I have been practicing idling for a little while now and I cant seem to get it. Any tips? Do I want my feet front and back or top and bottom? After I learn this, I want to learn how to ride backwards.

One unicyclist suggested to me that it may be easier to learn to ride backwards firsts then to idle.

As you get use to the movement of going backwards.

By doing this i can ride backwards longer then idling (its not much on either but its a start

I think I learned backward riding first. I remember idling took a long time to learn. Keep the faith.

When idling your body should shift weight. When going forwadd, lean forward, when back, lean back.

Hey i just started learning idling as well.

Day one i got 1 idle and rode away.
Day two i got 2 idles and rode away
Day three… 5 idles
Day four i got 9 idles.

Any tips can give you

-Keep your arms with 12" of your sides
-be as relaxed as possible
-Keep your pedalling weight into your idle foot and let the other one just float
-Do no get frustrated! This is a very accomplishing riding technique and the hard work is well worth it1
-Make 2-3 attempts then go practice hopping, or something else. Then come back and make another few attempts.

+1 on this. I started practicing idling a few weeks ago. I was spending an hour at a time just idling. But then I started getting pretty bad knee pain on my “idling leg,” so I haven’t really practiced it much since then. I like TopHatPlus’ idea of just a few tries and on to other skills so you don’t put to much repeated pressure on your dominant leg.

I was outside mountain equipment co-op 15 minutes before it opened today, so i was taking 3 attempts at idling, hop off a 2’ plus rock, back to idling, then hop on the curb and ride off, then hop off the rock, then idling etc. I’ll go out later today for another 30 minutes and practice some skills. Everything helps!

I do a lot of personal training and my primary sport is body builder/power lifting so i have adopted a large amount of techniques from those sports as well.

To help my comfort level on somethings like hopping off a object or up and down stairs sometimes i will hop on footed up and down on one leg and switch doing that a few times. Helps greatly building the muscles and being able to effortlessly do it. Then put the unicycling back in and continue practicing =D Some times video taping it helps. Allows you to see your mistakes form 3rd person and having someone to ride with also works =D

Concentrate on pumping the bottom pedal, which moves from around 4 to around 8 on the clock face (via 6). As you improve, it will move from around 5 to around 7.

Concentrate on the natural pendulum swing of the unicycle. Don’t try to force it aggressively. It will have a natural rate at which it idles comfortably, depending on the size of the wheel, the weight, the height of the seat, your own weight and so on.

Try to keep your head still and let the unicycle idle beneath you.

Look at something in the distance. In all balance sports, choosing your point of visual reference is vital. I learned by focusing my attention on something abut 20 metres away.

Also, Idle from your stomach if you know what I mean.

The bottom foot is the key for idling. Try to put all your balance on that foot, all the movement coming from it, the upper foot just following. The evidence for that is that when you good enough, you can actually remove the upper from the pedal and do with it whatever you like…
Focus on the button! it will also help you with a lot of tricks in the future.

Have fun,

Idling is a difficult skill. deceptively so.

If you can ride competently - no special tricks or anything but able to ride down to the shops - then I have a suggestion. Not as a first but, if all else fails.

If you can ride as well as I indicated then you can ride a giraffe. Seriously.

So beg/borrow/steal/buy a giraffe, ride it a bit to get an adequate level fo skill.

Once you have that then try idling on the giraffe. Far far easier. Work and play on different ways - 3+9 o’clock, 6+12 o’clock, doing it from the hips as someone suggested earlier, etc etc.

And then make the move back to idling on your regular uni.

I stress that this is a last ditch as you will, with a lot of practice maybe, almost certainly able to idle on your existing unicycle. It just may take a lot of time and effort.

My main thing is just riding- going for regular hour long rides on (usually) my quax 26.

I’ve been doing it for over a decade and I’m pretty good at it, but, have very few other unicycle skills- I can’t ride backwards, ride one-footed etc: Can’t even hop that well.

But my idling is solid, albeit on one side only.

I’d agree that idling is fairly difficult, but I don’t think it’s as difficult as this thread seems to indicate.

With the other tricks, part of the reason I never learnt them is cos I had no real interest in doing so, wheareas idling is a very useful skill when it comes to ‘just riding’ e.g. at traffic lights, or, when ridng amongst pedestrians, as it enables you to stop, without dismounting.

My main tip for idling, is, when you can do it against a wall/support, don’t linger there- get out into the open and practice it from a free-mount: idling and free-mounting will each help the other.

I say that as I spent weeks working with a support and getting nowhere- within a few days of forcing myself out into the open with no support, I started getting it.

Another useful practice is, when just riding, work on stopping, rock the wheel back 1/2 revolution, then continue riding forwards. As you master this, add another rock i.e. ride forwards, stop, rock back 1/2 rev, rock forwards 1/2 rev, rock back 1/2 rev, continue riding forwards. As you add more rocks, you’ll basically be riding, switching to idling, then rding again.

I feel the same way. I’m not that great at it, but I can do it till I get tired/bored.

This is what I recommend that people get down before idling which is super idling. As described above, you’re idling a full revolution. It’s easy to rush into idling and do it more with muscle than balance. I suggest getting down super idling until you can do it slow and controlled with little angle. This also helps prepare for backwards and one foot riding. Make sure you’re putting weight on the seat and not leaning towards the idling foot.

I’m just starting to learn how to idle as well, and found a bit of serendipitous magic today.

The 150mm cranks on my 24" have been working their way loose for a while. I’ve just been re-tightening them twice daily, but figured I should finally see if the cranks are damaged or the hub. So, I slapped on some 137s that I had around, banged them in place and tightened them up. A good set of storm clouds was rolling in and I knew I didn’t have much time.

As a quick test of the 137s, I hopped up on the uni on my rather small back patio and - without thinking too much about it - I pedaled forward a few revolutions, then a half crank backward, and continued forward again.

I’ve never been able to do that before. Dunno if it’s just that my general skill has improved to the point where it was possible, or if the shorter cranks helped me. I feel like the cranks were a part of it but I didn’t have the opportunity to put 150s back on to test the theory.

I spent another 5 minutes on it before moving on and didn’t get another half-turn, but I got a couple of quarter turns and was feeling pretty good about where in the pedal stroke I was feeling the control. After reading this thread now I’m stoked to get out there and see if I can ride backwards :slight_smile:

– UniT