#47 But where are the handlebars?

Written by admin

4 November 2022

The concept of balancing on one wheel while attempting to pedal forwards is just ridiculous. But I have to say it’s a lot of fun, and the satisfaction when you ‘get it’ is beyond question.

Frank Dymore found much amusement in the idea of me attempting to ride a unicycle when he set the challenge. Having committed to try and accept every challenge that was set for me, I started looking around for someone to teach me the basics. I found lots of unicycle hockey (who knew that was a thing?!) clubs, in and around London, but no one seemingly teaching people to ride from scratch. So, I ended up in Bristol on a Sunday afternoon meeting the lovely Marie from Unicycle Skills Ltd to try my hand on one wheel. (Is that an oxymoron?!)

The first thing that struck me was how high the saddle felt when I was standing just next to it. Then I couldn’t get my head around the physics of how anyone could balance on one wheel and two small pedals. Of course, momentum is the key, and that’s where all the problems start!

Even pedal pressure

I mastered mounting pretty quickly, and could settle myself in the saddle so that I achieved a good position. But moving forward with the right velocity was HARD. I discovered have a dominant right leg so my left is just not as eager to move the pedal with the same pressure as the right. And, if I learned anything in my two hour lesson, it’s that one needs to maintain speed, forward posture and even pedal pressure in order to avoid falling off!

I must have fallen off after just one rotation more than 50 times, but I did manage three decent runs of a couple of metres or more and the sense of satisfaction is huge. It was a lot of fun in those few seconds when I got it right! Typically, I only had the camera on for one of those runs, and it wasn’t my best one, but at least I did catch some movement on film.

Marie was so impressed with my determination to master the basics of one-wheeled transport that she very kindly made a donation to my fundraising page, bless her. Or, as Frank pointed out, maybe she was just glad that she didn’t have to take me to A&E!

I’d do it again as I’m still determined to cycle a short distance with only basic assistance, but for now I’m letting the bruises settle down. O. M. G. the bruises…

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