Distance Training

I think it is wise to take footware seriously. Maybe it’s because personally I feel I needed some sort of good foot support to extend the distances I could attempt to ride. I started unicycling wearing basic running shoes and even walking books. After graduating to a 36er I felt more happy kitting up with better equipment including clothing and shoes.

So I opted for 5-10 Impacts. Choice was high or low shoes but opted for the low shoes that leave the ankles exposed. I think many people use the higher cut shoes especially for MUni. For me the 5-10’s seem to have been a good choice. Best of all is the non-slip characteristics of the sole - they tend to not slip off the pedals as you cycle faster - at least better than my walking boots! I find them a snug fit and would recommend locating a shop where you can try them on first to get the sizing right. I believe they are quite popular shoes in the MTB fraternity in UK so you should be able to locate a supplier without difficulty – however they do cost a bit at about £75. Sorry, I cant’ comment on anything else as I have no experience in alternatives. – except I am experimenting with clipless setup and will put some video about this online soon.

Sounds good, money isn’t so much of a problem as I’m hoping to get a bit of sponsorship from my family and through my job so shouldn’t have problem with funds. They sounds good though, I’ll have a look around and see what I can find.

When you say clipless, do you mean you have clips on your pedals that slot into your shoes as that seems like instant death to me (but I am coming from a 20/24 point of view)

I actually broke my ankle playing unicycle hockey last year (lost my balance and trapped my foot on the pedal with my hockey stick) so will have to wear an ankle support. Saying that, there is metal in there so the joint is pretty strong so may not be too much of a problem. Who knows, I’ll ask my physio!

Are handle bars really that useful, its something I’ve been looking at but not thought about all that much!!
I was planning on getting some but I wasn’t sure how beneficial they would be.

Pretty good advice overall.

First, take everything I say in the context of a fool who didn’t train much at all before heading out on a massive tour. My training ended up being the beginning of the trip, and I don’t feel I was in shape until at least a month in. My first week was kind of terrible, so make sure you don’t do what I did!

note: sorry everything here is metric. divide by 1.6 to get distances in miles.

So training. The first month of my tour I did 40-60km each day with a rest day ever six or seven days, once taking two days off. The terrain was pretty flat for the first few days, and then mountains the rest of the month. This worked out great - I quickly got in shape and while I didn’t increase my distances much in the first month, the moment I broke out into the prairies I was able to do 100km every day. Note that while this worked out great for my muscles, my knees took a real beating on the downhills.

Clothing. Half the tour I wore underwear with cycling pants intended to go over top of cycling shorts, and the other half I rode mountain bike cycling shorts (cycling shorts with thin baggy shorts over top)… with underwear on. Just recently I found out you’re not supposed to wear underwear with cycling shorts. To think of the pain that could have saved me! My first week was very rough, to the point where at one point on one day I could only ride maybe 300m at a time without dismounting and walking a few steps. That said, I’m sure a lot of it was in my head and I should have pushed harder, but it wasn’t comfortable. I used some “Gold Bond” powder or something for a while but wasn’t sure if it was actually doing anything. Didn’t feel like it. My point: ride lots and for distances in the saddle, and if you use bike shorts make sure to wear them properly.
Otherwise, cotton socks and cotton t-shirts! ha, when it was hot I was soaked and my feet were always soaked. Definitely a bad call. I’m just starting to buy better clothing…

Handlebar: I would call a handlebar key. I just got mine before I left, and actually the whole trip was revolving around being able to get it, and if it hadn’t worked out I would have quit and gone home. I did another (short) tour a few years ago without one. It was not fun.
When I started with my T-7, it felt like I was giving up control in favour of comfort. Now I find it frustrating to ride a 36 at all without a handlebar. It’s different: I would definitely not call it giving up control now, it’s a change of how you can control the unicycle. You are much more securely on the thing with the two extra contact-points, and it can give a lot of extra leverage when you really need to dig into the pedal. I can also ride standing up while holding on the bars, great for uphills or just taking weight off the saddle. Also, if you get the T-7, make sure to get some handlebar extension things that you can attach to the ends that will stick down. I find the T-7 to be a terrible fit for me as-is. I just got the new KH T-Bar and I love it. Would definitely recommend it. Just need to figure out how to make it carry water…

Roads/Traffic. Get a mirror. They stick onto your helmet and you can see behind you without doing a shoulder check. Shoulder-checks and ears are great, but believe me, on the open road this is much much better. I don’t use mine around town but wouldn’t think about another tour without one.

And don’t race the whole time either. Take it easy, relax. Look around yourself and enjoy it!

Sorry this post ended up being a bit long. Hope some of it is useful anyway


Thanks for all the tips.

Luckily one of my good mates is a personal trainer so fitness wise he has given me a plan. He knows some great core work outs too!
Clothing wise, at present I wear underwear and cycling shorts (lycra inside bit with the soft part between the legs with shorts on the outside). Should I just be using the cycling shorts alone? Saddle soreness is always a problem, but im building up to that, I have an exercise bike so sit on that all I can.
I am trying to get lycra everything, things that don’t soak up but keep my confortable. Also am hoping to get the shoes recommended in this thread!

Handlebar - its something I had put into my plan, but wasn’t sure why they were needed or if I would benefit from them, though from your tips I don’t think I’ll go without.
What do you mean by extenders? Making them longer so you can lean on them a bit, or like bull horns?

Mirror may be a good shout, there will be 20 of us at an easy pace but I think it would be worth while getting. Are there any retail ones or do I have to fashion one myself?

Thanks, saskatchewanian! I’ve had my eye on the 114mm Ventures and Hookworm tyres for some time now- I think I’ll go for them if I don’t get a 36er by August.

Wired- You definitely want handlebars! I haven’t got one for mine yet, but last time I went on a long ride I found myself hunched over the saddle, desperate for something in front to hold onto. I think a handle would make maintaining a decent cruising speed a lot easier.

As for cycling shorts, I have a nice pair of baggy cycling shorts that come with padded inner shorts. I don’t think you’re supposed to have normal underwear on with those. The first time I went on a distance ride, I wore just boxers and jeans. After two hours I was actively pushing the saddle away from my thighs- the chafing was that bad. The next day I bought the cycling shorts mentioned above, and went on a 4 hour ride with no problems :slight_smile:

The mirror I’m using is this:

I’d say it’s perhaps a little overpriced, for something that feels a little flimsy. I also messed up mounting it to the helmet the first time round, and ended up wasting the adhesive velcro patch that it came with.
In the end I fastened it to my helmet with cable ties, and it fits very securely. The mirror itself is nice and adjustable, and although I don’t recommend relying solely on it for traffic awareness, it certainly helps.

I used to not worry about what soles I was riding on, but I always looked for something with good grip. I found both in the 5-10s, as described above. There are a few different versions of their Impact (or similar) line. The two main features are their super-grippy rubber, and their stiff soles. Running shoes have flexy soles, which rob you of energy on the pedals. I love my 5-10s, and they seem to be the only shoe that’s made for pedaling without being made for cleats. Most expensive shoes I ever bought, and well worth it. I now have one pair each for MUni and road.

Only the most confident riders should play with clipless pedals, and preferably if they have experience using them on bikes. If things go wrong, your ankles are less likely to suffer than your wrists, collarbones, face, etc.

The longer the ride, the more useful they are! Once I got used to having one I always feel deprived without it on long rides. Its main function on long rides is to take some of the weight off your crotch (by allowing some to rest on the handle). The other main function is to steady you. By being another point of contact with the unicycle, you no longer use extra leg energy keeping yourself in place on the seat. Less energy wasted leaves more available for powering the wheel.

Pretty much any cycling shorts with a padded crotch are meant to be worn directly against the skin. Or with special “cyclists’ underwear” that doesn’t have seams in the wrong places, but I’ve never tried any of those. A second pair of bike shorts can also work wonders on long rides.

Feh. I had one like that, until I put my helmet down the wrong way and it broke off. I prefer a glasses-mounted mirror. Even though I don’t usually wear glasses for riding, a pair of clear lenses with UV protection is probably a good thing anyway.
. Being metal, it’s much more likely to bend than break. Lots of hardcore touring cyclists use them.

Yeah, I’m quite doubtful as to the longevity of my helmet-mounted mirror. The glasses-mounted mirror does look very good! I might get those when my current one breaks. Thanks for the link :slight_smile:

Think I’m starting to get it, I just need to get the actual unicycle and all the bits I want. All i have started is my training. I only have cycle shorts and some gloves atm, so loads I have to get.
Did manage to ride about 70 miles this week though si have made a decent start.

Def wanting to get those 5 10s they look just the thing! Problem is that I don’t know where to get 5-10s in the UK apart from on ebay. Any ideas anyone?

I think I’m going to try and make my own mirror, will have sun glasses so will try and mount them onto that, sounds a lot easier.

Try here - right in Sheffield :slight_smile:

Great news,

The grant I applied for through work has been agreed :). THey are buying me a KH29 muni, 36 UDC second hand from trading post here, gloves, kh handle bars, camelpak, bicycle computer and a spare inner tube!!

Really just the clothing I need to get onto. WIll go and visit that shop when I next get a chance, need everything, socks, shorts, tops, a coat and the shoes!!

Lucky you… a lot of stuff :slight_smile:

Now you can collect some fashy outfit :wink:

Thanx for all the info guys. I’m leaving in less than three weeks to ride across the states. This has all been very helpful. I’ll be sure to post any tips i can come up with.

A bit off-topic, but I was thinking earlier about setting up a wiki-ish style collaborative website about unicycle touring. A definitive guide of all the tips and tricks and advice.

Would anybody find it useful? Would anyone contribute? I can do it, but it will only work if people contribute.

I know I started a thread like this one once, and I’ve seen more of them, and that makes me think it might be a good idea.

Back on topic, Wired: awesome news on the sponsorship, congratulations!

and in terms of shorts, it’s not even just the seams in regular underwear, it’s the material. Chamois (synthetic or not) is really porous, allowing your skin to breath.

I would love a wiki type thing, but instead of restricting it to just touring, we should cover all types of unicycling, hockey, basketball, freestyle, trials, Muni. Along with tricks and rules etc. see if we can get more support of course!!

Thanks, yer its great I got funding, but I forgot to include the price of the brake :confused: so I now need to either find £76 or get some donations!! Any other tips or how to get a brake for a KH29 on the cheap?

I think there’s something similar already?

You could take one of the brakes off of an old bike. Or even just buy one brand new, V-Brakes aren’t expensive. You’ll need to rig up some kind of adaptor for the magura mounts, like this:

I’m pretty sure you can buy v-brake adaptors too.

Indeed, I am aware of the unicyclopedia, and maybe the lack of anything about touring on there should be a hint that it’s not something people are willing to contribute to beyond what they do in forum topics. I personally am very interested in such a resource, but I haven’t contributed anything to unicyclopedia so maybe I should start there.

When I said “wiki” I didn’t mean wiki. I should be more specific, and I should probably stop hi-jacking this thread and start my own.

Wired, I thought of a few more things to mention:

Food. Eat lots and lots. If you’re feeling kind of off one day, eat some food. Try to eat lots of different things.

Don’t cary a spare tire. If you’re worried about it, have one ready to be sent.

Is this a supported tour or are you carrying everything on your back?


I am eating loads already but am kinda trying to lose weight on the way also!
I think my parents are coming along with me in a support car, there are also 2 support vans as well so wont have to carry much other than my camelbak and a banana.
I’m going to buy a spare inner tube, but wont carry it with me, no need with support vehicles!!
Think its just a matter of training. I’ve bought a 36er from the trading post, but having trouble getting hold of him to arrange to pick it up! Never mind, will make do with my 29 for the time being at least!

I saw no mention of Gu or PowerGel or Hammer Gel or ClifShots or…

…I’ve become a huge fan of these little energy boosters. They aren’t the best taste-wise but they’ve really saved my bacon on big days. Some times I can’t handle any solid (or even semi-solid) food after a long bout of riding, and these are the only products that keep me going.

Not sure, I don’t drink much caffine, prefer bananas, they seem to have the same result!!

On another point, got my KH29 this morning!! Awesome stuff, just the seat is a little too high, gonna have to get it cut down tomorrow, maybe I’ll try the hacksaw on it tonight.