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Petr

Balancing advise needed

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Hi guys! I would like to learn how to balance stationary bike with front wheel straight and sleeping engine. I should add it is on the smooth concrete floor. I have tried plenty of variations like keeping the weight back, middle, front, low and high, moving bum/knees sideways, crouching wide or touching bike with inner legs while weighting quickly on the pegs when doing all of this. I see some progress but not enough to see what is working and what is not. Can please somebody tell me what to do? Also, I cannot figure up the leg stretching - which side is which and what is it combined with.

Brain balance implant chip wanted! Maplin?

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I'm poor with balance also. Fact is at 73 years, I don't hope to be great at it.  I did make a simple device to practice on. A board about 12 inches by 30 inches. 3/4 to 1 inch thick, supports my 175 lb weight . The board is centered lengthwise across a piece of 2 by 2 inch 12 inch lenght wood. I didn't even fasten it to the main piece. Those of you who are great at balancing, please stop laughing. For me it was an easy way to start learning and easy to practice, as that seems to be the way to get you body to learn. 

Don't use a round piece for the balance point without fastening it to the board. You just may inflict serious injury!! 😘

Art

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I think there are 3 main components to balancing.

1. The sensitivity/ function of your inner ear etc

Can't do much about this (unless there is a medical issue that can be fixed) so just work with what you have..

2. The ability to actually read the signs that you are off balance.

I think this just comes with practice time.  You slowly get more sensitive to recognizing the signs of the bike falling earlier and earlier and the corrections get smaller and smaller.

3. The actual techniques used to correct the balance.

I started first with the bars to one side and practiced correcting the balance with small twists of the bars left and right.  Once I had that working OK I started to try with the bars centered.  Try putting a beer crate on the left to rest your foot on then slowly lift the foot off the crate but don't be in a rush to bring it to the peg.  I found I would naturally bring the foot closer or further from the bike to maintain balance.

Once you get the left foot to the peg you will probably find the bike starts falling to the left and it's time to swing the right foot out.  You'll probably over compensate and then need to bring the right foot back in and the left out again.

After a few months of practicing a few minutes every day, I found that I was only swinging each foot out about 6 inches or less and placing it back very gently.  The corrections have become so small that I can often just move my hips from side to side now.

One thing I have noticed with balance is that initially the exact point of balance feels really weird/floaty.  Suddenly there is no feedback to tell you which way to react.  You get so used to fighting one way then the other.  When you actually balance, you need to stop reacting and wait briefly for the feedback to tell you what to do.  It's this feeling you need to get used to.

Anyway bla bla the main thing is regular practice and I still need a lot more..

Edited by bluey
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10 hours ago, Petr said:

...

Brain balance implant chip wanted! Maplin?

Sadly Maplin is no more.  They went bust a while back and I cannot find the chip anywhere on the Internet.

Meantime you will probably find the only solution is to spend more time practising.  I have the bike at work and can do a 10-15 minute balance most days and have got to the point I can balance OK on left full lock, so-so on right full lock.  With the wheels in line I think you are going to struggle to keep upright all that long.  Lowering the tyre pressure helps but I try to keep the pressure up so when actually riding (with the pressure lower) it is easier and lets you concentrate on other stuff.

I have scoured YouTube for every tutorial I can find and cannot see any clever techniques that make it any easier.  We also went for some mountainbike coaching recently which included balancing (it's called a track stand on a push bike) and the bloke was ace but he too said it's just practice.

I've just passed the one year anniversary of riding now and am quite pleased with my progress but I can see if you extrapolate the same rate of progress it will be 4-5 years before I get to be any good.  The better riders at our club are all 5 years or so on the pegs.  It helps to start when you are a nipper as well - I can't do anything about that, but I should have a pleasant hobby in retirement 😄

Edited by ChrisCH

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I'm crap at balance , but my grandson at 15 got on mine stood there for over 5 mins no hands ,and he's never been on a motorbike before clever little so so.

 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, bluey said:

I think there are 3 main components to balancing.

1. The sensitivity/ function of your inner ear etc

Can't do much about this (unless there is a medical issue that can be fixed) so just work with what you have..

2. The ability to actually read the signs that you are off balance.

I think this just comes with practice time.  You slowly get more sensitive to recognizing the signs of the bike falling earlier and earlier and the corrections get smaller and smaller.

3. The actual techniques used to correct the balance.

I started first with the bars to one side and practiced correcting the balance with small twists of the bars left and right.  Once I had that working OK I started to try with the bars centered.  Try putting a beer crate on the left to rest your foot on then slowly lift the foot off the crate but don't be in a rush to bring it to the peg.  I found I would naturally bring the foot closer or further from the bike to maintain balance.

Once you get the left foot to the peg you will probably find the bike starts falling to the left and it's time to swing the right foot out.  You'll probably over compensate and then need to bring the right foot back in and the left out again.

After a few months of practicing a few minutes every day, I found that I was only swinging each foot out about 6 inches or less and placing it back very gently.  The corrections have become so small that I can often just move my hips from side to side now.

One thing I have noticed with balance is that initially the exact point of balance feels really weird/floaty.  Suddenly there is no feedback to tell you which way to react.  You get so used to fighting one way then the other.  When you actually balance, you need to stop reacting and wait briefly for the feedback to tell you what to do.  It's this feeling you need to get used to.

Anyway bla bla the main thing is regular practice and I still need a lot more..

Very good account of the improvement process. Thank you.

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Bluey, thank you for sharing your experience! It sounds very promising. So far I have been stepping up and down right to the floor. Good work out and warm up procedure but using the platform will be much more productive. I can see now one needs to be really steady to start with. I will give it a go!  🙂 As you said, there is no substitute for practice. 

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I feel that will help immensely with say for example putting the front onto the obstacle before jumping on it, riding on the straight piece of log or anything narrow & above ground or just staying on the bike where you cannot turn the wheel sideways

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5 hours ago, Petr said:

I feel that will help immensely with say for example putting the front onto the obstacle before jumping on it, riding on the straight piece of log or anything narrow & above ground or just staying on the bike where you cannot turn the wheel sideways

Exactly.

If you can't balance with the wheel straight, you can't ride in a straight line.

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19 hours ago, Petr said:

I feel that will help immensely with say for example putting the front onto the obstacle before jumping on it, riding on the straight piece of log or anything narrow & above ground or just staying on the bike where you cannot turn the wheel sideways

I do think working on static balance is a great thing as having a good sense of balance and core strength can only help with balancing your bike in lots of situations. I will however note that in the above examples - you don't typically put your front tire onto the top of an obstacle and balance before hoping up onto it you usually push your front tire into the obstacle just below the top and the pressure of the bike pushing forward against the obstacle really helps your balance... you could practice this as having the bike jammed into something is good to get used to and comes in handy. Riding on a straight log or narrow board isn't so much about static balance (as the wheels are moving) it is much more about focusing at the end of the log so you keep going straight, Can't really think of a situation were you wouldn't be able to turn the wheel at least one way... which is why it is really important to practice turning it both ways equally :).  

BTW … I bought a unicycle last week which is also a good way to work on your balance and core strength - and your ability to fall over and get back up again... over and over again.

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12 hours ago, michael_t said:

Riding on a straight log or narrow board isn't so much about static balance (as the wheels are moving) it is much more about focusing at the end of the log so you keep going straight,

I disagree.  I don't think it matters how much you focus on the end of the log, the bike will still need some kind of physical input to stay upright.  This is easy when you can turn a bit left to correct a left fall or right as the bike falls right.  When you can't turn you will use the same techniques as when the bike is stationary even if moving forward.

https://youtu.be/shJUlpRAN28?t=186

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Hadn't really though of it like that and inn the video they actually do stop a few times on a log which would be super hard to do.

I will say if the bike is moving it is WAY easier than when it is not and if the motor is running it is a bit easier than if it is not. I remember a guy driving a street bike into a parking lot one evening and drove in with no issues but when he got off the bike he was so drunk he didn't have enough balance to even walk straight … yes there was some heavy drinking involved but my point is a moving bike is much different than a still one as far as balancing goes :D

  

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This is what I wrote in another thread. Not everyone will agree but it worked for me - you may find it helpful...

With my bike a non-runner until recently, I could have been doing a whole lot more of this over the past few months but have only picked it up again since I got it working! Guess I just wanted to forget the whole business and hope it would go away when I couldn't get the bike running!

Anyway, I've been putting in a bit of time here and there trying to static balance on the drive in front of the garage and, TBH, not really getting anywhere - if I could get both feet up and hold it for 2-3 seconds that was a result!

So I decided my technique needed to change and for whatever reason tried the following...

Get one foot on a peg, weighting the suspension with that leg and then having the other foot on tip-toe, just enough to hold balance. Make sure the bike is settled and then gently lift up the tip-toe foot slowly but don't attempt to put it on the peg. Move this leg about (just like the experts!) to hold your balance. I immediately found that I was going 5-10 seconds before losing balance.

What slowly dawned on me was that with the leg with the foot on the peg, I was 'leaning' the bike into the inside of that calf and I could feel the bike much better and it was like I could push the bike against that inner calf and it all became easier to balance, still waving the other leg around to maintain it. What I notice now is that as I've continued practicing this, I'm tending to keep the lose leg closer to the bike too - in fact as I lift that up from the ground I also keep the inner calf against the bike and it helps with feel.

Just come in from a session and had my most successful go yet, maybe 30-40 seconds or so, the limitation being my quads on the leg that is on the peg taking all my weight getting tired!

I know my technique will have to develop further to get both feet on the pegs to make it sustainable, plus I'm putting way too much force through my shoulders and arms on the bars. But this has been a big break through for me and I'm sure is building memory paths in my brain that will allow me to develop further.

Hope that helps someone who may have got stuck and not been able to progress.

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A turning point for me was having the bars turned and putting the front wheel against a curb or rock in the driveway so I could push against the rock a little... it was just enough to allow me to better balance until my body got used to the balance point. I haven't come up with anything similar on the unicycle so just keep falling over until hopefully I get onto it... It does take a lot of time but once you get it it seems to stick with you so well worth the investment IMO :).

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