beginner help!

i got my first unicycle several months ago, but never learned to ride
it for a variety of reasons (mostly, i dont have a chance to practice).
i’d like to remedy this.

i’ve read lots of tutorials, but nothing seems to help me ride more
than a few yards at most. so maybe i can tell you what i’m doing, and
you can tell me what i’m not doing.

the two things i try to keep in mind are “sit up straight” and “keep
your weight on the seat”. the seat should be extended properly (the
full length of my leg when the pedal is in the down position).

my ride is the Torker CX, 20 inch I believe. the seat twists from side
to side sometimes. i think this is just because i fall off to the
side a lot. its a cheap unicycle, but im assuming it should be fine to
learn on?

i dont have a long fence to ride along. i usually start next to my car
(guiding with my hand) and take off into the abyss when i reach the
end. i’ll make it 5 yards if im lucky. i feel like im totally missing
something, because i cant progress at all. i usually pick up things
pretty fast (im an avid juggler), but i guess the unicycle’s something
new…

i don’t step off prematurely, but i wouldnt say i fall off either. i
sort of stumble off the front, and land on my feet. if i manage to
ride a few yards, i start turning, usually to the right.

does it help/hurt to hold on to the seat? are there any sorts of
tricks i can use to improve my balance or help me find my center of
balance? i don’t know what im doing wrong. please help!

thanks in advance,
jeff

Well, i’m just a noob, but I can ride further than five yards and am picking it up fast…
Well, the main thing that helps me is the ability to control my abs - that’s where a lot of my fine adjustments seem to happen that jumped me up to the area of riding half a block (with a planned dismount because there was a nasty bit of terrain in the way and some obstacles that I didn’t want to UPD near)
If you’re falling off the front, you’re not pedalling quite fast enough at that moment.
I haven’t worked out if it’s good or bad to hold the seat, but at the moment I wouldn’t personally suggest it, You want your arms held out so you can flail them around for balance purposes.

When I was learning…

I had my seat SLIGHTLY lower than what you mentioned. If your seat post is turning just from your shift in weight, that needs to be fixed. I am sure you can tighten the clamp or quick release. I learned by holding onto my car, leaning SLIGHTLY forward and just going for it. Look ahead as you ride and keep both hands free. Just keep practicing, you will definitely get it. If you get tired, quit that session and try again later that day or the next day. Be sure that wherever you are practicing is wide open. If you start to turn, just keep riding in whatever direction it takes you. Don’t give up! I am sure everyone has their own method, but this worked for me. Good luck!

Hi Jeff,

Well I’m sorry to say there is no definative answer for your problem. There are many factors such as age, weight, natural abilities, whether or not your brain is willing to cooperate, and I highly suspect there are several mystical requirements. I was 39, near 240 lbs, coordinated as drunk moose, and with all this in consideration my brain was full self-preservation mode when it came to dealing with me riding a unicycle. Two of my kids tried and learned to uni in less than 15 hours. Me, I took over a hundred before I could get halfway down the block. Why so long. Hell if I know.

There’s a high percentage of folks that would have simply given up. I really wanted it as a way to replace mountain biking since my neck would no longer allow me to persue that. Now I have an Onza for the trails and a custom Coker. The Coker has almost all my attention now. In the last 16 days I’ve logged 146 miles. What’s different between then and now? Again, hell if I know. When I ride past people and they ask how I do it I shrug and say “I’m not sure myself.” I think my brain gave up trying to protect me. Kinda like it said “Fine… go kill yourself, see if I care.” Suddenly I’m riding down the street and from then on it was all about building up strength in the right muscles.

For some like me its frustrating to watch folks around you pick it up and go with such seemingly little effort. I see that as a gift. I was told by some wise mentors that I would appreciate riding more than those that found little challenge in learning it. I encourage you to just keep trying. Try different locations. I would change my learning locations several times during a session, if only by moving across the street.

If I learned anything its that anyone can truly ride a uni. It’s all in how bad you want it.

Good luck.

I learned to ride with ski poles and it helped a lot!! It’s a lot better then holding on to something to get your balance and then plunging into the un-know. even with the ski poles it took me a good 4 months to learn though. It takes longer for some people while some people learn in an hour or two. Good Luck and have fun!!

I learned by riding under a clothesline. I’d grab on and ride and pull myself up for ballence. After a little while I ued it just for comfort. I wouldn’t hold on to your seat if I was you. It just gives you less balence when your new to this sport. I think my clothes line method works pretty darn good I learned in less than a hour. But I don’t give up easy. Everyone is different don’t rush yourself.

five yards is further than 98 percent of the people you know could get. good job.

The thing that helped me the most at your stage was letting go and flailing as MUCH as possible. if you feel yourself tipping to the side oversteer to that side. I’m talking the wheel turning about 60 degrees about twice a second.

I needed to pretty much bury any dignity I had left to learn how to ride; you never get it back, but its worth it :smiley:

:stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, I’m a slow learner of unicycling too. It’s worth it though. Don’t give up for at least another couple of months. :smiley:

Jeff,

Your unicycle is fine for learning. It’s probably harder to learn while holding onto the seat–I learned by flailing both arms wildly. :smiley:

Other than pedaling faster to keep from falling off the front, you could try putting less pressure on the pedal in the back as it rotates up to the front. I wouldn’t worry too much about turning while you’re learning. If you find yourself veering to the right, let it happen.

Good luck!

Try this for a change

Jeff,

I can sympathize completely. It took me entirely too long (in my opinion) as well. In fact, I bought the uni as a fitness machine but quickly found out that it was much more suited to exercising my sense of humility.

Here is how I got over the this agonizing stage: find yourself a couple of dining room chairs with tall backs. Set them back to back with a few feet between them. Get yourself up on the unicycle while holding on the backs of the chairs and try for a foot position of 3 o’clock - 9 o’clock. Then when you feel ready, let go of the chairs and try to do one pedal revolution. THEN STOP and go back and do it again. Don’t let yourself ride to the point of UPD. Repetition is the key and with this method you could probably do this 40 or more times in a short session.

If this is too easy, do the same thing but with 2 pedal revolutions or it’s too hard go with half a pedal revolution. Doesn’t really matter, but it’s important that you thoroughly practice what you can do successfully and make the most of your practice sessions.

I found that 15 minutes of this per day made a big difference in my learning curve.

Good luck and don’t give up!

i learned along the side of my car just as you are trying to do. It will work its just patience…just continue riding those 5 yards. I probably rode for 6 hours/day for 3 days strait before i could really say i had the hang of it. I couldn’t even get on it at first. As for falling fowards, when you feel yourself falling fowards, pedal faster…and vice versa if you start falling backwards.

I learned in the local tennis courts in our park, hanging on to the chain link fence until I was confident to veer of into the void.
I remember one fella on here came up with what sounded like the ideal situation. He found himself a corridor which opened out into a gym hall. He started of riding along the corridor, which was just wide enough for his outstretched arms to touch either side. Then when he was confident enough he’d ‘launch’ into the gym, further and further each time.
Good luck!

^^yea my roommate picked it up way quicker than i did because the hallway of our dorm allowed him to reach the walls on both sides

your unicycle is fine for learning…
it will take time. keep on practicicng regularly.
do not hang onto the seat leave your arms fly around and this will help balance your wieght