Introduction: Unicycle for Beginners - Part2
After focusing upon the steps I have found valuable to my unicycle practice I realized that there were a couple of other areas missing so I have put them in here in Part 2 - - - - UNI THE SEQUEL - - ta daaaaa.
In this instructable the following is covered.
Seat position - it's importance
how it effects power,ride and balance.
stop sore knee joints and thigh strain.
How shoes with heels can help put power down better and stop the back of the leg from pulling so much.
Stopping saddle spin.
Step 1: Saddle Height and It's Implications
Okkk - sooo
As you can see from the picture I managed to find this Shrek look alike who was out of work and happy to be my model.
When I bought my first uni, like many folks I suppose, I went for second hand and cost rather than body fit - got lucky on my 29er but my 20 was a bit short - - however saddle height for practice and riding seems to be pretty important ( don't get me wrong - there are loads of folks riding with a low saddle, doing stunts, ballet and all sorts of cool stuff ) but what I am talking about and was trying to achieve in practice was a smooth ride, less wobble and a constant balance position so that trying to figure out why! something was not working was easier to sort out.
When looking at mounting I was trying to cheat - surely a lower saddle would mean it is easier to get onto the uni - ya don't have to go up!! and over the top etc to get on - - - oh! poor fool that I was. Oh it worked great, but when I went to try and push off and ride all of my power had dropped and I was using much more of a spasm in my upper leg muscles, this caused fatigue quickly, plus the inconsistent push meant it was really hard to get a feel for what the bike was doing.With knees out front of me the uni seemed to be wobbling all over the place and when your learning it's hard enough as it is without other factors.
Saddle up - in the picture you can see the saddle height has been set to just a squidge longer than my leg.
1 - when ya sit into it the sponge sinks a little.
2 - At the bottom of the stroke all of your weight is forced to be upon the saddle - When I started I was nervous, always trying to correct my posture and ride, this puts a lot of strain on your leg muscles being in a constant state of contraction.When you start to really get some distance you will start to find just how little effort is needed to keep ya going (it's amazing - really), having the saddle set just right (for you) makes a world of difference (even my wife noticed when she started to ride again, and she is on two wheels).
Correct set up gives your legs a rest for every stroke you do - when one crank is down all the weight is off that leg and for the shortest time it simply swings under the stroke until the the other leg pushes to bring it round (doing it is easier than explaining - sorry).
Just about any tutorial will tell ya to sit INTO the saddle - if your just starting out that is easier said than done - with the saddle set right it sets that up for you - no thinking required.
3- scooch down like a frog and your butt is just off the floor - now stand up - - WOW hard huh. The same kinda thing happens with a low saddle but when your pushing off and not just trying to get into a standing position it has a big effect - and ya know what that means - off, on, off, on ggrrrrrrrrrr.
I know you brain is turning to jelly from my waffle so go,get a drink before reading on - : )
Step 2: Heels and Power
Heels or toes.
In the beginning there was shoe - and - - - ya would not think it makes much difference. What I discovered however was this - if I wore a shoe/trainer with a heel, and pushed with the pedal up against said heel two things happened - - by not using toes or ball of my foot my lower legs did not get so stiff (plus I had more power control) - - also with the pedal further back I became part of the bike, a linkage was taken away i,e ankle area, this seemed to allow power to be put into the pedals more consistently and with much less fatigue.
Try it for yourself - see how ya get on - heels are not necessary but the foot position might surprise you.
Step 3: The Curse of Saddle Spin
Cmon - you know what I mean - it drove me nuts too!!!.
Your out n about trying hard to get the one wheeled monster tamed but ya come off - - all of a sudden your leg is getting rubbed and your balance is shot plus ya seem to keep going round to the left/right. Looking down you see your seat is on the wonk from your fall.
Take one drill, one drill bit , a self tapping wood/panel screw (just long enough for the sharp point to dig into the back wall of the uni shaft when screwed in - and a screwdriver.
Find a spot just below your saddle clamp and drill one hole into the shaft just small enough for the screw to form a thread- not through, just into the airspace.
Pop in the screw and drive it in until it bites into the back material (ya want a screw just long enough for the job) when the tip bites into the metal at the back of the shaft it locks up a treat.
Important ( I think ) - do not be tempted to drill from the side as stresses from stopping and starting etc will act upon the weaker area caused by the hole. Drill one hole from the front or back but just one, thus keeping as much structural integrity as possible.
Enjoy saddle twist free riding.
P.S - well sort of.
Just a small note - the instructables posted are put here because I care ( big soft sod that I am ) - all of the videos, how too's and tutorials about - well anything, are brill and I commend and appreciate any that have helped me or others. in my small part all I am trying to do is put down those things that no one told me - in the hope that it saves you, a fall, a bump or some large black bruising plus a hip bone that took a full month to stop hurting.
Keep up the great instructables and thank you for the help you all give me when I want the answers to so many questions.