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scooterspal

How to learn perfect balance

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I read in a great old book on trials that unless you have perfect balance you will never be able to ride trials. The author also said the best way to learn perfect balance is with a unicycle.

Wondering if anyone has tried this route. Seems to make sense but a unicycle is very hard to learn I would imagine. At least with Winter coming it's something I can do in the basement to get ready for next season.

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Get a mountainbike, drop the saddle all the way down (or take out the seat post altogether) and ride it round your garden or basement and practice balancing and hop the front & rear wheels.

Of course the best way to get better at trials is to ride as much as you can but a cycle is the next best thing.

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What a load of balls. Do you fall over when walking or stood still? No? Then you will be fine, you have enough balance.

One tip on balance is to keep your torso vertical and shoulders horizontal while riding (not stiff like a board though!). If you dab a foot down it is likely you leaned away from the bike a little or dropped your shoulder. Watch a friend walk up a hill / bank / stream..... your body position should be the same even though you are riding a motorcycle.

Ralphy

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Watch a friend walk up a hill / bank / stream.....

Ralphy

Preferably a friend of the opposite sex............ :wub:

Yep practice, practice, practice..............etc..

What needs to be learned is how to balance the bike, Keep torso straight, etc.

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I think you're missing the point here. I think it's a very good question and something that will compliment conventional practice. Something for those long cold dark winter evenings.

I do believe that better balance will help your Trials. At my best I had really good balance on the bike and this really helped my trick riding style.

I never really realised how good my balance was compared to other non-trials riding friends until I went bowling one night! Ok it didn't help my bowling but at the alley they had a surf board on hydraulic rams. All my work mates tried it and promptly fell off within seconds. I was eventually persuaded to try it but was a little apprehensive, I needn't have been as I found it really easy and the operator couldn't shake me of no matter how hard he tried! He asked if I was a regular surfer, no I replied - never been surfing in my life!

I also managed to win cash at the country fair climbing up a pivoting wire rope ladder to ring a bell.

So back to the question - how do we train our sense of balance? Answer - Err, in truth I don't know!!!

Having a little think though how about one of these - wiki - balance board I made one at work once with an old builders plank and the head off a paviours maul.

It seems to have been devoloped and given a name - INDO BOARD

How about you do some yoga or join the local Ballet group!!

Have a look on you tube for balance training also. I'm with you Scooterspal and will be working hard to improve my balance now I'm riding again after a long lay off. Those that don't think it's necessary then fine. Don't do it! :moon:

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I like your idea of the balance board. That's something I can even do upstairs in the living room watching the TV.

Thanks for the reply and the link you provided. Great information that I did not have.

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I learned to ride a unicycle about 2-3 years after starting to ride dirt bikes and about 2-3 years before I started to ride trials, and I can say that it definitly does help if you have the balance on a unicycle. The trick is to start out by riding along side your house while holding onto the wall and then you will gain confidence to ride without holding the wall, now you need to set up an A point and a B point (rubbish bins or poles work well, something about elbow height roughly) and start by holding onto point A and try ride to point B, when you achieve this with confidence then make the gap larger and larger and then you pretty much have it sorted. This took me about a week of about an hour a day. After all this you can start of without holding onto anything by walking your uni along and when one of the pedals is at the very bottom of the rotation put your foot on it and then your other foot and sit on the seat and your away :D I now ride to town on my unicycle when I need something and I can also drop of my decking which is about a foot and ride down stairs :P It is pretty much the same as trials as you need balance and you need lots of confidence.

Cheers Brad.

Feel free to ask any questions.

Edited by BetaNZ

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I used a board to ballance on a ball (simmilar to the wiki ballance board only three dimentional) when I was a kid, never got the hang of the unicycle, just doesn't work for my brain, I do think unicycle practice would help though, I would practice some ballancing exercises on a bicycle when I was younger, I have heard Karate helps, I did a lot of free climbing when I was a kid too. takes a lot of ballance, & core strength for rock climbing. one thing I did for my kids was made them a ballance beam to practice on, I think the ballance beam did them a lot of good.

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Try using one of those foam noodles that kids take swimming. Simply lie it on the floor and on in bare feet stand on it. Then try and keep BOTH toes and heels off the floor at the same time. Sounds easy, but at first you get a lot of 'pilot induced oscillations' where you over compensate by using too much strength to transfer weight from toes to heels and back again (its that typical male thing of replacing technique with strength). I find it helps you soften your knees and trains you to transfer body weight to keep balance.

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I learned to ride a unicycle... It is pretty much the same as trials as you need balance and you need lots of confidence.

My question for you is... does age matter? Can you learn perfect balance if one is middle age?

Thanks for the tips on riding the unicycle. I saw a few small videos on YouTube. There is one young fellow who is quite good at explaining the basics... how to mount (same as you said) and to take it real slow. Just sit there and rock one leg and then the other for 10 minutes at a time. Your tip to use the walls of the house is great.

BTW: That guy on YouTube... his first tip: get a bicycle helmet and wrist/palm bands because you will go down and often. :(

Edited by scooterspal

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:D

My question for you is... does age matter? Can you learn perfect balance if one is middle age?

Thanks for the tips on riding the unicycle. I saw a few small videos on YouTube. There is one young fellow who is quite good at explaining the basics... how to mount (same as you said) and to take it real slow. Just sit there and rock one leg and then the other for 10 minutes at a time. Your tip to use the walls of the house is great.

BTW: That guy on YouTube... his first tip: get a bicycle helmet and wrist/palm bands because you will go down and often. :(

Helmet etc sounds like a good idea, maybe I should have thought about that a little earlier :D

The age thing... my dads mates have had a go on my uni but have failed, but in saying that they were only here for 1 night at a time and my mates at school failed but only because they only had the 1 day to try it and by the looks of it if some of them had the uni for about a week they would be sorted. Sitting on the unicycle holding onto something and rocking your legs back and forth is good as you get used to what the uni will do when you pedal forward and backward.

Cheers Brad.

P.S. I am trying to ride backward at the moment...it's not easy, very scary, and frustrating :wall: but funny to anyone watching :rotfl:

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Preferably a friend of the opposite sex............ :wub:

Yeah i like that answer. That will help any one balance :rotfl:

Ok here is what i did to learn how to balance. dead motor balancing the bike on various angles and terrains learning my center of gravity on the bike. First starting with brakes on and then one at a time no brakes in those locations. I have now gotten to where i can balance on the bike with no hands no brakes at all in all sorts of areas. I taught my Fiance how to ride and this is how i taught her how to balance and she can balance better on the bike than she can walk. no joke she even admits to it. From what ive learned finding the center of gravity and maintaining that is the key to balancing anywhere. These are pics of her after about 2 weeks of learning to ride.

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Yeah i like that answer. That will help any one balance :rotfl:

Ok here is what i did to learn how to balance. dead motor balancing the bike on various angles and terrains learning my center of gravity on the bike. First starting with brakes on and then one at a time no brakes in those locations. I have now gotten to where i can balance on the bike with no hands no brakes at all in all sorts of areas. I taught my Fiance how to ride and this is how i taught her how to balance and she can balance better on the bike than she can walk. no joke she even admits to it. From what ive learned finding the center of gravity and maintaining that is the key to balancing anywhere. These are pics of her after about 2 weeks of learning to ride.

You are a better man than I, I go riding to get away from my wife.

Sounds like you got the balance thing figured out and my hats off to you for being able to teach it to someone else

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Thanks Zippy, yeah i do have it figured out pretty well. its a really great way to spend time practicing when you cant go ride anywhere for what ever reason. Its a hell of a work out too. Add some hopping and you can spend hours practicing two things.

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I learnt the unicycle when i was about 9 or 10 yr old took me a couple of months to get properly compitant at it and im sure it has helped with my balance.

Also a good one is rock climbing as it envolves alot of weight shifting and balance (believe it or not) also good for building up strength in muscles that dont usually get a workout.

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