back after a break!!

hi all,

i am back in the saddle after about a 2 year break as i lost interest as i felt i was not making any progress.

i learnt to ride on a cheap rubbish 20" then built myself a nimbus 26" which i enjoyed as it felt more solid to ride but i just couldnt make much progress on.

i have just built a better 20" now and still have my nimbus 26".my 20" is on 125mm cranks and my 26" is now on 145mm cranks (did have 175mm on it).

my goal has always been to be able ride down the shops and just buy a loaf of bread or pint of milk whilst watching people laugh!!

i can ride either unicycle about 100 yards before fatigue kicks in,i can turn ok,free mount only by doing roll back which is not the best and on the 26" is very low success rate.ive tried the mount where you put non dominant foot on first follwed by dominant second but it feels so alien!

if there is any tips that could help me improve and get to reach my goal then i would be most thankful.

Put your 125’s on your 26 and ride, ride, ride.
I mean everywhere.

You’ll attain your goal in one month I’d bet.


From my experience, if the seat is too low, you’re not sitting on it enough, so you put more weight on the pedals & your feet, and you get fatigued quick.

the key to unicycling, as we all know, is patience, persistence, and practice, practice, practice.

I’ve watched videos on YouTube over and over again, and try to apply what I’ve seen into my learning. at times its hard, but once you do it, it’s just a matter of practicing it over and over until it clicks.

I agree about mounting with the non-dominant foot being alien coz I felt the same when i first started doing it, but once I got it, I mount with both dominant and non-dominant foot equally.

I find that in time, things seem to just fall in place with practice. keep at it, and it’ll get easier. good luck.

thanks all for your tips

i cant put my 125s on my 26" as there square taper and the 26" is isis hub,it feels hard enough to get going on 145s currently after it being on 175s! possbile get some in a while for it.

i do struggle with seat height as i am tall,i have a 400mm seatpost on the 20" which only just goes high enough,il recheck seat height on the 26"

i will have to keep trying the ‘alien’ freemount then and fingers crossed it comes soon.

When you’re sitting back, you feel it in your quads but you have a lot of control of the unicycle. This is a comfortable feeling as far as control goes but exhausting on the legs.

Assuming the seat isn’t too low…when you’re sitting on top of the unicycle the seat almost feels like it’s pushing you off the front with each pedal turn. The sensation makes me think of what it must be like to sit on a broomstick. In this position there’s little to no burn on the quads but it’s an uneasy feeling until you know you’re in control of it.

Echoing what others have said. Your seat will be too low, and you won’t be putting enough of your weight on it.
Your weight should be on the seat and your legs should just be spinning the pedals around, like on a bicycle.

145s on a 29er at the level you’re at sounds fine though.

Being less fatigued takes time and practice though. I can remember learning and going out in the snow in T-shirt and shorts and getting home drenched in sweat.
Now if it’s below 10C I’m wearing my winter coat, hat, and gloves!

sounds like my saddle could be to low then,i have played with where i put my weight either on my feet or on my bum and can definitely feel it being better when on my bum.

itll be easier getting seat higher on my 26" but possible harder on the 20" as current 400mm seatpost is right on its maximum length out mark.

thanks again all for tips and help with getting me going again.

no sage insights to share, but wanted to say you’re not alone - that describes me almost perfectly too :slight_smile: good luck and keep going!

When I do the roll back freemount I actually grab the tire with my one hand and it stabilizes and holds the unicycle in place for another 1/2 second. I have 4 unicycles 20, 26, 29, and 36 inch. I do this on all of them. I would have never been able to mount my 36 w/o doing that trick. Also freemounting at a slightly downhill angle helped me tremendously. I started learning at 56 yrs old. Wore all the necessary equipment to protect myself. My theory about learning…your muscles actually have a very low grade of memory…It takes them a long time to get it and actually remember…

Mike Adams

Riding and watching people requires more than a beginner’s skill level. For the time being, you’ll probably be more focused on the direction you’re going/falling. It took me a while before I could respond to people with more than one word answers while on the unicycle. My brain was working too hard trying to stay on!

As a beginner, my neighbors laughed at me, I think, because I made unicycling look hard. Imagine a beginner with their hands flailing madly. That was me. They stopped laughing when I made unicycling look easy.

There’s a donut shop a couple blocks from my house. As a beginner, I imagined riding there. Four years later, and I’ve yet to do it. Too many more fun places to ride, parks, trails, in my neighborhood.

As a beginner I had a version of the bucket-list mentality regarding unicycling. In my neighborhood is an undeveloped power-line corridor. I remember the first time I rode down the hill in that area. I was hooked. My next unicycle was a muni. Later I got a 20" and started learning a bunch of skills. I am pretty committed to unicycling, now.

I am always excited when beginners post on the forum. I don’t want to be discouraging, but at the same time, I want beginners to know (or discover) that unicycling is a discipline. It takes practice to get to the point where riding is comfortable.

Keep practicing.

cycling vs unicycling

I love cycling almost as much as unicycling. I ride my bike a whole lot more and a lot further. I learned to ride my bicycle without using my hands and thought it as cool. BUT when I learned to unicycle I found that to be a big problem…When on my bicycle riding without holding on to the handle bars I had a lot of the weight on my legs…So when I learned to unicycle I would get real tired after riding 100 yds. because I was emulating how I did it on my bicycle. I had to “learn” to put all of my weight on my butt and almost none on my legs when unicycling. That was hard. Now when I try to ride my bicycle without using my arms/hands I can not do it. I do not want to unlearn what I have going on my unicycle just to ride my bicycle without arms/hands…Does that make sense? Also I have very poor balance but I think my core/stomach muscles have helped me to learn this skill.

Mike Adams

I think most beginners have the same problem as you, regardless of their experiences on a bicycle.

I agree that relieving weight off the feet will help you last longer on the unicycle. However, I think burning out is more a matter of stability-vs-instability, rather than weight-vs-no-weight. When we have no weight in the seat, the frame moves around under us, and the stability goes out the window. Our legs respond by working way too hard trying to stabilize the unicycle…a crazy, isometric freak-out of our leg muscles fighting against one another. If we stabilize the unicycle, perhaps by raising the seat, this makes the situation with our legs less chaotic, more efficient.

My guess is that, by learning to ride with one hand firmly on the seat, stability can be gained without putting weight in the seat, and a rider will be able to ride longer distances “on the pedals”.

I ride with 150mm cranks on all my unis (26" and up). I expect that when you can’t ride more than 100 yards, you’re still very much a beginner and I would just stick with the stock 150mm cranks. Sure going shorter gives you a higher speed, but it is more difficult to free-mount.

And like everybody says, the more you ride and focus on really sitting on the seat, the easier it will become.

My perspective… longer cranks make riding easier for beginners because corrective adjustments are faster thus allowing them to barely stay upright. More torque where they need it… while riding.

I believe that shorter cranks make mounting easier because the step up on the uni doesn’t affect the position of the wheel as much. Less torque equals smoother transition for mounting.

Once you’re up and riding, the shorter cranks will help you again by smoothing your riding out.

I think if you can ride 100 metres than you can ride.
Now it’s time to fine tune your skills and lungs.

thanks all for your tips and help which is much appreciated and is helping me reach my goal.

currently waiting for a longer seat post to come into stock so that i can get seat higher on my 20" and then i can play further with getting weight onto my backside and off my feet.

having put shorter cranks on my 26" im finding that its harder to get rolling before i fall off! either that or im just being wet and not pushing hard enough!! i do like when i get it rolling as its feels so faster than with the longer cranks on…can only imagine what larger wheel cycles must feel like!