Can't ride without my legs DYING?

Hey everyone! I’m new to these forums, but have been learning to uni about a week. My skillset is basically moving forward and free-mounting (Maybe 75% success rate) so far, and I’m slowly getting the hang of corners :smiley:

However, I’m having a bit of an issue. My limiting factor to how far I can ride doesn’t seem to be me losing balance, but instead seems to be my legs getting so tired they won’t carry on for any longer! I wouldn’t mind if I could at least manage a quarter-mile, but I can barely even make it to the bottom of my street before my legs give up :frowning:

I used to do lots of off-road/small mountain biking, so I figured my legs would be up for this, but it seems not.

Is this just something I’m going to have to keep doing, and letting my legs get used to pedalling 100% of the time? Is it a possibility that I’m riding in a weird position that’s making me use my legs too much? I tend to put most of my weight on the saddle, and I have it raised up so that my leg is almost-straight when my heel is on the pedal (I sort of assumed it’s the same sort of rule as bicycling, am I wrong here? :smiley: )

If anyone has any insight into this at all I’d love to hear!

Just to clarify, I don’t really get ‘out-of-breath’ I just feel my legs aching more and more until they finally give way :frowning:

Thanks everyone, no matter what the answer is I won’t give up until I’m able to uni to work :smiley:

You’re probably not putting your weight on the saddle enough. About 95% of your weight will go on the saddle. This is a fairly common problem with new riders. You might think you’re putting your weight on the saddle, but most probably not, especially if your legs get tired after a short amount of time.

Put your hips forward and put your weight on the saddle. You’re actually sitting on your gooch. It’s not so natural to just let go and put your full body weight on that part of your body. It’s also not so comfortable but you will get used quite rapidly.

Ride as much as you can and you will build muscle. This is a normal part of learning to ride a unicycle. Like emile said, focus on putting your weight on the saddle not your legs and that should help some.

Stop being such a wimp!

OK, this complaint is very common for new riders. Try riding while putting almost no weight on the pedals. Picture a water balloon on each pedal. Can you ride the unicycle without breaking the balloons?

Riding will get much easier with practice, but you do need to get your weight off the pedals and onto the seat.


Hi Piece Maker

Welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

I agree wit the other guys, think BOS. Bum on Seat. Imagine your bum is really heavy and sinking into the seat. Works for me, but then again I don’t have to think that much. :roll_eyes: Also put your arms out and wiggle your fingers, you concentrate so much on that, that you forget everything else that’s going on.

Lol, never heard that one before!

Aye, :slight_smile:
Nasher taught me that one, also to imagine you are being pulled up by your hair. Keeps your back straight and head upright.
I’m not a very good rider, and I guess I’d be even worse if it were not for these tips :o :frowning: :slight_smile:

:D:D That’s a nice one! I liked the water balloon tip too (This one also allows me to not ride down the street with my arms sticking out and a dazed expression… Possibly). I’ve mostly been doing the ‘look up at the end of the road and keep pedalling’ approach :roll_eyes:

Thanks for all the tips everyone, I just went outside for a quick spin, got to the end of my street and the skies opened! Typical - Baking hot sun for 2 weeks until now :sunglasses:

Pretending my hair is lifting me up… Hmm… Could be difficult, my hair probably weighs about as much as me :astonished:

Well what do you expect living in Manchester!!!

It rains that much in Manchester that the buses have life jackets under the seats :smiley:

I know, I know, I know, old chestnuts and all that :wink:

Don’t mean to thread jack, but have you seen Unicycle North West on Facebook.
Worth joining Facebook for :slight_smile:


I haven’t seen such a Facebook page, though I haven’t looked - Consider it joined ASAP!

The rain’s been good recently, just typical that it’d happen as soon as I head out to try some new techniques :angry:

I’m a beginner rider as well, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

In addition to the putting more weight on the saddle I found to help me go longer to once my legs really started aching ( before the point of dying ) to stop unicycling for a bit and stretch them. Then ride again. That helped me get more saddle time in during one session of riding than riding to the point of my legs giving way - as once that happened I was really done.

Hey Piece Maker, if you’ve only been riding for a week, and you can already free mount and ride to the end of your street, you are way ahead of most beginners. Unicycling uses a different set of muscles then other sports, so don’t be surprised that your legs feel weak, even if you have been bicycling regularly. We hear that a lot from cyclists. So just have patience and keep pedaling. It will get easier as you go along. You’ll be riding for miles before you know it.
Post pictures of your progress!

The other half of sitting down: relax.

It’s hard when you’re learning, as your legs are still figuring out how much energy is needed to keep you balanced. As you continue to ride, your body will get used to the idea and there will be less and less wasted energy.

Until then, try to use the Force. Mentally, let it supplement the power of your muscles. While sitting down. :slight_smile:

As most have already said it’s about getting the muscles used to riding and the strength required.

I have found due to my infrequent riding at the moment, that my legs are sore from muscle fatigue at the end of a ride, and through the next couple of days I struggle to walk properly as my leg muscles are screaming at me. It’s a simple reminder to me that the leg strength required is quite big and that you do get used it fairly quickly. I need to find more time to ride regularly :slight_smile:

Welcome to the world of the marvellous single wheel …

Thanks for all the encouragements/welcome!

From what everyone is saying I’m looking at a mixture of correcting my technique, practising/relaxing, and building muscle power :slight_smile:

The fact you hear this a lot from cyclists doesn’t surprise me, they must be confused (as I am) as to why their previously never-tiring legs are failing them!

Pictures will be posted next time I go somewhere more interesting than my front garden, don’t worry there’s plenty to see around here :slight_smile:

I’m surprised no one has mentioned that your saddle may be too low. Adjust it like you would for a bicycle.

Now that you mention it, me too.

I already did do - Slight bending of the knee when fully extended, just like I would on a bike :slight_smile:

It seems to be that most replies on this thread indicate an incorrect posture/not enough Bum On Seat, so I’ll head out soon and try to force myself into the seat while being as light as possible on the feet! And I’ll double-check seat height :wink:

Ha. I’ve caught myself doing that right before doing things that are difficult for me, like riding down a stair set. At least now I know the reason why I do it. :wink:

So everyone has said weight in seat and yes, that’s the main thing. Also, leg pain is something that goes away with time. When I started back up after 10+ years of not doing anything I knew how to ride and put my weight in the seat but the leg muscles simply weren’t there. After time all the various muscle groups caught up to where they needed to be and I kind of plateaued off with the leg strength, since I’m stuck in that same gear ratio.

Another reason to get a 36, increase the gear ratio I’m accustomed to so I can get stronger or have more endurance for burst climbs on smaller wheels.

In order to learn that easily, watch some TV while sitting on the unicycle, in a door frame, holding to the frame on both sides, with the cranks at the 9-3 o’clock position (so you have to use the same force in both legs and that force is minimal as you’re only stopping the wheel from going under.)
That way you can concentrate on the feeling of putting all your weight on the seat and it will become natural faster.

Actually, that’s how I teached myself unicycling 5 years ago : 1h a day for a week in the door frame so my body can get used to the feeling on its own. Then teaching myself to fall without injuries, then only riding and mounts…