Going under low bridges with a 36er

Hi all,
I am considering getting a 36" unicycle. I currently have a 26" x 2.5", but for longer distances I think a 36" would be great.

So on the weekend I was on my 26" and I felt like one or two of the multi-use trails that goes under bridges by the river in our city seemed pretty low. Has anyone that rides a 36er ever had a problem bashing their head underneath a bridge?

I guess I could calculate the lowest distance between the path and the underside of the bridge would be the extra height of my helmet + the distance from my head to my butt + 36"? Am I missing anything in this calculation?


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In a word, yes there are several bridges that are super low near me and they’re not even 29er-able and I’m not tall. I could probably duck if I wanted on my 29” and make it.

36er not a chance. Have to get off and go under and get back on. A pain and I’d like to petition the local planning authority to make everything 36” rider compatible but I doubt they’d get it :smiley:

Glad to hear you’re venturing into the 36” space. There’s nothing quite like it.

In my view the two unicycles any unicyclist should own are:

A 36er, and then whatever other size 29” and below they fancy :star_struck:


Thanks for your response. I already kinda duck under a bridge on my 26", I also am not that tall, but this bridge doesn’t give much “headroom”. I don’t actually know how it could be re-engineered as the path cannot be any lower or it would be under the river. I suppose the only way forward on that bridge would be to re-engineer the bridge and road by raising it. I don’t see that happening because it is not even a major road, so that is kind of an engineering / finance challenge that I understand and am not upset about from the city planning point of view.

I probably am going to build a 29er this year. I mean build a frame. I accidently bought a 125mm spaced hub that I hadn’t been careful enough to realise it wouldn’t fit any of my unicycles. But for the 36, I’ll likely just buy it as I see better deals for the whole package.


Generally speaking, the math is quite simple: you are about (36-26)/2=5" taller on a 36" than a 26", providing you are going for a similar seat height and crank length.

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Yup that makes sense. Thanks. I guess I was thinking not so much of the height delta due to the wheel size difference, but the overall height in case bridges have “minimum clearance” heights posted. I can’t recall if they do or not. I expect learning to freemount a 36" will be it’s own challenge, and I quite like being able to just keep going if I can.

Never had problems with bridges while riding a 36". Low hanging branches on the other hand as they only ever trim vegetation to suit people walking. Generally I can almost lay prone on my handlebars to get lower but not ideal as I can’t see where I’m going.

I have even ride a 5’ giraffe around all the parks I’ve been to but have to push/duck under branches. Only had one bridge so far that I couldn’t ride a giraffe under.


Wow, that’s great. I think some of the mulit-use paths in my city were designed with the thinking of a little taller than human height was probably enough. Well I can imagine really tall people would have to duck. As for ducking, I regularly have to duck branches, but if I miss the impact of a branch on my helmet or face is a lot less damaging than hitting the concrete under a bridge, he he he.

Wear a helmet with a Go-Pro (something inexpensive would suffice, but hasn’t the incentive). If the bridge is doable wearing that on a 26, the 36 will have no issues.

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My old go to route (before we got the rail trail) has some low vegetation. I found I could lay forward right down almost to the handlebar to go under them on the 36. The stability of the big wheel allows the rider to get away with a lot of things that would be implausible on a smaller wheel.

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We’ve got some low bridges that I have to ride on my 29" sometimes. I found I can bring my top half almost flat while pushing my hips back to counter the weight shift and still ride okay. Not sure how doable it is on a 36" but it’s worth a shot to try.

Someday there will be a unicycle limbo discipline at UNICON