Idling on the other foot

This is how I learnt to idle on my non-dominant foot.
I’m left footed and can idle on that foot for… I don’t know… ages. I can also one-foot idle (with right foot on the forks crown) for a decent amount of time too - Minutes, rather than seconds.

I read about ambidextrous idling and stillstands, and even freemounting, being an excellent way to improve your overall balance by removing the ‘dominance’ of the dominant foot and it made total sense to me. It’s pretty obvious that if you get in situations where you need your non-dominant foot to do something that is not instinctive, then you will most likely UPD. Quite often I find myself losing balance, with my right foot (non dominant) at 6 o’clock, and I’ve just got no option but to either UPD or, gracefully >.<, step off and start again.

If I could idle, even just once then the chances that I could recover the situation would be much, much better.

My problem was, like I said, that if i stalled with my weaker foot at 6 o’clock, I just had NOWHERE to go. My leg would just lock solid. I could not move it away from the 6 o’clock position. So I decided to fix it…

I tried weak-foot idling while holding onto a support, but I just couldn’t make my dominant foot relax at the 12 o’clock position. I was (almost) idling with my top foot, which would actually be pretty cool, now I think about it! So I removed the dominant foot from the equation. I one-foot idled, using the support, with my weak foot and the other foot safely tucked up on the forks, out of the way. It felt pretty weird at first, one-foot idling when I couldn’t even do it with two feet but it seemed to do the trick. Within about 1/2hr, 45mins, my brain got the hang of it, my leg got the hang of it, and I could idle, sort of, on my weaker foot! There were some white-knuckle moments to begin with, but it all came together eventually.

I was quite pleased with that :slight_smile: so I let go of the support :slight_smile: I rode forward 2, maybe 3 rotations, then deliberately stalled on my weak foot, then deliberately rolled back for 1 idle, then rode forward again - If I hadn’t fallen off by then! I found that I realllllly had to concentrate on the stall and the idle using my weaker foot but, after about another hour I was pulling off 5 non-dominant foot idles regularly. Not the prettiest idles I’ll admit, but that will come.

I’ve already noticed that my UPD’s have decreased, simply because I can recover more.

I’m not quite ready to try one-foot idling with my weaker leg yet, lol, but it’s definately one small step towards being a more balanced unicyclist.


You’ve fallen upon (pardon the pun) one of the best ways to teach idling, it works well for me and I teach a lot of kids. The progression is riding forward, stopping, taking a half-pedal back, stop, go forward. The trick is learning how your weight needs to adjust to each phase of the process.

switch footed stillstand is almost just as easy as regular stance because practically all your weight is on the seat.

Funny you should mention stillstands muni123 - I’m rubbish at them, 5 seconds on a good day, but I don’t seem to have a preference which foot is forward.

To me it doesn’t matter at all as well. I got my record, 8 minutes, with switch feet. Idling on either foot was also equally as easy for me right from the start.

You’re very lucky then! My feet are far from naturally ambidextrous. Work in progress though.
In my defence, lol, I’ve not ridden for 10yrs so just being able to stay on the bugger is quite an achievement!

One-legged idling

I have the opposite problem. When I learned one-legged idling it was my dominant leg that lagged behind. I spent more time with my dominant leg so that it didn’t lag too far behind but even today my non-dominant leg is somewhat better at one-legged idling.

I am just getting idling down and my non-dominant leg is a little ahead in the game. Not a lot but I find it easier.

Same thing with hopping (which I am still learning) I am better with my non-dominant hand holding the seat.

non-dominant hand

I’m also much more comfortable holding the seat with my non-dominant hand for hoping and muni.

I know it is off topic but I did my 1st muni yesterday. Went about 2 miles maybe walked 1/2 mile. I did it on my 20" nimbus street.

I really enjoyed it. After a few more trips if I still like it I think a 24" oricle with brakes is in the future.

Thanks for that sentence. I’ve been trying to get the hang of idling, and with all things done from a certain age, I find it hard because the brain wants to understand before the body can do it intuitively. I’ve been trying to find a video or tutorial that explains the weight transfers during idling and never found one. I’ll try your method, that sure will help.
Then will get onto the case about idling with the other foot…