Commuting unicycle

I’m deciding about which Uni I’ll use for commuting. Town, with at least 8 traffic lights, pedestrians and cars. About 15 km of road: 30kms each day.

I can choose a g27,5, 125mm cranks (I’m not able to shift on the fly and it’s long time since I last rode in high gear) or buy a 36", 137mm cranks (never tried a big wheel). I’ve already ride that route on an ugeared 29" mostly and in low gear with the 27,5".

I think I can learn schlumpfing but right know I cannot test shifting or riding in high gear due to c ars

Get a 32" : faster than 29" and as flexible and easier to mount than a 36". how long does it take you to ride? about an hour on the 29"? 8 times mounting will be annoying with a 36", but you will learn it I guess :slight_smile:

That means you will be commuting at least 2 hours every day. Wow. IHMO, a Schlumpf might not be the best choice for you, right now. After you learn how to shift, then you may decide if it’s right…somewhere down the road, so to speak. Sounds like there are the correct number of traffic lights. Taking a break at each light might be a good thing. A straight 32 or 36er sounds like the best uni for your needs. While you’re still learning to mount it, there might be places at every intersection for assisted mounts. I would start with 150mm cranks and eventually (if at all) move down in size. You don’t need more speed than you are able to run-out, especially while commuting. And you’ll put more stress on your body from short cranks if you are not accustomed to them. Have you tried this commute on a smaller unicycle? If you can do it on a less-than-optimal setup, then you’ll know it’s doable (on a regular basis) on a better setup. Good luck!

That is a fair amount of traffic lights, which leads me to some thoughts and questions.

How are you currently handling the lights with the 27.5" or 29"? Do you have points to hold onto (e.g. lamp posts), do you idle, hop, standstill, or dismount and remount? Or perhaps you are able to time your riding?

I think this matters because if I read this correctly, you are saying that you have not ridden a 36" but you nonetheless still appreciate some of those things will be harder with a 36", and hence it not might be better suited.

Then again, it would also be interesting to know if you are riding on the road itself, the “sidewalk” or a cycle path? Furthermore if a it is a cycle path, is it separated or just some painted lines on the road. If you are really mixing with traffic then I can see the 36" appeal despite potentially more difficulties with remounts/idling/hoping at the lights . Being raised higher, you are more visible and if you did get hit would be more likely to end up on top of the car than under it. Plus it is easier to get closer to their speed.

P.S. If you can afford the 36" I would be tempted to get it anyway and try. It will either work out better or if it does not you can go back to the 29" and still have a 36" for other uses. :stuck_out_tongue:

I see his post is edited so he may have added this after your reply but…

I usually slow down approching a traffic light, make 2 hops and than dismount. I know the g27,5 would be the perfect choice, but I think I can get used to a bigger wheel a lot faster than a Schlumpf, and also I read somewhere it is more responsive and forgetful than an high gear uni.

I ride on a walkpath most of the time. I usually ride it in 90 minutes but I start 2 hours before work to be sure to arrive in time to change my clothes and clean myself.

90 mins for 15km means you are averaging 10km/h (or 6.2 mph) across this distance. Obviously the stops you make for crossings are dragging that down, particularly if you have to wait a while for light changes. Nonetheless, yes I think you will get a good boost in speed from 36", right off the bat.

Sorry…that was me before the morning coffee.

I did a similar commute of 15-16km about 4 days/week for 3 years on a 36 with a seemingly similar mix of about half roads and half bikepaths: the first year 16kmx2 on the 36 with 150mm cranks, then 2 years at 15kmx2 with mostly 127mm cranks but sometimes 110mm and even 100mm.

Annoyingly the number of lights increased a lot in the 3 years from 1 light to 5! So my commute time actually didn’t improve much despite a slightly shorter distance (I moved) and getting much more proficient on the unicylce. Although my cruising speed on 100s was much higher, with lights and mounting my time was almost the same with 150s, 127s or 100s (I think I was actually fasteest with 127s as with the 100s I usually had at least 2 dismounts or failed remounts at lights and I could often ride the 127 without dismounting at all).

My usual good average commute time was right about 54 minutes, with tops under 50 minutes (forgot my best time, but around 48 minutes for the 15km I think – so 50% slower than my best bike time) and some days with snow and cold up to 65 minutes.

At the time I did not have my Schlumpf but always thought it would be the right tool. After now having a Schlumpf I think, yes, theoretically the Schlumpf is ideal, primarily as you can relax at a decent speed and have the potential to go faster, but it comes with compromises and there’s something about a 36. I loved my long commute on the 36 and the only aspect that I missed compared to bicycle commuting is the inability to increase my total time on demand: on the bike if I was late for something I could crank the pedals and give it my all and maybe shave 4-5 minutes off my time (I did the commute once in 32 minutes on a bike, where my relaxed bike time was about 42 minutes and typical about 40). On the ungeared 36 I was not able to step up the speed much and unable to sustain a >22km/h for very long without UPD and the intersection/ight crossing cannot be speeded up much like on a bicycle, partly due to safety. These days I am better and probably could, but it’s still not easy.

That being said, I still think an ungeared 36 seems about right for what you’re describing: the number of lights is not so high such that the increased speed of the big wheel will increase your time and you won’t feel so slow. The stability of the 36" wheel just makes the ride so much more relaxed and pleasant, but I guess that’s subjective.

Thus, I think either would work. Learning the 36 would be a little effort but should be doable (I bought a 36 after only having ridden as 24 and 26 and within a few weeks after learning to mount holding on to something I started doing the 16km commute and worked about fine and the first time was under 1.5 hours and within a week about an hour).

The Schlumpf would be a little faster, but in reality would probably not be much, but more the POTENTIAL to be faster (I think I remember Wolfgang/Yeti writing that in years of commuting with an ungeared 36 and the geared 36 it took almost a year for his average speed to improve on the Schlumpf – maybe I’m remembering this wrong but you can find the thread by searching). But it is much more strenuous for the body and requires more attention and concentration. The 36 wheel just rides so nice and easy. I don’t think I could have just started cold on the Schlumpf doing the 16kmx2 commute 3 days a week like I did without much difficulty on the 36. The Schlumpf requires more control, more power, more correction, more attention, etc… and the smaller wheel is less stable so more difficult to ride at the same speed.

If I were you, I think I would ideally start with an ungeared 36 with 150mm cranks and maybe work down to 127/117/110mm. But as you already have a G27.5, you could also try that.

I’m going with the 127/150 EDB 36" way. G27,5 will become with 137 cranks my training partner

Thank you all for your kind help, 36" will be my next step

As I said before, even if you ultimately go with the G27,5 for commuting. It is always nice to have a 36er, so I don’t think you will regret your purchase.

I have to concur with Ruari. Even though I curse the thing, coz I have trouble mounting, I keep being pulled back to it to feel how it rides. I always compare it to riding on a horse compared to riding a little pony. Riding a horse is way smoother. You won’t regret having one.

Don’t horses buck more than ponies?
Only kidding, I agree that it feels very special once up there.