Unicycle - tips for the beginner and things importante'

Picture of Unicycle - tips for the beginner and things importante'
Hi one and all - thought I would pop this on line as these few things I have discovered in my uni practice sessions have made a world of difference to my competence and move into enjoying the riding I do as opposed to a constant battle with the one wheeled beast.

To follow are just a couple of hints and tips that have helped me to become free from the dreaded wall and get out onto the open road.

I know you guys and girls don't want a load of bla bla and waffle but I do just want to say that nothing here is in any way meant to disrespect those great folks on Youtube and other resources that  helped me so much when I decided to to take up unicycling - Megan Rouch and good ole Unigeezer to name just two (my hero's).

The thing is this  - I have found that tutorials by really great riders can miss the subtle things that really slow ya progress - only because - when ya know how to do something - wellllll ya just kinda do it, not think so much - you know what I mean.

OK, off we go.

Oh yeah!!! - no laughing at what I am wearing and the dodgy duds, plus the look of an old Quasimodod - it was cold, I need a shave and I suffer from extreme spontaneity - meaning when I get an urge I just gotta do it or try it - - jeez I look like the fella off SAW - just before he dies - ho hum. 
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stickmop4 months ago

This trick with the cane really help me get going. I had a unicycle in the 70s but never got adept at it. I picked up a cheap 24" one a few months back and can go about 80 feet max (my practice sessions are like 5 minutes several times a week).

What I'd like to work on now is going "straight". I ride on hard smooth gravel a bit and the tracks looks like I'm slaloming down the driveway

darrenhall (author)  stickmop4 months ago

Hiya - cheers for the look in - for a straighter ride ya might examine your leg setup - make them just shy of fully extended when your at the bottom of the stroke, the more bent the leg is the harder they have to work, plus with the knees sticking out in front half way down n the stroke can have ya wobbling all over the place.

glad the trick worked, keep up the great work - wanna see some vids of ya on youtube soon.

When I test fit the pedals per all the internet FAQs I only have a slight bend in my knees. When I ride, it seems like I'm half on the pedals and half on the seat. Maybe my seat is over-cushioned. I also ride using the balls of my feet, not flatfooted as you appear to. I'll crank the seat height up some more.

The FAQs also say "twisting" could be due to posture, a bent frame, wheel out of alignment or misaligned cranks.

This one was obtained used from an acquaintance so it's very possible that something is bent or out of whack. Something other than me that is. :-)

darrenhall (author)  stickmop4 months ago

Hi - hhmm seems to be being troublesome - I would not advise using the balls of your feet till you are riding really well, think about this, if your using the balls then extra muscles are being used and made weary, pushing with the flats allows you to lock the heel of a shoe against the back of the pedal and not slip off at an inappropriate moment, plus you remove a muscle group and hopefully make a more controllable pushing structure.

As to your seating position, maybe your nose needs lifting, unless your uni is really cheap like my very first one then you should be able to kinda move the saddle forwards n back.

Bottom line ( pardon the pun ) this little bleeder is all about practice and what works for you - I jotted down some stuff that got me going but I bet you will other find ways.

You'll get there - good luck.

After 50+ years of bike riding, using the balls of my feet is too ingrained I think. I've seen the suggestion about locking the heels against the pedals too, but I only have two pair of shoes and neither have heels. I rarely slip once on the cycle, but I could see where heels may help with unassisted mounts.

My unicycle is cheap but the seat does have some adjustments so I'll play with that. Good suggestion, thanks!

Beekeeper2 years ago
I'm sure those tips are very useful for all potential unicyclists, a phase in life that is now passed for me. When I was young, a friend of mine's father said 'can you ride your bicycle (2 wheeled type) backwards?' whereupon he sat on the handlebars and peddled around the yard going backwards. Over my younger life I tried it hundreds of times without any success whatsoever. I think a unicycle might well be easier than riding a regular bicycle backwards.

On another point I found your text somewhat confusing to read as you use the possessive pronoun 'your' when you mean the abbreviated form of 'you are' namely you're. I don't know why this mis-use of the language is creeping in so much these days but I blame the teachers.
I agree with your comment about 'your' and 'you're'. If only when somebody uses 'your' they just said out loud 'you are' they would understand it doesn't make sense and vice versa. You're (you are) correct. You can't say 'your' correct because it's not yours you don't own it. Please, please, please do an instructable on correct usage of the English language. You might throw in 'their', 'there' and 'they're'. ....and how an apostrophe in a word means there's a letter missing and the apostrophe is get the idea....sorry about the rant and probably incorrect word usage.
Skymeat2 years ago
I've been thinking about commuting on a unicycle for a while now. I think with my mountain poles that may be the difference between success and failure. It took a while to figure out the slackline, but it's a breeze now.
darrenhall (author)  Skymeat2 years ago
Hiya - slackline!! - strewth I thought the uni was hard - big big respect.

Strewth - Is that like 'damn!'? If so It wasn't too hard. Just a few afternoons working it out for the basics. I always assumed the uni was hard to learn. If you think the line is hard to learn perhaps we're at just about the same level of difficulty?

Strewth is a shortened form of " to tell you the truth"
MastaDann2 years ago
Interesting, I never considered the staff. I have found lots of practice as the primary key. Every time I get on my Uni with a quest to discover my balance I learn a little bit.

Most recently, I found that looking backwards helps to start learning the balance of backwards motion. I'm currently becoming more acquainted with leaning backwards while facing forwards to move backwards.

Key = TIME (patience with self)
mr.frob2 years ago
Great idea! I will definitely have to try this out, I've been having so much trouble starting... this just might be the thing I've needed! Thanks for sharing!
just keep at it. it took me about two weeks to learn to ride in a straight line. it pretty difficult. just remember; the object is to be constantly falling forward but never landing.
darrenhall (author)  mr.frob2 years ago
Walls or railings, the longer the better helped me - but if ya can just start and get a bit of free pedaling distance then I hope you go from strength to strength if these tips help.

Cheers DZ
Aww.. sorry. No photos. It was more than 50 years ago and I didn't keep any that long. I can still ride when I come across one that the owner will trust me with, but I'm too rusty for the tricks like one foot off the petals and pickiing stuff up off the ground, up steps and such.
Just get an old bike. Take the handle bars off, the front fork out, and put the handle bars back in to the fork tube without the rest of the bike. Nothing to it.
J-Five2 years ago
If I ever wanted to use one I would need training wheels.
darrenhall (author)  J-Five2 years ago
Cheat - if your into computers and robotics ya could build your own self balancing uni - post it on here - - then uummmm sell it to me. I am terrible, if I get hooked I want one, but the electric uni's can be mad expensive.

I would last about 0.05 seconds on unicycle.
chaydgb2 years ago
Thanks for the tips! I got one for me and my little brother a few years back, he became really good and I just gave up and stuck the unicycle in the shed. Perhaps this summer I'll give it another go... :)
giles26062 years ago
Great intro - so true that its difficult to express those simple things that, if you don't know them make it hard to progress. I'm inspired to dig out my unicycle again !! :-)
darrenhall (author)  giles26062 years ago
Go for it - ask any of the guys/girls any where - once your up and getting some distance you wonder what all the fuss was about - this is a made sport, but such a buzz no matter what level your at.

I won't mention the date I started riding, but it was some time ago. Great idea you have here. I tried a number assist devices with each of the unicycles I had. An 8" tricycle tire with seat, a 10" tricycle wheel, a 20"x6' chain drive from 2 bicycles, a 24"commercial cycle and a 26"x4' chain drive 3:1 gear for high speed travel.

But, the reason I'm posting, I took the front wheel and handle bars off of a bicycle and put them back together without the bike. Holding the handlebars helped with the balance like your cane.
I also had a pet crow (raven). He liked to ride on my shoulder while I was on the unicycle. If he rode on those handle bars, the backs of my shirts stayed much cleaner!
darrenhall (author)  llittlefield2 years ago
That uni with the handlebars - do you have a picture, sounds cool.

I learned with mounting and riding by a sturdy railing. The Harvard Bridge (Massachusetts Avenue across the Charles River) is great because there's about a third of a mile (.5 km) of continuous railing at a good height next to an uninterrupted sidewalk.
darrenhall (author)  ephraimephraim2 years ago
5km - you better watch out or you will have a load of uni learners wanting you to adopt them - - aaaahhh 5km pure blisss, ya lucky devil.

Cheers DZ
The main key to learning to ride a unicycle is persistance. It probably took me trying 500 times over the course of ten hours. I did it all in one day which makes it much easier. Yes, you will fall off over and over again, but soon you will be able to ride it like a champ. Trust me, if you are just persistant, anyone can learn this.
darrenhall (author)  JimTheSoundman2 years ago
That is so very true - in fact probably the first thing we all should know - others do it and so can we,no matter how old - - good post.

fred_dot_u2 years ago
That's a pretty handy idea you've posted. I learned to ride the unicycle only recently and never really mastered the start. I learned from using a step or a curb as a backstop, but if an unplanned dismount happens and there are no steps or curbs about, it's a long walk to find one! A walking stick for starting would make that a good bit easier.

I've since moved to a Focus Designs SBU (Self-Balancing Unicycle) and gotten lazy, since it does the hard part for you. I wanted to get back on the pedal uni but it now terrifies me! Those falls are brutal on this old body.

Thanks again for a great idea.
ecsaul232 years ago
Very nice. I learned to ride when I was about 10 and my unicycle came with a set of 2 poles to help you learn. They are great because when you are losing your balance you can use the poles on either side to keep you upright so you can ride longer and get the hang of it easier.
vincent75202 years ago
Let's start by the most difficult thing first : get some bricks and mortar and build that wall.

Actually I love this instructables as it really helps to start.
Thanks for sharing !…
This is such a smart way to go about it. Awesome instructable! :D
darrenhall (author)  jessyratfink2 years ago
Hiya - cheers for your feedback.

I was wondering if a question would be ok - I see you have some instructables that are to do with sewing etc (please forgive my ignorance if that is the wrong way of putting it).
I have access to bike inner tubes for free and I was thinking about hand stitching a pair of fingerless cycle gloves from this material - was wondering if there was a stitch you thought might be best to be strong, tidy and avoid pulling or tearing.

Thanks again - - DZ
If you're doing it by hand I'd suggest punching holes in the tube and doing a backstitch:

If you're doing it by machine I'd suggest a zig zag stitch. It's wider and trickier to unravel. :D
SWV17872 years ago
I really need to pull out my unicycle, pump up the tire, and give it another try... I will have to pick up a walking stick first but I never could get more than about a yard away from a wall.