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You are doing really well!!! Im on day 3 and til my protection arrives i cant do much other than mount/dismount next to a wall and rock back and forth a little, though i have managed a short 5 metre ride with no wall. Like you i watched tons of YT videos but convinced myself id have it in minutes lol. 

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Keep it up! Remember, it also takes time to build up the leg muscles required for EUC riding, and that cannot be rushed. Just keep riding and staying consistent, and you’ll be in great shape!

Edited by TheSlyGiraffEV
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My net won't play the vid, but i can imagine what I'd see. Am I the ONLY one who watched (and watches) videos and skilled riders and just assume it can't be as easy as they make it seem? I figured it would take me a LOOONG time to get any good. Turns out, I was right. Im still mediocre and its been 2 years. Lots of fun in those 2 years however. Come to think of it, I always assume things are tougher than they appear. :o

My only advice to most newbies is... Be patient. Muscle and brain development isnt always an instant thing. It helps to keep practice short and often, rather than getting in too much a hurry and wearing yourself 'thin'. Don't focus on any one thing so much that it begins to lose its joy. A healthy respect for the dangers is a good thing. People approach 'fear' differently tho reliably. How you tackle this entire journey is totally up to you. :thumbup:

Edited by ShanesPlanet
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Saw the video. Great progress! It's as if you didn't really need the railings at all after a few tries, but I understand what you mean about the railing being a "security blanket" of sorts. The important thing is that you have the concept of riding down and as a lot of people have previously said, you're definitely well on  your way. Keep up the great work. :)

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10 hours ago, ShanesPlanet said:

i can imagine what I'd see

Well, you missed the best part - a close-up of my cat. Très photogénique. But that's life - you can't win them all :)

 

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Hot diggity! You've got it! Seriously, you've got the basics. Looking ahead, standing straight. Conviction. You are well on your way.

If you have livestock, be careful around them. Between the safety gear and not moving in bipedal fashion and possibly the high frequency noise the wheel makes, horses do not appreciate my presence. Or maybe they do and it's me that's unsure, but when the stallions of the herd are approaching with wide eyes and side looks, I dismount and back up. Slowly.

Have fun!!!! (and save your loose change, the second and third wheels get more and more expensive)

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However big you feel that your farm is now, very soon it will seem to be half the size ... or smaller ... when you are rolling all over it on your wheel. From your nicely edited video, I imagine it will be just a few very short weeks at most. You are doing great.

I agree with your sentiment that @Ubute is a great example of creativity and fortitude. That was a nice thing to share in your post and the video. He serves as an inspiration to me also. And you will too, very soon!

 

 

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Thanks all for encouraging comments!! :)

13 hours ago, Tawpie said:

stallions of the herd are approaching with wide eyes and side looks

*shudder*

No livestock. Just a little "hobby farm". But it sounds like an idea - maybe I could use it to scare off the wild boars?? Or not. :unsure:

13 hours ago, Tawpie said:

the second and third wheels get more and more expensive

I know. As it happens, just bought an 18XL ... :whistling:

 

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On 8/5/2021 at 8:57 PM, Eeyore said:

A special thanks to @Ubute, whom I feel I can relate to; one day I'll become as good as you are!

Hi @Eeyore, thank you for your kind words, and also to @Scottie, whom I won't quote because it's all too embarrassing. I'm so pleased - chuffed, even - that I've been of help and encouragement. I just love your version of a railing and it looks as if you hardly need it anymore already. In all honesty, the day you become as good as me has almost arrived. I think all I have over you is a few more months of experience and confidence.

Being "good" at unicycling is an extremely relative term. In the scheme of things I'm a very basic rider. I can bounce over rocks and roots without slipping off because I've spiked my pedals, but I don't jump, do tricks and certainly can't ride backwards. I watch the videos of Chooch, Wrong Way Adam and other hot riders in awe and admiration, but without envy or aspiration. The risks they take and the crashes they must have sustained to do that stuff have no attraction to me at all. I can already do what I wanted to do, and that's to ride safely and reasonably confidently in wild and remote places, looking for some of Tasmania's more elusive animals, especially quolls, devils and lyrebirds. (Look them up, they're amazing.) And as for being "good" in the eyes of others, that's easy, all you have to do is ride one of these crazy looking things. Anyone who doesn't ride a unicycle - and that's almost everyone - thinks you're some sort of fearless god of balance. All very gratifying, even if you do feel a bit of a fraud because you know they could do it too. They don't believe you of course when you tell them, and you ride away, glowing quietly in their admiration.

16 hours ago, Tawpie said:

Between the safety gear and not moving in bipedal fashion and possibly the high frequency noise the wheel makes, horses do not appreciate my presence.

I'm very interested in your observations, Tawpie. As I've said, I'm always hoping to see wild animals and it's my assumption or belief that riding a unicycle gives as good a chance as any other means of transport. I don't know about high frequency noise, but my S18 is remarkably silent apart from the sound of the tyre on the ground. As you've suggested, without the characteristic bipedal motion, I'm not sure how recognisable as human beings we are, floating along perfectly still. The other day I was riding a forest track and came across a bandicoot, snuffling along the track in front of me. I slowed down and passed within a metre of it and it paid no attention to me whatsoever. The only times I've seen them before I've been on foot and they've dashed away in panic at the first glimpse of me. It's possible in these remote places they might be unfamiliar with humans, but most animals, except in Antarctica and uninhabited islands, have an inate fear of humans, even if they, as an individual, have never seen one before. Apart from lyrebirds, the aforementioned animals are usually nocturnal, but I've often wondered whether, in the absence of humans, they might venture out in daytime more than we realise. Obviously humans are not the only threat in the daylight, but we are, sadly, the one creature EVERY animal seems to be wary of. Wouldn't it be great if a unicycle was the perfect disguise?

Back to the subject of how "good" I am as a rider, that particular ride on Monday was a record for me. Compared to urban pavement speedsters who rack up enormous mileage, most of my trips are relatively short. Despite the S18 soaking up a lot of the knee-punishing vibrations of rough tracks, you're constantly weaving and dodging obstacles, accelerating and decelerating on dips and rises, and in this case, slogging ever upwards in the Hartz Mountains. It's hard work and quite tiring for an old geezer. I've sampled this track before, but this time I was determined to get to the end. It was 10km to the top and my legs were already turning to jelly before I headed down again. I'd come off twice on the way up, "involuntary dismounts" - it's only a "crash" if you hit the ground - and I'm much more cautious downhill. I'm not ashamed to walk if I'm too tired or it's too scary. I did walk down that really steep and rough bit I'd "ID'd" on coming up. The one piece of safety equipment I really don't want to use is my personal locator beacon. Back at the van after 20km on the wheel I could hardly stand up. Every fibre in every muscle of my legs was screaming at me but I grinning from ear to ear. A few days later, and when this damn rain stops, I'll be out there again.

Here's a different track I rode up but walked down, and evidence that it's not necessarily the hard bits that bring you undone!

 

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@Ubute You are making me so jealous. Especially since the trails where I ride are still smoldering from a pair of wildfires. It'll be a different look for a few years, around 2026 the wildflowers should be spectacular.

I've snuck up on deer on my wheel but haven't seen much wildlife honestly. We have mountain lions and bears and might have a wolverine (rumored but near impossible to confirm). Most of the non-flying critters I'd just as soon not creep up on so I usually carry and shake a set of jingle bells—partly to warn the creatures, partly to warn the downhill mountain bikers with whom I share the trail. They go hella fast.

BTW, you have become an accomplished rider, It makes me very happy to see you having so much fun!

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@Tawpie Mountain lions and bears, now you're making me jealous! The only animals we have in Australia that like to eat humans are crocodiles and they are thousands of miles from here. Of course we Aussies like to maintain the myth that this country is the venom capital of the world, but that's just to keep it for ourselves.:efee8319ab: I've yet to get a tiger snake tangled in my spokes but I'd be thrilled if I did. Not for the poor snake of course, but I'm also a reptile fan and used to be a snake catcher, rescuing innocent snakes from spade-wielding suburbanites' back yards.

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@Ubute Oh man, you guys sure have some cool animals!!

On 8/11/2021 at 6:01 PM, Ubute said:

all I have over you is a few more months of experience and confidence

Exactly. Confidence.

I seem to be pretty much where you were in December-January, according to your posts:

  • lack of confidence
  • can ride along railing, without touching it
  • but scared when steering away from it
  • manage the occasional free mount near railing

That's why I find your story so encouraging. Seeing how you worked through those challenges and are now a real euc rider, means there's hope!

And I liked your video (not the fall, obviously, but hopefully you weren't hurt). Riding that kind of trails with roots and other obstacles is more than I currently hope for; I'll be happy if able to manage the gravel roads we have here. Back in town later in the fall I expect asphalt riding to be just a bonus.

Was that an Insta360 cam you used for the video? If so, are you happy with it? When I can ride & hold a selfie stick, the plan is to get one of those.

 

Take care,

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10 minutes ago, Eeyore said:

@Ubute Oh man, you guys sure have some cool animals!!

We certainly do. It was a major motivation to retire to Tasmania from the mainland five years ago. Land clearing, feral animals and population pressure has caused a terrible extinction rate on the mainland while Tasmania still has a largely forested and partially inaccessible landscape. The biggest single factor that has saved our quolls and devils is the absence of foxes which have devastated the wildlife in the rest of Australia.

 

23 minutes ago, Eeyore said:

Exactly. Confidence.

This is such a personal thing and quite separate from technique. I could have left my railing much earlier than I did but I just had to wait until I felt brave enough. Once you are sure you can always stop by stepping off with your non-dominant foot, the fear of falling dissipates.

Having taken that step, I can say for me (clearly not for some people) that adequate safety gear is the biggest confidence booster. When I bought my V8F I was feeling guilty at spending money on such a trivial thing, which I might not be able to master anyway, and so I tried to save money on safety gear. When the el-cheapo helmet, knee and elbow pads arrived they were of such obvious poor quality that I chucked them in the bin and re-ordered decent stuff. On your elbows and knees you need more than just a plastic shell, which might protect your skin from cuts but provides no impact resistance. There's a simple test. Put on the pads and deliberately bash your elbow into a brick wall. If it hurts - or you don't dare do it! - they are inadequate. The same with knee pads, put them on and deliberately fall onto your knees on concrete. If you don't dare do that with what you've got, how can you be confident you won't hurt yourself in a crash?

Kitting up properly, I bought a good helmet, full gloves with wrist guards, dual axis knee-shin pads and well padded elbow-forearm pads. This in my opinion is the absolute minimum. You WILL land on your hands and knees in any fall, and will almost certainly hit an elbow too. Hopefully not your head, but you can never be sure.

Thinking back to a nasty fall I suffered on a steep slope on our property just before I took up unicycling, I remembered the most painful impact was to my hip. I was lucky not to break anything but my whole side was so jarred I had to put off learning to ride for nearly a month. So I also ordered a pair of padded undershorts - which brings me to the other important issue about safety gear: convenience. If you don't find it comfortable to wear or you don't like the look of it, you won't wear it. Undershorts are inconvenient because you have to take off your trousers to put them on, embarrassing if there are people around, and are uncomfortable to sit in in the car if you put them on first. After a while I abandoned them.

Then I had my first crash since stopping the foolish practice of trying to learn to free mount without support. I was out on my first long ride on bike paths and there was a short section on a road with a steep camber. I lost control and crashed onto the concrete. I fell forwards onto my hands and knees and swung sidewards onto my elbow, hip and shoulder. Hands, knees and elbows didn't feel a thing thanks to the top quality gear, but my hip was severely bruised and scratched and my shoulder hurt as well. I felt very foolish for leaving my shorts at home. The solution was easy, I took out the bum pad which was what made them uncomfortable to sit in. You'll almost always fall forwards from a unicycle unless you are jumping, doing tricks or riding backwards, none of which I do, so I don't really need a bum pad. Now I also wear the shorts every time I ride.

But I'd hit my shoulder too in the crash. I already have a floating collar bone which detached years ago in a surfing accident so I took heed and bought a Kevlar reinforced hoodie with shoulder pads. I wear that most of the time too, but it gets hot. I wasn't wearing it for my second, and so far only other crash, the one in that video. It was only a light, low speed tumble and I was completely unhurt but it prompted me to order a light-weight t-shirt with shoulder pads, which is now on it's way from Germany.

I don't want to fall, obviously, but I'm now confident I can take a fall - from the speeds I ride - without hurting myself. That's the biggest confidence builder of all.

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Hi @Eeyore I just watched your video again. For some reason I can't turn the sound on, but never mind, the titles say it all! Here's a suggestion to help you move away from your "railing". Place a target object - car, tractor, whatever - 2 or 3 metres away from one end of your rope.  When you're on a run and feeling good, diverge away from the rope towards the target and cling on there. You don't have to consciously steer, just look at the target and you will go there. It's part of the magic of unicycle! Then launch yourself back towards the rope again and continue to the other end. Gradually increase the distance from where you leave the rope and head towards the target. Or move the target a bit further away from the rope. Soon you'll be riding diagonally the whole distance and you'll realise you don't need the rope anymore. It also teaches you to start turning. Then you can begin riding from target to target, from tree to tree or gate to fence.

Don't feel you have to free mount at all until you're comfortable riding and dismounting. There's no shame in starting from a support. If I'm off on a ride I still tend to launch myself from the car or something, especially if the ground is rough or sloping. You can see in that video I was holding onto the car at the start. Even if you do pull off a free mount, the chances are your non-dominant foot will not land exactly in the right place and then you'll feel unbalanced and have to move it. That's tricky, and another skill to learn, especially on rough ground. Now I've spiked my pedals it's even harder to move my foot, but I'm getting better at it. Bit by bit, one skill at a time, don't try to tackle everything at once.

You also gain confidence over the course of a ride. It's natural to feel a bit nervous right at the beginning, especially if you're heading off into new terrain. Much better to mount with a support, get both feet exactly as you like them, get comfortable and launch off. Why battle at the start of a ride? It can be rather discouraging. As I've said before, I'm much more nervous going down hill, so if I have a choice I always head off up hill. By the time I get to the top I've checked out the feel of the road, know what the slope feels like and feel much more confident on the wheel and I'm happy to go down again.

You asked about my camera. It's an Insta360 ONE X2. It's an amazing piece of kit. I love it. I was a film director in my other life and 360 cameras are a revelation. I particularly like the way you can reframe your shots on a phone or ipad in viewfinder mode. The video of me at Cockle Creek was the first time I used it - with a home made selfie stick before the proper one arrived. That night I was in a hospital waiting room (no serious problem) and I connected the phone to the camera by bluetooth. Holding the phone in front of yourself, you can edit on the fly, zooming in and out and spinning around in your chair to see other angles. The people in the waiting room thought I was mad, but in the time it takes to run the video I'd completely reframed the shot. I then uploaded it to Facebook and was all done by the time I was called in for my scan. If only editing was that simple when I was being paid for it!

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Hi @Ubute, Thanks for your advice - it was good! :cheers:

I practiced like that for a couple days ... and then it rained ... and then practiced some more, and ...

Today was the first day with no tractor, and no emergency wire! Just a chair for support at launch. Like you said, one thing at a time - can get back to free mounting, and dismounts are mostly ok. Managed at most around 50 meters, and some occasional, very wide turns. So far, confidence seems to ebb out after that distance, but that's going to improve. Just one real fall, but low speed, and the same knee protection as you have, made it no big deal.

Can still feel the mix of fear and euphoria! :) (Now waiting for the big disaster to even things out - I'm called Eeyore for a reason... :unsure:)

Anyway, gonna quit while I'm ahead, and call it a day. And a good one, too.

If we ever meet I'll buy you a beer!! (And thanks for the bit about your camera - it's definitely on my wish list.)

 

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Hi @Eeyore l’m glad to hear about your success. 50m without support is great. And wide turns, brilliant. You’re definitely on your way. I think you’ll find your confidence and enjoyment increase quickly from this point. I’m also pleased you’ve had a light fall without consequences. It’s important to feel safe in your protective gear. 
My wife and I were hoping to come to Scandinavia last year but COVID intervened. If we do make it I’ll definitely come to Marytown for that beer. 

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12 hours ago, Ubute said:

wide turns, brilliant

Wow, thx for the praise! :P  Was trying to imply that the wheel was more in control than its driver :)

12 hours ago, Ubute said:

come to Marytown for that beer.

Direct xlation. You can find it on the map by its Swedish name, Mariestad.

Looking forward!! :cheers:

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Hi @Eeyore, I'm just wondering how you're going with the unicycle? The weather's been pretty wet recently so I haven't been out much but I did go for my first group ride with other members of the Personal Electric Vehicle community in Tasmania. There were seven unicycles, plus some e-scooters and e-skate boards but the highlight was meeting up again with Chanden. He's certainly Tasmania's, if not the world's, youngest EUC rider. He was three when we last met nine months ago when I was still clinging to railings but he was beginning to get about on his own. He was so small he was hardly able to straddle his wheel, but now, at four, he's zipping along as fast as the rest of us. He's equally comfortable riding seated, which I still can't do because my aged knees wouldn't let me stand up again if I sat down! There's some great videos of him on Facebook but I can't seem to copy them onto here. I'll see if I can work out a link. I hope you're well and still enjoying the wheel.

 

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On 10/3/2021 at 12:12 PM, Ubute said:

There's some great videos of him on Facebook

Here's one of the aforementioned ride, generously provided by Warren, who organised the ride and filmed us from his EUC. I'm glimpsed at the start (in full, outback expedition gear!) and ahead of me assorted EUCs, e-skateboards and e-scooters. Leading the pack is Chanden, talking to his mum over his shoulder and then taking off in a seated position. Is he the world's youngest EUC rider? Are there any challengers?

 

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9 hours ago, Ubute said:

Leading the pack is Chanden,

It leaves me wondering what he will be capable of as a grown man, or a teenager, if he can do this now! :thumbup:

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