Extreme(balance challenged) Newbie impressions

  • @wheelrich You might find that foot position also affects how easy heelside vs. toeside is.

    Best way I've found to master all turns permanently and make heel/toe feel equal: use an empty parking lot, travel a short straight line, do 180 turn, repeat, in a serpentine all the way down and back. So you're switching from heel to toe for each turn. Do it at a variety of different speeds. I did it almost daily for a month (at least 15 minutes). Heel was hardest for me, it felt really awkward and not fun at first, I went outside my comfort zone to do these tight turns at increasing (still pretty low) speed. Anyway this steady repetition was the #1 most important exercise for me, delivered the most benefits. Turns became way easier because I quickly developed the muscles I was previously lacking.

  • @readysetawesome I'm sure you are right about that. With the Onetail I centered my rear foot with some heel overhang, where I had been keeping my heel from overlapping before, because it felt so insecure to hang it over. That made left turns even easier. My biggest problem is I don't really have a good wide open place to practice around here. Today the school had a skeleton staff working and they opened up an additional parking area. I went into it one time and was wishing I could use it to practice, but, as staff were in and out, I didn't go back to it. But it was good pavement, grippy and level and plenty of turning room. If I could find something like that elsewhere I know I could speed up my progress. The sidewalk presents lots of slightly uneven segments, which I am getting used to. That gives me practice trusting the board more, and forces me to keep my knees bent and spring like, so I like that.

  • Training Day 4-2 Best day yet!

    Route: 4 outdoor basketball courts at Cal State
    Mission mode:
    Distance: about 4 miles of loops, figure 8s, and s-curves over about an hour
    Top speed: 7 mph with total control
    Temp: low to high 80's
    New: doing figures 8's and s-curves. Also rode the sidewalk back, and asphalt all the way to my Jeep.

    Observations: Wow, great day. I was a bit concerned because I have been away on a trip for a few days, and it's a week since I last rode. My turns are greatly improved and my starts and stops are getting better, but still need practice. Doing close to an hour without feeling too bad, is an improvement, as well. I took a friend with me, again, and he is picking up the basics very quickly. May develop into a riding partner.

    I still only have 31 miles on the board, but today I felt more comfortable than ever before. Getting warmed up was much quicker than usual. Last time I wasn't sure if I was going to get used to the Onetail+, but I had no problem with it today. Not really sure how much it is helping, but it doesn't hurt. I have the Cobra pad already on order, and I suspect I may prefer it. I don't feel I am really using the extra length much. In fact, if I start with my rear foot too far back, the board tips up, so I avoid that on startup.

    If you are struggling, don't give up, just keep riding and getting used to the board. It will eventually kick in. My turns are tighter now, and more confident. Also, I was more able to ride up an incline on the pavement on the way back, without issue. My fine control is starting to kick in. I was more able to go where I wanted to. Yes, the onetail curve helped, but I was using my front foot for carving quite a bit, as well, and I still had a slight feeling like my back foot might slide off. But it never did.

  • New warm ups-
    Not really a "training day" like my above posts, but yesterday I mowed an irregular shaped oval into my backyard grass, so I can begin to learn to ride "off road".

    It was, of course, super hot during the day, but I couldn't wait to try it out, so just before sunset, at 99F, I went out and gave it a try. My backyard is so lumpy that if I learn to ride it, I can probably ride most moderate trails. I never made it completely around without having to jump off, but I did start making some progress going over some of the undulating turf. I bailed a few times, because even tho I was almost keeping balance, the ground changed so abruptly that I couldn't bend my ankles far enough to stay upright. Besides getting even more flexible than I have become, riding faster over the uneven ground will probably help. I just need to keep doing it until it becomes more second nature, like my smooth surface riding is becoming.

    Only spent about 20-25 minutes out there, and was dripping sweat from the heat, so I don't consider this was a real training session...just a taste of what to come. But hey....when I first started this adventure, even 20 minutes seemed like a long time. Now it's nothing.

    Again....if you are struggle with this, like I was at the beginning, DON'T GIVE UP YET, and don't compare yourself to all the daredevils who do 20 miles their first day, etc., etc. I am having a blast. My mounts and dismounts, and even my jump offs, are all improving, and I am getting more comfortable with the board ever time I use it.

    I have even ordered a second board, so that I can invite some of my friends to try it do it with me. Safety (and more fun) in numbers! Still waiting on my new Cobra pad to ship, so I think I will put it on the newest board, and leave the Onetail+ on my current board. By next week I should be able to give an informed comparison between the 2.

  • Training Day 4-3 Best day yet...again (with apologies to Shonduras)

    Route: 4+1 outdoor basketball courts at Cal State
    Mission mode:
    Distance: 5+ miles of loops, figure 8s, and s-curves
    Duration: 1+ hour at 8+ mph with total control
    Temp: low to high 80's
    New: Parked further away and rode the board all the way to and back from the courts, on sidewalks, and parking lot, even past people, all with total control.

    Comments: still building on what I did last time, and extending the mileage, time on the board, as well as now riding the board all the way from my Jeep to and from. Even rode across a short length of gravel to get onto the basketball court. My turns, both inside and outside are getting much better. The only downside is that now I am weak on switch riding since I have become so comfortable riding forward. I think I will have to go back to the carport just to practice switch. It feels completely alien now. lol

  • @readysetawesome Hey, if you read any of my more recent posts, you can see that at last I am able to follow your advice re practicing figure 8's. And you are right, it is a great way to build muscles around the ankles and feet, as well as continuing to get better board feel. Plus it is just a relaxing way to float!

  • 🕺👍 excellent

  • @wheelrich

    So if you haven't found Chris Richardson's videos on YouTube yet, they might also be a help. Video is upside but the info is solid... he's a huge help with very detailed explanations.

    In addition to figure 8's the sidewalk plus sign drill might be great for you.

    I also recommend people start on grass to learn... falls are easier and once you get decent, pavement will seem too easy.

    Chris' video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw1mrKi35kk

  • @skyman88 Thanks, but I found his videos long ago, and have watched many of them. I agree, his details are invaluable . Plus I have watched countless others, as well. The more I ride, the more I know what to look for in videos, so I experiment with different stances, etc. I also have been using the Onetail+. It has been some help...I wouldn't say it was a major difference. And I really don't make use of the extra length. I am waiting for the new version of the Cobra pad to deliver. I think it will be even better.

    As far as learning on grass...I started that way and it was terrible. I abandoned it to learn on smooth paved surfaces. The only advantage to grass, for me, was that it is softer to fall on. But I have only had one real fall...and it was on grass, because of grass. However, now I am to the point where I do want to start learning to ride grass as well as I can ride cement or pavement. My balance is much better, and my feet and ankles are stronger and more flexible. So I can now adjust to the constant surface change better on grass, than I could in the beginning.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  • Training Day 4-4 The student becomes the master....NOT!

    Route: 4+1 outdoor basketball courts at Cal State
    Mission mode:
    Distance: 3+ miles of loops, figure 8s, and s-curves
    Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
    Temp: low to high 80's
    Not New: Again I parked further away and rode the board all the way to and back from the courts, on sidewalks, and parking lot, even past people, all with total control.

    Comments: So what is different this time? A new board! Got another XR so I have 1 to ride, 1 as a backup, AND as a buddy board to invite others to ride with me. So I got my friend Cliff to come along and try OWing for the first time out on the basketball court at the University. Although we were there over 1 1/2 hours, I only got in 3 miles because I was coaching him some of that time. I let him learn on my first XR with the Onetail+ pad and I rode the new board with stock pads. It was a bit strange to go back to a standard pad after riding the Onetail, but I managed ok. I have a Cobra pad on order and I think I will be using it exclusively when it gets here. But who knows.

    Observations: As I get more comfortable on the board, I am noticing more things. Like, when I do heel side turns I notice that my front toe wants to raise up of the board as I push down on my front heel to make the turn. I have to concentrate to keep it from raising up. I suspect this is why there are so many reports of "unexplained" nosedives from people after they have gained skill on the board. I think some do not notice lifting their front toes on these turns, and deactivate their boards in the process.

    Anyway, between the 2 boards I now have 39 miles of experience. As the weather starts to cool down I hope to raise that to more than 100 in the upcoming weeks. BTW it was fun acting as a coach. Cliff is picking it up pretty fast. If he keeps it up he will catch up to me in no time. Then we can do more riding together. Float on friends!

  • Training Day 4-5

    Route: 4+1 outdoor basketball courts at Cal State
    Board: XR wOnetail+ in Mission
    Distance: 5.1 miles of loops, figure 8s, and s-curves, sidewalks/parking lot
    Duration: 1 hour 9 minutes
    Temp: low to mid 90's/light breeze

    Comments: So back to my Onetail+ board, since I was riding solo today. I did notice it to be a little easier to carve with, but at the same time it seems less stable than the reg surestance pad I rode last time. 2 sides of the same coin, but I prefer the extra control it provides, which I have to constantly use. NEWS flash: A couple minutes ago, I got notice that my Cobra pad has finally shipped! I am looking forward to even more of a curved pad, for better lock in feeling, and more control. I don't think I will miss the extra tail length. I actually don't care for it or use it. If I mount the board with my rear foot too far back, the board tetters up off the ground when I put my weight on it to mount, and I have to move my foot forward until I level off. Then I usually don't bother moving it back when I am riding. Maybe riders with longer legs would find it useful.

    Today, in addition to the usual drill practice, doing turns, etc. I concentrated on using my rear foot more for steering, and bending my rear leg forward a bit. I was conscious of moving my rear leg at the knee to kinda steer and push my lower body forward, while keeping my upper body centered over the wheel. I don't know if I am describing this accurately, but I was trying to follow some tips I saw in a FB video on this subject. It is similar to what SlydogStroh does in his videos, except I did not ride on my rear toe like he does. But, by trying to extend my rear knee bent forward more, then I could move my bent knee joint right or left slightly to help make my turns. Of course I also had to bend both knees more and maintain a more spring-like position. This made riding over any uneven surfaces very easy. I have been doing this, more or less, already, but today I exaggerated it even more, and became much more relaxed on the board, after a sufficient warm up. Now my rear calf is much more sore than usual, so I am sure I was putting in some good effort and developing more muscle memory.

    I wanted to up my 5 mile trip record to 6, but my feet/legs were so tired after all this new stuff, that I was getting the wobbles back a little, and almost lost balance a couple times at the end, so decided it was time to call it a day and wheel back to my Jeep and rehydrate. BTW, last time I tried a shot of "Pickle Juice" before the ride, for cramps. Today I waited until after, and like I said, my rear calf was very sore, almost to the point of a "charlie horse" type cramp. Hopefully, the PJ will do the trick again. (They are big advertisers on the Tour de France, with I watch every year).

    Onward and outward, Floaters!

  • Training Day 4-6 - Rich's Onewheel School

    Route: 4+1 outdoor basketball courts at Cal State
    Board: XR in Mission
    Distance: 6.1 miles of loops, figure 8s, and s-curves, sidewalks/parking lot
    Duration: approx 1 hour 30 minutes
    Temp: low to mid 80's/light breeze

    Comments: More good practice, and back to my newest board w/stock rear pad. When I got home my new Cobra Pad had arrived! So gotta get back out soon and try it out. Looks very well made. Look forward to getting it dirty.

    In addition to my own routines, and adding another mile to the workout (puts me at 50 miles total), I had 2 buddies learning on my original XR, with the Onetail+. Sam and Cliff have both tried the OW with me individually, but now with the extra board I just showed them some basics and let them take turns riding and spotting each other. Meanwhile I continued working on turns, light carving from a straight line, mount and dismounts, and extending my endurance to 6 miles+. From what I saw, they both did very well. Eventually each one rode completely across a basketball court without direct assistance. Only 1 fall between them, and no serious injuries. All in all a good day for all of us. BTW they are younger than me, both still in their 60's. One has surfing experience and one has skateboard background.

    Hey, I just realized...I am holding OW classes at a state university. What should I charge for tuition?


  • Short evening carport warmup with the Cobra pad

    Had to try my new cobra pad. It will be a few days before I have time to get out on another training day type ride, so I went back to the old carport and did a mile with the new pad. Fun fact: it takes about 150 back and forths along the side of my carport to make a single mile! Wow, I have so outgrown the carport days. I did work on my switch riding skills while I was out back, and they are starting to return to me. But no way I can do 6 miles there.

    Re the cobra pad: At first it felt almost wobbly, but I quickly realized that I did not have to move my back foot very much to get a turn or balance correction. Once I got used to the new sensitivity I enjoyed it very much. As they say, you feel very locked in. Tried my usual stance, then a couple of adjustments. But I think I will quickly adjust to using it, and hopefully my back foot won't go to sleep after 5 miles, any more. Glad I bought it!

  • Training Day 4-7 - The Snake! (cobra, sidewinder, and fangs)

    Route: 4+1 outdoor basketball courts at Cal State
    Board: XR in Mission
    Distance: 5.1 miles of loops, figure 8s, and s-curves, sidewalks/parking lot
    Duration: approx 1 hour 5 minutes
    Temp: low to mid 70's

    Comments: I was away for the weekend doing my 5th annual Bike the Bay event in San Diego, where 3K of us rode across the Coronado bridge and did a 25 miles loop out and back to the Embarcadero Park in SD. So last week was all about getting reading to cycle, and I did no OWheeling.

    Today it was great to get back to my OW training. Almost 2 weeks without riding and I was a bit apprehensive, but it all came back to me, and my feet/ankles were still strong enough for a decent ride.

    NEW EQUIPMENT: I got to try out my new Cobra pad, and my new Sidewinder split fender. My sidewinder review can be found here:

    The cobra pad is everything they say it is. There is a little relearn involved, but it is a good thing. As I noted above, when I did a brief test on it at home, it seemed a bit wobbly because now my rear foot movements control the board more than before, even tho I had been using the Onetail+. I quickly adapted to the Cobra pad. I am still trying different stances, but mainly because now I can. With the OT+, and even with the stock pad, it seemed like there was a perfect stance I had to use to feel connected to the board, while riding. With the Cobra I feel like I have more choices, and they all feel pretty secure. I found myself carving more, after I warmed up, without hardly trying. Oh yes...and my rear foot was not as numb as before. Just a little stiff.

    New technique: for the last couple miles today, I experimented with a lower, more crouched stance. Wow....what a difference! By lowering my center of gravity by a couple inches, I immediately felt more in control of the board. I do bend my knees already, for all riding, but this was even lower than usual. Since I wan't used to riding this low, I could feel the strain after just a couple miles. But I plan to keep practicing and make a effort to further build the muscles to do this routinely.

    WELL... this takes me to the end of my fourth full week of training (spread out over a couple of months). Between my 2 boards I have over 56 miles. With every ride I get more "board feel" and less apprehension. I still have a lot to learn, but now I have a sense that even an old dude like me can do this, and enjoy it (that second part is important). My short term goal is to ride my onewheel on the beach, on my birthday next month. I also want to start learning to ride on grass, and to ride switch. It has been decades since I broke any bones, but I hear that old bones don't heal as fast. Maybe, maybe not, but I am taking care to avoid testing that theory anytime soon. I have fallen once on my rear, with no injury, and I have taken a couple dives cycling in the last few years...with minimal cuts and scrapes. Also, I stay in pretty good condition, so I am not paranoid about it...just reasonably cautious.

    If you are new to this, and find it is much harder to start doing than most of the postings, here and on facebook, would lead you to believe, I hope my experience will encourage you to keep trying. I don't know you, but I bet you can do this, if you don't give up, and give yourself time to get used to it.

    WHAT NOW? Well from here on out, I will stop by this thread just to share significant progress, new equipment I have tried, new places I have ridden, and things like that. Otherwise, you may assume I am still out there learning and growing and enjoying the float!

    float on!

  • Hi Rich, cool thread. I have been riding switch recently. My method has been to practice switch for a short while at the beginning of each ride, then enjoy a regular session. It seems to give the brain a way to improve automatically without too much stress. Riding in the grass, where there are no holes to stop you, will also improve your regular riding. It is best to start these new ways of riding now so that you get full advantage while you are training and somewhat new and learning to develop your habits.
    Best of luck to you, float on!

  • @Mmhmmm Thanks. Good advice. When I first started, I was learning the board back and forth at home, which meant switch at the same time. Then I finally got out in the open and focused only forward, finding I lost what little switch skill I had. I think you are right about getting back to it early and forming good habits.

  • Morning dirt ride

    Got in a 2.1 mile ride on dirt in near 100 degree sunshine. Rode around a baseball park on the dirt just off the grass. It was relatively smooth, but did have a lot of uneven surfaces, without any abrupt changes, like ruts, rocks, etc. So it was the perfect place for me to start getting a feel of surfaces other than pavement and cement. My balance was great, absorbing the changes in surface easily with my ankles. My legs did tire quickly. Probably because I just haven't been able to OW as frequently as when I first began. But it was mainly the heat that made the ride shorter than I had hoped. But, all in all, a great start to a new level of riding for me. I hope to do it a few more times, then eventually tackle riding over grass.

    I did get a video, but it needs editing. The sun was so bright that much of it was inadvertently shot with a thumb partially over the lens. But I think I can salvage some of it.

  • Hey there, I've been debating for a year or so to get this (because of people falling off) but I finally ordered it and can't wait. I am a female - 5'3", 105lbs - I do have exp with snowboarding so that is what got me very interested in this because i miss snowboarding out west , so this thread helps guys! can't wait to ride soon.

    I am hoping with my snowboarding exp will help me with ease on learning this baby.

    Ride on

  • @tm1nor said in Extreme(balance challenged) Newbie impressions:

    Hey there, I've been debating for a year or so to get this (because of people falling off) but I finally ordered it and can't wait. I am a female - 5'3", 105lbs - I do have exp with snowboarding so that is what got me very interested in this because i miss snowboarding out west , so this thread helps guys! can't wait to ride soon.

    I am hoping with my snowboarding exp will help me with ease on learning this baby.

    Ride on

    Welcome! You are going to enjoy it. And although I was a skier, not a snowboarder, I do think your snowboarding experience will help a lot. There are lots of videos on YouTube that can help, as well. Enjoy the float!

  • @ooww said in Extreme(balance challenged) Newbie impressions:

    @wheelrich can you upload a movie of where you´re at progression wise ? There is another 72-year old on the FB groups

    Happy Birthday to me

    OK, so Saturday I turned 73. I spent some of it Onewheeling while my daughter and grandson watched. Here is one of the videos she took. I was a bit rusty, but by the end of the session I was loosening up and riding more freely. This is at a park somewhere between Crestline and Lake Arrowhead. After this we ate at a mex food place in Lake Arrowhead. Best birthday!


    Currently I am working on some very light off road riding.