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.


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Michaels published on April 13, 2011 10:24 AM.

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