It’s been more than a year since adding a video update. I haven’t stopped training, just the opposite, I’m training more than ever. Admittedly a slow learner, there are a number of new moves just out of reach, like the coin, which I wanted to have documented by now. Ah well, so it goes. Not many new moves in this video but the consistency, transitions and execution have improved. For what it’s worth, here is a progress clip.
18 months with the Cyr Wheel.
03/08/15 Video after 75 hours logged during 55 training sessions.
The Wheel is challenging but I hoped my skills would be further along than where they are now at 75 hours..
I’ve found the learning curve higher for the Wheel than for Unicycle or Slackline.
What can be performed on a Cyr Wheel? It is easier to show than tell. This youtube is from World Championships 2011.
Learning the Cyr Wheel
The wheel is not well known in the US but I believe it is growing in popularity. Personal instruction is very limited and I have not come across any instructors in Orlando area. Instruction via youtube is adequate for beginning level but less so as you move beyond basics. The biggest problem is lack of instructional material. Amazon doesn’t offer a Cyr Wheel Training book. You can Google a reference to a Cyr Wheel pdf guide but the link is a dead end.
The lack of instructional material results in more hours spent experimenting, a few more injuries, frustration and the development of bad habits. If you’ve trained any sport, then you are aware of the time it takes to unlearn bad habits. I am drafting my own training guide and will add it to this blog in the summer/fall 2015.
It is a young sport and I’m excited to be involved with it at this stage. It will be interesting to see if it catches on and becomes a recognized activity/sport in the US.
Buying a Cyr Wheel
The other problem a newcomer faces is buying a Cyr Wheel. You can not walk into Sports Authority or Dick’s and try one out. Cyr Wheels are not a one size fits all, size matters. I discovered after 80 hours of use that my wheel feels a little too big. I’d like to try one with an inside diameter that is 1 inch less. Before I bought mine, I looked around for used wheels and found almost nothing. I googled to find wheel manufacturers. Most are individuals hand crafting them out of their garage or machine shop. There isn’t an international brand wheel.
A Cyr Wheel will set you back in the neighborhood of $750-$1,000. The good news is that there is almost no additional cost once you own it. Most wheels are designed to come apart in sections for portability.
A Cyr Wheel can be performed on almost any smooth hard surface. Outdoor playgrounds, driveways, tennis courts are great but being able to ride it indoors allows you to train year round. I train in my garage in an area less than 20 x 20 foot. The garage floor is smooth as opposed to the concrete driveway. The wheel spins faster and with less effort on the smooth floor.
I starting practicing January 2, 2015. As of March 17, 2015 I have logged 80 hours of practice. I can self propel and maintain a spin until I become dizzy. There aren’t designated levels but compared to other activities I’d place my skill as Intermediate. I’ve had a number of breakthroughs and skill advancements within the last 10 hours. My next skill challenge is learning a cartwheel and coin.
My training goal is 100 hours of practice within 100 days starting January 1st, 2015 and so far I am on track.
Update to post: 07/25/16
Well over 100 hours of practice. Averaging 4-5 practice sessions a week broken up between in garage, which has a smooth floor for spins and in the street which has more room but the surface is rough and makes the wheel grab. Street is good for cartwheels, running and coin practice. Lots of bumps and bruises but no major crashes yet.
No serious injuries, just a few of bumps and bruises to report to myself and the garage where I do most of my training. The wheel did run away from me one time. It rolled out of the garage, across the driveway, into the yard and ended up encircling my 12 year old golden retriever Bailey who never moved.
A few people have seen the wheel and think I purchased it as a device for fitness training. There are two reasons I picked up the wheel. One reason is that it is fun. The other reason is the need to learn new skills to keep the mind and body refreshed. There is a joy in movement. This concept of fun is missing in the way many people approach fitness. Hours on a treadmill, running in straight lines, repetitive lifting are all somewhat necessary but lack joy.
Buffalo Tip: Find something that moves you to move and you’ll never need to worry about fitness.
I first saw a wheel performance in a 1977 documentary entitled “Gizmo” and immediately wanted one.
Almost 40 years later I bought one!
Wheel gymnastics originated in 1924, when a German locksmith Otto Feick created a Rhönrad
The wheel in the documentary was a German Wheel but there is a more recent version known as a Cyr Wheel, which is a mono wheel.
Daniel Cyr in 2003, presented the first cyr wheel circus act at the 2003 Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris.
The Cyr Wheel is a tube of aluminum formed into a circle and covered with PVC or flexible tubing. It is sized to the performer. The inside diameter is approximately 3 inches beyond the height of the performer. Most are built to be disassembled in sections. Mine has 5 sections. It weighs around 30 lbs. I bought my wheel from Coggs Circus.
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