Advice Legs are burning out quickly

First of all 5’11" 222 lbs. 24 inch Nimbus Muni
I’ve been riding the unicycle maybe 9 hrs total and can go about 100 yards before my legs are burning so much that I can’t go further. Also noticing that my left let is getting more sore/burning more than right leg. I curb mount mainly and start with right foot on the pedal.

Any advice?? I know it’s not much to go on but wondering if some of you have had this problem when learning. Am I doing something wrong??
Thanks for any advice.

Your seat may be too low; your leg should be almost fully extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

But, generally it’s just learning new balance and new muscle movements. As you get better, your muscles will get stronger and your balance will get better so you’re using less muscle.

Getting to the ‘being able to ride u ntill your legs turn to jelly’ stage after 9 hours is pretty darn good. It might help to raise the seat to a bit higher than you are comfortable with but the biggest thing is just riding more and allowing your muscles to adapt and your riding balance to improve.

Welcome to the world of unicycling!

It takes time to learn to be more efficient while pedaling. For a while your muscles will be fighting each other. Then at some point you will start to get smooth and react without thinking. If you continue to work at it you might out do my 24 hour best of 204 plus miles. Others have.



Yes, EVERYONE has this problem at about the same point in their progress as you are now: 100 yards, quads on fire. There are about 100 other threads here from beginners asking the exact same question. :slight_smile: Keep practicing and try to keep your weight on the seat as much as you can, which might not be much yet but it gets better as your balance gets more secure. Your legs will figure it out.

As the others said, good job getting there so quickly. And welcome to the site.

Great job, keep it up! More saddle time is all to it.
Before you know it, you’ll get comments like:

“Wow! Amazing, he makes it look sooo effortless!”

Which is true in a sense, it will become “sooo effortless” , especially when you learn how to slow down, pace yourself, and go for distance riding and most of all, enjoying the scenic ride. Thats when it’s Totally Awesome , and all that saddle time paid off;)

Yeah, like everyone has said.

You wait, once you’ve got enough saddle time under your belt and legs used to riding greater distances it’ll be your lungs and heart that will be telling the story, not the quads. And then they come up to the mark too allowing more leg endurance. And hey, if you think you’re having fun unicycling now, when you don’t have to worry about your legs the Fun door really opens!

Welcome to the site, and I can only point at what L.E. said. This is the key to learning unicycle: your brain will eventually rewire it self once it understands that balance is not done with the legs but with the bum. :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=pierrox;163921: your brain will eventually rewire it self [/QUOTE]

Yup, your brain has to learn a lot of new equations. In the meantime your arms and legs are compensating for your lack of balance but as your sense of balance improves your torso will begin to play it’s part and there will be less dependence on the limbs for correctional purposes.

Also you will become less anxious and will relax more as you improve, so that there will be less tension in your thighs.

I reckon that the extra soreness in your left thigh is being caused by the left thigh being worked harder than the right. This should correct itself as your balance improves.

Hope this helps.

What kind of cranks do you have? Maybe it is best to start with longer cranks if you experience difficulty. Also foot placement is important. If you have spiked paddles and do not adjust your foot placement while riding it may result in painful knees.

It’s mostly been covered already, but just to summarise:

  • yes, we all experienced this
  • you need to get more weight on the saddle, this is normal for a learner
  • the only solution to all your problems is more time riding, issues of imbalance miraculously go away, and to be honest whilst you should think about trying to put more weight on the seat that too just comes with practice

Good luck and have fun - I’d suggest that right now you’re at the point in your unicycle career where you’re going to have the most fun you ever will, so make the most of it!

Once the weight is in the saddle it becomes more fun. Before that it’s very rewarding hard work!

Changing wheel sizes can also get you back to leg burn! At least that’s what has happened to me when I move from 24" to 29".

As you get better, you will learn to put more of your weight on the seat. That also helps a lot.

There are quite a few times when I’m cycling along and I say out loud " come on Miss bevan, Bum on Seat !!"
That sometimes does the trick, but you can change the name if you want :slight_smile:

Woo, woo! It took me a lot longer than nine hours to ride 100 yards. Keep up the good work! Obviously, you are being inefficient on the unicycle. But think about it this way, you are getting great exercise. Efficiency will come. When I read beginner posts like yours, it makes me think that struggling and learning are connected. When things get too easy, it is time to struggle with a new technique. Beginners are an inspiration to more experienced riders, because they are struggling with riding in the first place, which is really hard. Thanks for the inspiration!

optimizing cranks would make a difference i think. More so saddle height and our body are the biggest limitations to fatigue.

standing burns me out fast. but over time it gets easier as we fine tune our riding using muscles differently to preserve energy and build muscles in all riding areas.

given practice is a large consideration, besides gaining skill and developing muscle, Diet i would say is another thing to think about. Hope someone can see how? sorry i duno how to explain my views on the matter much better

Just keep riding!

Thanks for the great replies. Good to hear that it’s not just me. I keep peddling away until I pedal through it. I’ll check the seat but I think I’ve already got it to where the leg is only slightly bent when pedal is down. I’ll also try to keep the bum in the seat more.
Cranks are 150.

BamaUni you and I are the same height and weight. I learned to unicycle last year. I can ride a bicycle 50 miles no problem but if I ride 1 mile on a unicycle I’m am completely wiped out. It used to be 100 feet then 1000 feet and now 1 mile is my limit. It is all coming together now for me. It will for you too. Just practice a lot. Unicycling is insanely exhausting in the beginning. It gets a lot easier and funner. Lots of great advice in this thread. BTW don’t change your cranks you just need sadle time.

BamaUni, it has all been said before but, you are on the right track. I started riding in the end of June and felt much the same as you. Quads burned and just felt wore out. Now in the end of October I am doing 5 miles on my 24" Muni (165 cranks) before my legs are shot. It is just a matter of saddle time.

As a side note, did 2 miles today on my new 20" with 110 cranks and my legs are shot. Crank length and wheel size will make a difference. Just keep riding.

You’ve gotten lots of great advice, BamaUni. Mostly it’s “time in the saddle.” That’s the solution for almost anything in unicycling.
When I started two years ago my legs were like cooked spaghetti after 100 yards. Now I can go 20 miles without much difficulty. Just keep at it. Ride a little bit every day if you can.