Any tips on riding one footed backwards?


I have decided that I want to ride backwards one footed. I can mount idle and ride one footed fine, and riding backwards two footed is fine too. When trying one footed backwards, i’m having a spot of trouble figuring out where to put my foot, and how to position the unicycle.

So, anyone have any tips on this?



I’m still learning but getting better. You put your foot up on the frame, and make sure you have your back straight. Start out going slow backwards and once your nt foot comes to the top take your other foot off and press down with your nt foot. Make sure you leave off pressure before going across the bottom point. Also try it along a hand rail.

Good Luck

A step in the learning process could also be to learn one-foot riding with your other foot. Study the process as your non-dominant side picks up the skill.

Doing it backward is going to be harder, because it combines those two skills, both of which are beyond “regular” riding. So think of the difficulty level as both added up, plus maybe 10%. As with forward one-footing, getting your power foot over the top is the hard part.

Starting from an idle is not recommended, as you have to give too much of a push the first time around. You’ll get smoother results by cruising along backwards and trying to one-foot it over the top a few times. Practice getting your other foot back on the pedal as well, as this will be one of the ingredients you’ll need to “finish” the skill.

I learned from Sem Abrahams that a straight back is not necessarily what you want for backwards riding. Your body can only bend in one direction. When going forward, it’s easy to make sudden corrections to the front by bending at your waist. You still need some of this when going backwards, so a little bit of bend in the waist (not a lot) will give you more room to flex toward the rear to help maintain your balance.

Also practice falling off. The more comfortable you are at backwards dismounts the easier it will be for you to push your limits.

In the end, the skill of one-foot backward works the same way as one-foot forward. You need enough “oomph” on the downstroke to carry your foot up and over the top, while the wheel catches up. Your goal is a smooth pedal stroke, but one-footing is never an even stroke, it always has that lull at the top.

I used to be able to ride a “Standard Skill” figure 8 backwards one-foot with either foot, back in the one year when that was a requirement to win the “Compulsory” event at the world championships (Unicon IV). Boy was that an exciting event, NOT! That’s why you probably never heard of it…

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Can you idle one-footed? I can. I can’t ride backwards one-footed though, at least not more than a single revolution and definitely not consistently. I’ve spent maybe an hour total even trying, and I started from a one-foot idle. Maybe learning one-footed idling could help?

For me, the only really difficult part is getting over the top of the stroke when moving backwards. Sem’s advice via John sounds good. I’ll have to try it sometime.

Phlegm, Yep, I can idle one footed. Tried one footed backwards last night in the youth centre hall, got 2 rev’s at the most then found the floor.

Cheers Johnfoss, I’ll be heading to a nice long wooden pier with hand rails either side in minute, so I will keep that in mind.

Thanks for the advice guys.