[python] More of my practice experience... (re-sent)

  • From: Ray Schümacher <mtb@xxxxxxx>
  • To: python@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 05 May 2005 07:09:55 -0700

(I didn't see this come back on the list, so...)

I had time (and energy) for some more practice on the python.

my recommendations to other noobs:
1. Have the seat as high as you can while able to touch ground, I actually 
found that I didn't start with my hands down, but it is helpful many times
2. Do not use a low pivot angle, at least at first. The biggest thing against 
me was the slow response of steer.  When I had a 59deg. angle and lower seat I 
could _not_ learn to ride it.  It seems acceptable at ~65 now.
3. Wear gloves. No need for a helmet, your hands, elbows and knees will always 
hit first.
4. Find a wide space. I crashed and stopped pointlessly, and often, in the 
street. I even considered training wheels <gasp>. But, I moved to a set of 
tennis courts nearby and was riding around them in 10 minutes.
5. I think my solid, stiff seat helps as it gives something stable to push 
against with the back to pedal and maneuver. 
6. I use the under-seat handlebars I just welded on,  a lot, - but many don't 
and Jurgen apparently has control issues with them. I try to learn legs-only as 
I can. (You know, I gives me the impression of riding my Trek no-hands while 
standing up with the top tube between my legs, Tricky, but do-able.) I removed 
the high bars in the one photo; although the motion is less contrary to the hip 
motion. With the low bars I definitely feel pushing on the right hinders my 
hips swinging right when turning left.
7. Starting took me more practice than maneuvering once going.
I start by holding the brake, both hands on the bars, setting one pedal towards 
me and one good push to start. I need to get up 8+km/h to feel steady. The most 
important thing is starting very nearly upright and straight. A few quick 
adjustments until you get up more speed might be all you need. Again, because 
of the pivot angle I sometimes find the need to swing the wheel wildly if I 
don't start well; this is where the bars help I think, as the feet are not yet 
cycling quickly and the need to get the bike back under me quickly is large.
Going downhill I keep the rear (the only) brake dragging, it feels more stable 
and prevents disasters.
I have the chain set on the middle 36 ring and the middle 22 cog. I'll add 
shifters next week. A lower gear helps a lot too, it gets the feet moving 
around quicker. I find the same riding upright no-hands; it's easier to do 
while pedaling.
8. I look ahead about 10 meters; anything closer, it's too late anyway... 
I can just turn around (usually) in one-half of a tennis court. Staying upright 
with the CoG over the wheelbase is many times more finicky than my Trek. 
http://www.rjs.org/gallery/ptgorge3.jpg The pencil vs. broomstick balancing 
analogy is apt, and looking ahead vs. at the front wheel really make a 
difference at this point.

I wonder about the wheelbase - mine could be about 16cm shorter and so have a 
tighter turn radius, but then the rear-steer would also be that much larger, 
making it harder to get the bike back under the CoG. Has anyone tested the 
effect of just shortening wheelbase?

A few more evenings and I'll feel confident enough to ride around town some. 

Ray Schumacher
La Jolla, CA (near San Diego)



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