Beginner freestyle /street tips?

Hey everybody

My name is Andrew ( not to be confused with the username XD)

I have been riding for about four years now but all I have been able to accomplish is my dominant foot free mount and idling. I really want further my skill level and want to start free style / street unicycling.

Any tips on where to start?

Hi Andrew,

Admittedly, I am in a similar spot as you, but I have been working through the skill levels on the IUF website ( So far it has been a fairly useful resource. It might be worth taking a look at for street or freestyle.

Working through that chart is really helpful I started out doing that and still go back to it. What size uni are you working with? For me it was a confidence issue since I was working with a 24" for tricks.

I remember the first time I read the skill levels description. It was kind of depressing. Some of the tricks seemed impossibly unattainable. I ran into a stranger in the park today while riding, and he asked me, out of the blue, what level I was. “Three,” I said. "No, you seem more like a five, he replied. Then he mentioned some of the higher level tricks I’d demonstrated moments early. Unfortunately, one has to perform every trick in a level to pass the level, and there are level five tricks I cannot do. Anyhow, the stranger turned out to be a professional clown, which explained his familiarity with skill levels. I think the skill levels are still kind of depressing, particularly since I am resisting learning wheel walking like the plague, because I sense I’m going to take a really hard fall. But, in general, the skill levels do a good job of enumerating a scaffolded set of techniques, each of which is necessary to move onto the next technique.

Hey, Andrew! Welcome to the forum. I think there’s two things that might be useful to know that could help with all kinds of things. When I was at the point you are now, the next step for me what learning to hop. That’s good for clearing obstacles as well. After that, you might try some one-foot riding, especially since you can already idle. While idling, start to gradually decrease the pressure on the foot that’s not dominant until you can idle by using only your dominant foot. Eventually, you might progress to being able to ride one-footed or other cool tricks.

Those should keep you busy for a while and possibly give you the skills you’ll need to move on to other tricks. The stuff mentioned in the skill levels on the IUF website is cool, but I personally just work on whatever seems interesting or necessary to me. I’m not terribly concerned with someone else’s list of what they consider to be important, but for some it helps keep them motivated and helps them to gauge their progress in a uniform way. It’s also good for braggin’ rights, if that’s important to you.

The story by elpuebloUNIdo is the only time I’ve ever heard of other unicyclists mentioning the skill levels in conversation, so don’t worry too much about them.

I second all of Bradford’s advice. One thing to keep in mind is that there is a proper form to jumping up stuff. Opposite hand holding the saddle, from the foot on the back pedal. Right hand, left foot, vice versa. Hop up obstacles with your back pedal towards them. Obviously practice both sides though. If you are confused about my explanation of form, go watch any recent Aidan Teleki video, he has great form. Also, as soon as you are competent at normal hopping, I would recommend working on SIF (seat in front). And if you have facebook, I would recommend joining Urban Unicycle Chat.

Hi Andrew! From what you say, you are at IUF skill level 1, but you know how to idle, which is from level 4! Just goes to show you how arbitrary the IUF levels are, though I see no harm in consulting them for suggestions of new stuff to learn. Personally, the next thing for me after idling was riding backwards, but ymmv. There are also lots of different ways to idle.

I once met a woman who, after a year of unicycling, had only learned to wheel walk. She said she didn’t have any other skills besides just basic riding! Once I started to work on wheel walking myself, I understood. It seems quite unrelated to other skills, and you could probably learn it whenever you want. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s worth it if any of this stuff is. Learning to ride one-footed first might help slightly, especially for the transitions in and out of wheel walking, but you could probably skip that step if you were determined enough.

Anyway, it’s mostly up to you.

Hi onlyneedsone

I am so surprised with the amount of replies I got. I had wished to reply sooner but I was traveling and had no access to the Internets.

right now I am working with a torker 20" DX

Hi bwerth

Hi bwerth

Thanks for the awesome reference!

Hey Bradford

I can bunny hop a little, but so far i can only hop up a couple stairs ( riding up and down stairs is friggin terrifying ! XD ) as for the one foot idle i can kinda do…thanks for the tips tho. I’ll definitely try to use it to try idling one footed

Hey Bradford

I can bunny hop a little, but so far i can only hop up a couple stairs ( riding up and down stairs is friggin terrifying ! XD ) as for the one foot idle i can kinda do…thanks for the tips tho. I’ll definitely try to use it to try idling one footed

Hey song

Riding backwards was the last thing I was working on… so far I can get a couple feet before falling on my ass. It is a work in progress though, I think the biggest hurdle for me when riding backwards is the fear of falling.

As for how I first started riding… it was back in high school where I meet and developed a crush on a girl who rode a unicycle . Funny enough she too could only wheel walk.

She gave me her unicycle after she ran away from her parents home a few years ago… I named that torker DX " casie" in honor of her.

That’s a beautiful story!

Sounds like you are working on exactly the stuff you should be for someone who knows how to idle. The DX is the one Torker I haven’t ridden. People say it is heavy, but unless you are enormously large or morbidly obese, it should be strong enough for the hopping you are doing right now.

A couple if stairs? You’re doin’ great! I don’t blame you for bein’ terrified about going up and down the stairs, though. It is really intimidating. A certain amount of fear is healthy, and I think progress is a fine balance of fear (or maybe I should call it “respect for gravity”) and bravery.

I’m certainly no expert, but I can share what really helped me with hopping to get up or down stairs, curbs, etc.

First, I don’t really look straight down when I’m hopping up or down. I look down to see what I need to do, and then I try to keep my head up and mostly use my peripheral vision when I’m actually hopping up or down obstacles. When my head is down I have more trouble keeping my balance. If my head is down, I’ll still land the jump but then UPD right afterwards.

Second, I keep hopping after I’ve landed, usually 2-3 more times before I ride off, unless there’s more to hop up or down.

My routine it to just keep hopping before, during, and after the obstacle. That way it just flows.

I doubt that everyone does it that way, and it may evolve for me, but that’s how I’ve made it work for now.

It sounds like you’ve pretty much got already got it, especially since you can already do two stairs, so my advice may be moot, but maybe it will give you food for thought and/or help others reading the thread trying to learn the same thing. I’m sure if you practice it frequently and push yourself to make small incremental steps (pun intended), you’ll be awesome at this. You definitely have the potential if you can already do what you said you can.

My own definition of flow means that everything that can be rolled is rolled, and there are no pre- or post-hops. For example, that means if there are 10 stairs, one hops 10 times. I’m not saying I can do it this way, but that’s what I’m shooting for. I think, as riders improve, the momentary still stand replaces the corrective hop in a lot of situations.

Yes, five hops for five steps is definitely a lot less tiring than five hops for each step! The ideal, of course, would be one hop to go up (or down) five steps. I’ve seen that a lot on You Tube, but never personally met anyone who could do it. That gets into the realm of skills where you should wear protective gear, but from hopping up the steps one or two at a time, I have never had even a minor injury, though I did have a scary UPD once when my seat broke off in my hands. Make sure it’s bolted on tightly.