First day commuting or why I suck at this

:angry: Well, this is frustrating. I’ve decided I’m going to try to commute to work every day for the month of May on my 29er. I’ve been riding, with varying levels of dedication, for about 5 years but never really any distance. Usually just around the neighborhood. My commute is only 3 miles one way and relatively flat with a really good, paved bike path for 90% of the way, the other 10% is on the streets. My goal is to end up the month being a smoother, more relaxed and more confident rider. We’ll see. This morning pretty well sucked as it took me a little over half an hour to ride it and I was drenched with sweat and my legs felt like I’d just done a half century on my bicycle. I try to focus on being smooth and not flailing my arms but I find I’m constantly fighting myself and using many times more energy than I should. I figure if I’m not pitching my uni into the dumpster by the end of the week I’ll be on my way but right now that seems to be in question. I’ll try to maintain focus on my goal and maybe report back every week or so. Wish me luck. :roll_eyes:

my advice, don’t focus on not flailing your arms and trying to ride smooth, just focus on riding, and getting to the destination in one piece. the more you ride the less you’ll flail your arms, wobble, etc. distance riding to me was almost like re-learning how to ride. since the wheel is so much larger it take a while to get used to riding it over any substantial distance. you’ll become a smoother rider, ad an overall better rider with time. focusing on little things like not flailing your arms are only going to make you work harder IMO.

best of luck, i wish i lived close enough to work to commute on my 36er

If you keep it up you will improve very quickly. Just try to relax in your riding and it will get much easier.

Give us an update in a week.


Good luck!

I remember my first week of commuting, and it was quite different at the end of the week. Keep it up and I’m sure it will come before you know it.

What length cranks are you using? I only ask because switching to shorter cranks helped me a lot on my commute. That being said I never ran anything shorter than 125’s on my 29’er. I probably could have dropped to 110’s but sold it before I had the mind to switch cranks again.

Try to have fun!

Think of your commute as more fun than any one else. Make it fun or you will not likely stick to it.

Third or fourth day in a row might be the hardest. I’ve done over 1000 commute trips. You CAN do it!

Try to have fun!

Think of your commute as more fun than any one else. Make it fun or you will not likely stick to it.

Third or fourth day in a row might be the hardest. I’ve done over 1000 unicycle commute trips. You CAN do it!

Oh the flailing of the arms. Don’t let that stop you. I remember thinking I had that all under control. Then, my husband recorded me riding and my arms were flailing like crazy. Later it lessened. Now it’s mostly when I’m off road. Someone gave the advice that you should practice riding with your arms behind your back. I could do it for a few moments but not all the way down a street. Now a year later I can ride all over the place with my hands behind my back. The more you ride the better. Just keep going with your goal. If you miss a day, don’t give up. I can’t help you with the sweaty problem. When I get to work, I change my clothes.

One thing to try is to think about keeping a very light touch on the pedals; that might help with your smoothness. Distance uni riding (on an ungeared uni) is all about minimizing effort.

Hey! That was my goal this month too! Yesterday I managed to idle once and ride away when I had to dismount to cross the busy intersection, and again after walking up the steepest hill (that I still can’t make it up on my 20", but I’ve made it within 3’ of the whole way on my 29")… so my strength/endurance is obviously improving.

Then I woke up and saw the Chinook winds nearly blowing the trees over in my front yard :angry: So I decided to compromise: I have my 29" in my trunk and I’m going to ride it home now that it is only gusty, not so windy I can barely walk without falling over.

So my new goal is to ride at least one direction every day… which is only half giving up!

Anyway, good luck!

The wind stopped me from riding today too. Man it’s still blowing here.

Don’t give up underdog !!!


  1. Have change of clothes at work or carry them to work in pack pack. I also carried my lunch in backpack.
  2. Have safe place to store your unicycle at work (I used to keep mine in cubicle)
  3. Take a cool down period outside office.
  4. Enjoy the ride (mine averages 45 - 55min each way).

I am commuting on my 29 because of road/bridge construction.
This summer will be a mess so my options are walk, bus, bicycle, unicycle.

Good luck…

I live 24.8 miles from my job… I have ridden the 29’r 10 miles at a shot already. So now to save up and buy a 36 OR get a job closer to home! LOL

Don’t think so much and relax. The smoothness will come, fighting the wobble and arm swinging now will only tire you out.

Good luck with your goal!

I commend you on your goal of commuting for the month. I would love to do that but I live pretty far from work. From my own experience the more I think (actually over think) while riding the more I tend to over flail my arms and as you say suck. Once I relax a bit and decide to just go for it, that’s when I ride like I want. Just think by the end of the month you will be amazing and probably have some good stories. :smiley: Good luck, relax and go for it!

Uni Commute

What a great goal. I set a similar goal in January to ride for all my errands within 3 miles from home (assuming I don’t have to carry too much). What’s great is that the first time I rode to the store, about 1 mile away, I was about dead. Now the same ride can be done in a fraction of the time. Every day I manage to ride to the post office and back during lunch. I’ve found that some of the shorter commutes (1-2 miles) I can do almost as fast as in the car and it’s a ton more fun.

Every day I see many of the same people out on my local bike path. They’ve become my bike path friends. I don’t know who they are, but we all seem genuinely happy to smile and say hello each day as we pass each other at the same time and spot on the path. Its fun.

As for the sweating…I can get drenched, so I have started taking an extra shirt if I need to look presentable after a ride. I’ve also noticed that if I slow my pace down a little bit and just sort of “saunter” along, I don’t work as hard and don’t get as overheated. It doesn’t take much more time than when I really peddle fast, but I don’t get as overheated.

Keep it up, I bet you’ll get hooked on it!

Another option is to drive part of the way and ride the rest.

be happy!
I used to commute to my work … with a 20" because I was riding on pavements. Riding on roads with cars swooshing past you is another story (once a car “pushed” me out of the road as a was commuting with my 29er)

Now my job is 9 km away … not a great distance but right in downtown Paris: my wife does not want me to do it (she does want me to get killed in the traffic!) even with a b*ke I fear for my life …

Be careful around those one-way streets in Flagstaff. I ended up on someone’s hood once. :frowning:

Or rather get a velomobile or really aerodynamic bent (half-faired).

Seriously, I wouldn’t want to ride that far every day on any of the HPVs I have here… but with one of the aforementioned it should be quite possible.

Well, thanks for all the words of encouragement. Today, unfortunately I had meetings 10 miles across town so it was motorcycle time :slight_smile: (nearly as much fun). The ride home last night was pretty brutal. I did slow it down and try to be smooth and light on the pedals. It helped some but I did have a bker on the bke path yell at me to stay on my side. I was trying!! Really!!! I’m not confident that I can ride on the street yet and not swerve into the car lane so for now I’m staying on the separate b*ke path that runs along the main route through town. Last night I took a little longer route home that added about a mile. The last hill, one that usually beats me, loomed in front of me and I was DEAD TIRED. I pushed through and made it 90% of the way up and UPDd off the front. My legs were so rubbery that I just couldn’t keep myself on my feet and went down on my hands and knees. It was frustrating and potentially embarrasing but I don’t think anyone saw me. I picked myself up, dusted myself off and walked it to the top of the hill and rode the rest of the way home. Tomorrow, I ride again, in spite of the forecast for wind.

Oh yeah, somebody on the first page asked about crank length. I’m running 150s. I know that 125s would reduce my overall leg movement but, for now, I just can’t get enough leverage to mount the thing with the 125s, especially if I’m trying to get on top of it on a slight uphill incline.