No Progress to report!

Discussion in 'rec.sport.unicycling archive' started by Jayne Za, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. Jayne Za

    Jayne Za Guest

    I am getting SO FRUSTRATED at my lack of progress. After my
    breakthrough I haven't managed to get further than 4 pedal
    pushes, closer to 3 when I'm at home on the paving. What
    bugs me most about the paving thing is that, when I borrow a
    shoulder, I get the whole length smoothly and in a fairly
    straight line. When I go solo I'm lucky to get up to three
    pedal pushes and veer off to the left. I'm also noticing a
    nasty tendency to roll to my pedalling side. I KNOW this is
    nothing to do with my seat being too high as this is not a
    problem when I ride with assistance.

    After reading other posts about progress problems I have
    lowered my seat just about as far as it will go without
    changing the seatpost. This has helped with the rolling, but
    I think I need to find a way to switch my brain off before I
    go riding. I have moments when it feels right. I am
    balanced, pedalling is smooth and easy, and most of my
    weight is on the seat. Then my brain kicks in and starts
    yelling "This is impossible" and tells my body to jump off.
    Right now I feel like I am never going to get this right. If
    only progress was linear, but what I can get right one day
    often seems impossible the next.

    I have decided that I can't take this ANYMORE! Tomorrow
    there will be no jumping off. I will ride until I hit the
    paving. I am wrapped up in protective stuff and shouldn't
    get too badly hurt. I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED BY SOMETHING WITH
    ONLY ONE WHEEL!

    Jayne

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  2. How fast do you go? I know lots of people in our club who
    learn (on 20" unis) who go too slow when they've almost but
    not quite got it sorted. I'm just thinking that on a coker
    it might be very easy to go to slow, because a natural
    riding speed would feel very fast. Just a thought.

    John

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  3. Jim

    Jim Guest

    Keep at it, it has taken me months, but I am finally getting
    it and if I can, you can. I am middle aged, over weight and
    a slow learner. Just do not give up and it will come.

    Jim

    "Jayne ZA"
    <[email protected]> wrote in
    message news:[email protected]
    yclist.com...
    >
    > I am getting SO FRUSTRATED at my lack of progress. After
    > my breakthrough I haven't managed to get further than 4
    > pedal pushes, closer to 3 when I'm at home on the paving.
    > What bugs me most about the paving thing is that, when I
    > borrow a shoulder, I get the whole length smoothly and in
    > a fairly straight line. When I go solo I'm lucky to get up
    > to three pedal pushes and veer off to the left. I'm also
    > noticing a nasty tendency to roll to my pedalling side. I
    > KNOW this is nothing to do with my seat being too high as
    > this is not a problem when I ride with assistance.
    >
    > After reading other posts about progress problems I have
    > lowered my seat just about as far as it will go without
    > changing the seatpost. This has helped with the rolling,
    > but I think I need to find a way to switch my brain off
    > before I go riding. I have moments when it feels right. I
    > am balanced, pedalling is smooth and easy, and most of my
    > weight is on the seat. Then my brain kicks in and starts
    > yelling "This is impossible" and tells my body to jump
    > off. Right now I feel like I am never going to get this
    > right. If only progress was linear, but what I can get
    > right one day often seems impossible the next.
    >
    > I have decided that I can't take this ANYMORE! Tomorrow
    > there will be no jumping off. I will ride until I hit the
    > paving. I am wrapped up in protective stuff and shouldn't
    > get too badly hurt. I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED BY SOMETHING
    > WITH ONLY ONE WHEEL!
    >
    > Jayne
    >
    >
    > --
    > Jayne ZA - Learning to ride on a Coker
    >
    > Being a statistician means never having to say
    > you're certain
    >
    >
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  4. Cyberbellum

    Cyberbellum Guest

    Jayne ZA wrote:
    > * I have moments when it feels right. I am balanced,
    > pedalling is smooth and easy, and most of my weight is
    > on the seat. Then my brain kicks in and starts yelling
    > "This is impossible" and tells my body to jump off. *

    Sounds like this bird is ready to leave the nest.

    I had a very similar 'problem' (http://tinyurl.com/2b87h).
    I don't know if you've ever seen the "buggs Bunny and
    Roadrunner" cartoons, but the classic pattern is that Wiley
    E. Coyote devises an elaborate trap to catch the RoadRunner
    (a kind of bird common in the USA's southwestern deserts),
    his plan fails completely and he is the one who gets
    whacked. At least half the time he chases the roadrunner
    off a cliff and tries to run in mid-air. He does well, too,
    until he notices that he is in mid air. Then his grin
    fades, he flashes a little sign that says "Help?" or
    something, and drops like a stone. So in USA slang your
    endurance problems are called "Wiley E. Coyote Moments" or
    "WEC moments" for short.

    What is happening is that you haven't yet figured out how to
    balance laterally. With a shoulder or a perfectly vertical
    position you do fine, because you've mastered the
    longitudinal balance problem. The lateral problem is just as
    hard and takes just as long, and like the longitudinal
    problem, once you solve it you're not quite sure how you did
    it so it's very hard to teach.

    What you've got to do is to:

    ) have your back straight and your arms way out to the side,
    1) detect the impending lateral fall (lets say it's to
    the left),
    2) SUSPEND DISBELIEF,
    3) gracefully start your arms and shoulders swinging
    to the left,
    4) when your right pedal is just coming over the top
    simultaneously a) swing your arms and shoulders hard to
    the right, b) snap your hips and the unicycle to the
    left (into the fall), and c) stomp hard on the right
    pedal, then
    5) relax and feel the contact patch roll back under you.
    6) Repeat from (1) as necessary

    The whole game at this point is to keep the unicycle wheel -
    in particular, the contact patch - directly between you and
    the center of the earth. Learning to turn is automatic after
    you've mastered this basic skill.

    At this point you've got 0 and 1 sussed, and are pissed off
    enough to grit your way through 2. That's great! Now the
    hard part is learning the windup (3) and the turn (4). If
    you watch great unicyclists you'll see them doing this
    faster than you can think about it, which is your problem at
    the moment. They've got it hardwired in their systems and
    probably don't even know what they are doing. You still need
    to think about it.

    I won't lie to you and say you'll get it the first session.
    I didn't, and I was on a smaller wheel. Hardwiring those
    reflexes takes time.

    Cokers are notoriously resistant to the hip-snap turn I've
    described, but they also move much faster so not as much of
    a turn is needed. On the 20", at 2 to 4 mph I sometimes need
    to turn the wheel 30 or 45 degrees to get the tire patch
    back under me. On the Coker at 8 to 12 mph I only need 5 to
    10 degree corrections. The body moves have the same
    amplitude but on the Coker I can relax and take my time, so
    other than the scary speed I find the Coker easier to ride.

    Good luck,

    Tim

    PS: If you happened to be carrying a little sign that says
    "Help?" and flashed it when you were about to fall that
    would be VERY funny... :)

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  5. 4) WHEN YOUR RIGHT PEDAL IS JUST COMING OVER THE TOP
    SIMULTANEOUSLY A) SWING YOUR ARMS AND SHOULDERS HARD TO
    THE RIGHT, B) SNAP YOUR HIPS AND THE UNICYCLE TO THE
    LEFT (INTO THE FALL), AND C) STOMP HARD ON THE RIGHT
    PEDAL, THEN

    Yes. I tried to describe this before for you. When I got to
    the point you are at now, I figured that I would "force"
    myself to fall. To do that, I would TURN sharply to the
    left, and then turn sharply to the right for each stroke.

    Press down hard on the right foot, and throw the LEFT
    knee across to the right. Answer by pushing the left foot
    down HARD, and throw the right knee to the left. IT will
    cause you to zigzag violently, but it will keep you up.
    From there, it is just a matter of smoothing it out. And,
    you will see yourself do it again in the future when
    trying to climb steep hills (so it isn't something you
    won't use later).

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  6. Underdog

    Underdog Guest

    I like your attitude. DON'T let one wheel beat you. I can
    totally relate to your feelings of frustration. I'm now
    approaching the 40 hour mark and still can't ride at a level
    1 (on a 20" wheel) but I am starting to post some 30 - 40
    meter rides with some regularity. One thing that helped me
    get some small breakthroughs when I felt like I wasn't
    progessing very well (indeed at times I felt like I was
    losing ground) was to mix things up a bit. I had this
    comfort zone where I was always starting w/ my right foot
    back and clinging to the fence with my right hand and just
    not making progress. I decided to start w/ my left foot and
    cling to the fence with my left hand. I felt VERY
    uncomfortable for a couple of hours but then I suddenly
    noticed a real improvement in ride distance and directional
    control. Every time you try something different whether you
    succeed or fall, your body (and brain) learns something more
    about what to do and what not to do. I think it's all about
    time in the saddle, the more the better. Good luck.

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  7. Jayne,
    Having just got back from riding my Coker and paying close attention
    to what I was doing as I mounted, I believe the lack of speed may be
    part of your problem. I noticed that if I don't get a sudden burst to
    get the Coker rolling past that 3rd or 4th revolution, I tend to lose
    all momentum and have to dismount. Since you are going to be practicing
    "safe Cokering", try to acelerate a litle harder. Once that big whell
    develops a little momentum, it is a WHOLE LOT easier to keep it going
    straight. Good luck and don't let it beat you:D :D

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    If you ain't crashing, you ain't going fast enough!!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. Klaas Bil

    Klaas Bil Guest

    On Mon, 10 May 2004 12:34:31 -0500, "Jayne ZA" wrote:

    >Well, that brings me up to 13 hours in the saddle. I keep
    >reassuring myself that I still have 7 hours to learn within
    >the "standard" 10-20 hours.

    You can be even more assured. There is no "standard"
    learning time on a Coker - you are the second in the world
    to do it (afaik) so you set the standard yourself!

    Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict
    --
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  9. Klaas Bil wrote:
    > On Mon, 10 May 2004 12:34:31 -0500, "Jayne ZA" wrote:
    >
    >> Well, that brings me up to 13 hours in the saddle. I keep
    >> reassuring myself that I still have 7 hours to learn
    >> within the "standard" 10-20 hours.
    >
    > You can be even more assured. There is no "standard"
    > learning time on a Coker - you are the second in the world
    > to do it (afaik) so you set the standard yourself!

    Hell, to the extent that I set the standard, you're kicking
    the standard's butt.
     
  10. Cyberbellum

    Cyberbellum Guest

    ChangingLINKS.com wrote:
    > * Yes. I tried to describe this before for you. When I got
    > to the point you are at now, I figured that I would
    > "force" myself to fall. *

    Hi Drew,

    Which "you" are you refering too? Jayne or me?

    The exagerated zig-zag you describe is useful when you don't
    know what else to do, but on a Coker it's a bit different.
    It doesn't really respond like a 20" or 24" wheel. You CAN
    get it to snap back and forth in a zig-zag but the amplitude
    of the turns are too shallow to really correct much.

    When I look back at the trail of my smaller unicycles when I
    zig-zag the lateral moves are at least 30-40 and are spaced
    about a meter or two apart. On the Coker the same frantic
    zig-zaging results in wobbles about 10-20 cm wide but spaced
    about three meters apart.

    If Jayne is lucky she'll get it right every now and then and
    make a single lateral correction before she UPDs. Eventually
    she'll get two in a row, then three, and from there it's not
    long before her legs and back are wired up properly and
    she's doing effortless laps around the parking lot.

    Jayne, in my very limited experience, riding the Coker is a
    graceful, swooping process. If you are wearing your armor
    the crashes aren't bad, so all you have to do is get past
    step 2 so you can put in some time on steps 3 and 4.

    Don't try for speed yet - you've got plenty as long as the
    pedals are going around. Trying to "go faster" is good
    advice for a 20" where you have to pedal frantically to
    even reach walking speed. That big wheel is your friend -
    hip-twist it into the fall, keep pedaling and it will take
    care of you.

    I know it feels like speed metal, but imagine that the Coker
    is singing an old 'Gene Vincent'
    (http://clubalibi.com/media/bebopalula.mp3) song to you.
    Bizzare? Yes, but it might help.

    >
    > *BE-BOP-A-LULA* (Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis Duet,
    > long-play unicycle version)
    >
    > Well be-bop-a-lula she's my baby, Be-bop-a-lula I don't
    > mean maybe. Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby Be-bop-a-lula I
    > don't mean maybe Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby love, My baby
    > love, my baby love.
    >
    > Well she's the girlie with tight blue jeans. She's the
    > chickie with most everything. She's the girlie that shakes
    > that thing She aint got a diamond ring,
    >
    > Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby, Be-bop-a-lula I don't mean
    > maybe. Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby Be-bop-a-lula I don't
    > mean maybe Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby love, My baby love,
    > my baby love.
    >
    > Well she's the one that gots that beat. She's the one with
    > the flyin' feet. She's the one that rolls right out the
    > door. She's the one that gets more more more.
    >
    > Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby, Be-bop-a-lula I don't mean
    > maybe. Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby Be-bop-a-lula I don't
    > mean maybe Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby love, My baby love,
    > my baby love.
    >
    > She's the girlie that shakes that thing. She's the girlie
    > that knows everything. She's the chick that I love so, And
    > when the doctor gives it, well go, go, go, go
    >
    > Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby, Be-bop-a-lula I don't mean
    > maybe. Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby, baby, baby, baby,
    > baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby.
    >
    > Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby love, My baby love, my
    > baby love.
    >
    >

    My 2 cents,

    Tim

    PS: I couldn't find a mp3 version of the Elvis and Lewis
    duet, but here is Lewis's 'solo version with the
    modified wording'
    (http://dl.zvuki.ru/2/2963/mp3/15.mp3).

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  11. Cyberbellum

    Cyberbellum Guest

    Krashin'Kenny wrote:
    > *Jayne, I noticed that if I don't get a sudden burst to
    > get the Coker rolling past that 3rd or 4th revolution, I
    > tend to lose all momentum and have to dismount. *

    Kenny's right about the first couple of revs being the
    hardest. You DO have to get the wheel rolling to ride it.

    What I was tryin to say was that 40-60 RPM is about right
    for a newbie learning to Coker. That's about 2-3 meters per
    second, or 7-11 kph. It's easy to run out of a fall at that
    speed and your brain can't go much faster anyway. Leave the
    160 rpm speed demons runs for later

    Elvis's version of Be Bop a Lula is real slow, around 50
    beats per minute, so it's ideal for getting the pace right.
    (Disclamer - I'm not much of a musician so I don't really
    know how fast the Elvis tune is. It just feels right for
    Cokering slow.)

    Jayne, your brain needs something to distract it, so my
    recommendation to mentally sing an Elvis tune while riding
    is real. The worst thing you can do at this point is to let
    your brain concentrate on your lower-body reflexes. It just
    screws them up.

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  12. Cyberbellum

    Cyberbellum Guest

    cyberbellum wrote:
    > *4) when your right pedal is just coming over the top
    > simultaneously
    > a) swing your arms and shoulders hard to the right, b)
    > snap your hips and the unicycle to the left (into the
    > fall), and c) stomp hard on the right pedal, *

    Hmmm... ChangingLinks may be right. Perhaps it's the LEFT
    pedal that you have to stomp to go left? I'm not really
    sure anymore. Time to go riding and observe what my legs
    are doing.

    Tim

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  13. Kj-52

    Kj-52 Guest

    Hey I was riding my coker today too, it's pretty fun,
    definately different than a 20 inch. I have trouble
    sometimes keeping a smooth pedaling motion, kinda find
    myself wanting to stop, but definately going smooth is
    better.

    Sometimes i've been able to stop myself from falling when I
    thought I was gonna, it's harder to catch yourself cause you
    gotta do whatever you need to do with more force than you
    would need on a 20 incher.

    Anyways, keep having fun coker riders, woo hoo!!

    Andrew

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  14. Jayne Za

    Jayne Za Guest

    Hi Everybody I had a quick look at the replies this morning
    (long enough to have Be-Bop-A-Lula going round in my head
    ALL day) but have only gotten round to replying now. There
    are far too many things to quote, but I'll try to cover just
    about anything.

    I spent my formative years in SA, not in a hole in the
    ground. ;) I have certainly heard of Wiley E Coyote and the
    Roadrunner. Would it be as funny if I yelled "Beep-Beep" as
    I was about to fall? It might be easier to manage than the
    glowing sign.

    I live in a city. All the nice, smooth, grassy fields are
    locked up and cared for by people who wouldn't like somebody
    on a coker riding over their carefully tended sportsfield.
    Easily accessible grassy fields are usually rough and bumpy
    or with a SERIOUS slope down to a lake.

    I did try the whole arm swinging, knee throwing, hip
    snapping thing (now called ASKTHST for short) when it was
    first suggested. All it did was make me fall off. I tried it
    again tonight and it still makes me fall off, just
    backwards. :p

    I tried singing Be-Bop-A-Lula at the top of my voice while
    riding today. I also tried to do the whole ASKTHST as
    mentioned above. They do really help to take one's mind off
    the whole falling thing. I did gradually start to feel more
    comfortable, and I seem to be getting the whole arm
    swinging in direction of fall thing down pat. When you
    thing about it it's actually quite instinctive to throw
    your arms in the direction of your fall, as if you are
    expecting some support on that side (eg a wall) it is
    natural to bring your arms into a position where they can
    break your fall. The knee throwing is sort of coming. It IS
    something I have sort of been doing all along as it is
    SOMETIMES possible for me to "pause" myself on the coker by
    bracing my knee against the frame.

    Well, that brings me up to 13 hours in the saddle. I keep
    reassuring myself that I still have 7 hours to learn within
    the "standard" 10-20 hours.

    What I can't get over is just how tired I am. I feel like
    I'm back at the beginning and starting to learn all over
    again. Am I just a big fat unfit lump or is this common?

    Jayne

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  15. Jayne ZA wrote:
    > *What I can't get over is just how tired I am. I feel
    > like I'm back at the beginning and starting to learn all
    > over again. Am I just a big fat unfit lump or is this
    > common? Jayne *

    Yes. Try stretching before and after the ride and at night
    before sleep. Later, you will look for ways to use less
    effort, but it doesn't matter yet. Also, try breathing
    while you ride. I noticed that I still lose my breath more
    than anyone else I ride with - that is because I hold my
    breath when I am doing something difficult. Hopefully that
    bad habit will work itself out, but I am making an effort
    to breathe.

    :eek: <-- holding breath.

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  16. Jayne Za

    Jayne Za Guest

    ChangingLINKS.com wrote:
    > *Yes. *

    OK- this is an important question - is that "yes, this is
    common" or "yes, Jayne, you are a big fat unfit lump" or
    "yes, this is common, and yes, Jayne you are a big fat unfit
    lump". The distinction is quite important, don't you think?

    BTW, singing while riding has a dual purpose - it keeps your
    brain distracted and it reminds you to breathe. :)

    Jayne

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  17. U-Turn

    U-Turn Guest

    Jayne ZA wrote:
    > * OK- this is an important question - is that "yes, this
    > is common" or "yes, Jayne, you are a big fat unfit lump"
    > or "yes, this is common, and yes, Jayne you are a big fat
    > unfit lump". The distinction is quite important, don't you
    > think? *
    Um yes this is common. You'll be very inefficient at first,
    you are working your own legs against one another.
    Essentially isometric exercise. Your legs are tiring each
    other out. It will be a long time, years, though, before you
    are really really efficient.

    It's a good way to get "Quads of Steel" whatever they look
    like now :D

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  18. Jayne, Remember, everybody else is riding those LITTLE
    unicycles. It may take you a little longer on the Coker ;)

    --
    Krashin'Kenny - Crash Tested

    If you ain't crashing, you ain't going fast enough!!!!!!!!!!!

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  19. Cyberbellum

    Cyberbellum Guest

    Jayne ZA wrote:
    > * I tried singing Be-Bop-A-Lula at the top of my voice
    > while riding today. *

    Cool.

    (dons a black berret, puts on sunglasses and does the two-
    handed beat-generation snap)

    Way cool.

    The next trick is to get the Coker to sing it. :)

    Tim

    --
    cyberbellum - Level 1.0 rider!

    Optimists think the glass is half full. Pesimists think the glass is
    half empty. Engineers think the glass is too big.
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