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Do you think letting non-riders have a quick go on a EUC discourages more people than it does encourage?


Jonathan Tolhurst

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If people are polite and I'm in a good mood, I'll often let people have a "quick" go on my wheel. From my experience, very few people manage to ride the wheel in a couple of minutes practice (there have been one or two exceptions). Remembering back to when I first got my wheel, I spent the first hour or so thinking I'd just wasted my money.

Given the general EUC learning curve, do you think giving people a quick go on an EUC puts more people off rather than encouraging them to purchase one?

What other options are out there to introduce non-riders to electric unicycling?

 

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44 minutes ago, Jonathan Tolhurst said:

If people are polite and I'm in a good mood, I'll often let people have a "quick" go on my wheel. From my experience, very few people manage to ride the wheel in a couple of minutes practice (there have been one or two exceptions). Remembering back to when I first got my wheel, I spent the first hour or so thinking I'd just wasted my money.

Given the general EUC learning curve, do you think giving people a quick go on an EUC puts more people off rather than encouraging them to purchase one?

What other options are out there to introduce non-riders to electric unicycling?

 

I always tell them straight away about the learning curve....to be honest most seem (as I did back in the day) almost more impressed that there's a steep learning curve.......like learning a skill, or musical instrument.

In terms of being put off, and in danger of sounding mysogynistic, it's usually women I find whose interest quickly wanes when they see how hard it is. The boys/men I've given a go to just seem more enamoured and impressed with the challenge. Just my two cents.

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I let people know that it's not as easy as I make it look as I have been riding a couple of years and it took me a good few hours to get used to first getting on and balancing then turning - especially turning right.

I was out on my Monster on Sunday and a kid asked for a go... I smiled and responded politely that it is very heavy but, also, at the cost no-one that can't already ride an EUC is trying it. For the first few miles it was like learning again myself with the size and weight of it.

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One anecdote: at the beginning of Jan last year, I was on my (then) IPS Lhotz in Hyde Park. It wasn't that busy, and I was just doing my own thing, practicing super tight circles/one leg etc etc in the roller skate area by the end of the lake.

Out of the blue, and for the first time ever (and since), a girl on an euc (Airwheel) appears out of nowhere. She's struggling massively, using the strap and tugging on it thinking it's an official part of how to ride. She wasn't able to get more than a couple of metres each time without falling off.

Naturally, I rode over to her as any of us would do if another rider appeared in an enclosed area like that, said hi and tried to give her a few tips. She was totally rude and stand-offish and didn't seem interested in listening to me. Almost like she was embarrassed/frustrated she couldn't do it straight away but simultaneously annoyed I was trying to help. So I rode back over to where I was. She ended up giving up after 15 more minutes and I never saw her again. 

I think she thought I was guilty of what the feminists call......"MANSPLAINING"

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I think the big incentive is the e-wheel itself ... it's an advanced sort of urban transportation.  You use it, go faster than a bike, and carry it around when you aren't using it.  I think they are similar to snowboards and motorcycles, both which sell well without customer trials.  But both have schools, which e-wheels lack.  I think this would go a long way towards popularizing the devices.  

I would suggest the following for EUC schools:

  1. theory courses about how to ride and control an EUC.  You could purloin much of the material from this site.
  2. a track of skyhooks and body harnesses (see picture) to hold people up while the traverse an e-wheel training course (a small circuit, maybe 20-50 meters in circumference.
  3. a bunch of No-Name low power Airwheel Clones (~$90/ea from Alibaba) with velcro on the pads to attach to velcro on shoes that the students would wear.  This way the wheel could not get away from you; but in a tough situation, would break away.

You could have 2-3 skyhook tracks, with one for beginner classes, and 2 for general practice (and perhaps with more complex routes).  These tracks would be made from the same materials as say a garage door track (maybe a little heavier duty to accommodate portly students).   Total cost of outfitting a place might be $10,000, plus rent, advertising, etc. which could be low since you could put these in old industrial buildings.   You could run a shop as well which might be the major source of profits.

 

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31 minutes ago, Chris Westland said:

I think the big incentive is the e-wheel itself ... it's an advanced sort of urban transportation.  You use it, go faster than a bike, and carry it around when you aren't using it.  I think they are similar to snowboards and motorcycles, both which sell well without customer trials.  But both have schools, which e-wheels lack.  I think this would go a long way towards popularizing the devices.  

I would suggest the following for EUC schools:

  1. theory courses a out how to ride and control an EUC.  You could purloin much of the material from this site.
  2. a track of skyhooks and body harnesses (see picture) to hold people up while the traverse an e-wheel training course (a small circuit, maybe 20-50 meters in circumference.
  3. a bunch of No-Name low power Airwheel Clones (~$90/ea from Alibaba) with velcro on the pads to attach to velcro on shoes that the students would wear.  This way the wheel could not get away from you; but in a tough situation, would break away.

You could have 2-3 skyhook tracks, with one for beginner classes, and 2 for general practice (and perhaps with more complex routes).  These tracks would be made from the same materials as say a garage door track (maybe a little heavier duty to accommodate portly students).   Total cost of outfitting a place might be $10,000, plus rent, advertising, etc. which could be low since you could put these in old industrial buildings.   You could run a shop as well which might be the major source of profits.

 

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Yes   Perfect. Where I I buy the garage door assistant?  lol 

when i retire I might do something like what you suggested as a real even hobby.  EUC SHOP thing. 

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I've never been asked yet. But if I was and the person looked like they were really interested in learning EUCs I don't think I would.

Thinking back (not that long ago) to when I learned, it was discouraging at the beginning how difficult it was. But I had just spent $1500 on this thing so I certainly wasn't going to give up.

If someone had let me try a wheel I may have decided that I didn't have the skills to learn it.

So I would error on the side of caution and suggest that they check out the various videos and buy a wheel, and emphasize that anyone can learn, it just takes time.

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4 minutes ago, Carlos E Rodriguez said:

Yes   Perfect. Where I I buy the garage door assistant?  lol 

when i retire I might do something like what you suggested as a real even hobby.  EUC SHOP thing. 

I will open a shop when I retire. Hire a bunch of supper hot chicks to stroll along the lake front and have all the horny guys follow them to the shop. Buy a wheel and get to hold on to a super hot chick for 30 minutes 5 different days while learning. 

Lol. 

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What would stop me from letting anyone try is just the fragility of the shell on most. With my normal unicycle I really don't care, but it mainly contacts on hard nearly indestructible plastic parts. Heck, my first normal unicycle from 16 or so years ago still has every original part and works just fine. My college one has lasted through 2 years of letting any random circus club attendee ride it.

My EUC on the other hand... I've only had it a few weeks and just leaning it against a wall scuffs and scratches it. I have some vinyl wrap arriving soon to try and prevent that, but I doubt I'll let people try even with that. I guess the 5x+ price difference also is a factor.

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2 hours ago, Chris Westland said:

I think the big incentive is the e-wheel itself ... it's an advanced sort of urban transportation.  You use it, go faster than a bike, and carry it around when you aren't using it.  I think they are similar to snowboards and motorcycles, both which sell well without customer trials.  But both have schools, which e-wheels lack.  I think this would go a long way towards popularizing the devices.

I think that's the key here! You need some kind of motivation. You need to know what you want the wheel for, some picture in one's head. It can't be just some difficult gadget you don't know what to think of and not sure what you would do with it. People don't get to learn to ride bikes as kids because it's just some random thing you can learn (like skateboarding or rollerblading, which are much rarer), but because there's reason.

Sinking 1000+ into a wheel is also a good motivator, nobody wants to give up quickly on something they paid so much money for (maybe some people here would have given up otherwise?)

Personally, if someone ever asks me, I would let them try. Maybe even pad up the wheel more than just for myself, for such situations. Honesty/information giving is the best approach. Just tell people 3 things:

  • Just a very short explanation how it works, aka the wheel tilt controls the riding.
  • Riding is harder than it looks, and they have to promise they won't discard the idea just because they didn't get anywhere in the first few minutes (I would also only do the hand-holding approach, never have them try on their own, for better success feeling/less falls and less cratches on your wheel).
  • Explain how the wheel is useful and how you use it. This is essentially what you already do when people just see you wheeling, they see it is used for something, it gets their brains working (surely some people here can understand that;)). Motivation!

To answer the OP question: basically, let interested and "serious" people try. Ask "can you ride a bike?" as a starter (especially for kids that should work great) to get proper framing of the EUC idea. If someone just seems uninterested/bored and only in need of a distraction, I would not let them try.

This is only theoretical, no idea how that would work in practice. But that's my "plan".

And if I was a little kid, I would be much happier if someone let's me try something or tells me why they won't let me try ("You need to know how to ride a bike first."), instead of just getting a "no" or "it's too complicated".

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When I had my wheel completely padded up, sure, I'd let people have a go at it all the time. I don't now unless it's on grass.

I've never encountered a woman who tried a wheel a second time. They give up instantly when they realize it's a bit harder than I make it look. If something can be bought and it makes them look good, sure, almost all woman buy it, but if something requires actual effort and, more importantly, they look like they are struggle while learning, virtually 100% of women will pass on it. Woman want the result and have no appreciation whatsoever of the effort. I see women jeer while men shout encouragement when a guy is wobbling around on my wheel. Every time.

Men, on the other hand, like the process of learning, and some do not seem concerned looking like a fool while learning.

I do see women are invariably discouraging to the men who are attempting to learn my wheel. Women exhibit disgust for men who do not show effortless grace in attempting something whereas men respect other men for attempting to learn the wheel.

For the 90% of people of the population who won't consider riding a wheel; I think it has more to do with the sorry physical shape of the general USA population than the wheel actually being difficult. Wheels do take a minimum physical fitness (not much, I know) but do you think most of these people could even stand on a skateboard without falling? For a nation that worships sports so much I find it remarkable that the general population is in such bad shape. And do you think most people have the discipline and humility to fall many many times while learning a wheel? Learning new things is hard for all of us.

Let's actually look at the numbers:

Out of 100 people.

Half are women. They won't learn.

Out of 50 people.

30 are physically unfit. They would injure themselves.

Out of 20 people.

15 are too prideful to be seen falling, or don't do sports when younger, or wouldn't spend/don't have that amount of money on a wheel .

So that leaves 5 people out of a 100. Just 5. That's not many.

 

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1 hour ago, LanghamP said:

When I had my wheel completely padded up, sure, I'd let people have a go at it all the time. I don't now unless it's on grass.

I've never encountered a woman who tried a wheel a second time. They give up instantly when they realize it's a bit harder than I make it look. If something can be bought and it makes them look good, sure, almost all woman buy it, but if something requires actual effort and, more importantly, they look like they are struggle while learning, virtually 100% of women will pass on it. Woman want the result and have no appreciation whatsoever of the effort. I see women jeer while men shout encouragement when a guy is wobbling around on my wheel. Every time.

Men, on the other hand, like the process of learning, and some do not seem concerned looking like a fool while learning.

I do see women are invariably discouraging to the men who are attempting to learn my wheel. Women exhibit disgust for men who do not show effortless grace in attempting something whereas men respect other men for attempting to learn the wheel.

For the 90% of people of the population who won't consider riding a wheel; I think it has more to do with the sorry physical shape of the general USA population than the wheel actually being difficult. Wheels do take a minimum physical fitness (not much, I know) but do you think most of these people could even stand on a skateboard without falling? For a nation that worships sports so much I find it remarkable that the general population is in such bad shape. And do you think most people have the discipline and humility to fall many many times while learning a wheel? Learning new things is hard for all of us.

Let's actually look at the numbers:

Out of 100 people.

Half are women. They won't learn.

Out of 50 people.

30 are physically unfit. They would injure themselves.

Out of 20 people.

15 are too prideful to be seen falling, or don't do sports when younger, or wouldn't spend/don't have that amount of money on a wheel .

So that leaves 5 people out of a 100. Just 5. That's not many.

 

Granted, the majority of riders in our neck of the woods are men, but you may be painting with too broad of a brush your stereotypes of women. I see lots of evidence of women riding in Asia. There are always a few in the French group rides, and women appear in various American ride videos.

You are aware that there are large numbers of young women who participate in very active sports. I doubt they would act as you describe if they were made aware of EUCs. And on my rides I've been positively approached by women who are intrigued.

I can't disagree with your personal experience, but I don't see any of that where I am in California.

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5 hours ago, Marty Backe said:

Granted, the majority of riders in our neck of the woods are men, but you may be painting with too broad of a brush your stereotypes of women. I see lots of evidence of women riding in Asia. There are always a few in the French group rides, and women appear in various American ride videos.

You are aware that there are large numbers of young women who participate in very active sports. I doubt they would act as you describe if they were made aware of EUCs. And on my rides I've been positively approached by women who are intrigued.

I can't disagree with your personal experience, but I don't see any of that where I am in California.

I agree, @Marty Backe.  I think EUC's are extremely 'niche' in the US (more so that Europe/Russia and definitely more so than Asia).   Thus we don't get a true profile of the potential users.   Asia probably does give us a better indication of where the field might go.  Comparing, again, motorcycles and snowboard, motorcycles are pretty much a male hobby, but snowboarding seems to attract equal numbers of men and women, and is somewhat a family sport.  

My unscientific survey results, polled from inquiries on the street, and general thumbs up: there are 3 demographics.  1.  5-12 year old boys and girls, 2. teenage boys, and 3. >40 men.   think EUC's could become potentially a "family" sport, if there were a concerted effort to market to the 5-12 year old demographic (where I notice a lot of enthusiasm from boys and girls).  The 'teen' demographic is mainly boys, with a bit of the "yo dude' element of skateboarding which would alienate women.  And I'm not sure, but for the >40 y.o. demographic, I think most wives (or girlfriends) just don't 'get it'.

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I have been letting ride quite a few strangers, mostly kids, but not only. I can't even remember a single case of someone who was brave enough to get on and obviously put off afterwards. There was one girl who I didn't even manage to get standing on the wheel (my fault, I guess, I have a steep and slow learning curve as an advisor), who I assume wouldn't consider to pursue even if she had considered before. It helps though that the "brave" are usually above average in climbing the initial learning curve.

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On 4/26/2017 at 4:57 AM, Paddylaz said:

One anecdote: at the beginning of Jan last year, I was on my (then) IPS Lhotz in Hyde Park. It wasn't that busy, and I was just doing my own thing, practicing super tight circles/one leg etc etc in the roller skate area by the end of the lake.

Out of the blue, and for the first time ever (and since), a girl on an euc (Airwheel) appears out of nowhere. She's struggling massively, using the strap and tugging on it thinking it's an official part of how to ride. She wasn't able to get more than a couple of metres each time without falling off.

Naturally, I rode over to her as any of us would do if another rider appeared in an enclosed area like that, said hi and tried to give her a few tips. She was totally rude and stand-offish and didn't seem interested in listening to me. Almost like she was embarrassed/frustrated she couldn't do it straight away but simultaneously annoyed I was trying to help. So I rode back over to where I was. She ended up giving up after 15 more minutes and I never saw her again. 

I think she thought I was guilty of what the feminists call......"MANSPLAINING"

Eh, I give you credit for trying.  There's never any guarantee how it will turn out.

I think rudeness and general stinkyface is fairly common these days, so I find it less and less surprising.  

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On 4/26/2017 at 7:19 AM, Chris Westland said:

Completely gratuitous ... I actually have no shame when it comes to grasping for attention ;).

Whatever she's doing, I'm all for it.  I think you said something in that post too, but somehow I've forgotten what it was.

Seriously though, I like your ideas, but wonder where you live that there are so many people using EUC's that such a business could possibly succeed.  I've never even seen a EUC in real life.

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On 4/26/2017 at 9:26 AM, LanghamP said:

Out of 50 people.

30 are physically unfit. They would injure themselves.

Out of 20 people.

15 are too prideful to be seen falling, or don't do sports when younger, or wouldn't spend/don't have that amount of money on a wheel .

So that leaves 5 people out of a 100. Just 5. That's not many.

 

It is very common to have either no or very poor health insurance with a high deductible in America, and most people in America have less than a month's savings.  The chance of injury probably weighs very heavily on people's minds, and I don't blame them for it for both the usual pain/injury and the strictly monetary repercussions.  I've taken terrible falls on bicycles myself in my childhood and young adulthood, and bicycles look ten times easier than unicycles to me.

I think the appeal of EUC's is probably quite narrow and tends heavily toward young middle-class and affluent males ... the people who have health, money, and ego to spare.

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4 minutes ago, Dingfelder said:

Whatever she's doing, I'm all for it.  I think you said something in that post too, but somehow I've forgotten what it was.

Seriously though, I like your ideas, but wonder where you live that there are so many people using EUC's that such a business could possibly succeed.  I've never even seen a EUC in real life.

Awareness is picking up though.....fairly rapidly! If you've never even seen one but you're here having found this forum.......that's a good sign. It's still extremely early days anyway.

I can tell it's picking up simply by what I hear people say to each other when I ride past:

It used to be: "wow, what the fuck is that!" (I still get these from time to time, to be fair)

Then it went to: "Oh look that's a Segway thing!" (people starting to identify the technology)

Then it went to: "That's a ninebot!" (it wasn't, but the important thing here is awareness has increased to them being able to name-drop a specific brand).


To be honest there's a small part of me that doesn't want it to pick-up as I like the uniqueness and exclusivity of it. It's an earnt skill and I like the idea of a small, non-mainstream collective. Despite that though I do want people like Ian, Jason and everyone else who sells them to do as well as they can, so it's all good ?

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On 26.4.2017 at 0:16 PM, Jonathan Tolhurst said:

If people are polite and I'm in a good mood, I'll often let people have a "quick" go on my wheel. From my experience, very few people manage to ride the wheel in a couple of minutes practice (there have been one or two exceptions). Remembering back to when I first got my wheel, I spent the first hour or so thinking I'd just wasted my money.

Given the general EUC learning curve, do you think giving people a quick go on an EUC puts more people off rather than encouraging them to purchase one?

What other options are out there to introduce non-riders to electric unicycling?

I never let accidental bypassers ride, because I think that is counterproductive (most people will give up immediately, getting the impression that it is far to difficult to learn).

I was of course often asked about what it is and how it works, but until now I was never asked to let somebody try to ride it.

If that should happen in the future, I would offer them a date, where I insist that they should invest an hour at least, so that I can teach them the basics, and also let them ride holding their hands so that they can't fall.

If they do not want to invest a full hour at least, then they are not serious about it, and so it makes no sense to let them ride.

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On ‎26‎.‎04‎.‎2017 at 8:41 PM, kasenutty said:

I wish my wife would learn, but she won't. Ever. She won't even stand on my minipro :(

That's strange.... I preordered a miniPro for my wife almost right after I got myself a 9b1. She was learning to ride EUC with me but says she likes the minipro now. But I know for sure that if she want, it will be a matter of hours to get it going with EUC.

One thing I see that all those who tried the minipro are more relaxed and willing to try the EUC afterwards. But trying to hop right on the EUC puts people off for sure and I wouldn't advise that.

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40 minutes ago, Vik's said:

That's strange.... I preordered a miniPro for my wife almost right after I got myself a 9b1. She was learning to ride EUC with me but says she likes the minipro now. But I know for sure that if she want, it will be a matter of hours to get it going with EUC.

One thing I see that all those who tried the minipro are more relaxed and willing to try the EUC afterwards. But trying to hop right on the EUC puts people off for sure and I wouldn't advise that.

@Duf's girfriend (wife?) also seems to have gone from Minipro to EUC (Inmotion)... some more time and she gets a Monster/msuper too;)

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