Here Goes Nothing

I am currently a cyclist. I ride rode, mountain, and race some cyclocross and occasionally get it in my head that I need to learn to ride a unicycle. I got the bug again, and started doing some research here and on youtube.

I took a look at craigslist and someone was selling their collection. I wound up with a nimbus 20", 24" and a purple monster for less then getting a 20" from I think the nimbus ones might be an older version of the nimbus II? The 20" inch does need new cranks and those will be here tomorrow. I have been playing on the purple monster and the 24" some, but will be very happy when I get the 20" working tomorrow. I also know the purple monster is kind of dumb and people don’t seem to like it much, but it makes me happy just looking at it.

I don’t really have any long term goals. I’d just like to have some fun and get to the point where I could potentially ride the 1/2 mile into town to run some errands. I have managed to do a few pedal strokes without holding onto a fence. I think if I could just get my confidence up I’d actually be able to go quite a bit farther.

Welcome aboard! Learning to unicycle is challenging but also fun if you set aside your expectations and just keep practicing. You’ll find about 30 years of advice if you dig into the archives here, but everyone learns in their own way and at their own pace.

You didn’t mention protective gear and you might give that some thought if you haven’t. I gave up on knee and shin protection because the bruises and scrapes were less annoying than the gear, but head and wrist injuries are serious enough for me to always wear a helmet and wrist guards. Definitely expect to take some hard tumbles along the way.

Keep us posted on your progress! It’s always enjoyable to re-live the process along with new riders.

Unicycles have terrible resale value but it sounds like you got a good deal on some decent unis, ideally suited to getting started.

There aren’t really any dumb unicycles and I definitely would not consider a purple monster dumb.

Just keep at it and you will reach your goal in no time. Once I could ride ten metres and ventured out my front gate, my wife asked me what my goal was and what I told her was very similar to yours. A couple of months later I rode the 20 inch over 8 km, just days after I first managed to ride a couple hundred metres.

Shortly after I bought a 24 and nine months after my first attempt at riding I raced it the Australian Unicycle Championships where I came second in the Masters Standard Wheel 10km.

You are well on your way. I strongly urge you to at least start wearing wrist braces ASAP. A skater set of knee elbow and wrist protectors cost very little.

Great find getting those second hand, wish I had the foresight to get my early unis second hand. Sounds like you’re doing well, just keep at it and soon you’ll be a pro in no time. One of my first goals was being able to ride my uni to my practise area felt like such a noob carrying it there every time and when I was able to finally ride it there was such a good feeling.

Stay away from the fence! It is dangerous, and for now it no longer has anything left to teach you.

During my first days of riding 10 or 15 meters, I remember needing to figure out how much I could get off-balance and still be able to save myself from a fall by pedaling. Most of the time, if I overcame my fear and stayed glued to the pedals, my ability to save myself surpassed my expectations, but every now and then, the asphalt would rise up and give me a kiss. I did buy some soccer shin guards during that time, but after a week, I realized that they had never taken a hit, so I put them away. There are some advanced skills for which I would definitely need them again, but so far they are the only safety gear I own, and I have essentially never worn them. I do lots of other balance-related stuff besides unicycling, though, plus I am not tall or fat, and I only ride down the gentlest of stairways. Your situation may be different.

You didn’t mention protective gear and you might give that some thought if you haven’t.[/QUOTE]

Definitely have protective gear. I’ve been wearing my MTB helmet since it offers more protection int he back then my road helmet. I’m iffy on shin guards. I wear an old set of soccer shin guards when I do skills work with flat spike pedals on the MTB, but they can be annoying. My wrists and head are a bigger concern and I’m definitely keeping them as safe as I can.

i think I got lucky finding the uni’s I did since it gives me some long term trials on a couple different wheel sizes and will hopefully keep the desire for newer, shinier toys away for a little while. I do think the family at the park was a little disappointed tonight. They saw the uni come out of the car and then watched me walk it to the deck hockey rink and only ride it in short bursts :slight_smile:

Observations so far:

I was really sore the first couple times I practiced. I wasn’t really expecting how much work my core would be doing. Mostly because of how tense I was.

I got the cranks on the 20" last night and took it out for a little practice today. It feels squirrlier then the purple monster and 24". It makes snese that the heavier and bigger wheels would be a little more stable. That said, the 20" feels safer since its closer to the ground and easier to step off of. I think it took about 10 minutes to get used to the 20".

I think at this point my biggest limiter is confidence. I do OK for a few feet and then get scared and stop. I do feel like progress is being made.

Relaxation is going to come later. Don’t try to impose it on yourself prematurely. At this point in your progress, keeping balance is going to look and feel like a series of spasms. This is your primary form of control. Embrace it. As a beginner, I frequently felt like I pulled muscles under my rib cage from all the flailing in my arms. It was during this beginning period, also, that I got unsolicited advice from several onlookers suggesting that I was going about it wrong. Because I was flailing, I assume. Once I could ride about 50 feet, I had to remind myself to relax my breathing, but my body was still not relaxed. Beginners marvel at how their legs burn out so quickly after riding a short distance. That is beginner’s inefficiency. It cannot be avoided. You just have to work through it. Welcome to the forum. Keep us posted, and keep practicing!

I didn’t wear any protective gear when I started learning but if I were to wear any it would be gloves with wrist support as I did have one bad stack where I fell backwards and landed on my right hand partially. Only got a very slight sprain but could have been worse.

Shin protectors would help if you’re worried about pedal bite but after I did it a couple of times I never did it again. The pain was a good reason to stop it from happening and I kind of learnt how not to position myself to avoid that.

I made a lot of clips when I first started learning and I told friends there’s a reason why all the clips are rarely longer then two minutes at a time. Because I was always completely knackered after practising for that long. The beginning phase is so exhausting as you’re still learning how use your energy more efficiently. When you learn to relax and stop fighting it then you can really make some progress.

I learned on the purple monster , I think that was 7 unicycles ago… the only protection i used was a helmet and jeans. Until the first sprained wrist. Now I wear wrist protection.

How’s your progress at this point? Hope you stuck with it.
You mentioned a lot of experience on the 2 wheel stuff.
I think the “closest” activity to unicycling is bmx stunt biking.

Here’s why:
1.) You spend a lot of time riding “off the seat”. Thus, you learn how to pedal balance your body weight on both pedals.
2.) Most stunt riders have “fixed gears” thus maintaining pressure on your back pedal is practiced for backwards riding.
3.) Falling down and doing stunts is natural. Unicycle riding is “stunt riding”.

So, if you are a bicycle rider and you are considering riding a unicycle but want to “prepare” yourself. Get yourself a bmx fixed gear bike. Give it a go.