Unicycling: Why? Why not?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Cyril Haearn
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Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby Cyril Haearn » 16 Jan 2020, 7:19am

As a child one rides in a pram, four wheels, then one upgrades to a trike, then one upgrades to a bicycle
I am interested in upgrading again, to a unicycle, not only for fun

They seem to vary a lot on price, but I am worried about learning to ride, is it easy to learn as an adult?
Unicycles are available with a 24' or 36' wheel, quite a low gear. How fast may one go?
Nice one Cyrille, nice one son..
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on 49" fixed
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Oldjohnw
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby Oldjohnw » 16 Jan 2020, 7:35am

I can't answer specifically but I understand that generally one's innate balancing ability diminishes with age. I don't know the physiology but I do exercises to combat this daily.
John

Stradageek
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby Stradageek » 16 Jan 2020, 9:21am

Unicycles are great fun and can be surprisingly practical vehicles, I've seen unicycle commuters in Oxford and Ed Pratt has just cycled around the world solo unsupported, wild camping, on a 36" unicycle (Google 'Youtube Ed Pratt' and you'll access hours of excellent and very entertaining videos). I think his longest non-stop ride was about 50 miles, at a time when his wheel was falling apart and each re-mount was causing hub/spoke breakages.

I learnt to ride in my mid-fifties, it is surprisingly easy if you have a good sense of balance, you are essentially continually falling forwards and pedaling to stop yourself falling off. This video shows how quickly GCN's reporter learned the art https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5X979R-JTE

Buy from Unicycle.com, lots of choice and advice, good quality machines and keen prices.

I bought a 24" base model because I have very long legs and wanted a vehicle that could cover reasonable 'short' distances i.e. a mile or so. Smaller wheels are stunt vehicles, larger for longer distances. Ed Pratt at 36" tops out at 12-15kph I believe, long downhills necessitated a brake - no freewheeling!

If you want to join the lunatic element look up MUni cycling, off-road unicycling!!

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pjclinch
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby pjclinch » 16 Jan 2020, 9:39am

Cyril Haearn wrote:As a child one rides in a pram, four wheels, then one upgrades to a trike, then one upgrades to a bicycle
I am interested in upgrading again, to a unicycle, not only for fun

They seem to vary a lot on price, but I am worried about learning to ride, is it easy to learn as an adult?
Unicycles are available with a 24' or 36' wheel, quite a low gear. How fast may one go?


I got a Pashley Muni in my late 30s because why not and it was just the right price for a Visa accident (£120 IIRC)...

It took quite a while to learn to ride it (can't remember exactly, but we're looking at a few weeks) but that was based on no actual tuition (this is the pre You-Tube era) beyond a few suggestions picked up online.

I never got to be good on it (I can't idle or reverse) and I only get it out once in a while, but it's always been good fun and I've certainly had my money's worth over the years. Even with over a year off it I find I can get back to me (poor) level remarkably fast, so it turns out you don't seem to forget how to ride a uni either.

Mine is a 26", it doesn't go fast (at least with me on it!) but it goes fast enough to beat walking pace easily. I've used it for trips up to a few (as in up to 5 or so) km. People doing distances use Coker 36" models. There is/was a Schlumpf two speed unicycle hub that gives you 1:1 or 1:15 gearing, changing with a heel tap. Tried one once because I could, couldn't master the change in the few minutes I was on it (but as noted, I'm not a real unicyclist, just a dabbler), but starting it up in high gear on a slight downhill you could get up a decent speed. However, those were Real Money™

I'd be inclined to get a (relatively) cheap 20/24/26 to see how/if you take to it and then look at a 36 if you get to the serious stage. I never did get that far, so am happy with my 26" Muni

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Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

Tangled Metal
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby Tangled Metal » 16 Jan 2020, 9:40am

Knew a guy who was a good unicyclist. Off road to some degree too. Amazing considering he had an above the knee amputation on one leg.

If you want to learn go for it. You'll get there I'm sure. It's hard for sure. I couldn't get the hang but I only had 5 minutes attempt. I could move forward a little but hardly riding it really. Given longer I would manage it I think.

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pjclinch
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby pjclinch » 16 Jan 2020, 9:47am

Stradageek wrote:I learnt to ride in my mid-fifties, it is surprisingly easy if you have a good sense of balance, you are essentially continually falling forwards and pedaling to stop yourself falling off. This video shows how quickly GCN's reporter learned the art https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5X979R-JTE


Respect to Si, he learned much quicker than I did!

Looking at the padding there, while it's very easy to fall off (!) there's not much to get tangled in so a bad fall seems quite hard to manage. My profile pic is me learning and figuring I'd fall off a lot I went for the helmet, but I've never hit my head and don't bother with it any more. The worst falls I've had did make me glad of the skater's wrist guards I wore though, and I always go for at least track mitts.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

Stradageek
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby Stradageek » 16 Jan 2020, 10:29am

I used shin guards initially (and glad I did) but don't bother with protective gear now.

As for gearing, I believe Ed Pratt had cranks with two pedal mounting points, so on a days of mountain climbing he could choose to operate a lower gear.

mercalia
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby mercalia » 16 Jan 2020, 10:38am

where do you put the bell or panniers?

fastpedaller
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby fastpedaller » 16 Jan 2020, 12:42pm

Saw some locals in the Summer who were making progress with unicycling - I was granted an offer to try, but convinced i'd fall off I declined :oops:

sukuinage
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby sukuinage » 16 Jan 2020, 1:00pm

I have no desire to learn but my two daughters learned pretty quickly. My niece also started in her thirties and managed Pedal for Scotland from Glasgow to Edinburgh on one.

mattheus
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby mattheus » 16 Jan 2020, 1:18pm

What are they like on buses/trains?

waits for obvious joke ...

Stradageek
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby Stradageek » 16 Jan 2020, 1:20pm

mercalia wrote:where do you put the bell or panniers?

It's amazing what you can put on a unicycle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD6JRZzt-vk bear in mind that filming the trip was one of the objectives

rjb
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby rjb » 16 Jan 2020, 1:20pm

When you've had a bit of experience you could set off on a long trip like Ed Pratt from Somerset. Don't forget your passport. :lol:
https://youtu.be/7GfsALgCt5w
Last edited by rjb on 16 Jan 2020, 1:23pm, edited 1 time in total.
At the last count:- Focus Variado, Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

PM999
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby PM999 » 16 Jan 2020, 1:22pm

IMG_20180926_093359283.jpg

We walked the South Downs Way about a year ago and happened upon this chap. I only had time to ask him if he minded me taking a photo before he whizzed by, so I've no idea how much of the trail he was doing. He looked completely in control.

pete75
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby pete75 » 16 Jan 2020, 1:48pm

Oldjohnw wrote:I can't answer specifically but I understand that generally one's innate balancing ability diminishes with age. I don't know the physiology but I do exercises to combat this daily.


Interesting. What exercises do you recommend?