Any tips on starting with a ultimate wheel?

Hi, a noob in distress here :slight_smile:
Internet is full of tutorials on monocycling, however I failed to find a single one covering ultimate wheels!

On my 20" unicycle I am comfortable riding figures 8 seat in front, turns out that ultimate wheel is a completely different story. :astonished:
I just bought a 24" nimbus ultimate wheel, tried it today for 15 minutes and it is quite another beast to tame!

Any tips on how to start? Pedals position, walls/lamppost? For how long with the walls? I can not make a single half-rev even leaning on a wall… :thinking:

Here is one site with instructions:

Wow a cool site. I only once tried riding an ultimate wheel but that was very difficult. Having a seat and frame between ur legs is a lot more comfy.
I reckon u can use any unicycle as an ultimate wheel too just by removing the frame or as they do in freestyle dragging the seat over the floor. I cant idle which i read was recommended.

Wear something slippery on your lower legs. I learned in KH leg armour but it gradually wears and drags. Now, when I’m riding in the dry, I just wear some shiny lightweight jogging bottoms.

Count your pedal strokes. Look at a point 10 or more metres ahead. Take breaks.

I learned to ride UW up to about 10 metres a few years ago but never too it further. Then last year, aged 54, I spent some serious time on it and can now ride a couple of hundred metres at a time including gentle slopes and uneven ground. Longest ever ride without a dismount was about 700 pedal strokes.

You are a way too rapid for me. I can not even be more or less static leaning on a wall, and I can not think about rolling :slight_smile:

Should I start by forwards-backwards little movements around some static position?

In terms of dominant foot, I would normally kick a ball with my right foot.

Here’s how I started to learn. I can now freemount with less fuss.

Mounting my UW, I put the left pedal at the bottom and put my foot on it, bracing the top of the wheel against the inside of my leg. I then step up, holding onto a wall or rail on my right. I put my right foot on the top pedal. I then gradually manoeuvre the UW forward until the pedals are almost level but with my right (front) foot very slightly higher.

Unlike a bicycle, I tend to ride the UW with my insteps on the pedals rather than the balls of my feet.

I then turn the UW slightly away from the rail, get my body weight very slightly ahead of the UW and pedal, counting the pedal strokes.

Keep the body as straight and as upright as possible. The taller you stand, the easier it is to balance.

Always look at a fixed point several metres ahead. On a long ride, I ride towards a series of marks on the ground (a pebble, a crack, the edge of a puddle, a dog turd) and transfer my attention to another as I get closer.

On each pedal stroke, the wheel receives some lateral support (sometimes a lot, sometimes a little) from the inside of the leg that is on the down pedal.

It takes lots of attempts, and the pedal stroke count for each successive attempt looks a bit like this: 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 2 (cheer!) 0 (boo!) 1 1 2 2 1 3 2 1 2 3 3 4 (rest) 2 2 3 4 (exultant!) 1 3 3 4 2 3 5…

Once you can do about 10 pedal strokes,you’ve nearly cracked it, and with determination, 20, 30, 50 will come quite quickly. 100 is a long way, though.

Thank you for the tips! However I think I am far from counting strokes, as I mount leaning on a wall, the wheel is really wobbly even in static.

Should I work on that first or should I fall repeatedly trying to pedal?

Should I practise just sitting in my dinghy, safely moored in the harbour before I try to sail it?

Standing on an Ultimate Wheel leaning against a wall is one of the less impressive skills and not worth practising. Go for the pedal strokes. Make it your first goal to achieve 1, and work up from there.

Yes, it’s more difficult than riding a unicycle, but it’s not that difficult. Unlike growing Eruca sativa and using it to prepare the perfect green leaf salad, it’s not rocket science.

Completely agree, it is not! Rocket science is easy.

Another 15 minutes during my regular practice. I am nowhere near pedaling, the wheel hits me in the ankle and I fall aside.

I guess I need to put this on a hold for a month, in this scorching heat it is unrealistic to put some jeans on and the tyre is not merciful to my calfs when wearing shorts…

You need to wear something smooth and shiny, not jeans.

You need to be putting weight as near as possible equally on each pedal.

Is there somewhere indoors and air conditioned you can practise? It’s a while before you’ll be riding more than the length of a sports hall.

I guess that I’ll sew a couple of PTFE/UHMWP sheets on my jeans at the calf level. Or wear fishing boots :smiley:

Unfortunately, I do not have an easy access to a sports hall. Anyways, the summer is short.

Not ideal. On a UW the pedals are much closer to the centreline of the wheel as they are screwed straight into the spokes rather than out on the ends of the axle.

A larger diameter UW is less difficult to start on.

Don’t give up. Even if you never master it, you will learn something about unicycle dynamics just trying.

The heat wave is gone, now I am three hours into ultimate wheel training. This is the farthest I got on my UW from the goal post:

I was sooo happy I left the ultimate wheel lying there for 10 minutes as a proof that I got there!

To sum up: training in shorts is a bad idea, jeans at the very least is a must! At the moment I land at least two revolutions with 90+% success rate. It is quite rare to go beyond 4 full revolutions. My legs are tortured, but it is a tremendous fun.

SIF could be a bridge to UW, but only if you can apply negligible force on the saddle with your hand. I was in a similar situation after learning SIB then thinking I could drop/drag the seat behind me; I never made it more than 2 revs. Now, I focus on steadying the frame/seat with my feet while holding the seat limply in one hand, allowing it to flop back and forth slightly. In this position, steadying the seat is extremely difficult. I would want to improve at this before attempting an UW.

Yup, that makes sense. But personally I decided to use UW as a bridge to seatdrags :roll_eyes:

btw, just a tip. The wheel comes with two white pedals, quite hard to determine right/left side. I swapped one orange pedal with my regular unicyle. Now I know that the white pedal should go to the bottom right for a start :sunglasses:

Clever idea, although I’d consider going a step further and swapping the pedals out completely for better ones, once you’re confident.

My current UW has the six spokes arranged a bit like a 6 armed swastika around a central hexagon. I just have to remember which way the “arms” f the swastika are pointing. That said, there are loads of ways to mark it with tape or paint.

This is how I do it: