Coker braking technique - what NOT to do

I commute about 20 to 30 miles per week over some rolling hills. My legs have been getting a bit sore trying to hold my uni from going too fast down the hills. I did a search on the forum (that’s what we are supposed to do first, right?) and found some riders (GizmoDuck) say just go for it and don’t worry about the speed, while others say brakes can save your leg muscles.

So I installed the UDC Odyssey brakes on my new Coker today. Then I proceeded to learn some lessons on how NOT to use brakes on a uni.

I guess it’s pretty obvious that when applying the brake you don’t slam it on too hard, or you will be catapulted forward and slam yourself into the pavement. I have now learned (after a few UPDs) to be GENTLE when applying the brake.

Much less obvious is the fact you must also be gentle when releasing the brake. The first few times, when my speed seemed to be under control, I simply let go of the brake lever. Whoops, not such a good plan - with no brake friction holding the wheel back, it shot out in front of me, dropping me on my feet wondering what happened. So the second lesson I learned today was to GENTLY release the brake.

Do you have any further lessons on braking technique for me, so that I don’t have to learn them all from experience?

On downhills, start applying it before you need it and are still in control. Then if you start getting ahead of the unicycle, you can ease up on the brake and get behind the uni again.

This is not the same as bicycle braking technique, where it is possible to get back under control with the brake.

My first use of the brake on a 36" launched me through the air too – bicycling habit!