The purpose of this posting is to help other unicyclists considering taking up the ultimate wheel who may wonder, how long does it take to learn to ride? I have recorded my practice log which shows slow but steady progress with a major breakthrough after 12 sessions. So read this log and adjust your expectations accordingly. Your mileage may vary, etc.
I am a 48-year-old unicyclist with intermediate skills. I ride a 24 general purpose uni, a 29 muni, a 32 road, and a 36. I can bunny hop, idle, and ride backwards. I worked hard over the last six months on rolling hops but I still suck at them. I can’t rolling hop over obstacles much larger than 4 inches.
I have tried the “no-cost ultimate wheel”, that is i tried to learn to ride seat in front or behind. Then I tried to learn to drop the seat to the ground. I can ride seat in front until exhaustion/400+ meters. Whenever I have tried to drop the seat to the ground, I would fall and it seems really dangerous trying not to land on or get your feet tangled in the seat post. Plus the wheel of a general purpose unicycle burns (with friction) the skin off your lower legs. Since the no-cost option seemed to be unproductive, I decided to buy myself a 28-inch ultimate wheel from unicycle.com.
Dec 30: 30 minutes, mount try to go 1-3 meters, fall, repeat for 30 minutes.
Dec 31: 35 minutes, maximum distance 4 meters
Jan 1: 45 minutes, maximum distance 5 meters, took a hard fall on my knee, need to rest so that I don’t re-injure the bruise. I also have some wicked bruises on my shins. Very frustrated at my slow progress.
2 weeks+ of rest for bruised knee.
Jan 18: 35 minutes. My goal was to set up a 5 meter goal and see how many 5-meter rides I could achieve. I was able to have 11 rides over 5 meters including a longest of 17 meters. I also had several over 4 meters. Got three 5-meter rides on video.
Jan 19: 55 minutes. My goal was to do 20 rides over 5 meters. After I met that goal I wanted to beat my longest run of 17 meters yesterday so I continued and got up to 28 rides over 5 meters with 4 or 5 rides that were 13-14 meters.
Jan 20: 3 hours. My goal was to do 10 rides over 10 meters. I was only able to accomplish this 7 times, so it was enormously frustrating. My longest runs were 15 and 16 meters.
11-day rest from ultimate wheel. Got some good muni rides in the snow. Snow is rare here so there’s no point in missing the fun of a snow muni ride.
Feb 1: 70 minutes. Again my goal was to do 10 rides over 10 meters. I was able to accomplish this 22 times, so I’m definitely feeling a sense of accomplishment. My longest run was 24 meters.
Feb 2: 50 minutes. I was able to do 12 rides of 10 meters or more. My longest run was 21 meters. So not quite as good as yesterday, but I figure if I keep getting 10 or more runs more than 10 meters each day, the improvements will come soon.
Feb 4: Quick 30 minute session before work. I was able to do 12 rides of 10 meters or more. I started slow with a lot of failures but finished strong. My longest runs were 28, 26, 24 and 33 meters so it felt great to break my previous distance record multiple times. It feels like a breakthrough. Still lots of failures going the first three meters (mounting and getting ready to go).
Feb 5: 45 minute session. Good rate of success early, did 18 runs longer than 10 meters. Lots of runs in the 20-25 range. Longest were 2 runs of 30-31 meters.
Feb 6: 45 minute session I did 20 runs of 10 meters or more. I was able to beat my personal best longest run by going 37 meters. Disappointed that I did not have other runs of more than 30 meters.
Feb 8: 50 minute session. Broke my personal best with a 39 meter run, then immediately broke that with a 67 meter run. The secret was to increase my pace. When I go slow I can’t prevent wheel wobble, which leads to failure. There is no longer any point in counting the 10 meter runs.
Here’s a video of a good run from three days ago: