Help needed!

Can you help me? I have been trying to uni for about 2 years- but still cant ride more than about 20 meters, and that’s not in the direction I want.

Thing is, I have been cycling for about 25 years, and I am struggling with the whole weight on the seat thing. When I uni, the seat slides around in under me, and therefore my weight is firmly on my pedals, which makes it squirm more, which means my weight… you know the story.

I have tried seat high, seat low, holding on to the front of the seat (which kills my balance).

Any ideas? The South West UL meet is in a couple weeks, and I want to have it nailed by then.

So how can I get my seat to stay still between my legs? (Note- I would wiggle if I had to go in between my legs!)


I am a cycler myself and havent had any probs learning…
Only advice i can give is start between 2 chairs, mount, and just try and ride!
If you understand that the weight must be on the seat and you must lean forward and pedal to keep up with your upper half you should have it in a few weeks!
You will find you will fall lots at first but it will gradually come.
I wish i understood this principal whilst first learning.
Good luck:)

What unicycle are you using? Some of the really old seats are a complete pain. Set the seat height so that your knee nearly locks straight at the bottom of the stroke, as you would for a bike. When you sit on the unicycle keep your back straight and look a good distance ahead. This will make it easier to sit your weight on the saddle. Try mounting the uni while holding on to something and while stationary focus on your weight on the saddle, let your legs relax, picture yourself sitting on a bench with your feet just resting on the floor, rather than standing up. I’m sorry this is all a bit vague but I hope it helps.

I am using a bog standard 20" uni, with a KH copy seat- the seat is lovely, so I dont think it is that. My best ride ever is captured here and as you can see the seat is swaying left and right between my legs.


I try so hard, and it just is not comping that quickly! It gets to the point after about 30 minutes of trying, I get so depressed and dissillusioned that I have to stop.

Then I come on the net, look at you buggers flying around, then it’s back on it again…



OK, I’m still learning myself but one tip i can give to keep weight on the seat is RELAX!!!
You will find this helps heaps… dont take off until your 100% relaxed on the saddle.

You’re doing pretty well, don’t be hard on yourself, but your seat is a little low and you are arching your back forwards. Just keep your eyes on a point about the length of that run away, and it will keep your back upright more easily than if you focus on trying to change the posture itself.

Looks good. Your seat might be a little low - it’s harder to keep sitting on it. Keep practicing. Don’t worry too much about which direction you go - steering comes later! If you can do 20 m, you can do 200 m -then 2 km. Another thing which might help is to remember to breathe! Those first few rides can be really tense! Why not, instead of going for a distance, try to cycle and take three, or four, or however many deep breathes before falling off? It might help divert you from the effort of staying on.

Yeah, seat looks low.

Like Dave says, seat height same as a bike, easy way to set it so if you stand with the heel of your shoe on the pedal, your leg is fully extended and locked out. When you’re pedalling, put the ball of your foot on the pedal, which means that you don’t quite lock out your knee.

This will feel like it is too high to start with. Partly because it forces you to hold more of your weight on the seat.

Also, it isn’t quite clear from the youtube, but it looks like maybe you have the back of your foot on the pedals, rather than the ball, I find that harder.


Ok folks- you have given me loads to work with, so I will get cracking;


it would have been funnier if you said “so i will get cranking”

That would be funny. :smiley:

:slight_smile: Please forgive the direct tone fo the following:

Definitely, your seat is way too low. This means your legs are tucked up and move clumsily. Raise the seat and set it like a road bicycle seat, as described earlier in this thread. When you can ride, you may choose to lower it again.

Secondly, you are looking at the ground as if you are expecting to fall onto it at any moment. Look where you are trying to get to, and you are more likely to get there.

Your upper body is leaning forward, which means your backside is sticking out. That put the uni at a funny angle. Ideally, the uni should be as near to vertical as possible, and the way to achieve this is for you to sit up straight.

You appear to be using your arms for fore/aft balance. Fore/aft balance should be done through the pedals. Every time you wave your arms, you are throwing several pounds of weight about, and that is bad for stability.

You appear to be correcting your speed too often, as if you are afraid of the unicycle going too fast.

Try this exercise: get a broom or other similar object. Balance it vertically on your hand. Now walk without dropping the broom.

The ideal is that you let the broom start to fall, but not too far, then you keep up with it by gentle changes to your speed. However, if your hand overtakes the centre of mass of the broom, suddenly, you have to over-correct and the whole thing becomes jerky and unstable. That’s what’s happening with your uni: sometimes the wheel is almost overtaking you.

Do not be afraid of falling off. If you are riding smoothly and confidently, you will always fall off the front and land on your feet. If you ride over-cautiously, you are more likely to fall off, and sooner or later the uni will overtake you and you will fall off the back - which can hurt.

Good luck.:slight_smile:

Mike - That is great advice for a beginner. My girlfriend is learning to ride now and I’m definitely going to have her read that. She’s doing pretty well with it, can go almost indefinitely if I’m holding her hand and can get upwards of 5-6 pedals unassisted. So she’s right on the edge of really being able to do it. This advice might just put her over that edge. She’s learning on my 26er with 125mm cranks too, but doing well despite it. I’m proud of her and looking forward to our first uni trips together! (I’m waiting for my folks to come over here to visit and bring my 24" for her in June, that’s why we’re not buying one)

yea ive taught 3 ppl, incuding my nine year old sis how to ride, you let the uni go where it wants and redirect it, the wheel is going to move a lot when you first get going, i would recamend learning how to free mount first, even though most leared riding before mounting, keep your hands straight out, and do not hold onto your seat. look forward, and not at the wheel, keep your weight on the seat, just keep on practicin, my little sis couldnt ride for prolly 5 months, but she got out there once every 2 weeks or so.
It will eventually click.
Just go out every day for just 10 minutes to 30 minutes.


I’ve taught?? a number of people. The question mark is because they teach themselves. MOst have trouble getting on. They usually try to put thier foot on the peddle out in front not the one towards the back so the cycle rolls away before they even get on. I had to kids learn in one day. They could go where they wanted and turn where they wanted. by the end of the day. They learned on a slight slope going down hill. I think this helps. Iv’e also had older types learn in a day too but it took lots longer (hours) and lots a beer. Course the beer could have been the problem, but they learned. I think counting cranks works for a goal. A parking lot is really good place to learn. Try to get more and more cranks don’t worry about where your going Cranks count!!! Steering will come later and you will learn it much faster than learning how to stay on. YOu also need a good unicycle. somthing with good bearings that will not wobble out like the unicycles with tricycle bearings sold by sears years ago. And a good seat that wont rub you raw. Other than that keep trying count cranks and go go go.


Some great advice here- thanks folks! It’s just started raining here in North Devon, after 6 weeks of dryness, so I will have to wait to practice, but I have put my seat up already (can’t put it the same height as my road bike- need a seat post with another 5 inches on it!), but I will certainly do all you suggested, and will report back.

Thank you- so now I will get cranking! :smiley:

Hope it all works out for you my friend. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask me or anyone as we’re always here to help. We’re like 1 big happy family here. :smiley: :smiley:

yeah, your seat is to low

Other then that, it looks to me like you are doing great.
I have been riding about 2 months. I am lucky to have a low traffic flat neighborhood to ride around. The last 2 weeks I have been riding a 36" for a couple miles a go until my ass hurts to much. I ride 10 or 20 miles a day.
I have never tried to free mount. It is unimportant where I ride. I figure once I get really good at riding slow, I will put on leg armour, helmet, and try. And maybe a cup or something.
I think you have it though. Once I could ride that far (I started along a wall) it got rapidly better.
Saddly, the seats don’t get rapidly better. I have a nimbus gell and a KH air. They both suck, the air being the worst of the two. I bet all seats suck.
Lately, I have been getting good enough to stand off the seat a bit, which is increasing my range.
Anyway, expect leg pain to fade away, things will get rapidly better. You are just to tense with newbie anxiety.
Really, you looked to me like you have got it.:slight_smile:
Oh, and buy 661 wrist wraps. I have really deep gouges in my palm plastic supports. They are way cooler then gloves.


well i havent had the problem my self i have been riding a year,what you need to do is treat it like riding a bike, start with stabalisers, i used a wall and a broom then when i got better i used just the wall,also use different terrain,and maybe get people to help you,and do you know what size unicycle you are using by the sounds of it get a bigger wheel so it can handle your weight this might not help hope it does.

best wishes,


I am 50 years old and just starting to ride a unicycle. I don’t have a lot of time but try to get out at least for an hour each day. I can start from a curb but not always. I mounted using a rock once, but just once. I can ride over 50 meters easily but I get very tired. My legs start burning. Maybe I am not sitting on that seat. I can turn to the left without falling and can circle around the full length of a tennis court. However, I don’t feel like some people feel when they say once you ride 30 meters you can ride as far as you want. Can anyone give me any advice? Will it just click all of a sudden one day?

Thanks in advance