meetings with instructor I decided to try on my own. I would say: Not so easy in the beginning. I will not quit. I have  problems with turning.

 

Take care

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I always approach new sports/activities with people like this.

Couple of questions I always ask people picking up new activities:

  • Did you play sports, dance, skate, ski, etc? ie how athletic are you.¬† Many will argue that it isn't relevant, but I completely disagree, the hand eye coordination, sense of balance, etc all are skillsets that translate over to any activity/sport.¬†¬†
  • What age are you? This matters a lot as well, as the hand eye coordination deteriorates as we get older.¬†¬†
  • Fitness level, same if you are active you don't have to build the muscles , just work on the finer motor controls
  • Can you self study Many people do not have this ability and require hand holding the entire time. You need to set goals, and being willing to commit to get better
  • Tolerance to risk?¬† Why, because you need to be able to take risks to grow, we learn or most of us do from making mistakes.

Once I have an understanding of where they sit, what they want to accomplish and where they want to be, we can sit down and formulate a plan to get there. 

This is exactly what I did for myself.  I out lined this below. 

Myself, I am still on the first month of riding.  First week was confined to the back yard, just working on skills, I saw a lot of improvement over those few days, week 2, I went to open fields/parks to start building on distances and cornering. End of week 2/3 I started to do longer rides 20-30 kms. End of week 3, I am starting to tackle off road trails. What I do is I do not schedule practice sessions, I set a goal for each ride and have mini goals I want to achieve in each outing.  Don't look at the end product, take baby steps.  This is a skill you can take with you on your career path. Many get focused on the end goal and don't think about how to get there and get stagnant.  

For instance Saturdays ride I set a goal of hitting btw 35-40kms with some light off road, now to get there I set a bunch of mini goals I need to accomplish:

Examples of mini goals:

  • Work on mounting and dismounting every km
  • Curb drops and mounts every km
  • Turning (slow/fast),¬†
  • Braking (emergency/slow)
  • riding on dirt trails
  • etc

Those are more generic goals but they allow you to formulate a plan for the ride and still have fun. I also don't move onto the next until I accomplish the previous mini goal, some of them have a lot over overlap and are done at the same time.  The key is to always be working towards something attainable/realistic and not reaching for the moon, ie the end goal. Don't set an expectation that by this date you are going to be an expert rider or  you will 9/10 fail miserably.  Set realistic goals that keep you improving and build confidence, you will fail along this path, but the key is to get back up and keep moving forward.  You may have to take a step or two back to accomplish a goal before you can move on and that is alright. We learn as humans by failing and taking those experiences and learning from them. 

The most important thing to take away from all this is who cares how long it takes you, get out have fun, but continue to work on getting better each ride, before you know it you will be the rider you want to be. Oh and do not listen to the naysayers or friends/etc telling you that you will get hurt/etc. Go enjoy your life and do what you want to do!!

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I now have about 300 miles on my V12 and like anything else, perfect practice makes “perfect “. I still look like a goon when I mount, haven’t had a gravity attack in 100 or so miles and look reasonably smooth. All that said,  I enjoy riding on the local rails to trails, which undoubtedly doesn’t help my advancing skills.   I feel like just standing there for 30 miles or so, not expanding my skill set.  When I ride off pavement for 45 minutes or so my legs feel like I have trouble walking!  And I definitely feel like I have made a step forward in my skills.  For me it’s not the months of experience, miles ridden but the quality of the time riding that increases my skills. 

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Start with some carving. It’s fun and a good skill to learn. It helps avoiding unforeseen situations………

Edited by Hellkitten
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  • 2 months later...

I'm still a new rider, so I won't bother to answer the OP's question directly, but for those wanting an idea of how long learning an EUC takes maybe this will help. First my background: I have decades of experience as a downhill skier. I have a couple of years of balancing practice on my scooter (I ride it like a skateboard rather than using the handlebars, partly for fun, and partly to protect the stem life.) I'm sure those hobbies have helped, though it by no means made learning an EUC easy.

I spent about an hour a day practicing.

Day 1: Got a feel for the wheel, Standing on one foot, and spinning backwards / forwards, mounting against a wall and rocking back and forth, riding short distances mostly straight.

Day 2: Felt confident riding straight, and began working on turns. I learned to ride indefinitely once mounted, so long as I didn't have to turn too much haha.

Day 3: Continued working on turns, and began experimenting with small hills, and turns on hills.

Day 4: Continued working on tightening turns, and developing different turning techniques.

Day 5: I followed some advice online and took my EUC off-road to challenge myself and force myself to learn faster. Boy did this ever make a difference in my learning. I took a pretty gnarly spill, but wasn't hurt thanks to the safety gear. That encouraged me to focus on building my carving as a means to avoid obstacles. I learned how to handle going up / down hills. I learned to keep my knees bent, as even a suspension EUC will throw you if you hit a big bump. I learned how to smoothly transition between different types of terrain. My sense of balance improved drastically, and this also helped me to learn to free-mount fairly reliably (though not gracefully).

Day 6: Focused on free mounting. On a suspension EUC like mine with high pedals, this is a major work out if you're focusing on it!

Day 7: Rested with sore abs.

Day 8: More free mounting. It became much more reliable and approached graceful so long as a hill wasn't involved.

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