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Ever been on a unicycle?

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Ever been on a unicycle?

Old 08-15-20, 04:43 AM
  #1  
morgothaod
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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.)

Thanks!
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Old 08-15-20, 04:49 AM
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No, I haven’t
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Old 08-15-20, 05:09 AM
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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.)

Thanks!
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.
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Old 08-15-20, 05:28 AM
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DorkDisk
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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.)

Thanks!
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
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Old 08-15-20, 06:44 AM
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skidder
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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.
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Old 08-15-20, 07:32 AM
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JayKay3000
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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.
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Old 08-15-20, 07:39 AM
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BobbyG
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UniChris is a pretty amazing unicyclist.
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Old 08-15-20, 10:55 AM
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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.
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Old 08-15-20, 10:58 AM
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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.
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Old 08-15-20, 01:41 PM
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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.
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Old 08-15-20, 03:31 PM
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There are a couple of people who ride them around Circuit of the Americas here in Austin.
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Old 08-15-20, 09:00 PM
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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.
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Old 08-16-20, 05:40 AM
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Calling UniChris
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Old 08-16-20, 11:37 AM
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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!



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Old 08-17-20, 09:57 AM
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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.
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Old 08-17-20, 11:35 AM
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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.
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Old 08-17-20, 01:51 PM
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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.
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Old 08-18-20, 07:08 AM
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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.
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Old 08-18-20, 12:38 PM
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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.
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Old 08-18-20, 08:35 PM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unipiper

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Old 08-19-20, 05:08 PM
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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.
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Old 08-19-20, 05:51 PM
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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.
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