Extreme(balance challenged) Newbie impressions

  • Got my XR this afternoon and began my learning. I live in SoCal and it was hot today.

    So I started out with mission mode. helmet, knee, elbow, wrist/hand pads, high top Vans skater shoes. 100 degrees outside. did it in my grassy, but very lumpy backyard. I wisely asked my neighbor to spot me. He wants to eventually try it as well.

    IMPRESSIONS: starting the board requires not just covering the front pads, but stepping hard on them..putting enough weight like you are trying to balance yourself. I tried balancing with the board turned off first, and I am glad I did. While the wheel is a very flat go kart wheel, I did have some trouble balancing sideways while moving across the grass. I am sure it would have been easier on a more flat surface, but I had to keep compensating for the uneven ground while moving. I actually starting picking up a little carving.

    Now my neighbor stayed with me for support, but I did have moments where I felt totally in control. Also, when I sped up a bit, it was easier to control.

    Probably spent 1/2 hour just going back and forth and turning wide circles. Practiced stopping and deactivating a few times, too.

    DEACTIVATING TIP: I have read how a lot of newbies have trouble doing the heel lift deactivate motion and just jump off. But I figured it out pretty quick. I think the reason is that in lifting my heel I tended to shift my weight to the back and the board thot I wanted to go that way before I could fully deactivate. So I tried to push down hard with my front toe as I lifted my front heel. That worked great. I never had to jump off to stop.

    Now I know I can do this and it is just a matter of practicing some every day. Can't wait to be able to carve and float independently.

  • Day 2- morning

    (note: total noob here. posting these for those of us who are NOT former skate/snow boarders, or other sports where you go sideways and are used to a lot of balancing that way. My experience includes bicycle, ocean kayaking, sailing, aerobics, all of which have helped me stay fit, but don't translate directly to OW skills. hope this helps other noobs!)

    So I got out in the frosty morning air (only 80 degrees, 87 when I finished). Since I knew from yesterday I am still shaky on balance on this thing...and I didn't want to have to drag my neighbor over every time I practice...I came up with a new routine. Cleared off my 20X20 backyard carport and ended up setting out 4 cheap plastic lawn chairs in a row (now I'm glad I never got around to throwing them out). With these spaced to the goofy side I practiced start up, disengaging, side to side floating, and a very small amount of carving, as necessary. I started out with no chairs...still pretty shaky side to side....then one chair. One chair helped a lot, but I was grabbing and lifting it a lot, and I wanted to get used balancing just my body, so found 3 more ugly chairs. Now they are a lot lower than having someone hold their arms out for you, but I only needed minimal finger touching to catch my balance.

    Floating on a flat surface, like cement, is definitely easier than lumpy grass. Still, as flat as the wheel is, it does not keep you balanced side to side without input from you, the raw noob.

    The whole process was about half an hour, as yesterday.

    BTW Last night I woke up with cramping in my left foot, on the top. It felt like my foot wanted to pull hard...toes up. Had to walk it out and take some aspirin. I am sure it was partly dehydration, given our current heat wave. But I had read from others that ankle cramping, etc. was common for first week or so. I didn't expect it because I have been balance boarding a lot while I waiting for my XR, plus I have very strong calves from years of cycling and aerobics. I mention this so that if any of you also suffer this, it won't be a surprise, and know that it is easily remedied with water, gradual exercise, and maybe aspirin.

    The Newbie goal: Get good enough to not run into people and have fun on our boards!
    The Newbie motto: We Can Do This!

    For reference: live in SoCal, 190 lbs, 6' tall.

  • Day 2- afternoon

    temp 104 degrees. Continuing drills on my carport, I just tried delirium, and what I have heard seems true...it is more responsive, so a little easier to balance. just have to be sure I don't let it get away from me. I lowered the tire pressure first, but that didn't have much effect.

    Also, I am still getting used to wearing all the gear, which is pretty sweaty in this heat. But it is starting to feel more natural.

    Got my new OW helmet today (made by triple 8). It does seem more protective than the old skate helmet I have been using. So now I am official...Noob First Class (N1C).

  • @wheelrich this is really interesting because I never thought about it from this perspective, having ridden skateboards all of my life and snowboarding for 20 years. When I got my +, I just kinda took off and, while it was a little wobbly at first, I was up to speed quickly so I could experience my first nosedive at about 90 miles! :D

    Have fun and welcome to the float life!

    FYI, I now ride WAY more sanely, say 15 mph max, since around 600 miles I took a dive at 22 mph!

  • @onedan Thanks Dan. I am trying things I have read from others as I learn this new skill. My hope is to encourage, not discourage, others like me who don't just hop on and take off right away. Right now I am still thinking of each thing I am doing, but soon I know I will develop "muscle memory" type responses and my learning will speed up. I have also read that getting on and getting off (other than just jumping off) are the hardest things, so I have been practicing those quite a bit, and am already getting comfortable doing them.

  • @wheelrich yep, you will just keep improving, that's for sure! As for the dismount, I practiced that while being close to a wall or pole and helping balance myself while lifting my heel to turn off the board. That way, you can depend less and less on the support until you can do without it. I can now do it pretty easily, but if I'm near a wall or pole (like waiting for a long light), I'll disengage the board, but I'll never turn down the opportunity to lightly touch something to help balance.

  • My XR arrived yesterday - totally new to any board sports - 57 year old rider - so far, so good - 4 miles and one get-off on rough gravel w/ a lil bit of road rash.

    I ordered my XR in late April after becoming interested in "last mile" transportation devices. It started with electric scooters, then power boards, and then discovered the OW. I live in the exurbs of D.C. / Baltimore. My driveway is mostly gravel - roughly 0.2 miles long. I manage a large event venue in the D.C. Burbs with over 3 miles of rough paved roadway. I wanted a device that could handle rougher surfaces.

    A local OW dealer was kind enough to give me a demo and first lesson about a month ago. It went well despite my total inexperience with board sports. I have been an avid motorcyclist since childhood - into off-road, street and roadracing. I was surprised at how quickly I took to the OW. Kudos to Bruce @ Capital Paddlesports for the demo and first lesson.

    I had to work late on Wednesday - was chomping at the bit all day knowing my OW had been delivered and was sitting on my front porch. I got home and there was just enough daylight left for a short ride around the paved part of my driveway. Mrs. mtntrails was there to assist and call 911 if required. I was fully armored up - full face downhill mtb helmet, knees, elbows, back protector and road racing gloves. No problems - just learning the basics of balance, momentum and turning.

    I brought the OW to work with me yesterday and had several opportunities to take a break and get in some short rides around our office. On my lunch break, I went to the local skate shop to pick up a set of proper skate oriented knee, elbow and hand armor - the motorcycle gear was a bit much.
    When I got home, I took the OW for a longer ride. We have had extraordinary amounts of rain the past few weeks that has really taken a toll on the gravel driveway. I struggled to get out to the paved main road. Once I got out to pavement, it was all good - rode around the rural road and neighborhood streets - even shredded a big hill. My legs and feet were getting fatigued and I decided to head home. I started down the gravel driveway - the better track was slightly concave from all of the rain we've had and I was struggling to keep the OW on track - mostly due to muscle fatigue. I lost control and had a slow-speed get-off / face plant. Thank goodness for my full face mtb helmet - put several dents in it. Some bloody road rash on my left arm. In frustration, I started to walk back to the house - after about 40 feet of walking, I decided to get back on the OW to complete the ride home.

    The dismount is a struggle - jump-off method for now, but I'd like to learn to gracefully heel-up dismount.

    I've been pouring through this forum to learn everything I can. I so appreciate the OW community - thank you for all of your posts.

    I'm really excited to get more time and experience with it - so much fun!

  • @mtntrails Thanks for sharing. You are off to an exciting start. As for the dismount, I guess I'm backwards, cause I have yet to try the jump off method. One tip on the heel lift...be sure to transfer the heel weight to the front toe or you will just start riding backwards when you lift the heel. It's actually a lot easier than most of the stuff you already did.

  • @mtntrails I found this video by Chris Richardson helpful in regards to mounting and dismounting, hope it helps you too! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYUbNtuGWMA

  • @devon he has a lot of good videos and is very detailed in his descriptions.

  • Day 3- morning
    92 degrees - so cal -extreme newbie! 190-6 ft

    Last night I had dreams of just gliding across my lumpy grassy backyard, but one attempt and it wasn't going to happen. As I said above, this for "real newbies", not board athletes who just happen to be new to OW. My issue is balance on the sides...the board takes care of front to back balance. Once I am able to get out on the roads, I doubt I would use either of them.

    So I did more carport chair training, with a couple of changes.

    1st I tried both Cruz and Sequoia. Heard a lot of negatives about them, but, if you are on a very flat surface (cement for me) and just trying to develop your side to side balance by riding forward and backward over and over, it is fine. Takes away the worry about your board flying off if you step off incorrectly.

    2d change I made was, instead of trying awkwardly to balance perfectly and ride back and forth...I just went ahead and used the 3 plastic chairs I have lined up for balance. This way I was able to move more freely and start getting a real feel for the board. So my session was much longer than before...around an hour. It was enough to feel the ache and shake in my feet and ankles. Obviously I need to do more of these drills to strenghten my ankles and get rid of the foot shakes, which are interrupting my balance.

    Newbie rank re-evaluation: Newbie 3rd Class (N3C). It was audacious of me to claim N1C so early in my game. I have to go thru the ranks like most people.
    Extreme Newbie Motto: the only shame is in giving up too soon!

  • No training tomorrow. Just got my Jeep out of the shop in time for an all day Jeep road trip. Leave in the morning, return at night. And Sunday is Father's Day, although I will try to squeeze some time on the board then. Gotta progress!

  • @wheelrich Jeep wave lol

  • @devon back at ya. nice dog!

  • @onedan Took you 90 miles? LOL. I'd had my first 20mph digger within an hour of opening the box.

  • @onewheel-miami said in Extreme Newbie impressions:

    @onedan Took you 90 miles? LOL. I'd had my first 20mph digger within an hour of opening the box.

    Yeah, well, my first nosedive was actually at maybe 3mph . . . trying to show off and leaned heavily forward to try to take off quickly . . . next thing I know, I'm smashed into the sidewalk with rashes and ripped jeans. Had all the gear on, but it wasn't the best gear, so some of it just slid out of way. Have since upgraded, LOL.

  • Welcome! I too am a noob to OW but I do have some board experience about 15 years ago. Put my first 20 miles down yesterday. Keep at it! Practice makes perfect. You’re going to love this even more when you get it out on the streets! What are you going to name your board?

  • @makerjc I came with something quite clever for a name: "Rich's Onewheel". Considered Wheelrich's Onewheel, but that seemed redundant.

  • Newbie Indoor Exercise: Just before I hit the Jeep trail for today, thought I would share something I tried last night. Place your OW in front of the couch. Sit your butt down and put on some great OW videos, if you can. Put your feet on the proper spots, and while you watch TV work your ankles by moving the board, as if you were riding hard. I can already feel them getting stronger. Simple exercise that works the muscles around your ankles and gives you more "board feel".

  • If you’re killing time in front of the TV why not actually mount the board and do figure eights? That will really strengthen your muscles.

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