First thoughts on wheel walking

I made my first serious attempt at wheel walking today, and figured I’m make a
few comments. If I’m on the wrong track with anything let me know. I read the
advice that several people have posted to the group and it was very helpful.

I ended up practicing at a tennis court. The advantages are smooth pavement and
a chain link fence to hold on to. This felt more secure than I imagine a wall
would. During a few earlier weak attempts I went along a waist-level ranch
fence, but found it difficult to go with one hand. Having something at shoulder
level was much better.

John’s advice about going uphill was very helpful. Even going uphill I felt like
I was slowing the wheel down, but it was much worse when I went the opposite

Learning wheel walking isn’t nearly as scary as I expected. I took no hard
falls. It’s just like sitting on a strange high stool.

I got pretty good at riding while holding on to the fence. Once I turned away,
though, I couldn’t do more than three steps on the wheel. I’d usually fall
forward. I’d try to keep going, but I’d lose traction on the tire. The tire is
an old-style Schwinn unicycle tire, with no tread, but I suspect that even with
tread I wouldn’t have enough traction and leverage to keep going.

This is the closest thing to first-time unicycle learning I’ve experienced since
I originally learned. I’m assuming the dynamics are the same, just the
propulsion method is different.

I guess now I’ll just keep turning away from the fence until I get the
hang of it.


Beirne Konarski | Subscribe to the Unicycling Mailing List
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Re: First thoughts on wheel w…

It’s good to use some grippy shoes. For doing lots of wheel gripping tricks
(sorry, skills), I prefer turf shoes. These are knobby-bottomed sneakers for
playing soccer or what-have-you on short grass or astroturf. Unfortunately,
they’re not too easy to find any more. 10 years ago they were in every shoe
place, but now you really have to look. As an alternative, any shoe with a
well-textured bottom will work better than a smooth one.

Progress may be slow, because you will be riding slow. Wheel walking is a lot
slower than regular riding, so it requires a greater attention to your balance.
Don’t be afraid to use your arms a lot to keep you going in the right direction.

Stick with it; it’s worth it!

John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone former Wheel Walk speed record holder