How to learn unicycling ?

cool post and thanks.

no i don’t ride a bicycle anymore, it’s been about 10 years. i do (or rather did) ride motorcycles though (and rollerblade). i know what you mean about the flat surface. just going from the smooth concrete under the house to the rough concrete outside the pool fence is a noted difference in how the tire responds, and then going to the soft grass is so far an impossible dream. i wear my sneakers… i wouldn’t think of wearing my colorado boots as they’d be way too heavy and cumbersome. yes, i am finding that trying to mount has in the past given me terrible sideways tipping, but i’m trying to gradually tweak and tweak and find the sweet combination of things to get it all working right (i think maybe 1 in 20 time i get a good mount, but then there’s the 19 tiring attempts to deal with) but i’m still in search of those key things that i don’t know about or haven’t realised that will kill whatever it is that is causing my failed attempts to get above the seat and instead has me falling to in whichever direction to the ground again… step up, tip, step down, wash rinse repeat.

yes i am putting my weight on the seat, what i was noting was that i so far seem to have a calmer and more productive start to idling if i don’t immediately put the weight down as it seems to take away the initial anti-tipping efforts and leaves me standing on the ground again. i guess it’s a bit like getting into a canoe or kayak in that if you rush it all at once you end up in the water, but if you take it a bit more gently then you have a better chance of not getting wet.

yes i am getting frustrated because getting everything working together at the right time just seems infinitely fickle at the moment and it only takes the smallest mis-movement to ruin it. i am trying to reset each time, but it gets a bit soul destroying spending so much time trying to get on the seat as opposed to actually being on the seat.

your kneecap sounds fun… and they try to say that unicycling is safe :stuck_out_tongue: i read it mentioned somewhere else about being careful about handles as people break fingers that way, and as i don’t have a handle i hadn’t even thought of that. now THAT would spoil your day :S

new question : does anyone find that your balance is shot at night time? i feel that i do far far better during the day when i can see things, but once it gets properly dark progress goes notably downhill. hmm, no i don’t mean i’m trying to practice in pitch black, i mean streetlights etc where there is minimal light.

new question #2 : could the Original Poster report back and let us know how things are cruising? i seem to have hijacked this thread, but i don’t feel too bad about not creating ‘yet another’ newbie thread. i wonder if any progress has been made on the OP’s side of town.

It could be that you’re too close to the wheel when you mount. If you stand right beside the cycle when you mount then you’ve got to find your centre in both directions (forward/backwards and sideways) when you get there, as well as getting a good motion into your idle. If you mount with your foot a pace behind the wheel then your forward/backward centre needs little adjustment. I know I’m banging on a bit, but if you learnt to mount to a ride first then you’d be halfway there already. I used to visualise it as stepping over the uni when I first started mounting, it really helped to get the propulsion of my weight onto the saddle rather than stepping up and then just dropping backwards again.

When it’s too dark to see properly you have to respond to the flow of the ground as you reach it, knowing what’s coming allows you to anticipate where your balance and pressure needs to be. In my first few weeks I’d ride the local streets (very badly surfaced) late at night and spend as much time mounting as riding. As a learner you’re sure to find it harder but it’s all good practice.
I don’t do that so much since I got into muni. Finding my way over unseen tree roots and rocks has proven a whole new challenge!

something i have noticed is how much an impact the seat height makes both in mounting and in idling. being on a 24" means that having the seat at a height so that my leg gets to extend comfortably also means that it’s a noticeable ‘climb’ to get on top of the seat when trying to mount, but the legs are comfortable… but then having the seat a little lower so it’s a minimal ‘climb’ makes mounting a completely easier task but the legs don’t get to be as comfortable anymore.

watching video of guys on 20" trial uni’s mounting looks like they are basically sliding forward onto the seat… so easy looking.

It will become easy for you as well, it just takes time like they did. They didn’t learn the 1st day either. :smiley:

i probably should have put a question in there.

q) as i haven’t seen a 20"(19") uni and only have my 24" to play with… anyone who has had the chance to ride both a 20 and 24 want to comment on any differences experienced?

Going from 24" to a 20",

  • The 1st thing you notice is the speed difference.
  • I prefer using 20" for trials. For some reason, i find it alot better then 24".

do you find the 20 easier or more comfortable than the 24, or are they “same same, just different”?

this dodgy 51 buck (including postage) ebay uni is already gettin creaky on occasion… i can definitely see myself hooking into a nimbus trial uni if i ever have money to splash around. why a nimbus? price. i’d just like something a little more appealing to the eye than what i have :slight_smile:

Well my 1st unicycle was a 20" cheapo but traded it for the LX from my friend. L8R on i got a DX which is so freaky awesome. :smiley:

So i think it’s up to what is best for you or as you would say “same same, just different” :stuck_out_tongue:

20" is only just too high to have my feet on the deck. With my 24" muni I have to jump a little to get on it.

I was a bit afraid when I learnt to freemount in the first place. Even those few inches off the ground was a little scary when I’d only been riding a few days. It seemed like a quite a leap to lift myself over the top of the cycle and in the early days it would take a few moments for me to gather the courage. When I switched to the 24" (24" x 3" I must add, considerably bigger than 20" x 1.25") it felt enormous, I spent my few hours just practicing mounting because it was so different.
They’re equally easy now, and I much prefer 24", but I’d hate to have started with it.
Just out of curiosity, how tall are you? I’m about 178cm (70" for you imperialists :slight_smile:

that’s basically exactly what i was hoping to hear mattsmith. my driver’s licence has me as 170cm… so i think that’s something like 5 10 or whatever.

your comments about the 20 being just slightly too high to be able to put your foot on the ground is exactly what i thought i was seeing in the video’s, and then to say how the 24 feel enourmous and is quite the jump is EXACTLY WHAT I HAVE BEEN FEELING!!! validation rocks!

i’ve lowered the seat for awhile to be closer to the ground at the sacrifice of proper leg extension and the better balance of a properly heightened seat. mounting is a completely different experience (easy) with it lowered, not that it means i have it nailed yet :slight_smile:

it makes me wonder how many of you started on a 20" and have yet to experience what it’s like on a 24. and yer i’m feeling that i would be doing at least a little better if i was on a 20 and not this 24 :stuck_out_tongue:

i learned on a 20’ and i really wish i had one now. i prefer them alot more. i have a 24" but i like 20"

I know there’s already been a lot of discussion in this thread, but I’ll go ahead do something I haven’t done in a while and put in a plug for my old unicycling journal. It details my first 35 days on my learner uni, from my first time on to riding, freemounting, and starting to learn to idle. Each entry is fairly well written, or so I’ve been told, and there are tips at the end of each that seem incredibly common sense to me and most riders now, but can really help beginners.

The link is in my signature. Spread it around to other beginners if you like it!

Happy riding! :slight_smile:

actually have ready quite a bit of it… but then i realised the thread was quite long so i never read all of it :slight_smile:

I hadn’t heard of this site until about a month or two after i learned how to consistently ride. All you have to do is mount the unicycle while holding onto a wall, car, fence, etc. and just go for it. over about an hour, you will learn to consistently ride for about 3 revs. Keep practising every day, and you will learn in 5 days like i did.

It helps if you dont hold onto the seat. One of my friends tried to learn, and it took him about a week and a half, and he can’t ride with his hand off of the seat. He looks like he is always itching. :stuck_out_tongue:

just have fun with it, and you can learn on your own. There is nothing more we can tell you when it comes down to it, then to practise.

I started to learn to ride in June this year. I have a no-name 24". Not knowing there was a difference between the different wheel sizes in terms of how they respond it didn’t really bother me. After learning how to ride and free mount I felt really comfortable on my Uni.

Recently I had the opportunity of trying a friend’s 20". I couldn’t believe how stable it felt, solid as a rock so to speak. A notable difference was that I could feel every single little bump in the road, where my 24" simply glided over them. I can only wonder what it would have been like to learn on a 20", but I am glad that I did it on a 24".

This past weekend I did a 20km cycle race on my 24". 2hrs 45 minutes later I was quite buggered, but very happy. I shudder to think of attempting that on a 20" though.

One more Newbie

This is my first post and I got to say this forum is awesome.
I got my 24" uni last week and have about 2 hours under my belt! I’m just at the stage of rocking back and forth against a wall. I empathise with Nubcake.
I decided to record myself from the start (heck I even recorded the UPS guy delivering it and me opening the box!)…
After reading all the articles on how to ride I have to agree with the view that you have to just put in the time. I am making progress bit by bit. Winter will soon be here, and I’ve got a decent size basement to practice in. My goal is to be out there riding in the spring.
When I watch myself on the video I don’t really learn much, it’s just funny! What seems to work for me is remembering that the idea is to peddle the uni under you as you fall, not to try to balance on top of it. Sort of!


Nut protectors. Anyone invent a nut protector yet.

Yep, 3 pairs of shorts. :smiley:

Sweet dream!

It was awesome! Last night I dreamt I was riding my unicycle! It was so vivid I can still remember the "feeling’.

Thanks for all the “learn to ride” postings that appear all over this forum. There can never be too many of them, so don’t anyone apologize for posting one more ‘how to learn’ comment! I think I’m getting the main points … Look forward, flail, for chis’sake SIT on the uni.

I’m into my 3rd or 4th hour of practice. I can only do about 20 minutes at a time, 2 or 3 times a day, before I get drenched in sweat. I can now do about 2 revolutions, once in a while, with one hand sliding along the wall but as I lose it, I add more and more weight to the pedals. Then, splat. I find I get stuck in the dead zone to often, then splat.

I’m glad I bought a helmet and wrist protectors a few days ago. I took a backwards fall yesterday, twisted my ankle a bit but not sprained, and landed on one wrist pretty hard. It was the first time I landed so hard. I still feel it today. I’ve been videotaping myself to study it and entertain my friends. If I put a chunk of it on my Youtube account maybe I’ll get some critique and advice from you guys.

Burner Dave
Arguing with a stubborn person is like mud-wrestling with a pig. After a while, you realize that the pig likes it.


The only mistake you made is in giving up. I started to try to ride at 50 without any help. I wanted to give up at times, but I am just too stubborn. I just knew I could ride. It took me four months of learning to feel I could even begin to claim I could ride a unicycle.
I learned by holding onto people, fences or anything else I could find. I have read that the people that take the longest to learn are those that learn by holding on and/or learn alone. That seems to be true in my case, but I have only had about five falls where I completely landed flat on the ground. At 50 that is a good thing.
I would watch any videos I could find of people riding unicycles such as on youtube, etc. I also like to watch tutorials on-line. Watch Leo Vandewoestijne at
I also strongly suggest safety gear. I wear elbow, knee and wrist protection. When I do fall I don’t even feel it. My knee and elbow pads have gel inside them. I wear Kris Holm’s gloves specifically designed for unicyclists.
Hope this encourages you to keep trying, and DON’T GIVE UP! If I can ride, anyone can ride!