I wanted to share some experiences of my first hours trying to get the
hang of unicycling.
As most of the time I bought good equimpment, instead of the cheapo
beginner stuff. Which worked for me buying a good snowboard, a good
Not so in Unicycling, though, I think.
I bought me a Sem XLW with 24" x 2.125 road tire and Miyata-seat.
The 24" I wanted because I tend to look at my wheeled gadgets as mode
of transportation, and less as “toy”.
I already protected the great looking red & white Miyata seat with
bubble wrap to not damage it with the frequent wipe-outs I experience.
At my current stage, I might store the Sem for the time being and buy
me a cheapo 20" for learning after all. Once being back in Germany
that is, I have to pack up and move back end of the month.
The Sem XLW is BIG. I reckon it might fall almost into the 26"
Mounting that thing is most of the times not a pleasant thing. I
ordered me a jock strap, which I read about while lurking here.
Seems, though, that I have been too realistic about the size, being a
modest European and not a supersizing American… So it doesn´t do me
much good. The boys keep escaping. Good thing I do not intend on
having a family…
What even hurts more is when dismounting involuntarily. One leg
reaches for the ground, the other still does the down-stroke, and
somehow the uni-seat kicks you in the groin. Ouch.
The pedals also are not beginner material, them being Odysee BMX
“pointy needles” types that left already a nasty bruise on the inside
of my calf (I am wearing shim guards).
For the first three hours or so I practiced in the late evenings in my
office, moving from cubicle wall to cubicle wall. They were the right
height for my large muni to hold on. However the friction of the
carpet along with the large wheel made it a much different thing than
“riding” outside on concrete. The first time in the parking lot was
horror, nothing worked. Cars are great to hold on while mounting,
though. The next time I even got as far as 20m, also a couple of
times 5m, 10m. Cool! I wouldn´t go as far as saying it was
controlled riding, but still! The third time in the parking lot I
couldn´t even ride 2m. Jeez. That, and being kicked in the groin
again let me retire early that evening. The force my be with me, but
forceing it doesn´t do any good.
What I also have problems with is catching my ankle on the crank where
it sits on the axle. The pedals don´t allow much shoe placement
correction. I learned to wear trekking boots early on, hitting your
ankle is no fun, either.
Another challenge with the 24" is speed. I am getting a bit too fast
at times to be comfortable.
I am not giving up, though. But hope that a 20" eases the learning.
I once gave a dutch Flevo recumbent a try. It doesn´t have a
handlebar to steer with, but you use your legs for not only pedalling
but also steering. After 30 minutes or so I got the hang of it, and
was riding around on side streets. Apparently my horizontal balance
is much better than my vertical one… I also ride the lowest of the
low recumbents at low speeds without falling over.
Doesn´t do me any good on the uni, though…
Well, I am hanging in there.