Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dog Bite

The combination of cold and wet lately has slowed my riding down. But today it was nice enough to get out at 38°F. The usual wet spots in Whiting and Webster Park were wetter than usual. Someone leaf-blowed in Whiting but not Webster Park.

About 15 minutes into my ride I was passing a woman and her dogs going in the opposite direction. We were on the Orange trail at the field where the trail is mowed and wide. Her dogs were big dogs, a white poodle and a black... err not-poodle. I moved way over to the right as they approached, but the black dog kept getting closer. As we passed it bit my leg. It didn't hurt much, and I thought it was amusing more than anything, so I kept riding. But after a few cranks I looked down and saw it had ripped my pants. It pissed me off, so I stopped and called the woman back. We talked and she hadn't even noticed the incident. It was a quick seemingly uneventful pass. I lifted my pant leg to find it had actually broken the skin. We talked about her paying for my pants and we exchanged information. But I have since talked to her on the phone and told her it's not really a big deal and not to worry about it. I'm sure the bite will heal up fine, I can patch my pants, and I'm not a big fan of making people pay for accidental or non-malicious things like this. Besides, it made my ride somewhat eventful.
Most people don't leash their dogs in the parks, and I'm ok with that. I break/stretch some rules too... like not always dismounting when I pass and riding in Webster Park.
Oddly enough, at the start of my ride there was a dog that unsuccessfully tried to make me UPD, and later a dog kept charging me. Maybe there is something in the air?

Later in Webster Park there was a woman sitting on a bench just before a downhill. I said hello, and proceeded to the hill, dropping out of site from her. I ended up UPD'ing and running out the remainder of the hill. Frustrated, I walked back up to give it another try. I talked a minute with the woman about how the leaves make it a bit tricky sometimes. She pointed out that riding a mountain unicycle seemed tricky enough! Good point. With all the leaves down, from the bench you can actually see the uphill that comes after the downhill. I told her that after I disappear down the hill she should see me reappear and climb up and over the next hill. I succeeded in my descent and climb and as I disappeared from her site I heard her cheering and clapping loudly. I yelled back a loud "Thank you"! ;-)

Overall it was a good strong ride.
My cycle computer says I rode 12.09 miles.

Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2010-28-10

Monday, November 22, 2010

Treadmill Idea

With the cold weather more or less here, I'm not riding as much as usual. It has also been very wet this week. Of course I've been expecting the wet cold weather so I've been thinking of ways to practice my skills inside. Like most people I don't have the room inside to ride. I've thought of machines like a stationary bike (which often has one wheel) but it's hard to simulate the balance involved in unicycling with such a machine. And the object for me is not to just pedal, but to balance and improve my skills. I really need to be riding my actual uni.

I've seen some videos online of people riding unicycles on treadmills:

It's kind of a good start but it has some problems. You can use your actual uni and balance. As you can see in the video, some people can do it, but it's not a natural way to ride. In the real world the ground doesn't just keep moving. If the ground is moving, it should be moving at the speed that the rider is moving. If he pedals 10mph, the treadmill should go 10mph. If he stops, the treadmill stops.

So I like the treadmill idea, but it needs to be controlled based on the rider's speed.

If the treadmill were controlled correctly the wheel of the unicycle would stay in the exact same location, no matter how quickly the rider accelerated or stopped.

I've begun experimenting with some ideas. I'll share some of those in my next post.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

West Bay Trail Work and Ride

This morning I did trail work at West Bay Park. I was there for 3.5 hours helping out. We benched a long stretch of trail. Things are really looking nice there.
Afterward I wanted to ride. I went home for lunch and came back to try it out.
As expected it's just too hilly with not enough flat between climbs.

The trail work has made it better, but it's still hard.
I started at the new parking lot on Orchard Park and did some riding. I got a bit discouraged by the hills. But then I saw another old friend from high school, Damian, and his family. That was cool. He mentioned the trails starting off of Homewood Lane were a bit easier. I've ridden those before, and he's right. After getting back to the parking lot, I saw I had ridden less than two miles, so I decided I had enough energy to try the trails at Homewood.
It was cool to see some of the new improvements over in that area too. There are some nice boardwalks made of rough sawn pine and lots of benching has been done.
It's still not my favorite place to ride because of the hills. But I'll have to keep working on it.

My cycle computer says I road 3.97 miles with an average speed of 4.3mph. Shorter and slower due to hills.

Muni at West Bay - 2010-11-13

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Getting Colder

I took a few hours vacation from work this afternoon to go riding. It was supposed to be a high of 55F but it felt a bit cooler when I got out. I wore shorts and short sleeves and it was good once I warmed up. Any cooler and I'll have to wear long sleeves.

I saw Joe, an old high school friend, and his family on the trail. That was cool. We had a nice talk and briefly caught up. It was kind of funny that he didn't really seem particularly surprised about the mountain unicycling.

I got some good reactions from several other people on the trails. One teenage boy on a bike watched me come through a mildly technical area and said something like "You have so much talent!". He seemed genuinely in awe. I got a few "Oh my god!" comments and the usual murmurs: ".... a unicycle...", "... cool...", ".... look!"

I made it up my nemesis hill on the orange trail on my second lap. I feel good about that. I think my technique is a kind of lunging forward and upward. I should record that and analyze it sometime.

According to my cycle computer I rode 8.39 miles with an average speed of 6.0 mph.

Muni at Whiting and Webster Park - 2010-11-10

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hojack Work

It's been cold and wet so I haven't gotten out riding this week. Next week looks better.

The Friends of Webster Trails had a work day yesterday morning. I attended and we cleaned up an area of the Hojack trail near Klem Rd. This section of trail gets muddy. The plan is to regrade it and/or bring in more earth material, but in the meantime we cleared a whole lot of branches and debris.
This was the last work day of the year, so afterward we had a little celebration with hotdogs and snacks.