Falling forwards

I’ll just leave this here and see who finds it useful.:smiley:

So many thumbs up on that video is he serious ? I’m not trying the penguin belly slide on asphalt for sure. The front flip looks good but can it be done falling from a unicycle ?

Yes a shoulder roll is a very good move if have time and room to do it. When I first started road riding on my 36er I did one. Really did not think about it but when I was assessing the damage after the crash the only scrape was a small spot on the back of my shoulder. I was a gymnast in my younger years and a shoulder roll is second nature to me. It can eliminate doing a face plant, breaking wrist/arms or even doing a belly slide as in the frist of this thread. I have not tried a belly slide.

Here is a good video showing a shoulder roll:


I have had very few falls where a shoulder roll was not an option. I would definitely practice doing that before the penguin slide. A falling unicyclist has more opportunity to direct their fall into a roll than a tripping jogger etc, especially on the bigger wheels.

If you are not comfortable with falling I would highly recommend finding a nice soft grassy area and practice doing that shoulder roll, once you are comfortable with that add a unicycle. If you can’t make yourself fall with the unicycle put a log in the way to stop the wheel and try to ignore it until it stops your unicycle dead in its track and sends you (hopefully) tumbling.

Have fun :slight_smile:

My first big UPD from a Coker (early 36" unicycle) resulted in me doing an impromptu penguin slide. It was a weird feeling. I slid down the road and didn’t even tear my T shirt. I did cut my knee, though. I can remember feeling the road sliding past my ribs and thinking “this is going to hurt” but there was not a mark on my chest afterwards.

as a practitionner of Taï-Jitsu: there are many versions of shoulder roll …
But sometimes I miss (when the fall is quick and brutal on rough terrain)
But I didn’t know about the “penguin slide” (the real problem about “reflex” is to avoid hurting your wrists)

That Penguin belly slide sounds like a recipe for disaster!

I am not sure a shoulder roll in a UPD from a unicycle is a good idea either, especially if it is downhill. In my case, the few times I’ve fallen forwards doing Muni, it was too unexpected and sudden to have time in planning my fall: my main concern when falling is trying to avoid a face plant and also not to crash into any tree stumps, branches, rocks that get on the way when landing…

how do you stop your head from banging into the concrete, when the penguin slide slows you immediately. The asphalt/ cycle paths I ride aren’t as smooth as the floors he shows in the video. In any case I won’t practice taking dives from the uni onto the ground and see how far I can slide. Most times I land on my feet anyways. A roll seems handy to use also when tripping during a run, not just on unicycle, but I’d need to practice that first.

I can see the sense in the video when not wearing sliders but it definitely isn’t a way to come off a uni. We are coming down from much higher than a standing fall onto a much more abrasive surface. It would knock the wind out of you. (Small unis you can almost always run out of falls).

I have been down the tarmac at over 20 kph. The sliders are on my palms, elbows and knees, so the superman is de rigueur.

Usually it is “one giant leap for a man” first and hope I can run fast enough. I have dropped into a poorly executed shoulder roll once. I am considering converting some old knee sliders to shoulder guards for such occasions. If we had a local parkour group I would definitely go along for some training.

If I am going at speeds I can’t run out of I am careful to keep well away from the gutter or anything that would cause sudden stops in a slide.

It is another reason I like light tyres. It is amazing how fast one can accelerate a light wheel when an intimate moment with the bitumen beckons.

Sistema, in the Russian sense of the word, is something that has intrigued me for a long time, but I have never really looked into it. Those penguin slides might help now and then, but so far, in five years of unicycling, I have never been in a situation where I would have needed to do one.

The Venezuelan sense of that word also refers to an interesting thing, but I haven’t looked into that too much either!

I am by no means an expert, but I am no stranger to falling.

Sure running it out is preferred, that’s hardly a fall, more an “Un-Planned Dismount”

We are talking about when you can’t run it out for whatever reason.

My preferred fall is to use a leg to “launch” into a shoulder roll then slide on my back like I am on a luge. I usually ride with a hydration pack which takes the majority of the damage. This especially works well when going downhill and you know you are going to slide a ways.

If I can’t direct my fall into a roll I see the penguin slide as superior to the superman, that is unless there is an immovable object aiming for your face or something. If you think of the physics of how your arms are transferring downward motion into forward motion as you hit the ground the penguin is going to hurt less than a superman and less likely to result in shoulder/elbow/wrist damage, or a hard chest impact.

Slide like you are on a luge or a skeleton, it’s really is about transferring momentum into the least painful way to stop.

Either way try to avoid doing the belly flop scorpion fall, these are the things to practice to avoid doing that particular manoeuvre when running it out fails.

EDIT: my first post looks a bit dismissive of the penguin slide, which was not my intent, just that I see this as option C when plan B (roll then slide on your back, feet forwards) is not an option. I did this slide coming off a G24 on a gravel road with basically zero damage. It was effective and the fall was so sudden and I was going fast enough and close to the ground enough that a roll was not a good option.