Building up my wind and endurance

I’ve been riding for 6 months. I moved from tennis courts to empty stadium parking lots. Fewer annoying tennis players. Despite riding for an hour a day, I could never go farther than a few blocks. My wind would give out. I’d stop and be gasping for air. I’m definitely not a runner, but I do carry 40 pound backpacks when I go rock climbing…so my lack of endurance was puzzling.

I’ve been on a plateau for months. Like…zero improvement. It was fun and all, trying to focus in on the moment, more weight on the seat, less arm flailing. But progress was so slow I considered giving it up, like maybe I was just too old and clumsy.

Just in the last week though, the stadium had some games so I returned to the tennis court where I learned. I rode around once, had some power and headed into another lap. On my third lap I was still strong so I kept going…and going. I lost count of how many laps I did but suddenly I realized I could basically ride as long as I wanted. I’d broken through the ‘glass ceiling’ and it felt (almost) like a regular bicycle. It was easy and I was riding with grace.

Still can’t free mount, but at this point I don’t care.
Here is a minute from my two mile, 50 minute ride today. This is my first time riding on a public bike path. No animals (or humans) were harmed in the making of this video.


At least for the riding I see in your video I’d say it would be much easier with much shorter cranks. On my 36er I use 109mm cranks and find I can cruse for hours on end with little effort.


Great work, it’s so liberating when you can ride anywhere :+1:

1 Like

Nicely done! Plateaus are frustrating but it always feels great once you break out of it. Which is also funny how it happens because like you mention, it kind of just happens after a while. I feel like I’ve also been hitting a plateau in my riding so maybe I’ll go find a tennis court too, ha!

1 Like

Your riding well.

Time to get a hand under the seat and pull into you to get you connected to the uni better as itll keep it more stable.

Good thought. I do have the 3 hole cranks and have been wondering if it’s time to go to a higher gear. Riding for hours would be amazing.

Congratulations on your breakthrough! I’m so glad you didn’t give up. That video was great and you looked quite comfortable with your riding. The ability to free mount is liberating and allows you to ride wherever, but don’t stress too much about it and put a damper on your success. It will happen. It just takes time, as with any new skill on one wheel. It took me about as long to free mount as it did learning to ride. Just keep at it and you’ll get it. One thing at a time :slight_smile:

I’m always amused by the “shorten the cranks” comments, it might help in a few months but sorry to say you don’t seem to be ready to shorten. You’re still very unstable and your body hasn’t learned to adapt quickly enough through micro-movements. A better tip is to get used to having one hand on the saddle because, in my opinion, it brings your body closer to your center of mass, which will help you sit on the saddle and move your legs freely like you would on a bike. At this point, too many muscles are working together and it uses up a lot of energy. In my experience, I’ve made faster progress going on park trails rather than on graded terrain like parking lots because you have to adjust around rocks, holes or twigs a lot more. Don’t worry, you’ll get there and it’s exhilarating even at our advanced ages (I’m 64).



Nice progress. We should find a time and place to go for a ride. Text or call me sometime. I pm’d you a number awhile back.


Good tips on the saddle grab and riding trails. I’ve not tried either. I did shorten my cranks but it was too weird. Like a new uni. I agree that I am very unstable. It’s scary riding near people on a sidewalk. I’m a hazard to the public. I did lose the Vestibular System in one ear due to a disease back in 2001. So I only have half the balance of normal people. Or at least that is my excuse for learning slowly. Despite my lack of talent, it is still really fun to ride past all the people on rollerblades, electric assisted bicycles, electric scooters and 4 person pedal wagons. Those things are easy compared to this sport.

It’s nice to see your enthusiasm to continue improving. Important things I’ve learned I wasn’t expecting like patience, allowing sufficient recovery time between taxing workouts, sometimes a week off the unicycle can result in a breakthrough workout. Everything takes time: learned the feel of shorter cranks, different unicycles, different seat heights, different tire pressures, different saddles, pedals, shoes, protection, etc. I’m 75, unicycling for 6 years. I rotate between 6 unicycles because one is too boring. I’m always swapping cranks to challenge my brain to adjust. This summer I set a personal best of 6-1/2 miles without a dismount in just over an hour on my 26” Oracle with 137 cranks. This year I’ve made the most improvement by building leg strength doing step up workouts with dumbbells and 100 pedalstroke runs standing every mile or so. Friday I also did 100 pedalstrokes with both hands on the handle for the first time - at the end of my best standing workout. Everything takes time to learn and build strength for. Nothing compares to it in my opinion. Never quit!:sunglasses: