I’d never ridden a unicycle until this week. For the past six days I’ve practiced about an hour a day. Day one was mostly spent learning how to mount the unicycle. There’s an old tennis court with a chainlink fence nearby, so I tried doing “laps,” holding on to the fence for support.
By the end of day 2, I felt daring enough to try launching myself away from the fence, hands free. By the end of the day I was getting about four pedal turns before crashing most of the time, and had one lucky run of 8 turns of the wheel. I really felt like I was starting to get it.
Day three was a setback. Even mounting the unicycle seemed harder than it had been on day 2. I had skipped a day, which may have had something to do with it. Day four started just as poorly, though by the end I was starting to get the hang of it again. I had several runs that were hands-free for 4 or 5 seconds, just long enough to feel myself making balance corrections and to think I could keep going. Have to admit, those handful of good runs were a lot of fun, and I think I’m really going to enjoy this, if I can figure it out.
Unfortunately, day five and day six (today) were setbacks again. I just spent and hour and half barely getting 1 or 2 turns of the pedal before crashing. No good runs at all. It’s really discouraging to practice for so long without seeing any progress, and to actually seem to be getting worse. Has this happened to anyone else? Do you sometimes have to get worse before you get better? For some reason I can’t recapture whatever it was I was doing right back on day 2.
When I was learning, I had days like that. I couldn’t do anything. But keep at it, you’ll just work through them and learn from them. Discouraging, maybe, but it’ll be worth it in the end.
i always had days like that when i was just starting. unicycling will be like that, even when you get into trials and MUni.
Try not-crashing. Instead of riding out into the open for a guaranteed crash, stick with the fence and see how far you can get with minimal holding-on. It’s not as rewarding but it’s a lot more intensive practice since you’re not spending 95% of the time off the unicycle.
Also. Make sure you’re sitting down (weight on the seat) and that you have the seat high enough. Have you already looked up that information?
Ditto what John said. I have also found that soon before I learn something I seem to be worse than I ever was before. This means you could be really close to riding or maybe you just need more practice. Just keep going.
Thanks, everyone. I’ll keep practicing and hope it clicks soon. I was on a roll the first few days. It was fun, because I could see steady progress. But again today and the previous two days, I couldn’t pedal hands-free more than twice before falling. I did switch back to riding around the fence just to spend more time actually up on the unicycle. Maybe that will help.
I’ve been taking long bicycle rides the same days I’ve been practicing on the unicycle. Could that be throwing me off? (Different posture on a bike.) I don’t think I rode my bike the first few days on the unicycle, and that’s when I was doing best. Not sure if that’s a coincidence or not.
The bicycle riding won’t hold you back. Long pauses will do more to erase your unicycle memory. I agree with John except for returning to the fence. That’s just a personal preference thing on my part. I think you learn more if you force yourself to make corrections without supports. On the other hand, frustration is a great destroyer of learning.
I think you just need to keep practising. Somedays will be good, some bad, but overall if you keep at it, you will continue to improve. Then you will wonder what all the fuss was about and why you just couldn’t ride.