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Steep Learning Curve


RayRay
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Rider's log (test ride #2): Slow going... Learning to ride a unicycle is hard (and tiring). Balance takes a lot of practice. No injuries to report...

On my first test ride I was very timid and extremely afraid of falling at any speed. I barely got to the point where I could travel a few meters without losing balance when my inner tube's valve snagged the housing and tore. (Deflated tire caused valve to stick out at a precarious angle.)

Bonehead rookie mistake to avoid -- Don't forgot to check if there's sufficient air pressure before a ride.  :efee565ab0:

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This is me putting on protective gear to ride my KS14C...

 

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This is the park where I go to practice riding my wheel.

(Note: it's a hot 90 degree Florida afternoon and learning to balance is exhausting.)

 

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This is 'the slalom' where I practice low speed maneuvers (6-12kph).

(Note for beginners: These posts are the perfect height to reach out and regain balance...)

Edited by RayRay
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I just learned how to ride a month ago and I was where you were. 

 

Do you have an area that has a large lawn ? I found I wasn’t as scared to get up to speed on a softer surface because I had less fear of messing up my wheel and myself . And once I transitioned to concrete it was even easier .

Secondly, do you have someone to run next to you so you can hold on to them ? Like a bike , It’s easier to balance once you gain a certain speed.

Third , I really encourage reading through the dynamics in learning thread , in it you will see a lot of other useful tips and stories that will make the journey a bit easier .

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Hmm, a soft lawn sounds like a good idea, but every-time I transition from pavement to a soft surface I lose my balance.  Also, I can't seem to mount my wheel on a soft surface; although, this may change with additional practice. It's hot and humid as hell in Florida and nobody is going to go running alongside me so that I can fall on them. (You must have really good friends.)

I'll search for more tips in the learning thread...

reelfeel.jpg

(Note :This topic probably belongs in 'General Discussion' category...)

Edited by RayRay
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Howdy,  If there is a semi-soft surface available to you, you might want to give that a try.  Something like a park or soccer field that has enough use to get packed down more that the soft surface you are currently using, but still has enough grass to cushion the inevitable falls.

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Too much time passed between my first and second test ride and I forgot how to mount my wheel.

Basically, I'm doing the following:

  1. Put my right (dominant) foot on the pedal first.
  2. Bend down and grab the handle for stability.
  3. Put my left foot on the pedal.
  4. Straighten up and balance (leaning slightly forward).
  5. Attempt to maintain balance through forward momentum.
  6. Eventually lose balance and try to support myself against nearby stable object (or dismount).

I can also mount by stabilizing myself against an object (e.g. fence or post), which I will try the next time on the grass.

(BTW: No falls on pavement, so far. I tend to dismount left foot first and try to catch my tethered wheel before it hits my shins...)

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4 hours ago, RayRay said:

Too much time passed between my first and second test ride and I forgot how to mount my wheel.

Basically, I'm doing the following:

  1. Put my right (dominant) foot on the pedal first.
  2. Bend down and grab the handle for stability.
  3. Put my left foot on the pedal.
  4. Straighten up and balance (leaning slightly forward).
  5. Attempt to maintain balance through forward momentum.
  6. Eventually lose balance and try to support myself against nearby stable object (or dismount).

I can also mount by stabilizing myself against an object (e.g. fence or post), which I will try the next time on the grass.

(BTW: No falls on pavement, so far. I tend to dismount left foot first and try to catch my tethered wheel before it hits my shins...)

you should be using the triangle method for mounting the wheel

 

 

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Also, there is Duff's 10 tips.  Tip #5, Use a fence.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKo_c2JWSMc&t=546s

In my case, I have a hand truck/dolly that was a big help when I was first learning.

https://smile.amazon.com/Harper-Trucks-Super-Steel-Convertible-Pneumatic/dp/B00BCJZEAE/ref=sr_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1498320445&sr=8-17&keywords=dolly+hand+truck

It can be used as a two wheel hand truck (not as useful) or as a four wheel dolly (great).  When I got better at riding I would pick up on the handle and raise the back wheels off the ground.  Even later, I would use it to get started, then let it drift to the side and I would continue on without it.  It even worked in the park when I tried it there.

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Soft surfaces may give you more confidence but they are harder to ride on in the beginning.

Best way is to get up some speed, when everything becomes easier. The way to do this with confidence is to find a friend, preferably two to run alongside you and support your hand/hands.

Two is better as with one you tend to lean towards them and that makes balance difficult.

My 60 year old wife, who was not very keen to learn, got the basics within 500 metres or so of riding like this and then complained that the friends couldn't run fast enough so called upon me on another euc to come alongside and support just one hand so that she could go faster.

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On 7/16/2017 at 8:45 AM, RayRay said:

Too much time passed between my first and second test ride and I forgot how to mount my wheel.

Basically, I'm doing the following:

  1. Put my right (dominant) foot on the pedal first.
  2. Bend down and grab the handle for stability.
  3. Put my left foot on the pedal.
  4. Straighten up and balance (leaning slightly forward).
  5. Attempt to maintain balance through forward momentum.
  6. Eventually lose balance and try to support myself against nearby stable object (or dismount).

I can also mount by stabilizing myself against an object (e.g. fence or post), which I will try the next time on the grass.

(BTW: No falls on pavement, so far. I tend to dismount left foot first and try to catch my tethered wheel before it hits my shins...)

I did a vid on newbie training:

Mounting is at 6:55. Let me know if you find it helpful. Good luck!

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For me, this was pretty much exactly it:

Unlike a real unicycle, free mounting an EUC is an extremely important first step (and the largest hurdle to cross). Most of the drills focus on getting control with one foot.

My biggest obstacle when learning was that when the wheel started leaning too much to one side, I had no way to correct it. The drills let you get at least one leg in the correct position, so the EUC can only fall so far before your shin stops it. Once I could free mount the EUC reliably, the rest came extremely easily (not quick, but easy - because it's a lot more fun once you can travel forward).

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On 7/20/2017 at 2:49 AM, Antshark said:

My biggest obstacle when learning was that when the wheel started leaning too much to one side, I had no way to correct it.

I should have spent the whole time (on 3rd test run) practicing my free mounting skills. I kept 'veering to the right' after stepping on with both feet. I thought I could correct this after a few tries, but I got frustrated and quit. (My Kingsong 14C has no walking handle, so I really did not want to give up and carry it.)

"I hated myself for doing it, but eventually I had to pick up my wheel and walk it to a bench for mounting/balance support."

Getting back on track, (as this was posted in the Kingsong category), I wonder if the 14C was the best choice for a beginner like me?

  • No handle = pick up and carry a lot
  • Oddly tilted pedals (makes learning more difficult)
  • Small wheel - perhaps takes greater skill? (not sure)

 

WP_20170723_001.jpg

How I transport wheel to practice course. (Trolley handle needed)

Edited by RayRay
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I resemble everyone in this thread, at least the ones who don't do it right.  I bruised my right shin so badly it has actually grown noticeably thicker where all the weight of my body got levered into it as I tried to mount unsuccessfully so many times.  I put my right foot on the pedal, and as soon as I lift my left foot up, the wheel tilts over to the right until the pedal hits the ground and as my body moves forward all my weight presses into the edge of the wheel.  Ugh.  Gravity waits for no man, so I have no "hang time" to get on the unicycle before it tips.

I tried using the grass, but I think a purpose-built field cultivated for sport is best for this.  Even the smoothest part of a nice meadow in a nearby park with well-manicured grass had a very uneven surface, and after five minutes I realized I was doing much better back on the pavement and left.  Give a real sports field a shot, though.  Some people have reported really good results, and the lessened fear factor of falling on grass vs. pavement is a real and useful thing.

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6 hours ago, RayRay said:

I wonder if the 14C was the best choice for a beginner like me?

  • No handle = pick up and carry a lot
  • Oddly tilted pedals (makes learning more difficult)
  • Small wheel - perhaps takes greater skill? (not sure)

You can buy the trolley handle accessory and install on your 14C: https://www.ewheels.com/product/king-song-telescopic-handle-accessory/

Regarding oddly tilted pedals I cannot comment since I do not own a KS-14 but a KS-16. I have ridden a KS-14 once though, and I did not find the pedal tilt any more odd than on my KS-16. 

A small wheel is actually easier to ride and will need less skill. It is more light-weight which does not require you to balance up a lot of weight that a heavier wheel would need. A smaller sized wheel is also more responsive to steering and you will get a tighter compliance against the surface because of the higher pressure density.

A larger wheel would handle larger height differences more easily of course and there are a lot of other pros and cons that one could rant on, but to conclude: Last year, when I was where you are now (a total beginner with no confidence :). apart from that I think I was learning more slowly than you since I cannot imagine anyone being worse than me at learning to ride), there were moments when I hated myself for not having bought a smaller wheel than my ks-16. But I kept in mind that if I am physically capable of riding a wheel, in time I would learn to ride _my_ wheel to. This was the wheel I had and I had to stick with learning to ride that very wheel.

And as time passed by, I now can ride! I cannot say I am very good at it, I still don't dare to ride fast (more than 15 kmph), I still feel my muscles are very tensed which makes me exhausted quite fast, but at least I am not falling or failing and can go on and cruise for quite long distances if there is not a lot of strange obstacles or bumps or holes on the surface.

Keep practicing, that feeling the first time when you just can go ahead and ride and it just works will be all worth it!

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8 hours ago, RayRay said:

 

WP_20170723_001.jpg

How I transport wheel to practice course. (Trolley handle needed)

Here is another impressive way to transport a wheel.:)hhc2RG8.jpg

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Grass is not a good idea for learning.  Though it may help with your fear of falling.  You really need to find some pretty level grass to benefit.

A wall or fence is good to learn with if you want to skip the normal learning steps and get right on to trying to ride and getting the balance.  this is what i did.  what helped me with balance is not just standing because i would just fall over the left or right.  i would fidget my whole body, lots of jerking and twisting high frequency of this to "correct".  kind of going with the turn towards the side you are falling to, like with a bike.  

when looking back, after i learned balance going forward, it probably made sense to learn using the ninebot method.  they teach you to learn to feel the wheel and let it stick to one leg and learn control first.  but this was the boring method.  then you need to be able to get up on the wheel and balance for 1 sec.  then the hoping forward method.  your knee should be inwards on the dominant leg so the center of gravity is correct.

the best method is actually called persistence.  you will get it.  it just takes persistence, meaning not to give up.  once you learn to go forward, that is just the first step... then you need to learn to turn left and right, going back to learn the basics of getting on and off correctly, stopping, going slow, going backwards, turning left and right while going backwards, sitting if you have one of those, the turning while sitting, transition from forward to backwards to forward,  going from standing to sitting, so much to learn, each and everything is a skill that needs its own time to master.

don't give up.  30 minute sessions a few days you should click.

ps, i've only been riding for 2.5 months, still learning transition to sitting from standing.  everything i try to learn seems impossible in the beginning.  LOL

 

Now you know why there isn't more people riding these!  LOL

Edited by eddiemoy
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12 hours ago, RayRay said:

I should have spent the whole time (on 3rd test run) practicing my free mounting skills. I kept 'veering to the right' after stepping on with both feet. I thought I could correct this after a few tries, but I got frustrated and quit. (My Kingsong 14C has no walking handle, so I really did not want to give up and carry it.)

"I hated myself for doing it, but eventually I had to pick up my wheel and walk it to a bench for mounting/balance support."

Getting back on track, (as this was posted in the Kingsong category), I wonder if the 14C was the best choice for a beginner like me?

  • No handle = pick up and carry a lot
  • Oddly tilted pedals (makes learning more difficult)
  • Small wheel - perhaps takes greater skill? (not sure)

 

WP_20170723_001.jpg

How I transport wheel to practice course. (Trolley handle needed)

I learned on a 14" Segway S1.  I think the best wheel is the one you have as long as it is quality and not Gotway. ?

Check my mounting vid about 3 entries up ☝?.  When I say in the vid to lean your wheel over, tuck your knee tight against the Bot, what I mean is TIGHT. As hard as you can hold it to the point it's hurting your leg.  Keep trying and you will find what you like best. I have purchased a kingsong KS-18-S and am having to learn all over again. It's completely different, and between the two as a choice to learn on, I would go 14". 

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To mount on my wheel without a pole or a handrail was the last step in my learning sequence

1rst learn to go straight from pole to pole staying on the wheel without falling down

2nd learn large curves

3rd reduce curve radius & speed at walk level if you can

last but not least try to stand up on the wheel without help

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2 hours ago, EricGhost said:

To mount on my wheel without a pole or a handrail was the last step in my learning sequence

1rst learn to go straight from pole to pole staying on the wheel without falling down

2nd learn large curves

3rd reduce curve radius & speed at walk level if you can

last but not least try to stand up on the wheel without help

This was exactly my progression.

Rather than doing what we did, and learn mounting last, I suggest never learning to mount. Learning to move your feet around and being able to ride one-footed is far far more important, and once you can do all that then mounting, I am sure, will come without problem.

As @Keith points out, if you can't get your feet in the right place then you can't ride.

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Hmm So If you cannot get your feet in the right place ...

What If you made it just a little bit easier to always get your shoes on to the right position?

Has anyone ever tried this as a help in getting it right without more than minute adjustments?

Various tricks come to mind ... A bit of rope hot glued to the sole of old sneakers ... Or even just some screws (small enough that they do not go through but still make a difference?

Or longer screws just on the side next to the foot bed?

Or even combine it and screw a small piece of steel angle under the sneakers...

Could work - but would it help?

 

Edited by Roland
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15 hours ago, eddiemoy said:

ps, i've only been riding for 2.5 months, still learning transition to sitting from standing.  everything i try to learn seems impossible in the beginning.  LOL

 

Now you know why there isn't more people riding these!  LOL

Yup, the skill level involved, the fact that it can physically hurt to learn, the potential danger still inherent in riding or even in trying to learn how to ride, and the expense all combine to form a pretty high barrier to entry on these things. 

As cool as it is to think of a future in which EUC riding is as common as riding a bike, if not more so, I don't think that will ever come to pass.  Riding an EUC asks so much more of you than riding a bike or skateboard.

Unfortunately, if I'm right about that, it suggests that there will never be the broad public support for EUC's that bicycles have either.

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11 hours ago, Keith said:

i think the biggest mistake is trying to mount unaided and learn to ride at the same time, you just are not going to get your feet in the same place each time so every start will result in different problems you do not yet understand, neither can you easily move your feet whilst riding they will feel like they are glued in place. As I said in the below thread, use a lamppost, wall, etc. so you can get your feet well and consistently positioned. Once you can ride you will be better equipped to learn to free mount.

I definitely found that to be true.  My feet wound up in a different place every time.

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