Having the hardest time learning!

I bought a unicycle (Sun) on a whim a couple of months back. Was driving around, saw a bike shop, went in and came out with a unicycle. Just thought it was something I could try and learn over the summer. Well, I ended up being too busy (or too lazy) to really get going on it, but since the weather’s cooled a bit and I’m back to procrastinating, I’ve really tried to be more serious about learning.

So far the only “accomplishments” I can speak of are that I can balance on it pretty well (I was falling on my ass all over the place and getting massive bruises everywhere at first) and I can go about 5 feet or so now.

That’s really my problem. I feel like I’ve got the basics down but once I hit 5 feet, something in me just takes my foot off the pedal. And it’s not even like I’m falling or anything (at least not all the time), I just step off for whatever reason. I can’t get past that point. It’s frustrating the hell out of me!

Is this common at all? At least has anyone experienced something like this?

Welcome to the forum

The frustration you are feeling is a part of just about every unicyclist’s learning process. Unicycling can be learned by anyone but it takes persistence. Somewhere there is an average estimate of how long it takes to learn to ride. I don’t recall the number but somebody will post what it is. It’s longer than you would think it would be.

Keep it up, riding a unicycle is a great accomplishment and a great feeling once learned.

Just relax and enjoy the journey. There is a good thread for beginners to talk about their frustrations, accomplishments or to ask for help. (the whole forum is good for that but most questions have been asked before so search before posting is good advice).

Here is the Beginners Today I . . . topic

5’ is a good start. Basic advice is to keep your head up and your weight in the seat (this is key to success) and don’t be afraid to flail you arms around like a lunatic.

At this level it has a lot to do with psychology and fear.

I had to go over and over in my head, “I’ve got this far. I can do it again, and I can go further, even if it’s just a bit.”

At the early stages, every extra half revolution is a great achievement. Celebrate each gain! Keep a record. Congratulate yourself, get your friends to share in the joy!

I took twice as long as Klaas Bill’s estimate for someone of my age and (in)experience. Don’t pay any attention to averages, none of us is average!

Persevere - we all did - and you’ll be fine.


Welcome! I’ve found that the more frustrated I’m feeling the more I’m probably learning without knowing it - even if it’s a while before it becomes apparent. Frustration means you’re on the edge of your comfort zone which is a good thing. It also means you’re learning what not to do! Embrace the feeling! But also have a break.

When I was learning I had days where I’d seem to be doing really well, and then days (or even weeks) where I seemed to have forgotten everything. I once threw my unicycle and bent the rim in rage :smiley:

Keep Trying!

It took me some time to learn, and I am still learning and improving after two years. I found it helpful to read about other peoples progress in unicycling to keep me focused. Here is a nice thread about one person’s unicycling story:


Good luck.


Yes, it is completely normal to just step off the unicycle, even when you don’t understand why you’re doing it or doing it on purpose.

It’s a mix of fear and anxiety, on a subconscious level more than anything.

However, your ‘accidentally’ stepping off is a sign that you are getting more comfortable on your unicycle. You are now able to unconsciously tell when you are losing balance, are about to fall, and know how to control yourself when you feel something out of place.

Your body is recognizing the feel of unicycling.

So, when you get past that feeling that is holding you back (It will happen soon, trust me. Just keep at it.) You will learn rapidly. Most unicyclists have the most trouble here too, so don’t be discouraged. I dealt with the same thing. Just maintain whatever you are doing to practice at it now and you will get it. Every time you do something new there’s a period of unassuredness, which is what you are in right around now.

Assuming you got a little Sun 20", you really ought to get somethingt sized for adults and “going places”. The little unis are fun toys, but if ya really wanna ride, you need a real ride:

or step up to muni:


And, last but not least, some philosophy:

Anything worth doing is gonna be hard to learn
You need to practice every day
Take chances and push your comfort level
Focus on the path, not the goal
Make the goal come to you
The more you put in, the more you get out
It can be done, it is done, it will be done
It’s not about who you are, but who you will become

An unicyclist’s mantra" Practice, practice, practice.

Ideally, you fall forward and chase your gravity with the wheel.

Stepping off in front might indicate that you need to pedal harder to get the wheel back under your center of gravity. Or lessen your forward lean by sitting upright. Probably both.

Traveling a fence line and holding the rail might help to train the sense of balance beyond a few revolutions.

If you can ride 5 feet comfortably, you should be able to ride 25 feet. Probably your subconscious is telling you, hey this riding feels really strange, quit doing that! And so you obey your subconscious and step off.

I’ve been riding for a while and it still feels strange to ride. Where are the handlebars? Why is there nothing in front of me? How do I steer this thing? Maybe that’s why it’s so fun.

It’s all in your mind. If you’ve been reading online instructions for learning to ride, you may have noticed most of the experienced teachers say to ride alongside something until you get consistent pedaling. Then push off and “go for it”. You might need to stick with your support a bit longer, or for more revolutions before letting go.

Also if you let us know your age and if your seat is high enough, that will help on the advice end.

Just for Ezas, Klass Bils’ average was 15 hours, I’m very average as in all things…

John’s advice is probably all you need. I can only add that when you start you should be thinking ‘pedal pedal pedal’. No I don’t know why we stop pedaling but it is a problem. I still have it trying to ride up a ramp at the gym, 30cm wide, 1 meter long, 20cm high then a shorter ramp going down at the other end. Some days it’s not a problem and other days I just can’t do it and am reduced to ‘pedal pedal pedal’…

Hopefully you are practicing on a reasonably smooth surface.

By the sounds of it, if you are doing a full pedal rev before coming off you are almost there. Another day or two and you will be doing 5 to 10 revs and then the world is your limit (well sort of)


Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the support, tips, and links! Haven’t had a lot of time to practice on my uni this weekend (maybe just about 30 mins tops) but hoping to get more time in soon. I haven’t yet tried holding onto a rail or anything so far-- been mainly just holding onto a chair in order to mount and then taking off from there. So, I will definitely look into that.

@Nurse Ben Thanks for suggestions. Perhaps I should have researched a bit more before I bought my unicycle, but I’m actually really fond of it and the all the scratches it’s acquired. (I also don’t think I can justify getting another unicycle right now!)

Dat good advice there. I still have to do the ‘pedal, pedal, pedal’ thing when I static mount the 29".

That 5 foot thing was a major plateau for me as well, it seemed to take forever for me to get past that mark

Soon you will manage to be able to make some longer runs once in a while. Once that happens, things will progress very quickly. Just keep at it and you will soon move on. I found that I had a few of these plateaus that made no sense but kept me at a certain level for longer than they should have. Just have to be stubborn and work through them.