Question for urban riders

  • I live in downtown Portland, OR and recently had a nasty spill on the gap of a bridge span. Now whenever I come to uneven sidewalk, crack, train track, or anything that I might get thrown on, it's sheer panic. I've done some practice run-ups on a raised sidewalk ramp (maybe a 1/2 in. lip) and the board constantly comes to a dead stop (slow-ish speed so I can run it out). I am sure it's something I'm doing (going to slow, to much air in my tire (21psi)) so I am wondering how others are taking these raised lips/bumps/cracks. Maybe an angled approach? Any advice is appreciated.

  • I use the 1/10 my weight rule. So at 150 lbs, I set it to about 15 lbs. A softer tire helps when hitting lips like sidewalk bumps and driveway curbs. Going at a walking pace also is key. Too slow and the wheel stalls (not a good thing). Less important but I think I also tend to unload my weight a little (not quite jumping up when I hit the bump). The unloading of my body weight makes it easier for the motor to get over the obstacle I find. Keep practicing. The key is to pay attention to bumps ahead and anticipate accordingly.

  • @gadgetrider Forgot to mention - I purposely hit the bumps at right-angles (90 deg). I don't use an angled approach because that will cause my feet/ankles to roll and potentially lose my balance.

  • Yo, I'm in PDX also. I have not taken my onewheel down to the waterfront yet, but I used to long board it a lot. I was always super scared when I would bomb the ramps down to the east side water walkway which has bumps where the sections meet.
    I find that when I come to a speed bump/pavement crack on my onewheel I use the same tricks as when I was longboarding:
    Body slightly weighted back in the torso but leaning slightly forward with my shoulders. Then shove the board forward as I go over the bump/crack.
    I go straight on, fearing that an angle would tip me sideways.
    Not sure if I explained that right, but hopefully that helps

  • I've played with this - a few observations, all relevant to me and my style - YMMV.

    1. 45 degree angle helps, this 'rolls' the load, distributing the time in which the board transitions.
    2. Unload - jump some as you get to the bump - the board will have a much easier time going up
    3. Not too fast - not too slow - about 5-6mph is great, nothing under 3-4 works well generally.
    4. Lower tire pressure is good, to a point - more give also gives you a longer period of 'climb' transition..
    5. The biggest challenge is a toe-side offset rise - your range is more limited than heel side generally, and trickier to balance well, leading to higher difficulty.
    6. SPEED towards the object, and RIP back just as you arrive, this in combo with a weight unload will get you over pretty serious bumps (I can do a 3" curb like this)

  • @ow-miami +1 super important to unload/jump the board will get over a lot more if you take your weight off it.

    Hey I’m in Portland too! you guys should come play in my new neighborhood it’s amazing lots of fun medium grade hills and smooth pavement, winding residential roads with low traffic. Maybe after this rain system moves through... I’m in SW just moved here

  • the highest I can manage right now is about a 4" to 5" curb and I make it without stumbling off the board about 80% of the time.

    my personal preference: i hit the curb at 90 degrees, going 5 to 7 mph, and i do a jump as i approach the curb and use the spring of tire to give the board a bit of a 'bounce' to help it up the curb - that, and since you're jumping the board will only be carrying it's own weight.

    i've also found that when i hit a curb at 90 degrees but don't make it i'm able to stay upright and just run off the board whereas hitting a curb at an angle and not making it almost always causes me to lose my footing and fall on my ass :)

  • Just want to echo what everyone has said, take it slow and do a slight jump to lift your weight off the board.

    Also, another Portland wheeler reporting in! Still haven't seen any other wheels out in the wild though.

  • @8bit come to my neighborhood this weekend! So much good riding and the forecast is sunny

  • I should point out that the 45 degree approach I mentioned is really only good up to about 1.5" - after that just go straight in and unload the board.

  • @bsulla I do mostly off-road wooded areas so 1 or 2 inch roots are always cropping up. Like others have said, the key is medium speed and do a slight hop as you hit to unload the board. I've hit roots with my full weight on the board and it's rough. Usually the board can make it over but I get thrown. I'm at about 100 miles now and feel comfortable with bumps this size, but when I was at 30 miles I would just bail. I run at about 17 psi and I'm 150 lbs. I tried 20 psi the other day and it's way worse, I was bouncing all over the place. So, I would definitely soften your tire up if you expect lots of bumps, using the rule others have mentioned, 1/10 of your weight.

  • Tried the hop approach on my morning commute -- the sidewalks are wicked uneven but if I can use them they're safer than the road. It worked pretty well, but it takes some practice to scale the size of hop to the size of bump. Of course I was approaching the discontinuities at a 90 degree angle because swerving all over the sidewalk isn't neighborly.

    I found that losing contact with the board was a much bigger concern than the board not mounting the step. The hop gets noticeably easier and smoother at speed -- approach fast, brake hard, and hop seems to be a good recipe.

    I'm definitely strapping on pads before I practice higher speeds and bigger bumps, but this feels promising.

  • I went ahead and ordered a mountain biking vest to add to my existing pads. Cheaper than repairing ribs or spine later....

  • I would emphasize that practice, practice, practice is a key to more confident riding on uneven terrain. I recall one trail that I took when I had <50 miles under my belt. The trail was so uneven and full of loose gravel that I had to stop after a few minutes to take a break. I thought to myself - what have I gotten myself into - do I walk my OW back from where I came from? I persisted and finally exited the trail to much relief and thought I should never do that again. This morning - after >500 miles of riding, I took that same path and absolutely killed it. My balance, change in direction, course plotting, ankle rolls etc were so fluid that it put a great smile on my face knowing that a month ago, I dreaded that trail. So all I can say is keep on riding and progressively increase the difficulty of the ride and you will get better and better. Gosh is this so much fun. I am already planning my vacation trips to include Onewheeling as part of the agenda.

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