Chigins Gets a Uni .. Day 0

:astonished: Hello,

I have been lurking around here for close to a week now and thought I would start tracking my Unicycle journey here like I have seen a couple of others do. I have been really intrigued/inspired by
Learning Journal
Finally Got Started…

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Circus with my Family and saw the guys riding Unicycles playing basketball. I immediately thought to myself “I want to learn to ride a unicycle” like I am sure every other 40+ year old man with back problems in the audience thought. When I told my wife about this she smiled and nodded, maybe because I have had hair brain ideas like this before. Then it really hit her on Friday (July 12th, 2013) when I woke her up before I left for work to let her know that I had found a unicycle on Craigslist and would be driving over to purchase it at lunch or after work.

So I drive over to purchase the unicycle and the first thing I think is “wow this looks small”. It seems to be in really good condition so I give over the $40 and off I go very very excited to give it a go. It turns out that it is a 16" Avenir unicycle.

I am 5’ 8.5" and weigh a little over 240lbs and I know nothing about unicycles except that the seat needs to go high enough that your leg is almost straight.

On Saturday the kids and wife were off doing different things and I was left alone with my new purchase and nothing but time. I watch a few YouTube tutorial and out into the garage I go. After about 5 or 6 20-30 minute sessions I notice that the right pedal is crooked. I had stripped the crank threads and would no longer be able to practice :(. The Uni felt small and awkward and I was only able to get 2 or 3 pedals before falling.

On Sunday I started doing some real research and found that at my height and size I should probably opt for a 20" or 24" Unicycle. After checking with the wife about how much I could invest in my latest obsession I ended up purchasing a Torker CX 24". Since Sunday and even more research I have learned that I probably should have ponied up the extra $20 or $30 for the LX but it is what it is. I just hope it doesn’t break before I learn how to ride and feel comfortable investing in a better Uni.

I had no idea that my two daughters would be so excited to try uni-cycling so I ordered new Cranks for the Avenir 16" and it is just the right size for my youngest daughter. My oldest is probably 3 Inches shorter than me with longer legs so we will share the 24" until I determine if she is serious. Then I may pick her up a 20" or 24" Craigslist special.

Ok this is turning into a book, I will try to wrap it up. :smiley:

The Torker 24" came today. Wow is it a LOT higher than the 16" but seemingly easier to get on and feel balanced. I started off mounting on the grass and attempting to ride on the grass to get the feel for what falling off of it was going to be like before I tested it on the pavement. I then moved out onto the street and mounted near the basket ball pole that I have out front. Attempted several times in an hour or so to get moving. It is really scary. I was only able to make 1.5 rotations before UPD (all of them are unplanned at this time) but I felt a lot more balanced while on the 24"

That’s all for tonight. I hope to get some time each evening to practice.

Forgot to post a Pick


Sweet…as Spock surely would have said, ‘they were the best of times, they were the most frustrating of times’.
If you can find a fence or high railing it will allow you to bounce a hand along and keep going. This gives you more time to feel and learn how it all works rather than launching straight into free space. 10 out of 10 for having the balls to just do that immediately by the way.
I look forward to reading the highs and lows over the comming months :slight_smile:


Coolness! BTW when that CX seat gets really uncomfortable remember that there are way better ones available.

SCARY is the biggest obstacle to Unicycling I found - As soon as I learnt to stand up straight and think ‘I AM MAN’ I rode! :stuck_out_tongue:

I love reading these learning-log threads, so keep us posted :smiley:

Welcome on board, Chigins. Great posts!

Day 0, that’s very exciting. You’ve got everything to look forward to.

I thought the frustrating part about learning was that I really couldn’t do anything at all for the longest time. I’m still very much a beginner, just now getting to where I can ride for a while and end up somewhere that looks different from the place where I started. It isn’t like skating where you can at least stand in one place on them and try to look cool.:slight_smile:

Be patient and give yourself time, not just to learn what you need to do, but for your body to physically adapt to doing it automatically. Be prepared for your daughters to quickly become a lot better than you. Youth seems to be a huge and most unfair advantage, but it’s great that they’ve gotten so interested in riding. Having them to practice with should be lots of fun and good for everyone involved.

And enjoy your growing fleet of unicycles! I have to chuckle when a beginner shows up saying he or she wants to get a really good unicycle to learn on so they don’t have to buy another one right way. And the forum regulars offer serious replies, as if that’s really gonna happen! Half the fun is that unicycles are pretty cheap to buy, and riding them is free. I think everyone who keeps riding buys more.

Good luck, take your time, and keep us updated on your progress!

Day 1

I found a great practice area with a fence, as suggested, just a short walk from my house.

I got to practice for about 40 minutes tonight with my youngest daughter. I worked on sitting in the seat and not trying to support myself with my legs. There were a couple of smooth 2 rotation rides. I count this as 4 since every time my foot his the bottom I count 1 because it is easier to keep track.

Here are a couple of photos of the practice area with my daughter in the background and me sitting on my 24.

Good times! I know I can do this!

Edit: It feels like I am going so FAST!

The day after

I realize today that Unicyclists might be the most ‘fit’ cyclists. As I sit here at my desk feeling every reach for a paper or leg press to turn my chair :astonished: I am sore!

Have a great Day!

Persistence is key in learning unicycling and even as you get good, persistence is key when learning new uni skills. A lot of them don’t come quickly.

If you start getting frustrated, keep at it, a little at a time every day if you can. If you get really frustrated, take a few days off and come back to it. Oddly I find that a break often helps. I guess it gives your brain some time to learn what you’ve been trying to make it do.

Good luck!

But isn’t it a great kind of sore?:slight_smile:

The contortions and gyrations as we trying to stay on balance or not to fall when we UPD are bound to make the exercise even more intense. And riding with too much weight on the pedals is inefficient but it’s a heck of a workout for the quads.

Gotta say that I’m enjoying wearing clothes now that hadn’t fit for a long time.

I enjoyed the pictures, hope to see more.

That’s normal! It means you’re practicing a bit.

LOL…LargeEddie and I are right with you there. Unicyclist should register this form of measuring distance with the body that maintains the Système international d’unités. We could call this the Half-Crank and have a unit ‘Hc’.
I can now manage a maximum of 200 Hc before my lungs/legs give out on me.
You sir, are talking our language :slight_smile:
Onwards and upwards dude…


No Practice

Didn’t get to practice last night. But it was date night! :smiley: Today is looking to be a hot one (104 degrees) so I’m going to get out there early this morning. We will see how many “Hc’s” I can do!

Thanks for the encouragement! :smiley:

Day 3 14 “Hc’s”

I got out early today to practice while all the other walkers, runners and bicyclists were getting in their morning workout. For the first 15 minutes or so it was as if I had never been on the dang Uni before.

My mantra’ during the practice session was “sit in the saddle” and “keep knees together”. After about 30 minutes I was getting 3, 4 and 5 “Hc’s” then I cranked off a set of 9 Hc’s! Woot! I did a little happy dance celebration, which I am sure made people think I was even MORE crazy.

As I was nearing the end of the allotted time I was feeling very tired. On the last stretch I told myself “Ok from here to the pole”. That is when I cranked off the 14 Hc’s. I was so excited! It wasn’t pretty but I had done it a new personal best! Actually 2 in the same session. I put my arms up in victory and said YES! I am going to be able to ride this thing! :smiley:

Take A ways:

  1. Sit is the saddle
  2. Keep knees close
  3. Look at horizon
  4. Keep Pedaling

Have a great day everyone!

P.S. Thanks for all the inspiration!

It’s bloomin’ ace when you you start to feel like you can fly the thing. I still feel the fear but it gets easier every day. :slight_smile:

Well done. All your learns are good ones.


Annoying when that happens, isn’t it? :angry:

Nice recovery and excellent progress. You’re doing great. It looks like you’re on your way.

Sounds like you’re doing good, keep it up!

Thanks LargeEddie and Shmolagin

Short practice last night after a day at the Beach in Pismo. Just wanted to keep the feel ingrained in my Memory.

Both of my girls practiced. My 10 year old wil be riding shortly. Youth is wasted on the young ;). My 12 yr old will take a bit longer. She’s tall but I think the height of the 24" is making her nervous. Keeping my eye out for a cheap 20".

Have a great day! And thanks again for the kind words of support

Good Practice!

Practice tonight was good. There were a few moments where it felt easy and natural for a few rotations. I needed more air in my tire. I’m excited for the next practice.

Take Aways:

  1. Relax
  2. Check air pressure before walking to practice area

Definitely excited for a long ride!