Charity Unicycling - from scratch - any advice?

Hi all - new here obviously.

My mother always raised money for local charities, even at her own funeral last week, (no sympathy please - not looking for that, just mentioned for context) by requiring everyone to donate to Pendleside Hospice instead of buying flowers.

We’re not rich as I had to give up work over a decade ago to care full time for my wife after she became ill, (again, context, no sympathy!) but now the kids are all grown up they pitch in to mum-sit at times and we can do something productive for charity. We’d like to raise money for the Hospice in her honour and hit upon UniCycling as being an unusual enough activity to enable us to do so.

I’ve never ridden one previously during my 52 years on this planet, but all the articles on sites like yours have assured me that I will be able to get to grips with it.

My current plan is to learn to ride well on a cheap unicycle, then buy something sturdier and plan something like a 25 mile UniCycle ride this summer to raise money locally through sponsorship. I feel this is an activity that we could use to raise reasonable amounts for the Hospice and honour my mother’s memory at the same time.

It won’t be a one-off event either, I’ll be open to suggestions from the Hospice and the Community here for other ideas/rides that are open to sponsorship.

I plan to start a blog once I have my first Unicycle and update everyone in agonising detail about my progress, or lack of it :smiley:

Now - my questions:

I’m over 5’ 11" tall and currently weigh around 13.5 Stones (85 Kilos?), but measurements assured me that a 20" unicycle would be big enough for me to learn on so I’ve ordered a cheap-ish Reflex 20" from a shop sale in Bolton that I found on eBay. It looked better quality than the chinese 20" that were £39.99 from various sellers. If I’m wrong, tell me now so I can cancel the order before the shop opens in two days :slight_smile: I’ll probably donate it to one of my sons once I can ride properly.

I figure that my initial use will be some kind of distance road riding for the charity, so I will need a 24" Uni that will stand up to the rough roads around Burnley without breaking - any suggestions for something affordable (nearer to £100 the better, I could scrape more together if needed but disability benefits don’t give us much spare cash)?

I selected 24" because it’s pretty hilly around here, on the side of the Pennines, and probably longer cranks and extra stamina will be required.

For a 25 miler I will have to allow for punctures and maybe spills - any advice on what support/equipment would be needed to make sure it goes off without a hitch?

I have my old skateboard kneepads and my ice-hockey helmet for safety gear and could put my boxing wraps on for a bit of extra wrist protection. Other than bum-pads, am I missing anything? :stuck_out_tongue:

Looking forward to hearing some of you pitching in on this and, yes, we ARE serious about committing to this idea.

I’m sure we can drum up local publicity once my skill level is up there enough as I have contacts on the local paper, at local CIU clubs and the Hospice should be able to advise us too. Add on the Blog/Facebook/YouTube and so forth, and take into account the fact that I’ve done contact sports all my life so I bounce quite well, and we should be okay :wink:

Have fun guys,


TD;DR?: Learning to Unicycle - plan to raise money for charity by distance road riding with it - advice on equipment desired. :slight_smile:

Good luck on your journey! There are a number of stories here of older folks chronicling their learning experiences; you’ll manage it.

A 20" unicycle is a good way to learn, and the one you purchased is probably adequate for the purpose (though the seat may be annoyingly sub-standard). For protection while learning, wrist guards, shin guards (for pedal bashes), and possibly a helmet are sufficient. You won’t really fall that much when learning on a 20".

I would recommend that once you’ve learned that you go for a 29" or at least a 26" for your charity ride. It won’t be significantly more difficult to ride, and it will be noticeably less annoying to do distance on. For a 25-mile ride, at would likely be fine, or for a 26".

For equipment, once you’re solid on the uni there isn’t a lot of requirement for equipment for road riding; gloves and a helmet, a spare tube or patch kit, and a multi-tool for adjustments should cover you.

Again, good luck, and let us know how it goes!

+1 on the bigger wheel.

Other than rides like this what are your other interests? Any trials, tricks, Muni, big distance? Your next uni could cover a couple areas and /or reduce your total # of unis.

Thank you both for your replies. I’m happy to see that nobody here thinks the idea is nuts, unlike other members of my family :smiley:

Yes, the larger wheel for distance riding makes a lot of sense. I have ridden various two wheeled things around forests, over ramps and long distances on roads so I expect my interests with the Unicycle will branch out over time. The MUnis seem to be quite expensive, but rattling round woodlands on one does look very tempting.

I shall focus in on the road riding for the first half of this year though since raising money for charity is the reason I am starting this endeavour, and road distance riding seems the most recognisable pursuit from the view of persuading people to donate money to the Hospice.

I think you will surprise yourself as you seem to be an amazingly committed chap who has a massive amounts of dedication, which are all the qualities that make a natural born unicyclist :slight_smile:

I have only been riding 11 months and have gone through all sizes of Uni and while learning on a 20" is fine for riding any distnce get a 29" as from experience I can tell you the 24 will still be too slow and the 26" not much better where the 29er will fly along. I am a few inches shorter than you so you will fit one easily.

The only problem I can see is I think you will find 25 miles to easy so make sure you get sponsorship by the mile :wink:

Keep us all updated and hit us with any questions you may have as everyone here will be happy to help :slight_smile:

Are you mad? We all know that once you learn to uni you ‘have to’ get as many unis as posible! Or at least that’s what’s happening with me. :o

I completely understand that - I expect I will turn out the same way.

Part of my insane mind was sitting around last night watching videos of MTBs taking on the 44 mile ‘Mary Towneley Loop’ nearby and wondering if you could do it on a MUni, and I can’t even ride a normal one yet :smiley:

I also feel morally obliged to learn to juggle… coughs

Welcome to the forum Wheeliedaft :slight_smile:

May I suggest you have a gander at the ““Learning Journal”” thread on Just Conversation. Also Threads by dudewithoutasock or is it dudewithasock.
Also, get thee over to yonder ye olde worlde facebook and look up Unicycle North West. There are a great bunch of peeps over on there.:smiley: They are friendly and very helpful :slight_smile:
Last but not least have a nose at the website. Drool over your next unicycle (YCNHTMU’s) and have a read of their uk forum.

Hope this helps in some way.
PS Great ride along Blackpool Prom this August, you’ll hopefully raise loads of dosh :smiley:
Good Luck and keep us all posted on the '‘journal’:wink:

Thanks, Alucard, I’ve clicked the ‘join please’ button on that Unicycle North West group. I saw the guys rode Delamere Forest. I used to live not far from there and regularly tooled round it on my BMX, whilst my grown up son wimped out and used his MTB - gears are so lame, don’t you think? :smiley:

My shiny new Unicycle is supposed to arrive tomorrow (courier) and I have been reading those threads you mentioned.

I’m already drooling over some of the fancy Unicycles at the website - my bank balance will not thank me in the future, but - hey - you can’t take it with you, as my mother always said… :wink:

Well if you feel that way already I am almost certain that you’ll stick with it. Trust me it’s worth it - even if it’s just so you can beat all the MTBers on hill climbs:p

Looks like it happening with everyone in this comunity waiting my new 20"

Why not? It is interesting and good for your brains :wink:

Unicycle arrived and I learned a few things:

  1. Adult male riders need tight underpants/athletic support to keep things out of the way (as mentioned elsewhere here)

  2. Shinpads seem like a great idea too - even plastic pedals hurt when they hit you. (ditto)

  3. I have no sense of balance whatsoever on one wheel :roll_eyes:

  4. Dropping the Unicycle is better than falling over! :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s raining outside, so I’ve been limited to the kitchen so far. Looking forward to getting kitted out and taking it somewhere nice and flat…

  1. I always wear two pairs of cycling shorts when I uni.

  2. The Torker LX pedals are junk IMO, so getting some decent ones would help, like Odyssey PCs.

  3. That will come, you will need lots of practice and patience.

  4. +1. I’ve broken several parts on my unis, prob from dropping them so much. I’d much rather have that than broken bones :sunglasses:

As an alternative to wearing two pairs of cycling shorts, wear a pair of ‘Speedo’ type swimming shorts under just one pair of normal cycling shorts (although I use some Muddy Fox MTB shorts - they are very durable). The Speedos keep everything out the way as well as keeping you feeling dry.

Sorry Connor, I should have piped up at the first post, but missed it… The problem is that the unicycle you have is a children’s unicycle. It is really only suitable for under 10’s. The saddle is tiny and works for 8 to 10 year olds, but not adults. If you can get away with extra support then it will do for learning, but if not, get an adult scale saddle on it.

Have you put on a longer seatpost on it? I am guessing that you can not get the seat high enough for you and this is causing extra problems with the balance for you.


The saddle being designed for juniors would explain the discomfort :smiley:

I only wanted this one to learn on then will be looking to get one of your 26" Unicycles, as linked by ‘tholub’ higher up the thread.

I think the seatpost is long enough. I have a few inches of adjustment left on it and can straighten my leg with bum on seat and heel on pedal, which is supposed to be the max length you need, isn’t it?

My grown up son (who’s not very tall, or heavy) is looking to claim this unicycle off me once I ‘upgrade’.

I would have gone straight for one of your machines and cancelled this one if you had been around to warn me over New Year, but c’est la vie.

Hopefully I’ll learn enough on this one to make a smooth transition to the 26" road bike and be able to start some sponsorship efforts for Pendleside Hospice.

Thank you for your informative input, Roger, greatly appreciated.

Can anyone measure their ‘adult’ sized saddle so I get an idea just how much smaller the one on this Unicycle is by comparison, please?

May have to consider buying a new saddle if it turns out to be a big difference!

My Nimbus Gel saddle…

…measures about 11" long (not counting the handle on the front), 6" wide at the back, 4" wide at the front, and 3" wide in the middle. It’s about 2.5" thick.

I also have an old Torker CX saddle sitting on the shelf, it’s a bit smaller but still nominally an adult saddle (I think)…

It’s about 10.5" long, 5" wide at the back, and 2.75" wide at the front. It is also about 2.5" thick but it’s significantly firmer than the Nimbus and not comfortable at all. It sufficed for learning to ride but it was also the first thing I replaced on the CX, before upgrading to a better uni.

Regarding your planned 25 mile ride, I’d suggest the 29" trainer that was tholub’s primary recommendation over the 26". Over that kind of distance you really should get the biggest wheel you are comfortable with. Once you are able to put a couple hundred feet, or more, under you on the 20" then the transition to a 29" vs a 26" isn’t really going to be much different. It will seem like a step back at first but once you’ve adjusted to the new wheel & crank size just keep at it to build up your balance, leg strength, and endurance for the big ride.


Thank you, Martin.

My saddle measures 9.25" long, 5" at the rear and 3.5" at the front (not including any bumpers) so it is a little bit smaller than a regular sized one, but I’m not sure it’s a dramatic difference. I’ll persevere with it for a couple of days and see how it goes.

As far as the wheel size goes, I agree that a 29" is sensible for long distance riding, but I’m not sure it would be as easy to transport in the back seat of my car as a 26". I still have plenty of time to think about it though, since I’m not going to have the funds for an upgrade for around two months the way things are going, Thanks again for your input. :slight_smile:

It is not just the length of the saddle, it is curvature of the saddle. The saddle that Connor is not on very curved, but also tiny.

The Torker CX saddle is also a Children’s saddle, but can certainly be used by adults. It is bigger than the Reflex saddle but smaller than what I would consider an adult saddle.