24 Hour Endurance...

Hi all,

Need some advice on this - has anyone tried a 24 hour endurance ride on a unicycle? How does this feel like? I’m keen on signing up for an event but I’m not sure how well I’d function without sleep at the end of it all.

Advice on what to eat, how to rest, how to prepare myself and speed to ride at is most welcome.

Regrets I don’t have time to do this work for you, but if you’re in a hurry, I’d suggest a couple attempts at using the Search feature. After 437 posts I assume you’re aware of it. There have been MANY threads about 24 hour uni events. Try “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” in the search box (without quotation marks) and see what you get. Seriously, there is so much stuff on this topic that is accessible with almost no effort on your part.

The first step to being able to endure 24 hours of unicycle riding is to get off your ass and use the Search feature. :smiley: It will help build your tolerance for the real pain that is ahead.

You could try the “who has done a 24-hour ride?” thread and ask some of the people in there.

But FWIW, I’ve done a few 24-hour races, both as part of a relay team and once solo. If you’re doing it as part of a team it’s not really that hard - just ride your lap, hang around talking/eating/sleeping for a few hours, do another lap, and repeat until the time’s up. If you’re racing solo, you get more problems with tiredness, feelings of doom when you’re ankle deep in mud in a forest in the middle of the night, and a much bigger sense of achievement when you finish.

If you’re riding in a bike race, you get enormous respect from the other riders just for being there and being able to ride a unicycle.

Don’t ride flat out and burn yourself out before the end. Make sure you eat properly and drink enough during the race. Ride predictably and considerately otherwise you’ll annoy other riders - unicycles are considerably slower than bikes on flat or downhill parts of the course and you need to allow people to pass safely. Make sure you’ve got enough light power and run-time to last as long as you intend to ride in the dark (a 10 watt halogen or equivalent LED is enough for unicycle speeds).

That’s about it really - some training beforehand will help if you don’t ride a lot normally, if only so you know your own limits and pace yourself realistically.

Good luck.


THanks guys.

I actually did a search but couldn’t get any results which prompted the thread. I just realised some minutes back though that i used the search within the thread bar instead of a global search. Embarrassing.

I rode miserably in a 24 hour team race once; here’s my cheat sheet on how to do the same:

  1. Nutrition: Missing a proper breakfast doomed the remaining 23 hours to collapse. There was no recovery from this.

  2. Water: Without hydration before the race, I emptied my camel back quicker than I should have leaving 4 kilometers of dust to muscle through at the end of the first lap.

  3. Lighting: My headlamp stopped working halfway through a night lap. The backup flashlight wasn’t at full charge (??) and carrying it by hand wasted a considerable amount of energy, compensating upper-body balance to keep the trail illuminated.

  4. Conditioning: In the weeks leading up to the race, a chest cold kept me off of the wheel longer than I should have tolerated. Rusty lungs, rusty legs.

  5. Wheel size: The 24" LM tank like muni wheel. It was doable, but for the length of terrain, it wasn’t favorable.

  6. Replenishing Nutrition: Eating and drinking too much, too fast, after the first lap betrayed my intestinal fortitude… (?!)

  7. Sleep: Never enough sleep.

Completely miserable, but it was a lot of fun in between gasping breaths. I imagine zombies feel the same way at 8am after a long night searching for brains.

For parity, the short list of things that I did right:

  1. Tools: Brought them.
  2. Clothing: Dry socks.
  3. Excessive Crash Gear: See above.
  4. Lighting: A red blinking tail light kept the mountain bikers from ramping off my back on the darker downhills.

Functioning is certainly relative.

I have never done a 24 hour endurance event, but I know that having dry layers is always nice. During my 100 mile ride, I kept a layer of polypropelene in my camelback and I changed into it before the last 25 miles. My other clothes were soaked and it was freezing outside so I was glad I had a dry layer to put on!

I think that if I were to do another ride longer than 10 hours I would bring another pair of bike shorts for the same reason. Dry clothes feel so good to change into.

In my experience, the norm is not to use a tail light at all in xc races. The reflective bits on camelbaks and bikes are plenty in the glare of people’s front lamps. Because unicycles are so much slower than bikes on fast sections of the course, I tend to use an led tail light stuffed in the mesh pocket of my camelbak, but NOT set to flashing mode. People will tolerate a steady, not-too-bright tail light, but you’ll usually get moaned at if you use a flashing one.


Good point. The character of the one I was using wasn’t offensively bright, but I could see that as being an issue. Of course, if you attach it to your frame, it’s easier to find your wheel when it goes over the edge.

I’ve used an LED valve cap in the last couple of 24-hours I’ve done, mostly because it looks quite cool in the dark, but it is quite useful for making the unicycle visible to other riders if you UPD in the dark.

I second the comment about dry clothes - take ALL your cycling kit. If it’s wet and muddy you’ll be very glad of clean dry clothes to put on for the next lap. This is even more important if you’re riding in a team - having to put on wet shorts to go out on your next lap is pretty grim at 2 in the morning. If you’re riding solo, once you’re wet you don’t really care - it’s when you stop that you get cold. But it’s still nice to be able to change when you stop for food/bit of sleep/whatever.


Many years ago I did a 200 mile/24 hour ride on a 5 speed bicycle on the road for charity.

Sleep deprivation was the biggest single problem. I found I got annoyed and angry about minor hazards and distractions and wasted a lot of energy because of that.

The other problems were pacing (I was mainly riding alone) and eating. It is too tempting to eat too much. I burned out before the full 24 hours were up.