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Newbie Solowheel owner

Post your adventures here.

Did you do any spectacular tricks? Special remarks by people who saw you riding an electric unicyle?

Post Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:56 pm

Posts: 9
Model: Solowheel
Manufacturer: Inventist
User Location: Tacoma Washington USA
Hi Folks, Not sure if this forum is actually alive, but we'll see. I thought I would share my experience as a new Solowheel owner.

Me: 55 year old former runner with a bad knee. I weigh 210 lbs, about 30 lbs overweight (I raced marathons at 168 lbs). I used to snow ski and did some skateboarding as a kid 40 years ago, but wasn't any good at it.

Learning:
Day 1: I received my SW on Monday afternoon at my office. I'm an Eye Doc so had a few chances to try the SW between patients in our office basement. It 3000 sq ft but is full of junk. I was able to clear out a roughly rectangular track with a cross alley. Starting out I used the strap and would hang on to something to get on and initially balanced. The first day I had a chance to practice about 3 times for 15 minutes each. I had to quit because of the pain on the inside of my shin/calf where they hit the SW pads. After this time I was able to go in a straight (kinda) line for about 20-30 ft.

Day 2: I brought a pair of old foam knee pads to the office that I placed where my shins were sore. Again I had maybe about 4 times to practice for about 15-20 minutes each time. During the second session I gave up the strap. I found that holding it was interfering with my balance. By the end of the day I could make it around my basement circuit about 50% of the time and could start without hanging on to something about 1/2 the time as well. The padding made it not painful. I did fall once, hard, hitting my bad knee on the concrete. The rest of the time I was able to step off, and usually grab the SW so it didn't fall over as well.

Day 3: Worked in a different office so no practice.

Day 4: Again I had about 4 chances to ride in the basement 10-20 minutes at a time. Able to weave around my basement track pretty well most of the time. Can start without holding onto anything most of the time. I did fall once and am not sure why. I think I may have pushed the on button then started out before the motor engaged as the SW simply shot out from underneath me sending me flat on my face. I now am very careful to not rush it to much so I know the SW motor and gyros are engaged. I took the SW home and charged it that night and inflated the tire. It had been at 30 psi, I inflated to 40 psi.

Day 5: Couldn't find my bike helmet (one of my kids likely absconded with it) so I went out and bought another one. I took the SW to a local park with a nice path around a golf course, http://www.chambersbaygolf.com/sites/courses/template.asp?id=1419&page=89479 (site of the 2015 PGA US Open Championship). I rode a total of about 4 miles. I discovered a few things and would appreciate any advice any of you may have on these.
-Gusty side winds can be tricky.
-Starting uphill is difficult.
-Still have problems with sharp turns.
-Be careful going down a steep grade
-Bumps and curb cuts are difficult.

The first time I went down a steeper grade, I got too much speed and when the SW tried to slow me down, I pitched forward and landed hard. Painful and embarrassing. I think I'll try and get some wrist guards. After riding that far I did find that my foot could get sore over time depending on how it was positioned on the step. I start with my left foot and and then bring my right foot up. As such, I'm not yet good at getting my right foot in a good position on the step. I'll need to practice that.

Post Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:00 am

Posts: 9
Model: Solowheel
Manufacturer: Inventist
User Location: Tacoma Washington USA
We have had some truly awful weather around here lately so I haven't had as much opportunity to get out on the SW for the past week. The weather dried out just enough for me to get out yesterday for a couple of spins. So most of the past week has been spent healing up from my spill last week. Given that I'm old and on a daily 80mg ASA, the bruise from my fall is, uh..... impressive. :roll:

Day 6a: Still having some problems with the inside of my shins being sore from riding, I bought a cheap set of volleyball knee pads that fit wonderfully on my lower leg to provide a little more cushion to the inside of my calf and shin. They fit nicely under my pants and aren't seen.

I had the day off but decided to try and see what it would be like to ride the SW to my office, about 2.5 miles away. I live in a very hilly area so this would be a good test. Unfortunately, I chose a bad time. The schools had just let out for the afternoon and my route takes me right by four of the schools in my community. This meant lots of car and pedestrian traffic and there aren't sidewalks or bikelanes along the entire route. Riding by groups of 12-15 year old students elicited a number of comments, all generally positive. I don't think I will choose to go out that time of day again along that route.

The right went pretty well other than having to bail out suddenly when a UPS truck made a wide turn, into the bike lane I was riding in. I ended up falling as I tried to avoid him, not much hurt but my pride. I found the sidewalks ramps to not be a problem at the intersections. I did carry the SW across several busy intersections but I am getting better at starting and stopping. I also had to ride on a gravel shoulder for a bit and the SW did just fine. I found that I'm not comfortable riding right next to heavy traffic. Drivers seem to be confused by the site of a SW and I have found they don't give me the same wide berth that they might a bicycle.

Hills are still a problem. There is one short downhill along my route that is pretty steep. I find that I have to right down hills very slowly or the speed builds up too fast for the SW to compensate for. Going very slowly is more difficult as far as balance, but I'd just as soon not do another face plant. I also find it very difficult to start going down or uphill. So far I need a relatively level stretch to start out on. That became a problem near the end of the ride as I was going up a rather long and steep hill. I was riding on the paved shoulder with lots of traffic running by right next to me. About 1/2 way up the hill I ended up catching the wheel on a bit of tree debris from the recent windstorms and had to step off forward to avoid a fall. That was fine, but I found I couldn't safely start up again with the confines of the heavy traffic next to me. I ended up carrying the SW to the top of the hill and starting out from there. I could feel every 26 lbs of the SW by the time I made it to the top.

I made some additional loops of my neighborhood then called it quits. I figure total distance was between 5-6 miles over hilly terrain at near max capacity. I weigh 210, but add shoes, clothes, jacket, helmet, etc... and it will be around 215 lbs. The SW indicator light was still green by the time I got home. I would have expected it to be orange, indicating that I had used 1/2 its charge. So it would seem, at least for me, that the SW range is doing quite well.

Day 6b: Since the weather was going to turn bad again, I decided to go out for another ride in the evening. I went back to the same Golf Course as last week but chose another path which is a lot hillier. Given that it was a nice afternoon, it was filled with walkers, runners, skateboarders etc.... Our days are normally so gray, that when they aren't folks take advantage of it. The ride was great. The very steep hills were again a challenge. The SW would shudder going down the steep hills telling me that was reaching its limit. Going up the same hill it was just barely able to keep going.

So after about 7 days of riding, I am very comfortable with riding on smooth, reasonably level ground. Bumps, curb cuts and sidewalks aren't a problem. Going down and up steep grades is more difficult, but I think I have a good handle on that now. Sharper turns are getting easier. I still need to work on:
-Starting either uphill or downhill
-U-turns in a tight circle

I the weather improves, I'll try riding the SW to the office next week. Chances of that aren't great though.

Post Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:41 pm

Posts: 11
Model: Solowheel
Manufacturer: Inventist
User Location: Erlangen
Hi,

that's a nice introduction to how you learned it.

I discovered a few things and would appreciate any advice any of you may have on these.
-Gusty side winds can be tricky.
-Starting uphill is difficult.
-Still have problems with sharp turns.
-Be careful going down a steep grade
-Bumps and curb cuts are difficult.


In short: Yes. I had a bit stronger wind just yesterday, with a small bag in my hand that kinda served as a wind indicator. ;-) I needed to do a bit slower but was still able to handle it. You probably shouldn't ride too far on the side of the way as a wind gust can easily take you half a metre (1-2 ft) to the side. I haven't tried riding with an umbrella in my hand plus wind. That's gonna be interesting!

At first I had practiced a lot in my garage backyard. As my turns were getting sharper, and I could better control it at very low speeds, I think I have overdone it once and didn't jump off quickly enough - and fell. On my knee first, hand second, not at all on my head. After the bruise on my knee was gone after a months, I started practicing again. I now wear skating knee pads, and at colder temperatures also leather gloves. Didn't need any of that protection since, though.

The learning strap was very helpful in the beginning. It's not made to hold on to it! You cannot gain any additional balance from it since it doesn't have an independent ground connection... It must be held loosely so you can still use your arms to balance. But when you jump off, you can quickly raise your hand and hold up the Solowheel so it doesn't fall over. That saves a few scratches and you can quickly start going again without picking it up and resetting it.

Post Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:36 am

Posts: 9
Model: Solowheel
Manufacturer: Inventist
User Location: Tacoma Washington USA
We had a couple days of nice weather then a lot more rain. We are working on breaking a record for the amount of of rain in March. I did get one chance to ride to the office and it went well. I'm now comfortable to do that anytime we have good weather. Weather should be good on Monday so I'll commute to work with the SW.

Normal riding is a piece of cake now. Tight turns are getting much easier although I still can't do a U-turn on a narrow sidewalk. One thing that oddly has improved my skill is that I started playing Ingress. This involves a lot of starting and stopping, perfect for SW practice.

I still have issues with the inside of my shins. I finally just got a couple pieces of 1/2 inch foam that I velcroed to the side OD the SW. Yeah, it doesn't look great but it works very well. I'm working on using my legs less to control the SW and in time I expect I won't need the padding.

Post Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:08 am
MvM

Posts: 115
Model: Solowheel
Manufacturer: Inventist
User Location: Rotterdam
Just read your post, very nice.

I think you went to basically the same thing as I did.
First, thinking you will never learn, then, once you've grasped the basics, it's getting more fun.

Now, I used the Solowheel every day. Either to get the last part to work, or, when the weather is nice, just to cruise around because it is a lot of fun. And I have only had my Solowheel for less than two weeks.
Makes me wonder how much I will be using it when the novelty has worn off a bit.

Post Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:47 am

Posts: 16
The novelty will not wear of if you are adventuress
Enough!
One foot MANOUVERES , backward riding, jumping etcetc.

Post Tue Oct 14, 2014 3:29 pm
MvM

Posts: 115
Model: Solowheel
Manufacturer: Inventist
User Location: Rotterdam
John Berry wrote:
The novelty will not wear of if you are adventuress
Enough!
One foot MANOUVERES , backward riding, jumping etcetc.


Hi John,

Thanks for the reply. And YES, you are right. Even though the weather is turning cold as winter is coming, I still drive my SW a lot. Am over 800 miles now (almost 4.5 months now).

Riding on one foot is becoming easier. Riding backwards I still cannot do. Making jumps up even less so.
I do find that I prefer my right leg for standing still and my left leg for all the manouvres.
So turning left is easier than turning right.
Should really practice on making my legs ambidextrous I guess 8-)

Post Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:48 pm

Posts: 16
Riding backwards.
Well, I spoke to one importer recently, think it was Airwheel. They said that not one of their customers had claimed to be able to ride backwards. So, be the first
John.

Post Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:25 am

Posts: 2
Model: Xtreme
Manufacturer: solowheel
I have been riding my SoloWheel miles to and from work for a few months now and the only time i fall any more is if I catch a foot on a fixed object or brown out. here are a few recommendations i can offer.

Be cautious on course or warn asphalt it can take quite a bit of hide off even through thick clothes. Wear wrist guards when you can. your hands usually hit first and can support you fine if the palm is not being ground into the pavement. Save yourself step off jump off run off the wheel will bounce spin, scuff and be fine.

if the pads are up you are on the edge of using too much current and to push on you have to lean too far forward. This puts you in a bad spot, if the battery is not able to meet the demand for say a hill or bump it will cause a power dip. The wheel will not have enough power to think and it will drop you on your hands and face because you are leaning so far forward. Don't do it. if the pads are up slow down or at least be prepared to drop off the front if it hiccups. This happened to me while chasing a bus uphill. It can brown out if you try too launch from a standing start really hard and the battery can't give enough power to get up under you. This happened twice before i figured out what was going on.

Before making u-turns, first practice dropping a leg while slowing and piroette to turn around. its pretty fun and it is good practice for both turning and stopping and going back the other way. When making tight u-turns your lower inside leg kinda gets in the way. try straightening it out to get it behind the pad with most weight on the outside leg (tilt the hip too) allowing the wheel to tilt more plus it makes the inside pad dip low enough to scrape the bottom of your shoe. Now you know how far it will tilt.

Going downhill, slow down in congested areas or if someone can pop out in front of you because the stopping distance is increased with steepness. if it can go up the hill it can come down it but if it barely goes up it may barely stop on the way down.


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