62 year old rookie

I have about 6 hours into learning to ride and I dont’t know how many hours reading this excellent forum. I hope I am not asking a couple questions I should find with more reasearch but here they are.

I am up to about a mile in about a 45 minute practise session and when it is over I am flushed, sweaty and my heart is racing. I know I am not a kid at 62 but I dive comercially, fish comercially 12 and 14 hour days, backpack in the mountains and so on. I do so at a slower rate then I used too, but I do it and consider myself reasonably fit. UNTIL I go on a 45 minute ride. Is this normal or am I over the hill never to learn to ride in a relaxed non-heart threatening fashion?

I bought a used 26 inch Yuni cycle. I have looked it up online and have not found anything out about it so I don’t know if it is good or bad. Can anyone tell me anything about it?
The cranks are 175’s. I read a lot about switching cranks and suspect longer cranks provide more muscle to the wheel. However I am unsure what the advantages of shorter cranks are and if a rookie should prefer one size over the other?

Any and all advise welcomed. Particularly from others who learned when past their prime…
Having fun and glad to be here. Thanks, Reid

Hi Reid and welcome…it’s perfectly normal in the early days to drip sweat and huff and puff. You will quickly become more efficient with no more effort than brisk walking…
Have fun,

Reid, this was well before my unicycling days but I’ve picked up the fact that Yuni brand was sold by unicycle.com in their early days, a decade or so ago. It seems they were decent enough, and it might tell you something that it’s lasted as long as it has. And yes, 175 mm cranks are very long. Longer cranks do give more leverage but unless you’re using it to pull out stumps you probably don’t need quite that much. :slight_smile: You might find it easier to pedal more smoothly with less wobble if you switched down to 140 mm or so.

Like Joseph says, your legs will get quite a workout in the early going. Unless you’re a truly exceptional unicycling student, you’ve got almost no weight on the seat right now, nearly all of it on your feet, so your riding session is like an intense 45 minute stairclimber workout. Keep thinking about putting as much weight as you can on the seat, sitting and spinning with light pressure on the pedals, and it will get better, but it takes time and practice. Enjoy your buff pumped-up quads in the meantime.

though I have been riding for more than 10 years now … I am sweaty and heart is racing every time I practice (Mountain unicycle).
So I rest, talk to squirrels, and start again. Nothing strange there (I consider myself very fit too). So enjoy.
for the 26" unicycle get 150 or 140 mm cranks that’s way better for riding.

First, if you can do a mile after 6 hours of learning, you’re a natural, congratulations.
Second, being completely “wrung out” from riding is completely normal (especially for new riders). Sometimes when I get off the uni I can barely stand up, my leg muscles are so drained. (But I should add, it gets easier. As you get better, you get more efficient. I can ride 20 road miles now without being too spent. It’s muni that is a continual challenge.)
You started a little later than I did, but I was in terrible shape when I started. It takes longer to make progress when you’re “a little older,” and it seems harder than it used to, but it’s totally worth it.
Glad to have another “senior rider” in the ranks. Cheers!



You said you were in terrible shape… can you elaborate? And how has unicycling improved your health? Personally, I’m trying to figure out what I need to do to get in good shape… 30 min./day? 60? I try to unicycle continuously with no (or few) breaks, and do things that require energy output.
I guess it’ll come…gotta avoid those mini-Snickers bars :o

If you have learned THAT much in 6 hours, I wouldn’t change anything. 175mm cranks seem pretty long, but as a gear-ratio, that’s equivalent to putting 135mm cranks on a 20" unicycle. Not so weird. I think the wheel/crank relationship on your Yuni is great for learning…lots of control, responds quickly to changes in pedal pressure, will make learning to idle easier.

I had previously been hospitalized with a paralyzing auto-immune illness. My muscles had atrophied, but I had “progressed” to walking with a cane when I decided unicycling was what I needed to get my balance and leg strength back. It worked.
I try to get out and ride every day at lunchtime. Mostly muni, because that’s pretty hard. (For me, one hour off-road is worth several hours of road riding.) I don’t focus so much on time or distance, but rather try to set mini-goals to do better/get farther without stops or falls than the previous week. For me the progress is pretty slow, but there is progress, so I’m pretty happy about it. (I sprained my ankle in February, falling off on a steep downhill, and that set me back a couple months. I was pretty bummed about that.)
The thing about uni riding is that for me it’s just fun. I never exercised much before, because I never found anything I really liked. That unicyle riding is (for me) about the best exercise has been just great. I recommend it to everyone. (I love it when guys in their 50s tell me they’re too old, or too out of shape. I tell them I started at 60, and walked with a cane. Not too many have an answer to that!)

A 45-minute unicycle ride on flat pavement will not tire you out at all once you learn to keep your weight on the seat. At that point you’re probably going to become interested in shorter cranks. In any case, though, you’re doing incredibly well.


I just turned 60. Started 4 years ago and I’m sure it took me at least 3 months to get where you are now. I say you’re doing great!

Thanks for the words of encouragement and advise. Except for being knackered after 45 minutes I am pleased with my progress. I should add tho that it takes about an acre of real estate to complete a turn, and the mere presence of a pebble is enough to make me wobble or upd. That is a little off putting for a guy who would like to do some mild trail riding eventually.
I have found lots of forum instruction for beginners(including how to turn) but not so much conversation on the stamina required for learning. I was a little concerned so thanks for the input on that point in particular.

Time in the saddle! That will fix most issues :slight_smile:

I agree with all the advice above. Being tuckered after riding will fade as you build muscle memory and stamina. I started at 47 and was exhausted each time until I learned to relax into it. BTW: congrats on your progress!

what is a guni

Looked and looked but can’t figure it out thanks

Geared uni.

Flushed, sweaty and heart racing…
urh… that’s what i try to accomplish on all my rides:D

Keep up the great progress, as they say, it only gets easier… then before you know it, you gotta seek greater trails to get that heart pounding outta your chest feeling again…