Freewheel Unicycling Megathread

Over the weekend I thought about it and came up with what I called the “basic modes of riding a freewheel unicycle”:

  1. extended pedaling
  2. extended brake-coasting
  3. extended coasting
  4. alternating pedaling and brake-coasting
  5. alternating pedaling and coasting
  6. alternating pedaling, brake-coasting, and coasting
  7. alternating brake-coasting and coasting

I thought about this on my ride yesterday and revised it to:

  1. pedaling
  2. coasting
  3. hopping
  4. brake-pedaling
  5. brake-coasting
  6. brake-hopping
  7. alternating two or more of the previous modes

Am I missing anything? Does anyone do a significant amount of rolling backwards? Does the Pipifax move the cranks when you roll backwards?

My default riding is alternating pedaling and brake-coasting but on hard-packed, relatively smooth terrain I also practice (a) coasting, (b) alternating pedaling and coasting, and (c) alternating pedaling, coasting, and brake-coasting. I feel this last option can turn into my default on this type of terrain. I find that short (2-5 foot) coasts don’t require any extra effort and this can be slightly more efficient than alternating pedaling and brake-coasting alone. I hardly ever practice brake-pedaling but need to do it more. It can be an efficient way to manage speed as well as bypass obstacles.

I’m waiting for a stronger hub before I practice hopping and brake-hopping. On the trail that I ride now there are patches of deep sand. If I hit them too fast I’ll have a UPD. If I hit them too slow I can get stuck in them where pedaling just turns the wheel without providing traction. I’m curious if brake-hopping out of them or hopping over them would be a viable option.

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It is what I usually do. I hope one day my coasting will be consistent enough I won’t spend much energy to coast for tens of meter. But I need to continue my training for that!
(Right now, I’m focusing on re-learning to pedal fast on a fixed uni. Riding too much freewheel made me forgot how to ride my fixed uni :upside_down_face: )

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For extended coasting I start too slow and need to get my speed up. A limiting factor for me is breathing; I find it challenging to get a good breath while I’m coasting but I’m working on it.

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Almost certainly. The relative motion of the cranks to the wheel is the same, whether it’s rolling backwards, or you’re pedalling to make it go forwards.

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Thanks! I wasn’t sure if the sprag clutch hub was the same as a freecoaster hub. A freecoaster unicycle hub would be a niche within a niche within a niche (maybe only for Tibo or Mimo).

Hi all,

First freewheel session in the bag , Only about half an hour and i didn’t film it.

I think i played it safe leaning forwards lots so most falls i just ran off the front, I did go backwards a few times but luckily stayed on my feet all but one where i did roll onto the floor but gently.

It sure is a fine line between being on the uni to off it. I found that for some reason i stopped pedalling which both surprised me and is when it goes wrong!

I did mange to coast very briefly so i could see the attraction in freewheel aspect.

I think i had my weight on saddle rather than on my feet which is possibly not ideal.

I didn’t manage to catch the uni on the brake as its gone before i got the chance even thou i was covering the lever.

For my first time i am pleased with how i did as i was fully expecting to of fallen off badly which thankfully was not the case. I only managed around 30 feet which is possibly not great but is what it is.

Any tips from experienced freewheelers would be great.


This is my tenth year riding a freewheel unicycle and I’ve ridden thousands of miles on at least a dozen freewheels. Since May I’ve gone back to riding my freewheel 4-5 times a week after a considerable hiatus. Here’s my advice: (1) give yourself some slack, (2) keep practicing, and (3) have fun. I’m one of those people that need to warm up for anything so I also throw out (no judgment) the first 5-15 minutes of any practice or ride. It definitely helps to have a good place to practice. I practiced on a flat sidewalk at first, moved to a slight incline, then steeper inclines, then finally off road. One important thing to remember is that beyond the muscle memory and skill that you’ll build up over time you also need to build up the muscles you use to balance on a freewheel. You may not have those yet so initial practice is particularly difficult. You’re building your skill the same time you’re building up those muscles.

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Hey @mowcius,
I’ve added a few months ago a table of content component on the forum.
Maybe it would be a good idea to merge your first posts in a single one and use an interactive table of content.

You can find a few examples of how it looks here (the right timeline is replaced by an interactive table of content when you’re reading the first post):

As far as I know, this component can handle a depth of 3.

What do you think about it?

I’d love to and it’s been on my list, I’ve just not found the time to do it!

Maybe I’ll make time over lunch today.