Category: One Wheel

Tough as they come, Double battery weekend, Greenway surfing

So after Lucy’s miraculous recovery from being on her back with feet in the air Thursday and a night in our tub she seemed pretty alert on Friday morning.  She seemed to actually be pretty normal.  As a precaution we put her back in the chicken area but into the chicken tractor so she would be isolated from the other hens, just in case.  We put a few big chunks of watermelon in there with her, she wasted no time going to town on it.  It seemed amazing that this was the same chicken that was on her back the day before.

So when I got home from work Friday I looked out the window and was glad to see Lucy standing in the tractor and not on her back.  I walked out there to let her out.  Although she was standing she seemed off and her face looked very pale.  She continued to stand there as I tended to the other chickens.  As I was moving stuff out of the tractor I noticed a few drops of blood on the frame.  I quickly looked at Lucy and did not see any blood on her feet so I wasn’t sure what was up.

When Cindy got home I told her how Lucy was acting odd. Cindy looked at her and noticed some blood on her beak.  She looked at her bad wing and found something horrible.  Evidently Lucy spent a good portion of the day pecking herself, right around the swollen area.  There was an ugly bloody wound as a result.  I could only imagine why she did this, perhaps the swollen area was hurting her and she was trying to do whatever she could to relieve the pain.  Whatever the reason, we now had another problem to deal with.  We had to try to bandage the area in a way that she would not be able to peck herself.

I held Lucy as Cindy did the best she could with the bandages we had.  I felt terrible.  After covering the area we again set her up in our bathroom where we could keep an eye on her.  She was acting very lethargic and I thought we may lose her Friday night.  Low and behold we woke up Saturday morning and she seemed alert, her resiliency was pretty amazing.

So I figured we will put her out in the open with the other chickens, perhaps being isolated and bored lead to her pecking herself.  We immediately threw more melon in the yard which Lucy and the other chickens started working on immediately.  Once again, besides a swollen, bandaged wing, she seemed pretty normal.  I left the hens be as I worked on some other stuff in the yard.  Later in the morning I glanced out there and saw a chicken on her back, feet in the air, by the melons, it was Lucy.

I ran out there and she was looking at me so I at least knew she was alive.  She was flat one her back with her wing bandages laying on the ground next to her, wtf?  I scooped her up and took her inside the coop to one of the nesting boxes.  She sat there with her mouth open like she was hot but otherwise seemed pretty ok, this was almost a carbon copy of what happened on Thursday.  So once Lucy calmed down we again wrapped her up using better bandage supplies we bought from CVS that morning.  We put her back out in the yard and this time threw corn on the cob in there.  Once again all of the birds, including Lucy, went nuts for it.

So late afternoon Cindy said she saw a chicken in an odd position in front of the run.  I went out and once again Lucy was on her back, looking at me, with her bandages by her side.  I then started to realize what was happening.   She wanted the bandages off so badly that she dropped to her back and used her feet to grab them and pull them off.  However she was physically not able to flip herself back upright after doing so.  I felt terrible that the bandages were bothering her that much but I felt we had to prevent her from being able to peck the open wound.

So once again we wrapped her up.  When I took her back out to the run I stood there to observe.  She stumbled backwards as she tried to pull the same trick, making noise like she was in pain which broke my heart.  As she fell to the sand, one of the other hens, Pumpkin made an aggressive move towards Lucy which I immediately shut down.  I scooped Lucy up and took her back in the house, it was our third night of having an indoor chicken.  Before bed you could see she was still trying to get the bandage off but too tired to do so.  I totally expected to wake up Sunday morning to have her be alert and fine, again.

Well instead shortly before 4 AM Cindy awoke when she heard a noise in the bathroom.  We got up and went inside just as Lucy moved her legs for the last time.  We literally watched her stop breathing as her eyes were closed and her head was tucked down.  It instantly brought tears to my eyes but in reality I was relieved she finally passed.  She was suffering and was not going to recover.  I was glad her suffering was at it’s end but sad and somewhat guilty that we were not able to save her.  Later Sunday morning we buried Lucy in the back of the property, next to Peaches.  It was a solemn and sad event.  Lucy, despite being the most skittish and scared around us was amazingly tough and sweet in the end.

There were non-chicken related things during the weekend as well.  I installed a new 12V battery into the Prius since the installed battery was starting to read low which can cause of myriad of issues with the car.  The battery is located in the trunk and is not convenient to replace but not all that tough either as illustrated in the video.

On Sunday morning I was feeling very sad about Lucy’s passing.  I tried to temper that sadness by taking the OneWheel down to the Greenway to ride.  It was my best ride yet with the board.  The varied terrain and twisting pathways made for a very enjoyable riding experience, more fun than any prior ride I had there on EUC’s.  I took the board all the way to the gulf and back.  You can get a good sense of how much fun it was from the video.

The hybrid battery installer was supposed to arrive early afternoon to replace the Prius pack for the third time.  of course that ETA was missed.  While I was waiting I decided to get out and mow despite very threatening skies.  I mowed through several rain outbreaks, luckily none of them were deluge intensity.  As always, it felt great to have the task completed.

The installer said he was delayed in Miami and showed up somewhere around 6PM.  I asked him if normally they have to come back multiple times to replace packs.  He said out of the 100 or so repairs he has done I am only the second customer that had two failures, lucky me. Once again Jonathan and his dad worked quickly, getting a new pack installed in roughly an hour.  He said I should be good to go but once again, if I have any problems to let them know.  I assured him I would do exactly that.

It was an emotional, rough weekend.  I look forward to smoother waters ahead.


Roasted, Diagnosis, Skater, More Repairs

So I started my four day weekend off with my run.  I figured getting it out of the way on Friday would be a nice way to clear the weekend for two days of no alarm.  I missed running the week prior due to my various One Wheel injuries.  The week off did nothing to make the experience any easier.  It was almost 80 degrees at 6:30 AM and the humidity was brutal.  It was an uncomfortable run from the first stride to the last but I endured.

So the main reason I took Friday off was so I could take Lucy to the vet to see if they could drain the huge swollen area under her one wing.  Catching her to put her in the cat carrier wasn’t easy but once we got her in there she was calm.  It was Lucy’s first car ride.  We had gone to this vet once before with Lola, one of our chickens that passed away a couple years ago.  I remember that experience wasn’t spectacular.

So I didn’t get to actually see the vet until a solid 20 minutes after my appointment time which was slightly annoying.  When she did come in I quickly remembered what I didn’t enjoy about our last experience, the woman is sort of a bitch.  Her attitude was off putting.  She looked at Lucy for a minute or two, she was taken back by the size of swelling and commented on how it felt hot.  I told her we noticed the same thing and thought the heat may mean infection.  She said it could be infected or maybe some sort of tumor.

She then presented me three options, try to drain the mass and give antibiotics, take a biopsy and send it out, or do X-rays for more information.  I told her I walked in there hoping for her to do the first option to see what sort of results we can get.  She took Lucy to a back room and returned a few minutes later with a syringe with some bloody fluid in it.  It wasn’t a huge amount.  She said that was all she could get out.  She said she even made a small incision but got very little out.

Ok well that was all I wanted her to do at this point.  They gave us two weeks of antiobiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine to give Lucy by mouth, twice a day, that will be fun.  The 15 minute visit cost $150, what a bargain.  At least we had some meds to try to actively combat whatever is going on.  Other than catching Lucy each time, giving her the meds hasn’t been that bad.  It’s a two person operation but she is rather cooperative taking the liquid.  Maybe she knows we are trying to help her.  Her wing was bandaged up from the vet which she hated.  We couldn’t take it off until the next morning.

Cindy was working most of the day which left me home to melt outside while doing chores.  I first weeded and then followed up with weed whacking during the early afternoon, in the absolute hottest part of the day.  We are now in the part of summer where the heat and humidity is merciless.  By the time I was done I was depleted.  I jumped in the pool to get my body temp down and still felt washed out, so much so that I actually laid in bed for an hour, something that is very, very rare during daytime hours.

On Saturday it was nice to not have to set an alarm.  After tending to the chickens we headed out to run some errands. One of those included stopping at Ron Jon’s the place I got the One Wheel from.  I just wanted to look at more of their skateboard gear.  Cindy did a lot of skateboarding as a kid and was really interested in all the stuff they had.  We talked a lot with a kid that worked there named Miguel.  We wound up walking out of there with a cool board for Cindy.  She was very excited by the prospect of reliving one of her childhood highlights.

Later in the afternoon when we got home she did her first riding in the driveway.

I neglected to mention I rode the One Wheel all the way to Dunkin Donuts and back on Saturday morning.  The unit is rated for 12-18 miles of range.  The ride was more than 20 miles.  I made it home, just barely.  The video is pretty entertaining.

Saturday night we met up with Cindy’s family to celebrate her neice’s 24th birthday.  It was held at Iguana Mia, a place I used to like but have had several poor experiences at lately.  My food was better this time around but Cindy’s mom was not as pleased, telling the waitress she was given the worst taco salad she has ever eaten. A lot of the lettuce was brown and nasty looking. They at least didn’t charge her for the food.  Everyone seemed to have fun and I had a couple Shock Tops to take the edge off.

On Sunday morning Cindy and I took the Segway I2, the OneWheel and her new skateboard out for a ride.  It was a fun little trip that surely had to look strange to oncoming traffic.  Cindy made some real strong progress blowing the dust off her boarding skills.  She was rolling around the school parking lot pretty confidently, it was impressive.

Shortly after we got back I had to dive into fixing the tractor steering arms, one of which fell apart last weekend mowing.  I pulled the tractor into the garage to avoid the blazing sun.  It quickly became obvious that this was going to be a much more involved job than I expected.  I thought I could just pop off a couple nuts for each arm and swap in the new one.  The problem is the rear nut is attached to the steering plate which is snugged up against the underside of the tractor.  I had no access to turn off the nuts, the only way it could be done is by dropping the steering plate.

Doing this was a huge pain in the ass.  I had to remove the mower deck and then use contortionist like skills to hold a socket on the nut up inside the body of the mower while turning out the 3/4″ bolt below.  I was coated in oily, dirty, organic matter mixed with a constant stream of sweat.  It was quite the ordeal but I finally was successful.  I was very glad I decided to be proactive and ordered the arms for both sides even the one was still holding together.  If I didn’t get both I would have been repeating this shit a few months later.

I wasted no time putting my repair to the test, mowing the front half of the yard.  Even with the canopy the heat radiating down made the task miserable.  The good news is the steering is working well.

I spent close to two hours later trying to work out some bugs I have been having doing my EUC live streams.  I finally got it sorted out with about 45 minutes to go before the broadcast.  The stream went pretty well although it was a bit awkward for me.  The show is all about electric unicycles and I haven’t ridden my EUC’s since I got the One Wheel.  I still think we did a decent job.  I want to work on coming up with a more structured format which should flow better.

Today is my last day of vaca.  I have work planned, as always but hopefully an equal amount of fun.


Relented, Wait for the bonus, One Wheeling

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.


A good outcome, 100% success

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.

Scariest fall to date, Used it, Pumping

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.




Battery Roulette, SAFE at home

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 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.



One Wheel, One Crash, One puddle of Blood

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.