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Riding a giraffe

If you're looking for a major adrenaline rush, try riding a six-foot giraffe unicycle! It's so much fun, and perhaps the best part is being able to say, "Oh sure, I've ridden a giraffe." :)

First, be very comfortable with riding a regular unicycle. It helps if you can idle somewhat. We've been told that if you can ride a regular uni, you can ride a giraffe. It feels a little different because of the height and the chain, but since you have already developed the balance, you should be fine.

Even though it doesn't look THAT tall, it seems to grow several feet once you're actually sitting on top of it. Just keep telling yourself that your feet are really only something like three feet from the ground, which isn't bad at all. Or tell yourself it's like riding on the shoulders of a six-foot tall person. See? No problem.

Getting ON the giraffe is definitely the hardest part. We spent a LONG time trying to mount it using each other and a curb, and I think our neighbors were starting to worry about us and our suicidal tendencies. Methods for getting up? Well, try a ladder, a large step, stairs, or the back of a truck. If you're just starting, it would be wise to have at least two other people helping you. The ideal spot for mounting would be a high (three foot or so) place where you can lock the wheel against a wall or curb. That way, when you step first on the back pedal, the wheel won't move. It will just press into the curb. Once you get your second foot on the other pedal, you can start moving forward. Hold onto the hands of two people until you get a feel for it. Try rocking and get a feel for the chain. Once you're in an open place, you can let go of your helpers and ride alone. It's the greatest feeling!! :) (Make sure your helpers stick close by you, though! Even better if they hold their arms up in the air for you to grab if you need them.)

Free mounting the giraffe is, from what we've heard, a good feat to master. We haven't accomplished that yet!

Once you're used to it, mounting gets easier. We are able to mount the giraffe just using a curb and one other person. Have the person hold the unicycle up. The rider should step on the tire with the left foot, then the BACK pedal with the right (which locks the tire against the curb) and then the front pedal with the left foot. It may take several tries!

Here is a picture of Jana attempting to mount the giraffe. Note the two helpers holding the unicycle up. All Jana has to do is step on the wheel with her right foot, the back pedal with her left foot, and then the front pedal with her right foot as she gets on the seat!

And now, what about dismounting? Falling is not that bad on a small uni, and it's still not that bad on a giraffe. A good way to dismount is to ride over to the edge of the road and jump into the grass. If possible, catch the uni, or have someone else catch it. We learned the hard way that dropping it wrong can wreck the sprocket and mess up the chain! You can decide if you want to dismount from the front or the back.

Once you master the giraffe, you can do almost anything you want on it. Idling is a useful skill - it feels weird at first on a giraffe, because the idles seem to be much bigger.

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