Idling is hard

After almost 10 years, I still can’t idle. I can rock back and forth a few times, and then I fall off. This is a skill I feel every unicyclist should have. It’s frustrating not being able to IDLE.


someone on a mtb forum said: unicycling is the most frustrating fun you will ever have, and i think he is right.

and im sure you can make it if you want to.

Fun video as always. I also can’t idle. I sometimes think I should learn but so far I don’t really miss it.

P.S. Your poor floor. If my wife caught me doing this inside on our floors… mmm… I think I might be in some trouble. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Also my gut feeling based on watching previous videos of yours, is that now that this is starting to really bother you, you will dedicate lots of time to it, nail it and then release a new video with awesome tips.

I’ll wait for that one to come out after all your hard work. Then I might try learning. :slight_smile:

P.S. Could you hurry up! :stuck_out_tongue:

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My partner wont let me either!

you have to set priorities, idling above floor conditions. :slight_smile:

Sometimes it can feel like they just don’t get it. Amirite? :wink:

Yeah… and I often offer to see if he wants to ride my unicycles, he always turns me down…

I’m nine years in, and I can’t really idle either. Still at the counting-the-revs phase, and on a good day on the 20" I might be able to do 40 or 50 revs, but it’s never stable. And I can’t idle at all on a bigger wheel.

Maybe I’ll make it a goal for my 60th birthday. Or my 70th! Or use it as an excuse to keep riding til 80.

Keep practicing. Seems like you are on the road to success. In your video, you tended to idle along the same axis. I think the secret to improvement, right now, is being able to pivot more during the idle. Try forcing yourself to turn clockwise or counter-clockwise…during your short idling sessions. That might help you pivot. Also, pumping your tire up more will decrease the contact patch and make pivoting easier.

Just curious. How is your backwards riding?

Every summer I bring the KH20 with me when we go to the family cabin on vacation. I usually practice a little bit every day. A few years ago when my daughter was 12 or 13, she decided to give it a go. When it comes to normal riding, I’m way better than her, but on the third day she was pracicing it clicked, and she was able to idle indefinitely in full control.

Even though I’ve improved, it feels like an impossible skill to master. I’ve come to think that my balance is a little off. When my brain says “you’re falling, do something about it” it’s too late.

I feel a little bad about the floor situation. And also the fact that I tell other family members to be careful with it. Different rules for dad.

I’m alwyas thinking that I will dedicate time to learn how to idle, riding backwards, and hop over obstacles, but I never do. I alwyas just go for a ride. If I do learn to idle, it will be a big mystery. I’ll probably make a video to brag, but I don’t think I’ll have any tip for you.

Even if I’ve improved a little bit, I’m never in control. My better attempts feels like pure luck.

I’ll try what you suggest. My backwards riding is worse than my idling. I find it a little scary to be honest.

I learned to idle. I don’t do it for any practical reason. I dismount at intersections, for example. And I don’t juggle while riding or perform in limited spaces. I don’t consider it to be very fun, either.

All those reasons to not do it aside, I think idling relates to other technical skills, so it’s worth practicing/learning. I asked you about your backwards riding because I learned idling and backwards riding around the same time. Some of the skills seemed to be related. The turning adjustments of backwards riding, for example, seemed to be in the idle.

I noticed in the video that you frequently UPD’d during the backwards part of the idle, maybe because you were leaning forward too much. Practicing full revolutions backwards could break you of that habit. I know what you mean about backwards riding being weird. It was very disorienting for me when I learned.

If you can learn idling and bw riding…and document it on video…that would be helpful and inspirational to others on the forum. It looks like you’re on your way to getting idling. Keep practicing!

Following this video, I got a lot of advice on different social media that I’ll try out:

-Pivot more during the idle. Try forcing yourself to turn clockwise or counter-clockwise

-Try a different unicycle (bigger wheel (24) with a slim tyre)

-Riding very very slowly for a few miles.

-As you get to the end of one stroke, allow yourself to pause for a moment and feel which direction your weight is falling, then respond accordingly.

-Straight posture.Keep your head, shoulders, and hips stacked. Think of your chest being pulled up and ever so slightly out when you ride.

-The bottom foot should do all the work / more weight on the bottom foot

I know this video is coming in the future… I know it! :slight_smile:

Maybe I’ll do one of those “minute by minute” videos that’s so popular (?) on norwegian telvision: “Riding very very slowly for a few miles - minute by minute”

A “little bit” each time you ride…

Stop doing your normal 3 o’clock & 9 o’clock free mounting.

START doing Half-idle free mount. Give it at least 5-10 attempts each time you go riding. This is your “intro” to idling…if you care to learn.

That’s how I did it and that was my “attitude” when I was learning(failing/over/over again…). Actually, I just could not do the 3/9 traditional free mount. This included falling on my face a few times from “pressure” on the back pedal…it kicked out and shot out behind me. Then I hurled my stupid unicycle about 20ft into the sky…olympic hammer toss style…you know spinning…then screaming…with bloody knees and broken teeth.
Actually, I can do it now. The reason why? Learning to idle taught me superior balance/control, so I can finally do the damn 3/9 o’clock (Egg squasher) free mount.

I could of course practice roll back mount (maybe I will), but it’s not usefull for my regular riding. I’m either on a 36" or I’m at at a place where thers’s usually not enough space to do the roll back.

I’ve not improved a lot, but I’ve had a few attempts where I’m actually in control for a few seconds. I have a long way to go, but it doesn’t feel completely hopeless like it did before. The key to my better attempts is the start. If bodypositon, speed and maybe some other factors are perfect when I start on the first idle, I have a shot. So far I need a little luck for this to happen.

What seems to be working for me so far of all the advice I got (thanks!) are these two:

Hey Unimyra. I’ve come across your video’s quite often and you definitely have excellent ability to balance and stall.
I can clearly see that you have both “seat balance” and “pedal balancing” abilities.
So, I can’t quite understand why you haven’t mastered idling already.
My theory is that you are “doing more work” than required.

Here’s a suggestion that may not make sense right now, but what the heck you’ve tried it all. Give it a try.
Instead of practicing the standard idle, you should do just the a one foot idle.
Grab onto something or go into a door way, and with only the “down foot” and hip/core strength start practicing.
I suspect people having trouble with idling are using too much “top foot”.
Not just to move pedal back/forth, but also to add weight on that pedal.
Doing one foot idling obviously take’s that out, and forces you “back to” the bottom pedal foot.

When I started idling: I would put tremendous weight on bottom foot, and shuffle the top foot with no weight on it.
Then later when I mastered idling: It was the opposite. I was much lighter on bottom foot, and controlled everything with my top foot.
So, I think if you “try” to control everything with your top foot as a beginner, you will absolutely never get it…except for a few circus freak ultimate wheel riders.

Love the video! It put a smile on my face.

You have everything in place and although your idling is a bit wild it is great. I always explain when teaching that you want to swing like a pendulum from the shoulders. So they stay still. You nailed it.

A little secret… we all find idling tiring!

I mostly don’t Idle at all now, I just still stand. I just stop and if I need to idle it is only every few seconds to correct my balance.