April 2011 Archives


I've been avoiding curbs. I remember back when I was learning to ride last year that I had difficulty when there was a line or crack in the pavement. I would fixate on that line or crack and often unintentionally dismount going over the crack. Same with curbs, but of course unlike cracks in the pavement there actually is a bit of a jiggle.

Today I rode over three. I approached them at slow to slow-normal speeds. I went over two with no hands, and one with right hand clutching the nose of the seat. All three were landed just fine, and no crushed nuts.

Now I'm thinking they aren't such a big deal. I should make sure to add in several during each ride just so I get over fixating them. Just like how now I barely notice cracks.


I was reminded today that when riding on smooth pavement you need not be so mindful of the riding surface as when riding a path. A small dip in the road sent me flying because I wasn't paying attention. Yet on the dirt paths and trails where the surface was much more irregular I was definitely paying attention and had no real problems staying on top.

That dismount got me thinking about mindfulness while riding, and paying attention to each stroke, each movement, regardless of the surface. It is tiring, and maybe not necessary, but I'm going to work with it the next few rides and see where it takes me.



Now I'm self-conscious about it so my dismounts are awkward as hell. Ever notice that if you don't think too hard about something it often goes more smoothly than if you focus? So it is with dismounts right now.

During the winter I spent a lot of break time in my lab working on idling with a 24" uni. In fact, I worked at it so much that i stripped the threads on the cranks where the pedals screw in. That the cranks are soft aluminum and the pedal threads are hard steel, that I was pedaling backwards as much as forwards, and that I wasn't regularly checking the tightness of the pedals had a lot to do with why the threads stripped. The end result though was that I took the 24" uni home, replaced the cranks and haven't been idling much since. The balance that I learned though seems to have transferred to some aspects of riding the 29", such as dismounting, so long as I don't think about it too much.

Last year when I started riding I was always coming off the front and had lots of trouble trying to step off the back as prescribed by the Unicycle Gods as level 1 riding. After working on it I could do it maybe 50% of the time with less grace than desirable, but still got the job done. After learning to idle, I found that my slow control and awareness of pedal position was better than ever, and I could step off the back of the 29er just like stepping off of a step ladder.

But one day during the winter when the temps were well below zero and the sidewalks clear I took the unicycle out of the lab to go get some things I had left in the car. On the ride back to the office I tried to dismount but instead of gracefully coming off the back I stayed balanced on the seat, no feet on the pedals (a sure sign of impending disaster) pitched forward and executed an Olympic caliber faceplant on the sidewalk. Since then I've thought too much about my dismounts.

The best way I have of dealing with my fears is to confront them, so on my next ride I will head to a tennis court or hockey rink, someplace flat, and do an hour of nothing but mounting and dismounting. I've got to shake that dismount anxiety before the season gets into full swing.



Finally, finally, finally my schedule and the weather aligned yesterday so that I could get out for my first spring ride of the year. Roads and sidewalks were clear of snow and I only had to negotiate one snow drift in a shaded corner of a dirt path. I still have the Stout knobby tire on the wheel, and as noted in earlier posts I don't think it is the greatest on pavement. Yes, I know it isn't meant for pavement, but even when I know I'm going to ride in the dirt I need to ride on some pavement to get there. While riding yesterday I started wondering whether the wider rim that now comes on the KH29 would stabilize the Stout a bit more...less sidewall and more contact patch...and result in a more predictable ride when cornering. Once on dirt paths either the tire performs better or I just don't notice the issue because I'm trying to deal with the irregularities of the dirt and stone surface. I'll be putting the Big Apple on soon since most of my riding is on hard or packed, rather than loose, surfaces.

I haven't been riding for about two months and my muscles are a bit sore today. But that's a good thing. I noticed that I had more side-to-side wheel wobble than at the end of last season. I think that is a sign of being a bit out of riding shape and also needed to work on smoothing out my riding technique.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2011 is the previous archive.

May 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.