Unicycling: Why? Why not?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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pjclinch
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby pjclinch » 16 Jan 2020, 1:54pm

mattheus wrote:What are they like on buses/trains?

waits for obvious joke ...


Missing the cue for the obvious joke...
On one occasion I rode in to the city centre by way of the riverside path which was 3 miles, much easier than I'd expected and I was pretty pleased with myself. Turned around to go home... and found out they're more prone to suffering in stiff headwinds than bikes! So I got on the bus to come home, wasn't any problem. Especially a 20" one really doesn't have a big space requirement.
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Mick F
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby Mick F » 16 Jan 2020, 2:01pm

Not tried to even get one one of forty years, but it was difficult then.

The high cadence would be my issue. To use one practically, I'd need gears.
No doubt some sort of Sturmey Archer system could be incorporated. Why not have a higher saddle on a smaller wheel with an intermediate 3sp SA drive?
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Oldjohnw
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby Oldjohnw » 16 Jan 2020, 2:17pm

pete75 wrote:
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?



Kneebends on one leg at a time, not holding onto anything. I can easily do 20 per leg without stopping. Could do more but don't bother.
John

AndyK
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby AndyK » 16 Jan 2020, 2:18pm

I learnt in my late 20s, to the point where I could mount from a standing start and keep going for a few minutes. Never really mastered the going-backwards and standing-still aspects though (basically the same thing, as "standing still" actually involves moving a short way backwards and forwards all the time). I suspect learning to do a track stand on a fixed-wheel bike would be a good way to work up to learning to unicycle, as the pedal-pushing and back-and-forth motion you'd use for that is very similar.

In my 50s I'm more reluctant to get back on as I don't bounce so easily and I saw enough learners with broken wrists in my time. Definitely worth using wrist guards. Shin guards are perhaps not so important until you're learning to do a free-standing start: you put the left foot on the left pedal then push it down and back towards to while you lift the right foot into the air. If you're lucky the right pedal appears under your right foot and you can push against it; if you've misjudged it then the right pedal whacks you heavily on the shin.

As for speed, the tall "giraffe" unicycles can have a single gear as they have two sprockets connected by a chain, so it's probably possible to do 20-plus mph on them with the right ratio. I have been beaten by a unicyclist on the London-to-Brighton mass charity ride, though I think that had more to do with him getting a free pass through the endless bicycle traffic jams that afflicted the event. If you're on an 8-foot tall unicycle and you approach at speed, wobbling about and shouting "Look out! I can't stop!" the crowds part miraculously before you. Unicycles are (almost) all fixed-wheel, so as with a fixed-wheel bike the maximum speed depends on how fast you can pedal.

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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby Brucey » 16 Jan 2020, 4:02pm

back well before the days of the internet I both built myself a unicycle and l taught myself how to ride it, all without the benefit of any external advice. I later taught others, one of whom went on to do the end to end by unicycle, practically wrecking his knees in the process.

I've not ridden my machine for years, but the last time I did, I could still do it after a ten-year lay-off. I occasionally see folk riding unicycles about the place locally and I'm not in the slightest bit tempted to join them.

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gaz
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby gaz » 16 Jan 2020, 4:58pm

From time to time a unicycle will crop up on my ebay searches, mostly 20" wheel things that started their life in Aldi/Lidl. There's been the occasional better quality item over the years including one in 531 tubing.

The former type are possibly affordable but avoided in an "it's only going to end up at the back of the shed unridden" kind of way, the latter are not affordable which has so far enabled me to avoid temptation. I remain uni-curious (n+½) :wink: .
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pete75
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby pete75 » 16 Jan 2020, 6:38pm

Oldjohnw wrote:
pete75 wrote:
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?



Kneebends on one leg at a time, not holding onto anything. I can easily do 20 per leg without stopping. Could do more but don't bother.


Thanks. Just tried them. Seems difficult to start with but body/mind soon seem to adjust and keep balance.

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TrevA
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby TrevA » 16 Jan 2020, 8:07pm

The Warwick Town Centre races used to have a Unicycle Criterium race. Great fun to watch and some very skilled riders, but a wide range of abilities. I don’t think anyone crashed and it was quite a technical circuit.

http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/showthread.php?t=53342
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby Oldjohnw » 16 Jan 2020, 10:28pm

pete75 wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:
pete75 wrote:
Interesting. What exercises do you recommend?



Kneebends on one leg at a time, not holding onto anything. I can easily do 20 per leg without stopping. Could do more but don't bother.


Thanks. Just tried them. Seems difficult to start with but body/mind soon seem to adjust and keep balance.


Yes, it's mind as well.
John

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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby Cyril Haearn » 20 Jan 2020, 5:12am

Not sure I fancy trying something where one might fall off and needs to use PPE
Bet I fell off a few times when learning to cycle, mind
Falling off a unicycle, is it possible to land standing on ones feet?
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby hercule » 20 Jan 2020, 8:27am

I gave in to temptation last year (riding three and two wheelers, one wheels seemed a natural complementary activity), along with an complete set of wrist, elbow and knee guards, plus my lid.

You will fall off. Mostly I’ve managed to land on my feet, head contact (touch wood) seems rare. The wrist guards have taken a bit of a beating however to the point where I was wondering if I was going to compromise my ambition of being a cello virtuoso.

Mine’s one of the cheaper unicycle.com ones, 20” wheel - I did think of a 24” wheel but bear in mind it’s further to fall. Once/if I get a hang of the 20” machine, I fancy a 24” one for a bit if off road stuff in the woods.

It seems like the sort of activity undertaken by fearless teens or the crazy middle aged. Guess which category I fall into :lol: My OH felt it was the final conclusive evidence that I had lost it, and as I continue to fall off (record is 2 pedal revolutions so far) I fear she might be right.

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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby pjclinch » 20 Jan 2020, 9:28am

Cyril Haearn wrote:Not sure I fancy trying something where one might fall off and needs to use PPE
Bet I fell off a few times when learning to cycle, mind
Falling off a unicycle, is it possible to land standing on ones feet?


IME it comprises the vast majority of "unplanned dismounts". With no frame to speak of to clear I almost always land on my feet, and stay on them.

However, given that practice runs in the learning stage are almost always ended by "unplanned dismounts", that still does leave quite a few opportunities for falling over. If you fall over then hands tend to go out, so I'd suggest gloves/track mitts are a very good idea to start with.

I've never managed to hit my head (not even close), and though I used my lid when I was in the very first stages I don't bother now, even though I'm still quite crap.

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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby Cyril Haearn » 20 Jan 2020, 10:17am

Might be worth learning on grass or in a sports hall with a soft floor
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hercule
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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby hercule » 20 Jan 2020, 10:30am

Cyril Haearn wrote:Might be worth learning on grass or in a sports hall with a soft floor


In practice (on grass) I’ve found that pretty difficult... it’s harder to get the wheel moving so you are more likely to be coming off. Hard surfaces give you a chance to learn some finesse.

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Re: Unicycling: Why? Why not?

Postby 9494arnold » 20 Jan 2020, 12:29pm

My son is a very good unicyclist, Giraffe ( the 6' one with a chain ) plenty of stunts (skipping) .He has been doing it for about 17 years. I did have a concerted go at learning myself about 14 years ago but it wasn't happening for me. Didn't think mt shuns could take much more. I do ride Trikes regularly and also High Wheeler ("penny farthing') occasionally .