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.



    Use this suction tire idea so the tire is actually driving the belt. Take the belt and rollers from the treadmill. Put some sort of brake system on it that either auto adjusts to keep your speed constant or a hand held remote where you can increase/decrease a brake on the roller to get the correct "feel" as you ride. Add A height adjustment on front for uphill simulation (maybe even back for down hill simulation).

  2. If the tread belt had zero friction on its rollers, I could see how the tire would make it slide under you. But it can't have zero friction, and even if it did, the weight of the uni sandwiching the tread belt to the underlying surface causes some good friction. In this situation I think the unicycle wheel will roll on the tread. I don't think more tire grip on the belt would solve that.
    If the uni were tethered or the rider held onto bars, I think it would work though. But I want to be free!
    Maybe I'll have some time tomorrow to post my idea. Let me know if you think it'll work.