I’m a London-based (LUNIs) unicycle hockey player, and I’ve been riding/hockeying for about 4 years. It’s taken over my life.
I’m teaching my sister and young cousins to ride now, wondering how to get more people involved in this sport. There seem to be so few good resources out there for people to find, and I’ve set out to put that right:
I’ve spent the last 2 weeks writing ‘Unicycling: The Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide’. The main section is the 7-stage ‘how to ride’ guide, and I’ve included some background information on the history, where and how to buy, types of unicycle and sporting variations among other things.
The riding instructions are illustrated, and there are QR codes which link to short YouTube clips to explain each step. I’ve made them very detailed, and have stressed the need to take things steady. I’ve seen too many clips of people having their first attempt, trying to ride down the street right from the off. That is not the quickest way to success.
This is doubtless looks like a shameless plug of my own book, but I want it to help more people get involved and learn to ride. You can download a sample (or buy it!) at the link below - also available in the US, Australia, Canada - and I will happily send the entire PDF to anyone willing to give some genuine and thought-out feedback. I want this to be a great resource for beginners.
I’m trying to get it onto Apple iBooks and Google Play etc. But before I spread it further, any feedback you guys would be willing to give would be greatly appreciated.
Kris Holm will be putting a link on his FB page, and the IUF have said they’ll do the same. So hopefully this initial show of interest will have some encouraging results.
Thanks for your time, and for any feedback you can provide.
I look forward to reading your book, I’ve often thought about writing one like it. As one who teaches new riders I’m always looking for new approaches.
Reading the sample text I’m impressed with your writting style, very upbeat and clear with kudos to the giants on whos shoulders we ride. I expect the rest of the book to be as enjoyable. As you pointed out playing hockey or any other uni game greatly improves ones skill as you are no longer thinking about riding so much as playing the game. Last year I started playing hockey, basketball, soccer, sumo etc at least once per week with my more advanced riders. They LOVE it and want to play more and more.
I especially look forward to reading the seven steps to learning to ride. I would be glad to provide feedback.
Thanks for your reply. It would be great to get feedback from you, as someone who teaches unicycling to people at different levels. I would really appreciate that.
Thank you also for the writing style comments - I spent so much time making sure it reads well. The last thing I want is people pointing out spelling mistakes etc., and detracting from the actual point of the book.
I will hold my hands up now, and say that I had no idea soccer and sumo were played on unicycles! That calls for an amendment to ‘Sporting Variations’! (If you could give me some info about those sports, that would be great too!)
As regards ‘How to ride’, I’ve hopefully made it clear enough that it’s [I]not[I] something you can master in a day. It’s basically modeled on how I learnt to ride, spending hours or even days practicing the same thing over and over. (But then, I’m one of those strange people who love learning by long periods of repetition, until I feel it click!)
If you’re ever in the UK (more specifically London,) let me know and I’ll put you in touch with our hockey captain. The LUNIs have 2 sessions a week, and it’s a very high standard of play. (I’m currently further north, training with a side in Derby.)
So, thanks again for your reply, and I look forward to hearing what you think of my guide!
@ Shmolagin - Thanks! I’ve posted on most of the forums I could find, but still loads more publicity avenues to explore. Fingers crossed it will be a success!
@ Doshagrow - Thanks for letting me know. Having had the reply from Kenny, who teaches unicycling, I’m a little reluctant to send out more free copies for now… My aim is to make a few pennies, so feel free to hit ‘Buy’! I’m sure you’d find it was $7 well spent
I want to set up a landing page for it, so people can download the PDF if they don’t have an eReader. That should be coming soon…
All the best to you both, and thanks for your interest,
For sumo we get two riders inside the circle in the center of the gym floor. They face each other, lift their hands up about head height and grasp the other persons hands (palms touching, fingers entwined). When I say “go” the object is to push/pull the other rider out of the circle or off their uni, all the while staying inside the circle and mounted yourself. Wear helmets! This sounds like it could be violent but since you have to stay riding yourself it’s not so bad. Even our younger riders really enjoy this, just make sure you pair up with someone with abilities.
For soccer (european footbal) we use a large inflated ball (less than a meter wide). Push or kick the ball toward your opponent’s goal, so long as you stay riding and don’t use your hands.
Handball is similar to soccer except the ball is basketball sized or smaller. To keep one person from hogging the ball I made the rules that:
The ball must be passed across the half court line.
Once passed half court, the ball must be passed at least three times before attempting a goal.
I kinda made up most of the rules on the fly, and often modify them depending on the skill level of the riders. Wear helmets!
I just purchased your book and am really looking forward to reading it. I bought a couple unicycles a few years ago and never learned to ride them I have a 24" Nimbus II then learned that was probably not the best to learn on. So I bought a 20" Sun Classic. However, work and life got in the way of me finding the time to practice. I REALLY REALLY want to learn.
I bought the Ebook on Amazon. I’ve got a few years of experience already, but I’m always trying to get others to ride and I thought this would be useful to give me ideas on how to teach them. For the price - $7.80 from Amazon US - its a worthwhile investment, though I dislike Amazon’s very limited sharing policy.
I would consider one addition - a discussion of how long it generally take to learn. If you haven’t found it already, there’s great data here:
…showing average times for different ages to learn, different wheel sizes, etc. For me, if I hadn’t realized up front that this might be a 15-20 hr endeavor just to be able to ride a few dozen feet, I would have given up after an hour.
I also started at 50. It probably took me 5 hrs before I could go more than 10 pedal strokes w/o falling; to ride 100 feet took me closer to 10 hrs. And, it did not get much easier - I don’t think I had free mounting down until after a good 50 hrs of practice.
But - to answer your question - I think the only age limiting factor would be fragility- I cant imagine learning w/o falling a bit, and we do get more fragile as we age. All the more reason to learn now.
Thanks for the encouraging words everybody and sorry to hijack the thread.
Back to the book. I’ve only started the first exercise of getting on the unicycle. They seem like well written, straight forward instructions. I have to say the addition of the YouTube video was helpful. I look forward to making progress.
I was surprised by the advice to start with the pedals at 12/6 o’clock. This is usually refered to as the dead zone since you have zero leverage on the pedals. Granted, a lot of people start this way but it will become a habit that will need to be broken in the long run. Pedals at 3/9 o’clock allow you to control the wheel, but I suppose most beginners default to 12/6 unless instructed otherwise.
Looking forward to reading the book, James. I just sent you a pm with my email address. I have taught about 10 people to ride uni, including my 4 kids. I’m currently in the process of teaching my wife how to ride.