Beginner: Crank Length for 20 inch Unicycle?

I learned on a 24" and to me, that is a better wheel size than a 20". A 24" is slower to respond to crank inputs and that makes it more predictable to control. Also, I would guess it took me 10 hours of practice before i was able to ride it. And now, with hundreds of hours on a unicycle, I still fall. So hang in there, anyone can learn to ride a unicycle.

1 Like

I have not quit. We had a few days of record rainfall and I did not practice those days but all other days I am practicing about 45 to 50 minutes per day. I am still using a fence (tennis court chain link fence) and struggling to see any improvement. I am only using one arm to connect with the fence and not twisting my torso terribly to hold on with both hands as that would leave me in a really awkward position. I have fallen many times, once rather badly with a 7 inch diameter dark purple bruise on my hip and a “knot” on my shin that is painful. Since a pedal whacked that shin I did purchase some soccer shin guards. What surprised me was that a pedal whacked the BACK of my right leg and drew blood - those scabs are healing. At my age, 73, I knew going into this that there would be a lot of falls and some pain - so be it!
This might be rather unimportant but who knows - I have been a road bicycle rider over 50 years. I ride my road bike about 7,500 miles yearly and have for many years. So, I have a rather well defined pedal stroke and rotation that is well rooted in my muscle memory. I find this has been a hindrance in trying to ride my unicycle. However, today for the first time as I slowly pedaled down the side of the fence I could feel the small amount of “back pressure” on the pedals aiding me trying to keep the unicycle under me. I think my process would be the all time slowest of anyone that ever attempted to ride a unicycle but I am in no mood to quit - I just hope my old body survives!
I am very disappointed that the Chris Holm leg protectors and out of stock everywhere. I would get those if I could. I do use wrist guards and a high quality cycling helmet. Thanks for all the tips!
Note: When one of my sons was eleven years old he wanted a unicycle. I bought him one for his birthday and he taught himself to ride it. Remember - back them there was no internet, no unicycling forums, no You Tube, so he was on his on. After two months he could consistently ride a seven mile loop through our neighborhood. He kept riding for about four years and then quit. Recently, at the age of 45, he was in a bicycle shop and saw a new unicycle for sale. He bought it and in 20 minutes of trying he is back riding. I don’t think he can idle or go backwards but he can ride forward for long distances without a UPD. He recently sent me a video of him riding his unicycle on the beach at Kiawah Island, S.C. - USA. It was a wide hard packed sand beach and he rode miles on it every day while on vacation there. To him it seems to come natural. To me it seems to laugh at me!

1 Like

Kudos to you for keeping at it! Just remember the time… you’ve been practicing about a quarter of the time that your son did (and he was 60 years younger than you are now!). It may seem hopeless at the moment, but it will click at some point. Getting your first 100 meters is exponentially harder than getting to a couple kilometres from that. I heard of someone on this forum (I forget the name, wave hi if you read this though :slight_smile:) who got to 100 meters in their first day, while for me it took a month of daily 3-4 hour practices - we’re all just different. So hang in there, you’ll get it! :+1:

Thanks for the reply. I read your message several times and I am definetly holding the fence too high. Often I am holding it at shoulder height. This gives me something to work on tomorrow and moving forward.

1 Like

Get away from the fence and ride into the open. Read my post above.

Maintaining back pressure is part of unicycling while learning. Riding efficiently involves a series of modulated pushes with no weight at all on the rising pedal. Any weight there belongs on the saddle. Otherwise you are fighting the force that is driving you forward and effectively standing up to some extent.

Of course there is back pressure when decelerating or holding back going downhill but not when just riding along.

Anywhere between about 110 and 127 should do it. Whenever I’ve bought a 20, it’s come with 125s.

A taller person may find the slightly longer 125s less “twiddly”.

The difference between 114 and 125 is less than 10% — you’d have to be pretty sensitive to notice it on a 20.

All this talk about cranks, I ordered one larger and one smaller than stock on my club 24. Anxious to see how different they feel…

1 Like