Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Ever been on a unicycle?

General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Ever been on a unicycle?

Old 08-15-20, 04:43 AM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 156
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 77 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Ever been on a unicycle?

Just wondering if any of you have ever tried a unicycle. If so, I have a few questions.

1) Was riding a unicycle difficult?
2) Was riding a unicycle fun?
3) How long did it take for you to feel comfortable riding and turning?
4) When falling off were you mostly falling forwards or backwards?
5) Any advice for a beginner? (Size of first unicycle, practice tips, etc.)

morgothaod is offline  
Old 08-15-20, 04:49 AM
Senior Member
Ghazmh's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: The banks of the River Charles
Posts: 1,857

Bikes: 2022 Salsa Beargrease, 2020 Seven Evergreen, 2019 Honey Allroads Ti, 2018 Seven Redsky XX, 2017 Trek Boon 7, 2014 Trek 520

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 622 Post(s)
Liked 717 Times in 400 Posts
No, I haven’t
Ghazmh is offline  
Likes For Ghazmh:
Old 08-15-20, 05:09 AM
Senior Member
thehammerdog's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: NWNJ
Posts: 3,672

Bikes: Road bike is a Carbon Bianchi C2C & Grandis (1980's), Gary Fisher Mt Bike, Trek Tandem & Mongoose SS MTB circa 1992.

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 712 Post(s)
Liked 331 Times in 215 Posts
Originally Posted by morgothaod View Post
Just wondering if any of you have ever tried a unicycle. If so, I have a few questions.

1) Was riding a unicycle difficult?
2) Was riding a unicycle fun?
3) How long did it take for you to feel comfortable riding and turning?
4) When falling off were you mostly falling forwards or backwards?
5) Any advice for a beginner? (Size of first unicycle, practice tips, etc.)

me, nope.
but I have come across a guy riding an off road unit in woods kinda crazy sight.
big 29er tires knobbys..brakes. guy was very cool.
said can be learned in weekend.
I bought one.....sits in garage.
one day.
thehammerdog is offline  
Likes For thehammerdog:
Old 08-15-20, 05:28 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Kips Bay, NY
Posts: 2,080

Bikes: Ritchey Swiss Cross | Teesdale Kona Hot | Haro Extreme | Specialized Stumpjumper Comp | Cannondale F1000 | Shogun 1000 | Cannondale M500 | Norco Charger | Marin Muirwoods 29er | Shogun Kaze | Breezer Lightning

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 527 Post(s)
Liked 802 Times in 416 Posts
Originally Posted by morgothaod View Post
Just wondering if any of you have ever tried a unicycle. If so, I have a few questions.

1) Was riding a unicycle difficult?
2) Was riding a unicycle fun?
3) How long did it take for you to feel comfortable riding and turning?
4) When falling off were you mostly falling forwards or backwards?
5) Any advice for a beginner? (Size of first unicycle, practice tips, etc.)

A neighbor gifted me an old "Easy Riding Chair" when I was in college; we all took turns learning to ride it.

1) Very difficult for me. Even the freestyle BMX guy struggled
2) Kinda, but in a more challenging kind of way. Not very bikey.
3) None of us ever got comfortable over a year of owning the thing. I personally could just stay up for about a minute, with very little control over turning or direction. None of us took it seriously, we did it after a round of drinks as a group thing.
4) Forwards. Sometimes catastrophically
5) Nope
DorkDisk is offline  
Likes For DorkDisk:
Old 08-15-20, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 1,441

Bikes: Why yes, I do have a few! Thank you for asking!

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 760 Post(s)
Liked 587 Times in 407 Posts
There used to be someone on these forums who rode one regularly. He had a passion for riding the thing up-and-down hills. Posted pics occasionally, too. Maybe he'll chime in if he sees this.

Me: I got one for free, 24: wheel model. It wasn't hard to get started and stay up on it, but to get good at it to where you'd feel comfortable on the road (turns, stops, backing up, avoiding others and things, etc) takes a lot of practice and I didn't stick with it.
skidder is offline  
Likes For skidder:
Old 08-15-20, 07:32 AM
Senior Member
JayKay3000's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 226
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 46 Post(s)
Liked 78 Times in 50 Posts
There a guy on youtube called Ed Pratt - He cycled a unicycle around the world. Might be worth asking him too.

I would guess like everything it just takes practice and perseverance and I doubt it's much fun initially as you'll probably spend a lot of time falling off which will be frustrating, unless you are naturally gifted with perfect balance.

But if you really want to learn it - you'll spend the time.

Last edited by JayKay3000; 08-15-20 at 07:37 AM.
JayKay3000 is offline  
Likes For JayKay3000:
Old 08-15-20, 07:39 AM
Senior Member
BobbyG's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 5,623

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 2007 Dahon Boardwalk, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International, 2006(?) Felt F65

Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1263 Post(s)
Liked 1,276 Times in 646 Posts
UniChris is a pretty amazing unicyclist.
BobbyG is offline  
Likes For BobbyG:
Old 08-15-20, 10:55 AM
Senior Member
phughes's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,495
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 754 Post(s)
Liked 798 Times in 471 Posts
I ride a unicycle, though I haven't been on it for a while. My advice is the same advice give me when I wanted to learn. If you want to learn, buy one, don't borrow. Then, the first time out, plan to spend a good amount of time, say, and hour, a half hour at the least. If you go out, try a few times, go inside, go back out, try a few times, you will not get it, ever.

I went out the first day, used the spare tire carrier on the back of a van to support myself as I got on the unicycle, and tried to ride off from there. After a good bit of time, I was able to ride a ways without falling. Once I fell off, I would walk back and try again, and again, and again. The distance I had to walk back got longer and longer.

Turning is not that difficult, but like any of it, it will take time to get comfortable. Riding itself will take time to get comfortable. When starting, I would be drenched with sweat. after a while, it didn't take so much effort, and I could just ride.

Within the first week, I used it at an amusement park where I was performing, along with the juggler I was working with, to ride through the crowds, able to even mess with the people by using their shoulders to ride around them, little did they know they were actually helping and it wasn't an act. I even rode a six foot unicycle the first week, which is easier by the way. The bad thing was the dismount.

Once again, the key is persistence. In the beginning, you just have to keep trying over and over. Don't get frustrated, just try again and again. Pretty soon you will get it.

Don't worry too much about falling. Falling off a unicycle is usually non-eventful, you simply land on your feet. You can have a bad fall, but generally, you just end up on your feet.

A 20 inch is easier to manage in many ways, especially when it comes to idling. I started on a 24 inch, and still have it. I still want a 20 inch though, of course I want a 29er, and a 36 inch as well. A 24 inch is a nice compromise, you can manage it well, and can ride faster than on a 20 inch. A 20 inch is easier to learn to idle on. I was happy with the 24 inch for learning though, and for my use. I usually just rode it through the neighborhood for exercise, so no idling required. If I were to put the unicycle in my act, and use it on stage, I would have a 20 inch for that.

As for fun, yes I find riding the unicycle fun. I really need to get back on it. Try it and enjoy, just don't get discouraged.
phughes is offline  
Likes For phughes:
Old 08-15-20, 10:58 AM
Senior Member
woodcraft's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Nor Cal
Posts: 6,015
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1814 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 919 Times in 567 Posts
I messed around enough as a youth to become roughly functional.
Fun. Difficult, but could get around over the course of a day or two.
Not really falling, but walking off & having the saddle whack the ground- more forward I think.
woodcraft is offline  
Likes For woodcraft:
Old 08-15-20, 01:41 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: SW Fl.
Posts: 5,373

Bikes: Day6 Semi Recumbent "FIREBALL", 1981 Custom Touring Paramount, 1983 Road Paramount, 2013 Giant Propel Advanced SL3, 2018 Specialized Red Roubaix Expert mech., 2002 Magna 7sp hybrid, 1976 Bassett Racing 45sp Cruiser

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 978 Post(s)
Liked 609 Times in 391 Posts
Being a Schwinn Store we had the 20", 24" and 6' Giraffe. https://bikehistory.org/bikes/unicycle/

We had a narrow passage between repair shop benches so I would hop on and rock front/back while holding on to the benches. Other riders suggested to do the same routine in a "doorway." Eventually was able to "ride away" from supporting myself and could ride all 3 models. The ONLY WAY that I could mount the 6' Giraffe was by climbing on the fenders of our Ford pick-up truck that we used for our "FREE -- Pick-up, Repair and Deliver" service.

On the 20" and 24" fall front, back, sometimes to the side BUT on the Giraffe it would be a SLOW MOTION aka Charlie Chaplin ladder fall either front or back.
OldTryGuy is offline  
Likes For OldTryGuy:
Old 08-15-20, 03:31 PM
Bah Humbug
serious cyclist
Bah Humbug's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Austin
Posts: 18,332

Bikes: S1, R2, P2

Mentioned: 115 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7549 Post(s)
Liked 2,582 Times in 1,352 Posts
There are a couple of people who ride them around Circuit of the Americas here in Austin.
Bah Humbug is offline  
Likes For Bah Humbug:
Old 08-15-20, 09:00 PM
No QR-disc or alumin F/Fs
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Shenandoah Valley, Northern Virginia.
Posts: 540

Bikes: '99 Trek 520, '20 Kona Sutra (FOR SALE 48cm), and a chromoly-framed folding bicycle with drop-bars and V-brakes, that rolls even while folded.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 277 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 148 Times in 102 Posts
I learned to ride them a couple years ago. Started on a 20" and moved onto a 29er. After relocating to a new town and environment, early this year, I haven't gotten back on it. I'm pretty busy with my new bicycle and wanting to push my bicycling farther.

1. Learning to ride is difficult, and there are different approaches that people find success with.
2. It's fun if you advance.
3. Feeling comfortable riding/turning is a gradual thing. I guess I went from my first attempt in my driveway to where I could ride out on the roads, climbing/decending hills, approx three months.
4. I fell forward and backward equal percentages.
5. Start with a 20". Look for tips on YouTube videos. Realize that not everyone offers the same approach. Unless you live in a dry climate, invest in several redundant pairs of gloves, so that each pair has time to dry before you wear them again. Perseverance can be very sweaty.
Nyah is offline  
Likes For Nyah:
Old 08-16-20, 05:40 AM
SE Wis
dedhed's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 9,038

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2140 Post(s)
Liked 2,166 Times in 1,339 Posts
Calling UniChris
dedhed is offline  
Likes For dedhed:
Old 08-16-20, 11:37 AM
Senior Member
KZBrian's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Kalamazoo, MI USA
Posts: 390

Bikes: Jamis Renegade, Kris Holm/Nimbus 29, Nimbus Eclipse

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
1) Was riding a unicycle difficult? Difficult to learn - at times quite strenuous
2) Was riding a unicycle fun? - YES!
3) How long did it take for you to feel comfortable riding and turning? About three weeks
4) When falling off were you mostly falling forwards or backwards? Forwards, due to running over a bump that I did not see. Usually land on my feet.
5) Any advice for a beginner? (Size of first unicycle, practice tips, etc.)
A 20" is what I started with. Once I became proficient, that seemed too slow, so I went to a 24" then a 29" I still use a 20" to practice tricks.
There are many good "how to learn" videos out there. I had none of that in 1974, and had to figure it out on my own.

I end up riding between 100-200 miles each year, mostly in my neighborhood, or on the local bike paths.
When the weather gets colder, I ride more, since there is less wind chill than biking.

Unicycling is a great core workout!

KZBrian is offline  
Likes For KZBrian:
Old 08-17-20, 09:57 AM
Wilbur Bud
Full Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Fishers Indiana
Posts: 441

Bikes: Longbikes Slipstream

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Liked 31 Times in 25 Posts
Sure, I used to ride mine to school when I was a kid.

I wouldn't say it's difficult, just different,the trick is keeping your weight quiet in the seat, exactly the opposite of riding an upright bicycle where your hips move constantly as part of balance. Unicycle is more about leaning just a trifle. My past experience certainly helped me learn quickly to ride the recumbent, because it's the same concept, keeping your weight and hips quiet in the saddle.

Falling was almost always forward, and you want that just in the odd case where your feet catch also on the pedal(s) while falling. Never really happened to me, but I guess it can happen, so lean forward and then pedal to catch-up.

Advice would be to work on the mount by stepping forward onto the saddle and then slowly going over the top to feet on the ground. Do this progressively more slowly until you can stop without going over. Some say to put a block of wood down to help hold in place as you step up, but I would prefer to put a foot up on a pedal above horizontal so that you step up and over the pedal while mounting. But there are as many styles as there are people. It can be really fun, just not very fast unless you can buy or build a huge wheel.
Longbikes Slipstream
Wilbur Bud is offline  
Likes For Wilbur Bud:
Old 08-17-20, 11:35 AM
Senior Member
phughes's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,495
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 754 Post(s)
Liked 798 Times in 471 Posts
One more hint, don't look down, look out towards the horizon, in other words, look out level, and look where you want to go. That is very important on a unicycle, though it is important to all forms of riding. On a unicycle, it will not only help you steer, but it will help you retain your balance. If you look down, you will not stay balanced, if you look forward, and level, your body will balance better. Now, once you are proficient, and your body has developed muscle memory, you will be able to look around.

A lot of people I have witnessed learning to ride a unicycle, tended to look down, not far in front of the unicycle.
phughes is offline  
Likes For phughes:
Old 08-17-20, 01:51 PM
Seor Mambo
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Fremont, CA
Posts: 1,403

Bikes: TST roadie, Cannondale CAAD 3, Surly Karate Stokemonkey Leap, Tern Cargo Node, Helix Alfine; 36er and 29er Triton Unicycles; a couple Bike Fridays; one Brompton; RadPower Radburro

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(s)
Liked 18 Times in 9 Posts
Riding a unicycle is great fun!

IMO, you want your first unicycle to be at least a 29er if you plan to ride for speed and/or distance, but it's easier learning on a 20". If you get a 29er, it will seem so hard to pedal at first, but it's possible to learn on one. Took me 2 weeks to ride 5 feet. another two weeks to ride a block. This was practicing for more than 5 hours a day with breaks. I had a lot of time back then.

Things to watch out for for newbies:
- saddle sores are much more common on unicycle seats, and so is crotch numbness. I can only last about 12 miles before I have to get off (I primarily ride a 36er on roads. Too old for MUNI.)
- EVERY bump or crack in the cement will cause a dismount!
- when you free mount, jump on and lean as forward as possible (like you want to fall forward) while rotating the pedals. learn to free mount ASAP after you ride, otherwise you won't be able to go places.
- unicycle handles help (especially on 36ers), but they can get in the way of unplanned dismounts (UPDs)!
- most of my unplanned dismounts had me dismounting backwards, and the unicycle would shoot out forwards. Make sure you practice in a place where you won't hit people!
- Pedal bites are a real thing. protect your shins until you're able to ride at least a mile.

Good luck!

Last edited by spambait11; 08-17-20 at 01:54 PM.
spambait11 is offline  
Likes For spambait11:
Old 08-18-20, 07:08 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sherwood, OR
Posts: 1,252
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 319 Post(s)
Liked 279 Times in 164 Posts
Most people who ride define the time they “learned to ride” as the first time you can ride ~50 feet.

Between ten and 50 feet, everything “clicks”. You will progress from 10-50 feet in a matter of minutes. Getting to 10 feet takes about 8-10 hours of practice for most people, although someone who is very comfortable on a bike can do it faster. If you can ride a bike comfortably no-handed, or can ride wheelies as far as you want, riding a unicycle should only take a couple of hours to learn. Dedicate the first 30 minutes to just sitting, or going a single pedal stroke while holding on to something.
aggiegrads is offline  
Likes For aggiegrads:
Old 08-18-20, 12:38 PM
Tortoise Wins by a Hare!
AlmostTrick's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Looney Tunes, IL
Posts: 7,397

Bikes: Wabi Special FG, Raleigh Roper, Nashbar AL-1, Miyata One Hundred, '70 Schwinn Lemonator and More!!

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1546 Post(s)
Liked 927 Times in 500 Posts
I learned using Jack Wileys Unicycle book. It took me about 2 weeks of 15-20 minute sessions, sometimes 2 or 3 a day. Short sessions worked better for me because once I started to get fatigued, I wasn't gaining anything.

Using Jacks instructions, I fell very few times! One of the first things he has you practice is mount/dismount. You stand with the uni in front of you with the saddle in position under your crotch, and one foot on a pedal slightly forward of the top. Then, without attempting to ride, hop up and forward rolling over the tire, dismounting to the front while grabbing hold of the saddle as you land. Over and over and over. Now when you start to ride you can do unplanned dismounts when you lose balance. Much better than falling!

I started with a block behind the tire, and then moved to free mount with no block. Trying to hold on to stuff or use polls never worked for me.
AlmostTrick is offline  
Likes For AlmostTrick:
Old 08-18-20, 08:35 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,333 Times in 841 Posts

fietsbob is offline  
Likes For fietsbob:
Old 08-19-20, 05:08 PM
Senior Member
Oldguyonoldbike's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 800

Bikes: Casati Laser, Colnago Tecnos, Cicc Exige, Black Mountain Cycles Road

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 116 Post(s)
Liked 134 Times in 65 Posts
I learned to ride a unicycle when I was about 12 years old. I remember it being hard to learn and taking a couple of weeks. I only remember ever falling forward - try to step off of it before you fall. I enjoyed it.
I took the unicycle to college where I rode it to classes, maybe a mile at a time at the most.
My first unicycle had a 20" wheel. About 35 years later (I'm 58) I bought a cheap unicycle from the LBS. I can ride it, but I've never enjoyed it as much as when I was younger. I think part of the "problem," apart from my age, is that the new one has a 24" wheel - it is faster and can get out from under you more quickly, while at the same time it doesn't turn as quickly, making it harder to keep it under you.
Oldguyonoldbike is offline  
Old 08-19-20, 05:51 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 78
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 16 Posts
I rode a unicycle a lot as a teenager. I had a 20 and also a 6 giraffe. That was 40 years ago. I can still ride the 20 but wont get on the 6 footer any more. My son rides them now. I never had a bad wipeout. Always just fell forward and landed on my feet. Start off hanging on a wall or pole and start pedaling. Youll get it in no time.
frogmorton is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.