Things I'm trying now:
- About 30 minutes into a unicycle ride I'm getting saddle ache that isn't so much from rubbing as pressure and lack of circulation. Rising and pogoing on the seat helps, but the best solution is a brief stint off the saddle. If I'm on challenging terrain then unplanned dismounts provide the relief. On fitness road rides I'm intentionally dismounting and running with the unicycle for a couple of minutes before mounting again. Running is surprisingly effective at eliminating the ache.
- My hands-free static mounts are still pretty jerky. The smoothness seems to be directly related to how well I position my free foot on the forward pedal. If I hit the center of the pedal with the ball of my foot I'm off and riding without hesitation or wobble. If I am off center in any direction I'm screwed. I've been working on swinging my leg off the ground and onto the pedal rather than leaping, and keeping my eye on the pedal as I mount (a unicycling adaptation of the old adage, "keep your eye on the ball"). I've been finishing my rides by going to a smooth flat surface and practicing 10 mounts with each free foot to try to get these mounts to be easier and more automatic. I'd like mounting to be as easy as riding, and it's just not, not yet.
- Figure 8s are challenging in two ways - transition and diameter. When I switch from clockwise to counterclockwise or vice versa, at the waist of the 8, I need to think about repositioning my contact point on the seat in order to get the right lean, and that takes time and thought rather than being automatic. That leads to large diameter circles. I'd like, for instance, to be able to do a figure 8 within one half of a tennis court, but I can't yet. One of the mental images I've found helpful to pull off smooth relatively tight turns is to move my shoulders out and hips back when getting the right amount of lean into the turn. This is opposite what I do when straight line riding where my image is brining my hips forward and shoulders back. For some reason, maybe associated with the learning process, getting my butt back a bit helps establish the lean. Just the process of working on figure 8s has translated into more controlled turns during my fitness rides, so that's a plus.
- Idling/rocking. This is just going to take a lot more practice.