I can't sit down.

Interesting. Neither song nor I had “burning quad” issues. Both or us learnt using the ride out into the open technique. (And both on grass too.)

“Ride out” is all about leaning forward and getting the wheel under you. Back pressure doesn’t really come into it much in the early learning phases. The grass provides a bit of drag too.

“Fence” seems to emphasise the juxtaposition of forward and back pressure and appears to be something that needs to be overcome as implied by Eddie below. Maybe it is more prone to producing residual tension in the early learning phases?

However I suspect the fence learners learn to idle faster. I still don’t idle after more than four years riding. But I ride in places where idling isn’t essential so I don’t make much effort learning. I get by with being able to ride extremely slowly.

There’s a tiny hill in the area where I learned to ride. It seemed like such a big deal when I rode up it for the first time. Now I sometimes wheel walk up it. I can even return to the pedals when I get to the top!

I never ride on grass -too much dogshit around here. It seems to me that the reason you and I didn’t go through the burning quads stage of learning is that obstacles other than our own fatigue put an end to every ride because we both started out with very shitty unicycles. Now that you mention it, my first unicycle also had a seatpost that, in addition to its other problems, was too short.

I learned to idle within a few months of learning to ride, but only because I worked at it doggedly for a month- longer than that, actually, if you count one-footed and then learning to idle on the other side. Even now, years later, there are still some idling skills I haven’t learned. The flimsiness of my first unicycle might have steered me toward idling because hopping wasn’t really an option.

According to dialectical materialism, existence determines consciousness. People ask what sort of unicycle they should get, and are asked what kind of riding they wish to do, but to a degree, it’s the other way around. The unicycle you have (if you ride it) shapes your interests. If it’s a beefy trials unicycle, you will be tempted to try your luck on stairways and other obstacles; a freestyle uni with a rock-hard tire will make you want to do pirouettes, a road uni will make you wonder how far you can go, and so on.

In my case, the landscape determined what kind of riding I wanted to do. There are more hills than anything else in my neighborhood, and I value being able to ride up hills. I even modified my setup to accommodate riding up hills…lighter tire, longer (than normal) cranks, handlebars (for more leverage).

song, I’m still working on the wheel walking. I’m much more consistent getting rides of 10-20 feet, but I haven’t yet broken the 20 foot mark, and I’m still mentally traumatized by the last time I tried to get back on the pedals (I fell). I am currently using the method of transitioning out of the one-foot idle into wheel walking. I can do it equally well on either side. I have also improved at one-foot idling without a foot on the crown, though that still takes way more effort than on-crown. I can one-foot idle into one-foot riding, but I’ve only once ever made a single backwards revolution one-footed.

song, you mentioned idling skills you still haven’t mastered. Can you be more specific?

So your wheel walk still turns into a wheel run, and then you come off the front? My guess is that you’ll have to persuade yourself to lean back a tiny bit more. For this, you might try walking on a larger wheel.

The way I learned it was: six steps on the tire put my left pedal straight out in front, then I would put my left foot on that pedal, then step to the ground with my right foot because I was too chickenshit to try for the second pedal.

Eventually I learned that it was important for my wheel walk to come almost to a stop going into that sixth step, and that I actually had way more time than I thought to find that second pedal. Sometimes regaining my balance after reaching for the left pedal meant that I had to almost stomp on it to bring the wheel back under me. I was afraid to stomp at first, but the sensation of the right pedal smacking into the sole of my right foot was quite satisfying, and on the rare occasion that the right pedal missed my foot, much to my surprise, I didn’t fall over backwards, but just did a sort of weird idle followed by a routine UPD.

Well, the good news is you’ve got me beat, I can only do it on one side! The bad news: you now have no excuse!!!

Before learning to return to the pedals, I was doing practice sessions that consisted of ten sets of wheel walking 60+ steps a piece. I can easily go over 100 steps now, but I almost never do because returning to the pedals is more interesting. I try to not just do six steps every time, though if I push myself to my wheelwalking limit, I am often no longer smooth enough to get back to the pedals. Lately I have also started to enjoy wheel walking on my 29. It has a Big Apple tire that is bald and sticky and takes eight steps to get the pedals into the right position for a successful return. I can also go for longer distances and still return to the pedals on the 29, but I have to spend a bit of time recalibrating my walk each time I switch wheels.

The one you just mentioned- foot off crown. I can’t do that yet on either side, and I still can’t ride one-footed with my right foot. I did learn to go from a left-foot idle into left-footed riding as a result of reading one of your posts, but going backwards one-footed is not only something I cannot do, but something I haven’t even tried! It’s cool that you’ve done it a little bit, I’ll have to give it a shot. Starting my wheel walks with alternating feet, as you do, would really be good too, as the back of my right knee sometimes gets a bit sore from wheel walking.

You characterized that pretty well. I find it hard, once I start WWing too quickly, to slow it down. I think it’s better to focus on staying balanced and moving slowly, rather than achieving distance. As I improve, my 10-20 foot WWs take longer, which is good. But, yes, I tend to fall off the front more often than falling off the back. A couple days ago I fell onto the unicycle. Not fun.

My best technique for leaning back is to have the foot still on the pedal as far back (9:00) as possible when transitioning from the one-foot idle to the WW. Also, I will one-foot idle until I stop pivoting, until I’m going pretty straight forward and back, before transitioning to WW.