Why is coasting allowed in gliding?

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The full text of 3B.6.3 Gliding Events is

Gliding is like coasting, but with one or both feet dragging on top of the tire to provide balance from the braking action. These events are similar to the coasting events above, with riders gliding for time or distance from a given point. The rules are the same as for the coasting events (above) with the addition that the riding surface must be dry.
Coasting is allowed.

I think that last sentence is very strange. First we define gliding by opposing it to coasting, in that one has one or both feet dragging on the tyre. Then at the end we say that Coasting is allowed.

Generally, the achieved distances for coasting are longer than for gliding - and for obvious reasons. So what if somebody enters the Gliding competition, but coasts all the way, and wins the event. Has he won Gliding in that way?? In my view, this makes Gliding a nonsensical competition.

I am certainly no expert in gliding or coasting. But I would argue that in gliding, at least one foot must be in contact with the tyre at all times. I remember having been volunteer for downhill gliding in Unicon 2014, where I was explicitly instructed to check this constant foot-tyre requirement. I don't know how it was in the Rulebook at the time.

I would propose to change "Coasting is allowed" into "Coasting (with no foot on the tire) is not allowed."

I realise that this is a definite deviation from the current rule. But I simply don't understand the concept, the way it is in the rules now.


I forgot to mention: it may be difficult for judges to check that the foot is in contact al the time, especially since the rider will try to minimise the foot pressure. But IMHO this should not be a reason to allow coasting. We can at least try our best (as judges) to check adherance to a non-coasting rule.


Yup, that one needs updating. In fact, I'm surprise it's lasted so long as-is, and yeah, I probably wrote that. At the time, the simple statement of Coasting being allowed was to prevent Gliding competitors from being disqualified if officials detected gaps of daylight between their foot and the tire. To get long glides, you want a really light touch on the tire, but to maintain that type of control, occasionally you might have to lift your foot up to regain control.

What we must decide here is whether we want to allow this at all, and if so, how do we keep it from being excessive? Off the top of my head I think of a maximum of 1 second. So I then project that forward, and ask myself if someone can intentionally glide with lots of small gaps of coasting? The answer is yes. But the rider still has the burden of putting some friction on the tire, so is that enough for us to still call it gliding?

Actually I think that sentence has survived so long in our rules because we have almost always done Gliding as a downhill event, and used the Slope or Track Glide far less often.

Looks like our choices are to allow zero daylight between foot and tire, or figure out a way to allow "some" air for control purposes. 


In the downhill gliding competition, the allowance of coasting makes sense to me. At Unicon 2014, this rulebook text was the same as it is currently but the event director had decided that they didn't want to allow coasting and instructed the referees such. They didn't have the ability to make this change, but did anyways.

The track gliding competition is rarely held anymore (if at all). I agree that coasting should not be allowed for this event. I suggest we move the "coasting is allowed" text into the rules for DH gliding instead of gliding in general.


I don't think we should have two different definitions of gliding; this would lead to confusion that might last long beyond such time that we undid it, if we did it. It is the Downhill event where there's less need to glide, because you are, in theory, managing excessive speed as well as trying to maximize your distance. I know some people don't have an upper end on how fast they want to go, but for most of us...

Anyway, the easiest way to solve this is to say "no coasting". If we want to allow for tiny amounts of coasting, it would have to be more along the lines of the stuff you need penalties for in Slow Balance. Not that I'm recommending penalties. It would be messy however we did it, leaving room for interpretation. Or to allow a maximum number of obvious bits of coasting under 1 sec. each. I don't like it.

Better, then, to stick with the straight definition of gliding, which means keeping your foot on. If you're good at gliding, you can keep a very light touch on the tire, and that should be enough. If any coasting were to be allowed, it would be in the case of any bumps along the course. If a bump (or pavement seam, for example) makes your foot briefly leave the tire, this would be okay.

When that "Coasting is allowed" part was written, it wasn't a thing; the assumption was that you might coast a little, but it would be too risky to coast "too much" so nobody worried about it. Now people are riding Freewheel unicycles in Downhill races; it's a different time.  :-)


I agree with John that we shouldn't have two different definitions of gliding. What bothers me a little about completely banning costing is that it happens regularly during gliding that you coasts unintentionally - like John already mentioned because of small holes or bumps along the curse or due to other circumstances that are not intended. Especially if you try to keep the pressure on the tyre to a minimum, small disturbances are enough to cause the foot to lose contact with the tyre for a very short time. But for me the short interruptions are not yet a real coasting, because in the end the balance is still kept via the contact between foot and tyre, even if this contact breaks off for a very short moment.

But to be honest, I also have no idea how it could be put into practice that short unintentional interruptions of the contact do not lead directly to the end of the attempt and intentional coasting can still be prevented.


It is easy enough to forbid coasting in gliding. (As we say in Dutch "paper is patient"). And indeed in theory, coasting and gliding are objectively different.
The problem, as stipulated by almost every comment in this discussion, is how to judge it, and what exceptions might be allowed.

Let me (as a layman in gliding and coasting) ask a bold question:
Would it be possible to merge both gliding and coasting into a single discipline? (There still could be downhill versus track, of course.) In other words, a competition where it doesn't matter if you glide or coast? That seems the most fair to me - and super easy to judge.
Or would there be an uproar among riders, who perhaps "lose" a favourite discipline, in return for a watered-down version?


Gliding is the "easy" version of coasting. To merge the two would still be a coasting contest, or a gliding contest where "coasting is allowed". So far that hasn't come up as a problem (much), but we seem to anticipate that it will. Slope Glide is a test of how gentle you can be on the tire, to keep your speed from the hill at the beginning. It definitely fits between the two, but is also the one where this distinction matters the most.

Some people have very sensitive hearing, and might be able to detect a foot lifting off the tire even if it isn't visible. But then again, some people can probably glide so gently that there is little to no sound, especially with a smooth tire and smooth shoe. So that's not useful.

I would be cool with a rule that allows the foot to lift up momentarily, but only very briefly; say less than a second. If this is allowed, then we must talk about quantity. Can the rider do that every second? I think not. Then you would have skilled riders doing this:

______________________---_______________________---________________________---  etc. Hope that is visually sufficient. It has to be more gliding than coasting.

Or maybe we can leave the existing rule in place, but with additional details. You can't put your gliding foot "away" and coast off into the sunset. Your gliding foot must remain in near contact with the tire. But it still would seem to get messy on the "how much" part. 

Any ideas?


Correction to my above: A coasting competition that allows gliding can still be called coasting -- sort of. Or if we allow people to do either, then it's Coast/Glide or something, but the people better at coasting would tend to win, at least on any flat course.

Or we leave it as-is, and allow coasting as we have, even in a Slope Glide, where coasting would probably determine the winners. I don't know if I've ever participated in a Slope Glide competition, so it may be untested. Plus I can only remember one or two Track Gliding competitions; those were far less interesting than Track Coasting, where the distances are much longer.


I think that the rulebook should be simplified and only contain these two gliding/coasting events: track coasting and downhill gliding. The other events are not held, and if an event organizer would like to host them, they can still do so.

In track coasting, it is clear that no contact with the tire should be allowed.

In downhill gliding, I think that any amount of coasting should be allowed, but I agree that the name implies that gliding is the primary activity. This really comes down to course choice. If the course is not very steep and a rider can coast for a very long time, then we have a problem. Unfortunately, it's often quite difficult to find a good course for this event with the correct grade [steepness] and good pavement quality (while taking into account location and timing).


Course choice is frequently an issue, which is why I recommend keeping those other variations in there. Not only for venues where no viable hill is available, but also to make them visible to people hosting smaller competitions, who might want to do those. As for whether to allow coasting in those, our easiest solution for now is probably to not worry about it, as they probably won't be offered at the next Unicon either. Even great politicians sometimes kick the can down the road...


I agree with Scott, that the rulebook should be simplified and that it contains gliding and coasting events that are almost never held. I would agree, taht this events could be deletet.

The only discipline (besides track coasting and downhill gliding) I'm not in favour of deleting from the rules is track gliding - in Germany it was offered for many years on almost every track competition where coasting was offered, because it is the preferred discipline especially for the young riders compared to coasting. Since gliding offers the possibility to use a completely different technique for balancing than coasting, for many - especially the young riders - gliding is much easier and there are a lot of riders who go further in gliding than in coasting. However, it would actually be important to find a solution that prevents participants from deliberately coasting for long periods of time during track gliding.

I don't like the idea to merge gliding and coasting into a single discipline - of course that would solve the coasting in gliding problem... However, you take the challenge and difficulty, which the discipline coasting quite constitutes: Namely that the tyre must never be touched at any time. In gliding, this touch is rule-compliant. Personally, I would really find it a pity if this challenge didn't exist.

Assuming you would only want to have one discipline in the rulebook because of the overlaps, then I would personally vote to leave the discipline of gliding in, simply to make still different techniques possible. Even if I personally would miss the essential "challenge" of the discipline coasting.


If we have a merged gliding/coasting discipline, Jan says you take out the difficulty of coasting if gliding is allowed.

I disagree. On the contrary, it favours the riders who are good at coasting. The riders that primarily or exclusively glide during such a merged competition, are likely to cover less distance because of the braking effect of gliding. So the better you are at "zero-foot riding", the better your result. You can use the more advanced technique of coasting if you're up to it, and end higher in the ranking. Isn't that exactly what we need?

Compare with one-foot. Some junior riders like to dangle their non-riding foot in the air, as opposed to putting it on the frame. This is allowed in one-foot. But for advanced riders foot-on-the-frame provides more stability and hence more speed potential, and as such is the better technique. Both techniques are allowed but the rider using the better technique will tend to win. Exactly what we want.

By the way, I just coined a possible name for merged coasting and gliding. :-)


Klaas, I don't think you quite understand what I want to express. Of course, those who can coast well will win in a combined gliding/coasting competition and will have an advantage through their technique.

I would say that I am someone who can coast  quite well and yet I personally would miss a - for myself - not unimportant aspect of discipline if I knew that a touch of the tire doesn't mean the end of the attempt anymore, but I could just continue to coast. The further you want to coast, the more speed you have to build up and it becomes more and more difficult to control the unicycle with the coasting technique. If gliding is allowed, you can use a different technique to control the wheel when your speed is very high and so you take one challenge and difficulty out of the discipline.  I think also for the very good coasters it is always a challenge to keep the balance with the coasting technique exclusively - if we have only one discipline this challenge didnt't exists anymore. Of course thats my personal oppinion, but once again, I would really find it a pity if this challenge ceases to exist.



For the track gliding competitions in Germany, is coasting generally allowed? Is it allowed in very short (virtually undetectable) amounts?


Jan, I understand your point now. This may well hold for more riders. Now what to do with the original issue?


I suggest only keeping Track Coasting, Track Gliding, and DH gliding in the rulebook. (I'm also in favor of Klaas's other proposal to remove "fun" events from chap 3.) I would move "coasting is allowed" into the DH gliding rules. We may need to add a sentence about minimal coasting in Track gliding.


I agree with Scott to only have coasting and downhill gliding in the rulebook and allow coasting in downhill gliding. Unicon almost never offers track gliding (at least I cannot remember from the past ones) and as hosts are free to offer other disciplines than in the rulebook, why should it not be allowed to offer a gliding competition in Germany?


To be clear, my suggestion including track gliding too after Jan’s comment that it is still often held in Germany. 


I saw it (but too late). For me, it's also ok like this.


In my view, if we keep both Track Gliding and Track Coasting, we must do something about minimal coasting in Track Gliding, otherwise my original issue still exists.

Example: we have an official World Record in Track Gliding that is less distance than the World Record in Track Coasting. If coasting is allowed without restriction in Track Gliding, then the Coasting record is also valid as the Gliding record. To add to the problem, I don't know under what rules (re coasting) these two records have been achieved.


I would really appreciate it very much to leave track gliding within the rules, but I completely agree with Klaas that we actually need a solution that allows only short time coasting - best only short time unintentional coasting - in track gliding. But how do you define the this and how do you judge?
In the last few years gliding has unfortunately rarely been offered in Germany, because some responsible people in the federations also see the risk that as long as coasting is not limited in gliding some riders simply coast in both disciplines. Even if I have to say from my experience that almost no rider has been coasting at the gilding competition all the time - the riders have always regarded this as different disciplines for different techniques and therefore always used the gliding technique in the gliding competition. I think this is also the reason why no rider has ever claimed a coasting world record as a gliding world record.

Even if it's probably anything but easy to judging, how about adding the following sentence to the description for track gliding:
"In track gliding, the balance has to be kept all the time by the braking action between one or both feet and the top of the tire. If, for example, the foot loses contact with the tire due to small bumps, the contact must be restored immediately."


I like that addition. It may be difficult to judge completely, but it sure does avoid the issue that a competitor would just be coasting in the gliding competition. I also like the phrase "foot loses contact", thereby avoiding the word "coasting".


Let's not have two different definitions for what Gliding is. Jan's text above is very good, unless we want to allow some very gentle touching of the tire, which might be combined with gaps of coasting. That would be the best technique for success in a Track or Slope Glide, to minimize the friction.

I would be sorry to see Slope Gliding go away, but since I don't know if I've ever been in one, I guess I can live without it. It's probably the one variation where I could do best.  :-(

Here's an alternative version of Jan's definition for Gliding (which would apply to all forms of gliding):

"In gliding, the balance must be kept by the braking of one or both feet against the tire. The foot is allowed to lose contact with the tire for brief periods, but the majority of the time at least one foot must be in contact with the tire."

That's a more lax version, allowing up to 50% of the time to be coasting. So maybe that's too much. But it's simple to explain and easy to understand, at least...


I think I like Jan's version better for all forms of gliding.


What if we replace

3B.6.3 Gliding Events
Gliding is like coasting, but with one or both feet dragging on top of the tire to provide balance from the braking action. These events are similar to the coasting events above, with riders gliding for time or distance from a given point. The rules are the same as for the coasting events (above) with the addition that the riding surface must be dry. Coasting is allowed.


3B.6.3 Gliding Events
In Gliding, the balance has to be kept all the time by the braking action between one or both feet and the top of the tire. If, for example, the foot loses contact with the tire due to small bumps, the contact must be restored immediately.

Gliding events are similar to the coasting events above, with riders gliding for time or distance from a given point. The rules are the same as for the coasting events (above) with the addition that the riding surface must be dry.

= = = = =

Is Slope Glide the victim with this change? I don't know about this. Is slope glide normally done by gliding down a hill to gain speed, and then coasting on the flat to get maximum distance? Or must the rider continue to glide on the flat? The latter is suggested by the current rule in 3B.6.3.1 (second sentence).


The intent of the Slope Glide is (was) to Glide the whole thing. This was originally added at a time when Coasting competitions were a fairly elite thing, with few entrants able to manage more than a few meters. This was why we added the 5m "BS" line; to not have to record all the attempts that didn't get anywhere. I think that was originally a 1m line, BTW.  :-)

I will also go with Jan's wording on the definition of gliding; nice and easy. If it's not a bump, and a foot is visibly separated from the tire for more than an instant, it's a DQ. Riders must seek to maintain some amount of friction at all times.

Thanks Klaas, for removing the "dragging" from the old text; that never sounded great.

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