First ever „Freewheel Kiting“

About the first experience with the combination of freewheel kiting which is a unicycle without back gear pulled by a kite.

First don’t be confused this is for an audience of kiters and unicyclists especially freewheelers as well. Therefore some known, but detailed explanations are more for one or the other group. And this is also the reason why it is written in englisch, freewheeler community, even on the whole planet, is still small.

How it started

Since early tries of munikiteln (normal unicycle with kite) last year, I thought about further possible improvements. Check old videos:

https://kitejunkie.com/slides/slide/ab-jetzt-was-ganz-anderes-kris-holm-bei-kitejunkie-2-57

As during last cross country rides, munikiteln started to get very easy not to say to easy. To give an impression, the last rides I passed over molehills while stuntkiting, without to much difficulty. See http://kj4l.com/2017/11/18/how-to-stuntkite-1-helikopter/

Happily I found this page about the friends of freewheeling. (Unicycles with a free reverse gear as normal bicycles have)

http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113744

And I asked myself if freewheel kiting would be possible. Expected advantage was, that you haven’t to move your legs anymore when the kite is pulling. On the other hand it was clear that it will be very hard. This especially for an unicycle beginner with just one year and about 40 hours of experience like me. On the other hand from experience, a kite on a normal unicycle is a good teacher. It can help to simplify some of the secound steps as free mount for example.

Chronology of experience till now

So I decided to buy a freewheel for my existing unicycle from Petra & Roland from Municycle.com. As also many new videos of very skilled riders showed what is possible with a freewheel. Just one example:

received a freewheel for 24″ Kris Holm Muni from municycle.com
  1. Day assembling, was pretty easy, had just to change wheel and switch break to the other side. (black wheel is the freewheel with a nimbus hub)
  2. Day first try without kite for an hour, first thought it is going to be impossible but on the end made one free mount, 1 km in total, and very few but still uncontrolled break coastings for few meter.
  3. Day, first I wanted to go Snowkiting, but then left the spots behind hoping to find a place with less, but still frozen snow. Unfortunately the snow on the asphalt was first molten and than turned into a ice plate:
First tries of freewheel kiting on an ice plate

So I had to go directly on the grass with molehills hidden under the snow while the wind,  coming from a city and wane 1 km upwind was pretty gusty. So altogether close to worst conditions for the first try. And therefore the first hour it felt like something completely impossible. So I was just making the prank monkey for the few passing spectators.

On the end more than success

Happily in the second hour I found a place with less molehills and therefore was able to do some longer rides of more than 100 m.

freewheel kiting on a plane with few molehills

Here I also started the first try to jibe (turn 180° with the wind), which just failed on the end as there you have to switch hand position: Normally downwind hand controls the kite, upwind hand the break of the freewheel. In the moment you switch both helpers, stability is lost. But after about 6th try I even managed this. Also started to have longer break coastings (no pedaling) with help of the break for about 10 minutes and many better controlled changes from pedaling to coasting in the same run.

Conclusion

Back at home I tried for 5 minutes, on the only not ice covered place around, if my skills have improved. As I could feel it was very significant. About half of free mount have been successful now and also changes from pedaling to coasting and back again started to be more or less controlled. 🙂

Just can’t say if the kite has been a good teacher, I think with the experienced conditions maybe using the same time for exercise without kite could have been better. But with perfect conditions on a beach with flat sand I would expect a kite could be an improvement, if you already have a very good kite control.

For sure not the last ride, waiting for better conditions and one nice day hope to do a longer cross country ride with kite or with kite in the backpack, when wind or trees don’t allow usage.

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Ich stimme zu.