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How difficult is it to learn a manual unicycle after learning EUC?


eddiemoy
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17 hours ago, LanghamP said:

Learning the unicycle in under 5 hours is extraordinarily quick but of course we all knew that because all EUC riders are above average in athletic ability.

This is data for people who learned successfully, the average seems to be 10-15 hours. Interestingly, spending more time per session makes you learn slower (I think). So learning in small increments seems to work best. Indeed, I'm going to learn just 3-5 minutes every hour or so during my workday, and see what happens.

That echoes the "greasing the groove" strength-building protocol widely practiced by Russian weightlifters and Spetznaz, and popularized over here by Pavel of Dragondoor kettlebells.  

The idea is that strength actually has a very high skill component.  So what you do is very high quality practice rather than a work-out.  

You do only one to three repetitions at 80% to 85% of your max.  That is enough to stimulate your central nervous system, but not enough to tire you out or to make you get sloppy or slip into bad habits.  You either do it with full concentration or not at all.  Focus on proper structural alignment and overall form during force production.  

Then you repeat it every hour or so for several hours throughout the day.  Over the course of the week, it adds up to a considerable volume of lifts done in peak form at peak concentration levels.  You get in a lot of practice lifting heavy weight without getting worn out, and with very low risk of injury.

It works great, and there should be simillarities with other endeavors.  I read recently that the average person can't read at peak concentration for more than about half an hour.  After that, retention goes down.  

Certainly, I found that there is a point of diminishing returns doing various sports and games.  Intense concentration can make for much quicker progress than merely spending a lot of time doing everything half-heartedly or with little focus.  I imagine there must be some of that in EUC riding as well.

Edited by Dingfelder
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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I learned to ride unicycles late in life - easily one of the most challenging things I've picked up.  There must be some overlap because I was able to ride an EUC easily when the time came.  I'd guess unicycles are about 10 to 30x harder to learn than EUCs (hour for hour).  They are similar in that they're both somewhat fringe activities that attract attention, and both can be learned by anyone but for some reason the learning curves scare most off.   Anyway, for me, the unicycles are for challenge and exercise whereas the EUCs are for fun and transportation.  

This is the video that made me want to learn "MUNI" (offroad unicycle riding - I had no idea how long it would take to learn trail riding!):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtJZVHkhm-M

Edited by solocoyote
jargon
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As with learning almost any new skill 15 min a day but every day is better that an hour here and there, and less than about 10 min of total

concentration will be of little use.

Also mentally visualising before bed aids much more than one would think!

There is no doubt that the VERY best way to learn BOTH E U C and Pedal U C is to have 2 people at your sides palms up and rider palms down

walking alongside at the comfortable arms length for all.

I, we have taught many both doing this.

Because it is sometimes hard to find willing assistants a tight rope over a smooth surface is also a good way.

Look forward at the horizon, relax and "let it ride" knowing your mind and body can do this for you!

ukj

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  • 8 months later...

Awesome! I have also thought about buying a manual unicycle after riding my EUC for about 2-3 months by now. It somehow feels very easy since in my head, the only difference is that you balance the back and forward by yourself, but the left and right you get from the EUC. But maybe I was wrong about that while reading this.

I need to learn to ride backwards on my EUC before I will try a manual unicycle though. But I never practice going backwards since I mostly use it for transportation and exploring and has no time for practising backwards. But I really should start doing that :P

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15 minutes ago, Yffisch said:

Awesome! I have also thought about buying a manual unicycle after riding my EUC for about 2-3 months by now. It somehow feels very easy since in my head, the only difference is that you balance the back and forward by yourself, but the left and right you get from the EUC. But maybe I was wrong about that while reading this.

I need to learn to ride backwards on my EUC before I will try a manual unicycle though. But I never practice going backwards since I mostly use it for transportation and exploring and has no time for practising backwards. But I really should start doing that :P

If you know how to ride a manual unicycle the skill translates to riding EUC, but not the other way around unfortunately.  I've still yet to get idling and going backwards.  But i've not spent enough time on it since learning to ride forward, turning, and free mounting.  

good luck.  it also helps to get a good unicycle.  try a nimbus, not the crappy ones from amazon.  LOL

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9 minutes ago, eddiemoy said:

If you know how to ride a manual unicycle the skill translates to riding EUC, but not the other way around unfortunately.  I've still yet to get idling and going backwards.  But i've not spent enough time on it since learning to ride forward, turning, and free mounting.  

good luck.  it also helps to get a good unicycle.  try a nimbus, not the crappy ones from amazon.  LOL

Thanks for tips and info!
I just wonder, can you with confidence ride the unicycle in public now a couple of kilometers and is your autonomous nerve system activated by now so that it feels "piece of cake" to go forwards and turning?

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24 minutes ago, Yffisch said:

Thanks for tips and info!
I just wonder, can you with confidence ride the unicycle in public now a couple of kilometers and is your autonomous nerve system activated by now so that it feels "piece of cake" to go forwards and turning?

I can ride pretty confidently, but my stamina isn’t there.  I cannot do rough terrain or significant change in elevation.  That is really difficult. On flat surface I can go for as long as my stamina holds out.  

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  • 1 year later...

I really want to learn to ride a manual unicycle too. I was fascinated with mountain unicycling ("muni") after stumbling on some youtube videos, well prior to discovering EUCs, but I never made the leap to buy a manual unicycle and to start learning.  Now that I learned and enjoy EUCs so much, I am a lot more inspired to start.

I really want to get to the point of riding a muni on trails for whatever reason, but I realize I have to get the basics down first.  I was wondering if I should maybe start with a 24" instead of a 20", as from what I have read, the 24" seems a bit more "usable" to actually ride somewhere versus a 20", although maybe a bit (hopefully not a lot!) more difficult to learn at first?  I also figured a 24" is closer to the end goal of getting on a 26" muni, so less of a jump to make when the time comes.  The Nimbus Hatchet 26" looks really cool, but they are pretty expensive for something without a motor, almost the same as a Glide3/v8!  Definitely wouldn't get something like that until I was sure it is something I really want and would be able to take advantage of.

https://www.amazon.com/Nimbus-Hatchet-26-Mountain-Unicycle/dp/B01H7UG7E8

 

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14 minutes ago, Blueblade said:

I really want to learn to ride a manual unicycle too. I was fascinated with mountain unicycling ("muni") after stumbling on some youtube videos, well prior to discovering EUCs, but I never made the leap to buy a manual unicycle and to start learning.  Now that I learned and enjoy EUCs so much, I am a lot more inspired to start.

I really want to get to the point of riding a muni on trails for whatever reason, but I realize I have to get the basics down first.  I was wondering if I should maybe start with a 24" instead of a 20", as from what I have read, the 24" seems a bit more "usable" to actually ride somewhere versus a 20", although maybe a bit (hopefully not a lot!) more difficult to learn at first?  I also figured a 24" is closer to the end goal of getting on a 26" muni, so less of a jump to make when the time comes.  The Nimbus Hatchet 26" looks really cool, but they are pretty expensive for something without a motor, almost the same as a Glide3/v8!  Definitely wouldn't get something like that until I was sure it is something I really want and would be able to take advantage of.

https://www.amazon.com/Nimbus-Hatchet-26-Mountain-Unicycle/dp/B01H7UG7E8

 

If you don’t mind the difficulty, then you can start with the bigger wheels.  You can learn anything if you put in the time.  Doesn’t take that long.  Good luck.  Btw, it will make you a much better EUC rider.

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I thought I'd have a go a unicycling in my early 50's. I thought I had a fairly good spot to practise between my garage wall and a low wall but it turned out I was utterly useless at it and didn't even feel safe in full motorcycle gear. After about 90 minutes of fruitless practise I managed to break a few ribs on the low wall. I still have the unicycle but it just taunts me from the corner of the garage. I'm very impressed you managed to succeed!

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4 hours ago, mike_bike_kite said:

I thought I'd have a go a unicycling in my early 50's. I thought I had a fairly good spot to practise between my garage wall and a low wall but it turned out I was utterly useless at it and didn't even feel safe in full motorcycle gear. After about 90 minutes of fruitless practise I managed to break a few ribs on the low wall. I still have the unicycle but it just taunts me from the corner of the garage. I'm very impressed you managed to succeed!

Sorry to hear about your bad experience.  I would suggest practicing against one wall, fence would be better.  Not between two walls. It is much more difficult than learning to On Electric because it is all about muscles.  I made the mistake of buying a bad unicycle to learn on with short pedal arms.  If I had to do it over again, I would suggest a 20” nimbus to anyone trying.  Once I got that, it was easier to progress.  Didn’t need to develop the leg strength as much. 
 

hope you pick it up again one day. 

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17 minutes ago, eddiemoy said:

Sorry to hear about your bad experience.  I would suggest practicing against one wall, fence would be better.  Not between two walls. It is much more difficult than learning to On Electric because it is all about muscles.  I made the mistake of buying a bad unicycle to learn on with short pedal arms.  If I had to do it over again, I would suggest a 20” nimbus to anyone trying.  Once I got that, it was easier to progress.  Didn’t need to develop the leg strength as much. 
 

hope you pick it up again one day. 

Just getting on was impossible, so I looked on YouTube on how to do it. There's many videos but I think this is by far the best.

Notice this method reduces (eliminates?) the chance of hitting yourself with the pedal. Also, I found it not strenuous. You just step over the unicycle, and it also forces you to learn to mount first.

Still took me weeks, but at least they were easy weeks. I don't like the way I have my butt so far back. Workable but not graceful.

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2 minutes ago, LanghamP said:

Just getting on was impossible, so I looked on YouTube on how to do it. There's many videos but I think this is by far the best.

Notice this method reduces (eliminates?) the chance of hitting yourself with the pedal. Also, I found it not strenuous. You just step over the unicycle, and it also forces you to learn to mount first.

Still took me weeks, but at least they were easy weeks. I don't like the way I have my butt so far back. Workable but not graceful.

Yes there are a few different techniques to get going.  I've seen this video too to help go forward.  Eventually when you learn free mounting it is way easier to progress.  In the beginning you find your balance how ever you need to even if you are hanging your butt too far back.   Been there.  But just like when you start riding your EUC it might not be graceful, later you will be much better at riding and have a much better or more natural and relaxed posture with more practice.  

As it requires building muscle, it is definitely more time consuming to learn vs EUC.  If you stick with it, it becomes very rewarding. 

Kudos for learning manual unicycle.  I remember the feeling of being able to go about 100 ft.  LOL

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Darn, i hoped the EUC experience would be more helpful.  Maybe it still is just a little bit (the feeling of turns etc) The EUC felt pretty discouraging at first, but then afterwards it's kind of like,  "what was so hard about this to begin with?" It never felt impossible though, unlike how most people seem to describe manual unicycling as feeling impossible for a good while in the beginning, so it sounds like really a next-level challenge in comparison.

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19 minutes ago, Blueblade said:

Darn, i hoped the EUC experience would be more helpful.  Maybe it still is just a little bit (the feeling of turns etc) The EUC felt pretty discouraging at first, but then afterwards it's kind of like,  "what was so hard about this to begin with?" It never felt impossible though, unlike how most people seem to describe manual unicycling as feeling impossible for a good while in the beginning, so it sounds like really a next-level challenge in comparison.

Well, what usually happens is first you try to get against a wall, but you spend so much energy and coordination just getting on, and holding any position rapidly drains your muscles, and then you fall off within 0.1 seconds of any forward movement. I think that's why most give up.

However, that YouTube video link lets you mount and learn in an easy manner. You just step over the unicycle, making it slower each time, until you sorta but not really balance yourself. It takes the physical effort out, leaving just the practice of balance.

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5 minutes ago, LanghamP said:

 

However, that YouTube video link lets you mount and learn in an easy manner. You just step over the unicycle, making it slower each time, until you sorta but not really balance yourself. It takes the physical effort out, leaving just the practice of balance.

Yes i watched that.. I never saw that approach resting against a step like that before, but it does look very helpful.  Heck, just grab a brick or something and make your own starting step wherever is handy.

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  • 2 months later...

Well, Santa brought me a new club 24" unicycle from Unicycle.com for Christmas.  I have spent about 15 min over 2 days practicing, and I must say, it feels completely impossible to ride at this point.  It is *MUCH* more difficult feeling than the EUC ever was, even just to mount/sit on it while holding on to a wall, etc. Is a challenge.

I am determined though, I *will* learn to ride this damn thing!

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Well a couple more days of 5-7 minute sessions (maybe total 25-30 mins) and I can tell a difference now.  I tried first the back against the step/rocking over method, but it didn't seem to help any, at least at this stage, so instead I just focused on mounting while holding on to something and sort of rocking to get a feeling for keeping it under me.  I noticed it seems hard to pass the dead zone, and once you do, your feet have to do the opposite to maintain balance whichI failed to do several times.

  I started working on both right leg forward and right leg back, to get a feel for both to be able to recover after passingthe dead zone.  I am starting to notice I am building the instinct to resist/correct imbalance automatically instead of it shooting out from under me.  Also started to notice you need some momentum in order to roll past the dead zone, and I was able to do this a few times.  Now it just feels incredibly difficult vs impossible. 😁

Definitely a leg workout! Legs are very tight after only 5-7 mins, and I'm hot and breathing heavier afterwards.

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So, when I was 20, I had a roommate who had a unicycle.  We used to ride it out in front of the house and around the neighborhood.    Fast forward almost 40 years.  When I first found a sidewalk with a metal railing to hold onto I noticed that when I rocked back and forth on the wheel, it felt like that unicycle all those years ago.  I remembered what it felt like to mount.  You do a half pedal backwards to  get the seat beneath you, then you leaned forward and pedal to stay up.

After about ten minutes of going back and forth along the railing, it felt more and more like that old unicycle.  Finally I said screw it and let go of the railing and off I went.  50 feet of jerky, twisty, turny, awkward riding before hopping off.  I must say it was fairly easy for me because I still have some muscle memory from all those years ago.  Only took me about 10 minutes to get that first awkward run in because of it.

Analogue Unicycles are great fun too would love to have one to ride again

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