Failure to learn to unicycle

Discussion in 'rec.sport.unicycling' started by JJuggle, May 3, 2004.

  1. JJuggle

    JJuggle Guest

    After I gave a bried demo at work, a colleague commented today on the
    sense of balance required to ride a unicycle. I commented back that I
    think most people have it in them to learn if they put their minds to it
    and take the time to practice.

    So here's the question. Does anybody actually know of anyone who failed
    to learn to ride after putting in sufficient time? "Sufficient time" is,
    of course, a subjective thing. But aside from those who simply give up
    after a few hours or a day or so, I'm curious if anyone knows of someone
    who just couldn't learn to unicycle.

    Raphael Lasar
    Matawan, NJ


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  2. BungleBanks

    BungleBanks Guest

    i got a unicycle for christmas it took me about 3 weeks to learn
    proficiently
    my girlfriend has been riding for nearly 3 months and hasnt even managed
    to roll a rew rotation of the pedals yet! but shes determined so she
    wont give up until shes got it.

    bungle


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  3. digigal1

    digigal1 Guest

    BungleBanks wrote:
    > *my girlfriend has been riding for nearly 3 months and hasnt even
    > managed to roll a rew rotation of the pedals yet!
    > *


    Do you know how many hours she's put into it over those 3 months?


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  4. gkmac

    gkmac Guest

    "Failure to learn to unicycle"? I nearly fell into that category (in
    more ways than one).

    I first attempted crossing the juggling club's church hall in the middle
    of June, and again, and again, only for a couple of hours once a week
    since I didn't have my own unicycle.

    It took me four months... to make it only half way across. Then two
    weeks off for a holiday in Tenerife and suddenly I couldn't make it a
    quarter of the way across anymore!

    I nearly gave up, but was practicing once a week enough? I bought my own
    unicycle and took some slow, steady, careful pedalling next to the
    garden wall. And then the next week I brought it to juggling club and
    attempted this seemingly hopeless goal... and I made it at the end of
    the night! After FIVE MONTHS!

    Most of what I typed above are reminded to me from my 'my first ever
    post here' (http://tinyurl.com/2egba) .

    I'd say January was when I got riding straight perfected, and over the
    past month learned to idle. Just riding a unicycle around is the most
    fun I ever have; I'm certainly glad I never gave up.

    So if you are struggling with this, just practice more regularly no
    matter how much of a small space you have.


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  5. johnfoss

    johnfoss Guest

    I gave up a whole bunch of times. Really. The stupid piece of crap I was
    learning on was so anti-rideable that I several times threw it in the
    corner.

    Picture:
    http://tinyurl.com/pn68

    But I kept coming back. What spurred me on was the knowledge that a
    totally ordinary human from my neighborhood could do it (and idle). If
    he could, why couldn't I? It's a good thing I never figured out, back
    then when I was 14, that he had a Schwinn and I had a P.O.S. The Schwinn
    was a Cadillac and a Hummer rolled into one by comparison.

    But I eventually got it. Only then did my Troxel become almost
    completely unrideable, but falling apart under the weight of rider.

    I know people who can't do lots of things. Including drive cars. I asked
    about that when I worked for the driving school. Does anyone ever not
    learn? The answer was along the lines of that there were people who
    *shouldn't* ever drive. But for the most part, unless the person doesn't
    have brain damage, or lacking cognitive skills, or physical damage
    keeping them from working the controls, they can learn if they work at
    it long enough. We had more than one student who took lessons for more
    than a year before passing a road test.

    I still can't juggle six balls with any regularity. But I have not
    failed. I *will not* fail, even if I never finish learning.

    So the answer may be no. Some people are better tuned to their balance
    than others, but I believe if you have the physical and mental
    equipment, you can learn to ride if you stick with it. If you have
    neurological, inner ear, cognitive or other damage, this could impede or
    stop you though. But I also know of several people who have overcome all
    sorts of obstacles to ride, including people with varying levels of
    developmental disabilities (retardedness), learning disabilities, bone
    problems, and total blindness.

    Better examples are given by places like the St. Helens school in the
    60s and 70s when all the kids were riding unicycles. Did every kid in
    school ride? According to what people tell me, no. It was not a
    requirement of PE, to my knowledge. But the vast majority of the
    school's population rode. This works well as a (small) population
    sample.


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  6. Rayden

    Rayden Guest

  7. Klaas Bil

    Klaas Bil Guest

    On Mon, 3 May 2004 14:25:31 -0500, "JJuggle" wrote:

    >So here's the question. Does anybody actually know of anyone who failed
    >to learn to ride after putting in sufficient time?


    It's a matter of definition. I'm tempted to say that someone who
    failed to learn just hasn't put in sufficient time. The required time
    varies largely across the population. He or she felt that the
    investment in time and effort was too large to continue trying. But
    had he or she persisted, he or she would have learned to ride.
    (Disregarding persons with clear physical or mental disabilities.)

    Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict
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  8. GILD

    GILD Guest

    BungleBanks wrote:
    > *my girlfriend has been riding for nearly 3 months and hasnt even
    > managed to roll a rew rotation of the pedals yet! but shes determined
    > so she wont give up until shes got it.*

    oh, somebody get that girl a whole bunch of decent footrubs!
    :)


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  9. entropy

    entropy Guest

    Rayden wrote:
    > *I wonder how much more difficult riding a unicycle is compared to
    > walking. Walking is very difficult Have you ever met anyone who never
    > learned to walk? *



    I've thought about this before too...It seems to me that the balance and
    control required to completely shift weight between two legs (and be
    smooth about it) at a wide range of speeds is very, very complex.


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  10. BungleBanks

    BungleBanks Guest

    of course i know how many hours shes put it in it! im teaching her. she
    is getting better all the time but shes scared of falling i would
    estimate that shes put about 40 -50 hours in so far.

    bungle :)


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  11. I know someone who FAILED to learn to ride.
    Down at the LBS there is a guy that *usually* mentions how good he is at
    mountain biking. He also rides a road bike. Before I learned to ride, he
    told me that he had a unicycle for 3 years, and made many attempts to
    ride it during that time.
    Finally, a non-rider came to his house and was playing around with it,
    so he said if they can ride it off, they can keep it - and by the end of
    the evening he was less 1 unicycle. :)
    The same guy who failed implied that I wouldn't learn either - which of
    course gave me motivation to learn quickly. :D
    I believe that anyone who has the right ATTITUDE can learn (however, my
    theory stops short at obese people).


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  12. chirokid

    chirokid Guest

    I met two different guys this past weekend that admitted that they owned
    unicycles as a kid, but failed to learn to ride. I obviously have no
    idea how much they practiced.

    A little off topic, but I regularly meet people who say thay used to
    ride as a kid. I then offer them my uni and they attempt to mount it by
    going to the front pedal. I just have to smile. :) Anyone else have
    this happen? --chirokid--


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  13. mgrant

    mgrant Guest

    Rayden wrote:
    > *I wonder how much more difficult riding a unicycle is compared to
    > walking. Walking is very difficult Have you ever met anyone who never
    > learned to walk? *



    I have often speculated that walking involves more complex balance that
    unicycling.

    When walking your feet are not free to move (roll, pivot, etc.) when
    they are in contact with the ground. When walking you basically begin
    to fall, extend a leg to "catch" yourself and then repeat the process.
    It all seems very static.

    When riding your are in a continuous state of "falling" and correction.
    This would seem to me to require less inherent balance than walking.

    A theoretical experiment that I've thought about would be to take
    infants and prevent them from being exposed to any humans who walk. All
    they would experience would be people on unicycles. Provide the infant
    with a unicycle and what would the progression be? Would they learn to
    walk? Ride?

    Of course such an experiment is impractical and probably immoral but the
    point is that I think most people overestimate the amount of balance
    required to unicycle compared to what's required to walk.

    -mg


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  14. Gumbo

    Gumbo Guest

  15. johnfoss

    johnfoss Guest

    The guy from the LBS who claims to have failed just gave up. I'm sure he
    didn't practice for a whole three years! He works in a bike shop, he
    should have more motivation to "fill out" his cycling skills. For
    someone who's "good" at riding a bike (allowing for him being an
    exaggerator), he should be able to manage a unicycle if he wants to work
    at it.

    chirokid wrote:
    > *I met two different guys this past weekend that admitted that they
    > owned unicycles as a kid, but failed to learn to ride. I obviously
    > have no idea how much they practiced.*

    Not enough. or they had Troxels like mine, which means they might have
    practiced twice as much as someone with a Schwinn and still not gotten
    it.

    > *A little off topic, but I regularly meet people who say thay used to
    > ride as a kid. I then offer them my uni and they attempt to mount it
    > by going to the front pedal. I just have to smile. :) Anyone else
    > have this happen? *

    Yup. :p

    About walking:
    Walking is indeed complicated. Talk to anyone trying to program a
    machine to do it. Most machines that walk have much larger feet than the
    human equivalent.

    When talking of learning to ride a unicycle, we generally assume a
    person who already walks. The balance part of walking is almost the
    same, if not exactly the same as what you use when unicycling. The
    learning part is converting your feet from walking to turning pedals.

    Walkers have the advantage of two feet. This makes it easy to stop
    without idling. We can't. Having two feet also makes it possible to
    change directions much faster, and do a few other things we can't
    compete with on unicycles. Example: ever tried playing basketball on a
    unicycle against people on feet?


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  16. mgrant wrote:
    > *Provide the infant with a unicycle and what would the progression be?
    > Would they learn to walk? Ride?
    > -mg *



    Walking is *required* to mount.
    Therefore the infant would have to learn to walk first.
    I believe "walking" is almost required for an infant stand.


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  17. billham

    billham Guest

    I have been riding a lot in a local park with my 6 year old daughter who
    is really starting to get her riding together. She getting into rides
    that are sometimes 250 feet long. If I may brag a little, she just did
    her first freemount last night!

    I am amzed at how many people, young and old, say, "I could never do
    that!" I wonder how many other areas of their lives have been hindered
    by this kind of thinking? Sometimes I just want to get a unicycle and
    put them on it until they can ride it. The correct response is, "That
    looks like it would take a lot of time to learn." or "I'd really have to
    work at that." But this "I could never do that!" response is sad to
    me.

    I think it's one of the reasons I enjoy the unicycling community so
    much. They are an adventuresome bunch, willing to fail, but also
    knowing that failure is one of the ways that we learn.

    One of the ways I define failure is *Not trying or not giving something
    your best.*

    Most can ride a unicycle. Most will defeat themselves mentally.

    Bill


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  18. billham wrote:
    > I AM AMZED AT HOW MANY PEOPLE, YOUNG AND OLD, SAY, \"I COULD NEVER DO
    > THAT!\" I WONDER HOW MANY OTHER AREAS OF THEIR LIVES HAVE BEEN
    > HINDERED BY THIS KIND OF THINKING?
    > Most will defeat themselves mentally.
    > Bill [/B]


    Stop. Remember, we ALL pick our battles.


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  19. cyberbellum

    cyberbellum Guest

    johnfoss wrote:
    > *
    > Walking is indeed complicated. Talk to anyone trying to program a
    > machine to do it. Most machines that walk have much larger feet than
    > the human equivalent. *


    Quite true.

    One of the first successful "walking" robots was a robotic pogo stick.
    Apparently it was much easier to solve the dynamic hopping problem than
    the problem of coordinating multiple limbs. The researchers were very
    surprised - they couldn't believe how simple the hopping programs could
    be.


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  20. Jayne ZA

    Jayne ZA Guest

    BungleBanks wrote:
    > *of course i know how many hours shes put it in it! im teaching her.
    > she is getting better all the time but shes scared of falling i would
    > estimate that shes put about 40 -50 hours in so far.*


    May I suggest protective gear and stepovers? Fear of falling was a BIG
    thing when I started learning. Strapping on all the pads and clipping
    on the helmet really made me feel more secure. I now feel odd riding
    without my "stuff". I'd rather have it on and not need it than need it
    and not have it on.

    I still haven't gotten stepovers down on anything bigger than a 24. I
    feel like I need a trampoline to do them right on the coker. They do,
    however, give you a good grounding in how to fall on your feet,
    especially if you fall off forwards, which is very disconcerting.

    I'm now nearing the 12 hour mark and falling no longer fazes me. I'm
    going so slow I can jump off and land on my feet when I feel a fall
    coming. Most times I can catch the unicycle too.

    The most important thing is that she's getting better. Once she gets a
    bit more confidence in her own abilities the fear of falling will
    subside.

    Jayne


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