Category: One Wheel

So I because of my stinging brush burns from One Wheeling and left over soreness from dead lifting during the week I allowed myself a one week respite from running. It was nice to not wake up with the 6AM alarm but I couldn’t help but feel guilty for not being out there and putting in my slow and miserable laps.  It’s almost like a rite of passage.

I had hoped to get the mowing all knocked out in the morning but heavy rain the previous two days had left the property with massive standing water, delaying that task.  I did get the weeding done and Cindy and I worked on Lucy, the hen with the bad wing. Cindy and I were not looking forward to trying to drain the huge swollen area under her wing.  Out of all of our chickens Lucy is the most fearful of us, by far.  She is also the only hen that we didn’t raise from baby chick age.

We thought trying to hold her still to work on the problem would be near impossible.  Well after some tag team effort we were able to get a hold of Lucy.  As scared as she is of us, once you actually hold her she almost does a complete 180 and is very passive.  Well to work on the area we really needed to have the hen belly up.  I could hardly believe it when Cindy flipped Lucy on her back, handed her to me, and she stayed put.   She looked incredibly comfortable in the position which I couldn’t believe.

What was more incredible was when Cindy started poking the blood/puss filled area with a needle Lucy didn’t flinch at all.  At times she was half closing her eyes, she almost seemed to be enjoying the experience which was bizarre.  Unfortunately the small gauge needle wasn’t able to make much progress in draining the area but Cindy was able to get some gunk out. When we did the same procedure on Sunday with a bigger gauge needle she was nearly as calm until we finally hit a spot that must have hurt that sent her flying.  We hope to keep at it to at least get her some relief, there must be some sort of infection going on.

The intense sun during the day made a little progress on the standing water, enough that I decided to mow.  I couldn’t get everything but I was able to knock down 90% using max deck height when cutting through areas that still had some low water on the ground.  The tractor becomes an absolute mess when mowing in these conditions but it is the price you pay when living in a summertime bog.

On Saturday night Cindy and I got out to see Ant Man & The Wasp.  The Ant Man series doesn’t generate nearly the same level of excitement for me as the top tier Marvel films do but I liked the original.  I thought the sequel was equally good for a solid B+ rating.  Be sure to stay for the bonus clips, it will answer a question that likely was on your mind the entire movie.

Sunday morning I was anxious to get out on my One Wheel.  Cindy had her own stuff to do so I headed out solo, which I sometimes prefer since I can go wherever I want to go for as long as I care to.  I did indeed go long, at least 11 miles on the board, almost double my longest ride to date.  I did well on the ride with only one skin dissolving incident where I had a bad dismount.  The only negative I have with the board is it isn’t the best device for open road cruising because of the speed cap.  Despite having a posted 19mph top speed, it starts throttling you at 15 mph.  The end result was I was riding the majority of the ride with “pushback” where the board raises it’s front nose to let you know to slow down.

During the afternoon I finally got around to installing “float plates” and a fender on my board.  I realized that the fender would have prevented me a bunch of pain.  All of my brush burns are the end result of my leg hitting the top half of the exposed huge rubber tire during falls.  The fender totally eliminates that situation.  I think the wheel looks cooler without it but I’ll take a less hip appearance over not ripping my skin off any day.  It’s been a week now and the brush burns on my legs are still not close to healed.

During the video I admitted that I had not ridden any of my EUC’s since I got the One Wheel.  I thought it funny when a commentor said that he thinks I am not a “core EUC” guy as a result.    I asked him to review my channel.  In the last two years I may have posted more EUC content than almost anyone on the internet.  The One Wheel is a new challenge and that challenge just happens to be getting the most of my attention.

Later in the day I tried something really challenging, riding the One Wheel around our backyard, at least the areas that were dry enough to do so.  Wow it was tough, requiring infinitely more effort than smooth open road riding.  I had to run off the board a few times but I didn’t hit the ground.  I think doing this sort of riding will be the way to build my skill level the quickest.

I finally pulled the trigger on ordering a new phone yesterday.  The replacement battery I put in my iPhone 6 several months ago already is going south and my screen developed a bright white spot awhile ago that I have just been living with.  I didn’t take the route I always have in the past, upgrading to whatever the latest version Apple had available.  Instead I ordered a lowly iPhone 6S as my new phone, only an incremental upgrade over what I have.  My reasoning was simple, I like having a headphone jack that doesn’t require a dongle, a home button and I don’t really need a bigger screen that does face recognition.  I don’t care about turning myself into an animal emoji.  A 6S will do everything I need and will allow me to reuse the awesome case that Cindy bought me for my iPhone 6 at the holidays.  Having an iPhone X would do nothing to increase my quality of life except cost me double what the 6S will.  I must be getting old.

 

So I continued my investigation last night into why I no longer had internet out at the chicken coop.  I did some more physical inspection of the cable in the coop area as well as the path it takes in the yard. I could not find any signs of physical damage which was good.  I then grabbed my laptop and headed into the attic, where the outside cable connects to indoor wiring.

This was the first time I had been in the attic since the roof was replaced.  I was AMAZED at the temperature.  Granted the sun was not out at the time but even so, with our old shingle roof the attic was ALWAYS a sauna.  It felt absolutely fine up there, no hotter than the garage below which was great.  It was also weird seeing ambient light in the attic from the three large roof vents on the north side of the roof.  I’m used to the space normally being pitch dark.

I got busy with my trouble shooting.  I got excited when I unhooked the outdoor cable and plugged it into my laptop and got a link light, meaning the outdoor cable was working, a big relief.  The problem was in the run that goes from the attic to the office.  I did some trouble shooting of that line but wasn’t able to quickly determine the issue.  If I were to guess, probably one of the ethernet ends that I installed when the house was built was flaky and not making good connection anymore.  Instead of diving into figuring that out I took a much faster approach, using a CAT 5 line that was connected to the TV in the bedroom, which isn’t really necessary.  Once I connected that line to the coop wire everything was back to normal.  It felt good as I exited the attic knowing the problem was fixed without having to deal with the buried line, which would have been a huge headache.

I did find a little time to get out on my One Wheel, despite some light rain coming down.  I just stayed in the driveway practicing slow maneuvers and most importantly, stopping/disengaging the board which I have struggled with.   I successfully stopped at least a dozen times with no failures.  I didn’t fall or have to jump off the board the entire time.  I’m excited about my progress and am looking forward to Cindy feeling good enough to start getting back on the board to show me how it’s really done.

Despite having two One Wheel injuries on my right toe/ankle I drug myself out of bed to run on Saturday morning.  It’s no point reiterating how warm, muggy and uncomfortable it is running this time of year.  That situation likely won’t change until October at the earliest.  I plugged away, completing the 3.4 mile distance at a very mundane pace, similar to recent efforts.

When I got home Cindy, who had pulled her back badly, had done the chicken chores, despite me prodding her not to.  Since I got all the grass mowed on the 4th I didn’t have to dedicate three hours plus of my morning to it.  Instead I just knocked out the weeding.  Once I was done we jumped in the truck to go help our friend Deb move a couple pieces of furniture she was given into her condo.  In the process we also picked up a ton of Deb’s old fitness materials that she was giving to Cindy.  Deb is a lifelong fitness trainer but no longer does it as a primary career.

So once we got back it was nice, I didn’t have a big list of things I felt that needed to be done at the moment.  So I turned my attention to the OneWheel.  I already reached into my 3D hobby to support my new wheel, designing a stand for it.  I wasn’t quite sure if a 3d printed piece would be strong enough for the job but I designed the part with a lot of infill for strength.  So far it seems great.

So anyway I wanted to build on my mostly successful riding in the driveway by taking a drive over to the school, the place I did the majority of my early EUC training at.  Outside of about 30 seconds of the ride, I did great, able to ride around doing basic maneuvers pretty comfortably.  So back to those 30 seconds….

In total I had three different falls during the ride that sent me to the ground.  The first one stripped large chunks of skin off my shin when I tried to stop and disengage the board unsuccessfully..  However it was the second fall that was most concerning.

I had just driven by the camera that I had stationed on the ground.  I was trying to do a relatively tight 180 degree turn to come back.  As I did so I got too much lean forward on my toes.  In a split second my body reacted and I lurched back to catch myself.  My motions were amplified by the board and it rocked back and forth rapidly.  The motion was enough to send me falling but not forward as all of my EUC falls had been.  Instead I fell directly back like slipping on ice as the board shot out from under me.  The back of my head hit the parking lot hard, very hard.  If I was not wearing a helmet who knows what sort of damage would have been done.

I got up slowly, a bit in shock.  My initial physical assessment was my neck was instantly sore but otherwise I felt intact.  I took a few minutes to collect myself.  The fall was legitimately scary but I reminded myself that is why I am wearing the gear to help mitigate that damage.  After a few more deep breaths I was back on the board and rolling around.

My third fall which came at the very end of the ride was another unsuccessful dismount.  This again resulted in me falling backwards with head impact with the ground albeit significantly less than the last time.  The video I shot tells the story.  Still, even with those bad moments, overall I am really enjoying the challenge of riding the board and think I am making solid progress.

Of course when I told Cindy about my incidents she was concerned.  I totally expected to wake up with a locked up neck on Sunday but it was just sore.  The muscles in the front of my neck are the most painful as they must have contracted strongly as I went down to try to minimize the speed of impact with the ground.  We had plans to go see Ant Man Saturday night but because of Cindy’s back pain and my neck pain we decided to push it off until next weekend.

Sunday morning started out fine.  When I went out to the chicken area to clean I heard gurgling.  It was the sound of the pump I set back up in the chicken yard sucking air.  In less than 24 hours, combined with a day without rain, the water level behind the coop had dropped significantly.  After paying my bills Cindy and I headed out, again with Elsa in tow.

Cindy’s back was still too tweaked to ride a PEV but she brought along some work to do.  The plan was for me to park at North Collier and ride around there for awhile while she hung out with Elsa.  Elsa LOVES rides where she is not required to leave the vehicle.

Despite my falls on Saturday I was eager to get back at it and see how well I could handle the varied paths and terrain at the park.  I had a great time on the 6.5 mile ride with no falls.  I had several unsuccessful dismounts but none of them resulted in my hitting the ground.  I’m really enjoying the process of learning another physical skill and being rewarded with slow but definitive progress as I keep working.

Sunday afternoon I was involved with various things.  Once of those was getting Cindy set up out in her RV.  It was hot as hell so she needed the AC.  After popping the house circuit breaker twice trying to do it I instead just pulled out the big generator that could run the RV with ease.

Later in the afternoon I told Cindy I was going to do something I never do, hang in the pool.  I can’t tell you exactly the last time was that I floated around in the pool for a period of more than 5 minutes.  Cindy joined me along with a few “noodles” for flotation.  I’m not sure how long we were in but it was long enough that my fingertips started to shrivel.

Oh I neglected to mention the very first project of the weekend that happened on Friday evening.  I stopped at Home Depot and loaded up on another $100 worth of dirt and sod.  I wanted to extend “Chicken Island” behind the coop to give the birds more dry land to hang as wet season continually submerges their surroundings.  I almost doubled the size of the the grassy retreat.  It’s high enough to outlast pretty much any high water situation.

Sunday night I had my second EUC live stream with Marty.  We pushed the starting time back to 8 EST to work out better with Marty’s west coast geography.  The stream lasted almost two hours.  I think it went pretty well although there are times I struggle with what to say.  We also had some technical difficulties on both sides at times that we worked through.  We had 30+ people tuned in almost the entire broadcast and the feedback we have received thus far has been pretty positive.

I awoke this morning sleepy, sore, and ready to tackle a new work reality where the HUGE application conersion project is now something behind us instead of hanging over us.  So far, so good.

 

 

 

So the battery I had installed in the Prius roughly a month ago has been giving me problems.  At least a half dozen times the red triangle of death has returned.  At first it was a couple weeks between the light coming on and then a couple days, and then nearly every day.  I was carrying my code reader in the Prius.  Every time the light came on I would read the code and then clear it.  Unlike the original failure, the car continued to drive normally even with the warning light.

So obviously this was not acceptable long term and since I have a one year warranty on the replacement I contacted battery4prius.com and sent them a picture of the warning light with the error code on my reader.  They gave me no hassle and said they would send back out the same kid and his dad that installed the replacement.

They had to drive through torrential rain, as I did to get there.  I parked the Prius in the garage so they wouldn’t have to possibly work in the rain.  They pulled up in a 2nd gen Prius this time with battery4prius signage on the side, last time he was driving a Civic.  I didn’t see a battery in the back of their car.  When I asked him about it he said they were actually going to swap the battery from their car into my car.  He knows that pack is good.  Wow, I wasn’t expecting that but whatever, as long as it works.

Jonathan and his dad were like Prius battery tornadoes, in the about an hour they had swapped the batteries between the two vehicles and I was good to go.  I can only hope this is the end of my Prius battery woes for at least until I am ready to move onto something else.

As I mentioned we had another HORRIBLE few hours of rain.  When I came home the front yard looked like it did after the hurricane, almost totally submerged.  The property was a total mess.  The transformation in a span of less than 24 hours was pretty shocking.  The one bright spot was the elevated area I constructed for the chickens in their yard seems to be performing just as I hoped.  Even with nothing but water elsewhere, that 10′ x  20′ section is safely above the water line by 6 inches or more.

So because of the shitty rain I didn’t get to practice outside on the One Wheel as I hoped.  Well a little after 8:30 the rain had stopped so I decided I would go outside and just stay on the driveway, the spot I cut my teeth on EUC training.  Very early in the process I had a hilarious (in retrospect) series of events that was partially caught on the front security camera.  I was on the angled portion of the driveway, perpendicular to it.

I was feeling a bit shaky and had been having issues doing a proper stop where you raise the heel of your lead foot to disengage a pressure sensor, which turns off the motor.  I decided to use the other beginner technique of dismounting, simply hop off the board with both feet at once which should instantly kill the board.  So I hop off, look down and see the board is not only still balancing, it has started to roll away from me, quickly.

So if we didn’t just have a massive rain event, this wouldn’t have been a huge deal as the board was directed onto the grass and down the hill.  However last night, at the bottom of this hill was a huge area of standing water, oh shit.  In a millisecond my body reacted, forgetting that it is 50 years old and filled with various aches, pains, and ailments.  I took off like a rocket after the board and accelerated when I realized it was not going to stop.  As I saw the board heading off into a watery grave I did the only thing I could, a Pete Rose, head first dive onto the wet grass that allowed me to just barely snag the end of the board just as it reached the high water.  I wish the whole thing was in the field of view of the camera, it had to look absolutely ridiculous.

So after allowing myself a minute or two for the adrenaline to settle down I resumed my practice.  Having the entire driveway felt good compared to the narrow confines of the house.  I didn’t feel rock solid but I didn’t feel awful either.  I used a tip that helped me a lot with EUC riding, looking where I was going instead of down at the board, it helped.  I did a bunch of up and back loops in the driveway and even ventured onto the road and into the neighbors driveway, without a fall or crash.  The wet ground was a reminder why a fender for a One Wheel is a good idea.  I was getting sprayed with misty dirt/sand the entire time.  By the time I was done the wheel was too dirty to bring inside, I just left it in the garage. The ride confirmed that I am already past the most awful part of riding that was so painful with EUCs.  Once you can roll and turn slowly, things normally progress pretty well from there.

This weekend I don’t have to worry about grass maintenance since it was all done on Wednesday.  I hope to get some prolonged One Wheel practice in, hopefully with Cindy participating.  I am really curious to see how she does on it outdoors based on her prior considerable skateboarding experience.  I can only hope that we somehow manage to avoid the daily thunderstorms for a few days to allow the ground to swallow the standing water that lays on top of it.

Here is a video of my initial indoor One Wheel experience.

 

 

So as I mentioned before I have been very interested in dipping my toe into the world of One Wheel for a couple weeks.  I have been reading, watching videos, and gathering information from all over the place.  My desire to get one was held in check by the fact that the model I want, the XR, is back ordered and takes at least a month, if not two to receive when ordered.

Well yesterday for some reason I found myself on the dealer locator page of the One Wheel web site.  After punching in my zip code I surprisingly discovered the Ron Jon Surf Shop in Fort Myers was actually a One Wheel retailer.  I knew it was pointless but just for the hell of it I called them up to see if they had any boards in stock.  I was in disbelief when they said, YES.  They had JUST received two of the XR units, wow.

After asking the price and confirming they sell them for the same amount as the web site I felt like this was almost divine intervention.  Nobody has these boards right now yet I just happened to stumble across a local source for one.  I told Cindy about my find and told her I’d like to go up there right after work to snag one of the two boards before they were gone.  Cindy was not enthusiastic about the plan but relented.  I assured her I would get home asap.

The ride up there  went through some absolutely torrential rain that slowed down my arrival by quite a bit.  The arrival was further delayed by the GPS taking me to the wrong section of Gulf Coast Town Center.  After a second phone call to Ron Jon I got my directions straight.  I fast walked into the store and told them I wanted an XR, they sales guy said, “cooooool” as he walked to the back to grab it.  I completed the transaction and put my new life experience challenge in the back of the Prius.

When I got home I just placed the box against the wall and didn’t even open it.  I knew Cindy was still skeptical of my decision so I didn’t want to make a big deal about it.  We ate dinner and watched some X1 content before I even turned my attention to the One Wheel.  When I got the board out I could immediately get a sense of the tank-like construction everyone talks about.  It feels like it is ready to do battle.  I was also surprised it came with a fully charged battery, every EUC I ever bought came with the battery at 20% or less out of the box.

So while Cindy was in the bedroom I decided I would just do something real simple, get on the board.  Although I have seen many instructions for how to do this the first time, tips like wear proper gear, do it outside, and hold onto something, I ignored pretty much all of it.  In my bare feet, in the middle of the great room, with nothing to hold onto, I tried bringing the board up into balancing position.  As soon as the electronics activated I developed a front back wobble that sent the front of the board down.  With a One Wheel, dropping the nose means accelerate.  So that is what the wheel did, sending me hopping off in the process.

The board immediately shut off as soon as I came off but made a hell of a racket which sent Cindy running into the room, worried that a major crash happened.  I told her I was fine and the board was fine.  I immediately got back up on the board, this time while holding onto Cindy’s shoulders.  After a few seconds I was able to release from her and get a sense of how the balance feels with this type of set up.  When I successfully dismounted I looked down and noticed drops of blood on the floor that lead to a pool of blood on the board that lead to the side of my right big toe.  Evidently when I came off the very abrasive grip tape took a sizeable chunk of toe skin with it.

The bleeding was pretty substantial so we had to stop and get it under control.  I held a paper towel on the wound until Cindy arrived with a band aid.  The band aid very quickly became saturated with blood so I applied a second one on top of it to tide me over until going to bed.

So while I was on the sidelines Cindy got up on the board.  Despite her initial reaction to my purchase, she was very curious and sort of excited by the One Wheel.  You see Cindy has a skateboarding background as a kid, something I only toyed with.  When I started getting into EUCs Cindy expressed interest in the One Wheel.  I wasn’t all that interested at the time because spec-wise it was far inferior to many EUCs in terms of speed and range.  Well with the new XR model those specs have improved drastically.

So anyway Cindy got up and balancing on the board pretty easily and before long was slowly making her way around the great room/kitchen with minimal balance assist.  She said she really liked it and that THIS was something she could really be excited about riding, something she never really felt with electric unicycles.  I got on afterward and did some more slow movements as well as getting off and on.  I’m not 100% positive but I think I am a “goofy” foot rider, meaning I ride with my left foot back instead of my right.  I need to do some more testing.  Because of the cross wired way my body is as far as side dominance goes, I’m just not sure which style will work best for me for control.  I am technically right footed but I think my left leg is actually stronger and I mount and dismount an EUC as a left footed person would.

I can tell immediately that riding a One Wheel will involve more total body engagement than an EUC does once I become at least basically capable of riding it. I think it will be very interesting contrasting and comparing my learning experience on the electric unicycle to what goes down on the One Wheel.  Right now I feel very stiff and unsure of myself, just like I did with EUCs, however my past experience makes me confident that with some determination and practice (and shoes), I can conquer this physical challenge, despite Father Time pulling at my feet.