How far can I go self-taught?

I’ve been riding for 8 months (nothing very serious, when it’s nice out and such), and never formally been taught. Or even informally been taught. I can mount freely, ride straight, turn if I windmill, ride over pine cones and dirt, nothing too exciting, but I’m the best in the neighbourhood :smiley: . I’ve been planning on just keeping at it by myself, but everyonce and awhile somebody’ll say to me “are you thinking of joining/do you belong to -insert local circus training group here-?”

Anybody care to share how far they’ve gotten by themselves? Is there a limit to how good somebody can get if they’re self-taught?

You can go as far as you like. It’s my impression that most of the people round here are ‘self-taught’. Most of us are the only unicyclist in the village. Also, a lot of unicycling stuff is just practice, practice, practice and nobody can do that for you.

I have found it helpful in my uni’ing to see other people and what is possible but that can be accomplished as well via dvd/video as actually seeing people live.

Having said that, other people can help keep you motivated and point out mistakes you may be making, but it’s certainly not crucial.

Hope this helps.


i did everything “self taught”

Frankly, I think there’s little in unicycling which doesn’t amount to teaching oneself. I’ve helped a number of people learn, and while I can give them some ideas and pointers, they very much have to teach themselves how.

I think groups can be good in that they can show you what is possible and motivate you to try things you wouldn’t otherwise (particularly in MUni and trials). But I don’t think it’s necessary. Kris Holm is self-taught.

i am mostly self taught… i was taught to ride and then i learned everything on my own… kinda… i watch some uni movies for some good tricks. that what i learn from.

im am entirely self taught unless you count the expert advice given on this forum. i dont kno anyone who unis as serious as i do so i have noone to compare to and knoone to have help me learn new skills…i like most unicylists will be entirelly self taught by the time im done.

I attended Mikefule’s “Roland Hope School of Unicycling” from which I failed to graduate.

I think you can go as far as you want to go being self-taught.

it may take a while to get things down or to understand instructions you get from seeing on a video or reading from a guide, but your gonna develope your own style, and not the style that somebody has cause he is teaching you his way (not always true but i see it a lot)

And if your determined enough all you goota do is find the thing you wanna learn, use the search or ask around, then go outside and practice, learn form your mistakes, and if you can, have someone else ride with you and try new stuff with you, cause im pretty sure he is gonna have some tips to give you, and youll be able to give him tips, everybody wins!!

i taghut myself until i found this website. than i relized that unicycling can get extreme. than i got some tips from this website. since than ive taught one of my frinds. so i guess you can teach yourself anything is you try hard enough.

just reitterating but yea you can go as far as you can push it on your own. unicycling isnt easy though. tricks are really hard. drops take guts initially. ive taught myself, and now i can do pretty advanced stuff. i used to look at jess riegels vids over and over and be like whoa. now i can like stand up glides. mind blowing. anyways, yea man you can be self aught but self taught means you are your biggest motivator. stay positive. peace

yep =p ive been completly self-taugh with playing guitar and all i do is practice extremely hard, i go to sites and look at tips if im ever stuck on anything, but now ive been playing for 3years, and not to brag much, but i am better than ppl who have had lessons for about 7years.

So if you work hard on something youll get it, and a little advice from the ppl on these forums always help =p

Thanks everybody, I assumed it basically equated to “practice, practice, practice” but some people had me doubting. Probably why I wanted to pick it up in the first place - it’s alot more independant than alot of physical activities. And not to mention loads of fun. And satisfying. :smiley:

one man one wheel…but dont try to be like"oh i dont nedd anyone…im a god" these forums are a great asset to any unicyclist not matter what skill level…even kris holm has an account and uses it every so often

You can get far on your own, that much is true. But I remember Roger (or was it Rocket?) at last year’s BUC helping me nail the kick up mount just by mentioning that my seat might be a tad too low. I would never have got that on my own.

I’ve never really met another unicyclist. I know some other folks that can get from here to there, but not freemount. I am a level 4 with a few level 5 and 6 skills (unofficially).

I think the forum is a great place for help, plus the levels were, for me, a souce of ideas and stepwise progressions to follow. I like that. Some folks don’t need or like that structure.

Have fun, keep riding!

I agree with everyone. I’ll just add two related observations.

One is that there seem to be “binary unicycling” attitudes and “continuous unicyling” attitudes. A binary attitude is when, once you learn to unicycle, you are satisfied. You can unicycle as opposed to not unicycle. But that gets boring quick. If you think of unicycling as a continuous skill, you will always be looking for new challenges, and thus continually improve. There literally is no limit other than your own imagination. People try to come up with “stages” of skills, but it’s kinda arbitrary. If you use other people’s skills as a guide rather than a code of conduct, then you’ll probably improve faster, and maybe even make up your own tricks. I would bet that the best riders are the ones who think of unicycling as merely a tool to help you do fun stuff, rather than a set of rules to master.

Another observation is that it’s one thing to learn to ride, and another thing to be able to articulate how you do it. And being able to articulate it will ultimately make you a better rider. I found this out when I started teaching lessons to kids. At first I thought, “this will be easy because I know how to ride.” But then I realized, while my body had learned how to ride, it certainly didn’t tell my conscious mind what it had learned. So, I didn’t know how to explain things well. But if you experiment with your riding and think about the physics of it, you can figure out useful ways to teach kids, and this will in-turn help you understand your own riding. Granted, most students don’t listen to what you have to say about the physics of unicycling. But at the very least, it will help your riding. Anyway, my recommendation is, as long as you’re capable of protecting the learners’ safety, then teaching unicycling (like teaching anything) is one of the best ways to learn.

For the first four years of unicycling I taught myself everything due to a lack of any other riders around. I then moved half way across the planet for four months to spend some time with riders who I could learn off. Here are some observations from having been on both sides of the fence.

With perserverence you can teach yourself a lot of things. Learning in isolation can take a LOT longer though. If one approach doesn’t work you try another, and another, and another. It can take weeks to find the right approach that works for you whereas an experienced rider could show you the correct approach in a few minutes. For example, I had a friend who had been trying to learn to ride in isolation for over three months. I am confident he would have gotten there in the end but about two minutes of tips from me had him successfully riding within a few days. He could have dramaticly shortened his three month learning time with a teacher.

Knowing something is possible, seeing it done on video and seeing it done live are all very different. For example, I had read about coasting and knew intelectually it was possible but didn’t really believe it was something I could do. Even after seeing it performed on video I classed it as something that those “people in TV land” could do, not something a mere mortal could learn. When I moved to Minnesota and joinged TCUC it was not uncommon to see half a dozen people pull off assorted coasting moves in one afternoon . Suddenly the possibility of learning myself seemed a lot more likely and I put some concerted effort into learning. It only took me one evening of practice to make significant progress. Picking a skill up that quickly was in part due to observing how many different people did it, what technique they used and lots of little subtleties you don’t necessarily notice on video.

I highly recommend taking any opportunity you can to meet up with riders who know things you don’t. Chances are high that you will pick up skills far faster from interacting with others than you will working by yourself.

When you teach yourself tricks in isolation you sometimes have no idea of whether something is possible or not. This can be both a blessing and a curse. It can be a blessing because you will potentially work hard on a trick other people would simply give up on. They give up because all the really good riders they know can’t do it, hence it must be too difficult. As a result of perservering you will sometimes learn how to do something know one else has ever managed to do! It can be a curse because you you will potentially work hard on a trick that you would be better to leave until later on. It is possible to waste a lot of time trying to learn a skill which would be much easier if you learnt a few other stepping stone skills first. For example learning to coast is a lot easier if you can ride one footed, wheel walk and glide. These may not be essential skills for learning to coast but without them you can spend years working on coasting and making very little progress.

i agree. I’m only relatively new to the sport (going on 3 months now) but i can feel the difference between self-teaching and being taught/seeing someone else do it. I learnt to mount and ride by myself and it took me a freaking long ttme but by the time i was finished and could ride in a resonably straight indefinetly i was satisfied with myself to the ears. Being around other unicyclists and watching the dvds out there i feel is the the best way to stay motivated about learning new things. (Also a quick note - has anyone seen the UniVerse 2 dvd? better then Defect?)

For ever, join the club

You took the words right out of my mouth

I agree that anyone can self learn to ride as long as they are motivated enough.

I taught myself 30 years ago.

[B]But, if I had those most important tips and a little motivation beyond my own I would have gotten there MUCH FASTER.

There also would be many more unicyclist out there if there was some form of structured training.

Think about why there aren’t many more unicyclist out there, And why Japan has over one million.[/B]

Too many people give up due to lack of motivation!

I also train people how to ride and I’m getting ready to launch a unique motivation and training center with a big surprise along with it. To finally give the sport of unicycling the exposure it never received.

I’ve trained people to ride from 6yrs old to my last student 50yrs old with two artificial knee caps.

The important tips (where to place the pedals at mounting, keep your weight on the seat, Look forward, etc) along with an experienced personal motivator will make all the difference in a persons ability to take the task all the way to the end (learning to ride successfully).

Another great tip: Never give up!