I haven’t got it after 2 years of riding…
Just to be clear, for the sake of newbies reading on the forum: No amount of regular “riding” is going to prepare someone for idling. It is fundamentally different than regular riding. It may be possible that, the more experience someone has riding forward without practicing idling, the harder it may be for them to make the switch to idling. Of course, it’s never too late to learn idling, but it may make you feel like a total beginner. If you learned to ride in the first place, you can learn idling!
I totally agree. I’ve been able to ride for about 60 years but just started working on idling about a year ago. Other then my legs being stronger then a total novice, learning to idle is a whole new ballgame. The key, just like learning to ride in the first place is persistence. You have to put in the time to succeed. I’m getting to the point I can ride some stop and idle 30 or 40 cycles and ride some more with either foot dominate. I still have more time to put in to be totally relaxed without waving my arms so much.
Been riding over a year and can’t idle and like everyone else has said regular riding will not teach you it. You have to specifically train to do it and I think I made ok progress one day but I didn’t stick to it so I’d be bad at it now. Plus I hear it’s easier to learn on smaller wheels and since I kept getting bigger wheels it’s gone by the wayside.
At best I can manage 2-3 rocks I have learnt some skills that assist in idling such as stalling/stop starting so I’m sure I can learn it. Now that I have a giraffe I really want to learn to idle.
As you get better at it, you can do a smaller idling stroke, but as you’re learning the skill, imagine the bottom pedal swinging from about 4 to 8 on a clock face, maybe a slightly smaller arc than that.
All the work is done with the bottom foot. Keep your head still and let the unicycle pendulum underneath you. It helps to fix your gaze on something in the middle distance. Keep your weight on the saddle.
This other thread that appeared at roughly the same time is also interesting and further demonstrates that not all the regulars here can Idle
That is not the way I learned. Quite the opposite, for me it felt like the forward and backward motion of the 12:00 foot was making the idle happen. John Foss has also described idling in terms of the bottom foot doing the work. That would certainly make transitioning to one-footed idling easier. I only learned to idle one-footed well with a foot on the crown, and I can only idle 5-6 times with one foot dangling in the air. Doing all the work with the bottom foot may be the proper technique, but it is not the only technique. I should practice focusing on doing it the way Mikefule mentioned, above. Because my command of that method is not developed.
I would not worry about regressing because you did not work on it for awhile. On idling I stopped working on it for about 6 months and was at the same place when I started again. The mind/body seems to be very good about remembering things like that.
Just like riding a unicycle, once you learn to a point, you will always be at that point. I was a mediocre unicycle rider as a kid and after a 50 year break I was still a mediocre rider when I started riding again a couple years ago. No matter if the next day or 50 years later, it did not seem to make any difference.
Took my 24" for a spin yesterday afternoon and did a little practice didn’t do too much but stalling seemed harder then I remember. I’m chalking that up to the speed I’m riding at though. Ever since I’ve been riding the 36" it seems to have effected the speed I ride my 24/29" at now I seem to be riding them a lot faster then I remember and I wobble a lot due to that speed increase.
One thing I tried was reverse and I was pleasantly surprised that I managed to ride a few meters on my first go much better then I usually go last time I tried it. So I’m going to try and ride my 24/29" a bit more often and not just focus on the 36 exclusively.
I agree, with a couple exceptions:
One-footed riding: A couple years ago I could ride one-footed ~100 meters max. My command of it was pretty tenuous (I was barely able to turn, for example). I took a long break from it, and when I attempted it again, I could hardly do a single revolution.
Beginning stages of riding: As a beginner, it typically took me 30 minutes of riding to get back to the successes of the previous day.
Both of these exceptions have in common a lack of time spent on them. So, arguably, I regressed because I hadn’t really learned in the first place.
you have to ask yourself if it is really that important for you. I’ve been riding since 2015 and though I tried it a bit, I’ve never been in the situation where I needed to be able to idle. I just as easily dismount and mount, like at a traffic light. Most of the time I just ride and ride and ride.
I’m planning to learn idling at some point. I know we don’t need to learn how to idle, but heck, we don’t need to be riding unicycles in the first place!
But I think before that I’ll work on hopping in place. Maybe also riding backwards.
Yes I agree hopping is more usable and being able to ride backwards would really be cool. Occasionally when riding the wrong way, I can stop - hop - turn around 180º and turn back, but it would be cool if I could just stop, ride backwards with a 90º turn and then ride forwards and turn 90º again. Of course some peeps can spin 180º from going forwards, but I won’t ever be able to do that.
Exactly! And that’s the reason most of the people posting on this thread haven’t learned to idle- they ride large wheels! As the dialectical materialists point out, existence determines consciousness. Learning skills on a large wheel is possible, but you are far less likely to do it. A large wheel doesn’t push you in that direction. I sometimes ride a large wheel too, but to me that is almost like bicycling, and the tricks I can do on my 29 were all learned on a 20-inch. On my 29, I am more likely to run errands or even commute to work than go to an empty lot somewhere and try to learn something new.
I rarely want to ride and ride. To me that’s the most boring type of riding. And the easiest.
I want to stop, ride slow, stall, turn, go backwards,do a 90, do 180, start, hop, switch direction, etc, all without getting off. To me that’s the biggest challenge.
I want to do this on dry or wet: leaves, grass, dirt, gravel, snow, roots, acorns, weeds, etc.
The more you can do of this, the more you’ll have to learn Or will learn to idle.
Then I can handle most of the unexpected. And burn more calories. That’s the fun for me.
But ice and mud scare the hell out of me.
That’s pretty much what I did. It was a lot of fun
Riding backward came surprisingly quickly.
If you can static-mount, hopping in place shouldn’t take more than a minute to learn.
Idling took me for ever but I made the mistake of sticking to the pole (despite not making any progress) instead of going in the open.
Once you can ride backward some, have fun with the transitions
Right now, I am idling back and forth assisted (holding onto a fence). I am doing 4 sets. Back and forth with left leg forward, then right leg forward. Then I try to do full revolutions. I started idling 10 times back and forth switching legs. Last night I got up to 65 times the first set, 55 times the second set, 40, then 30. Killer workout. Then I try full revolutions, I am up to 2, doing three sets. When i try to do full revolutions, i get stuck with my foot getting to the 6 position. I tend to fall backwards as well. I need to learn how to stay leaning forward. I am feeling more comfortable, my balance needs help but that will take time. I start idling from a 3 to 9 position to 5 ½ to 11 ½. If I try starting with a 6 to 12 position I get stuck. Starting with a 3 to 9 position feels comfortable for me right now. I want to work up to doing 5 sets of 100 idling to get my leg strength and get used to the feel. Then work on sets of full revolutions. It is getting easier. I already feel my legs getting stronger even though it is only 8 days in. I am looking at this as a workout, cardio. Eventually things will fall in place and I can ride like a pro. LOL. Like I mentioned before, I was walking out of a restaurant and I got hit by a drunk driver going 65 miles an hour. My left shin muscle atrophied a little, so when I run or walk for a short distance my left foot flops and I trip. When I power walk, I have to wear protective gear (helmet, elbow, knee and wrist pads), I feel like a dork, LOL. Eventually I want to get up to doing at least a mile, then 110 yard intervals (going 110 yards in like 15 seconds, go back to where I began, and take off within a minute from the time i started). We did this when I tried playing football….killer workout. Then eventually I want to work my way up to 2 miles. If I can stick with it. I am having fun learning. The workout is good cardio. The more I work on this the better I feel, and the better i am getting for being a beginner. I want to put Kris Holm to shame, hehehehe, just joking. Wish i would have started earlier in life. I am learning on a 29” road nimbus so I think it will take longer to learn than if i got 20”, but i have long legs. 37 inches counting the shoe. I keep watching videos to keep learning and seeing the technique of others. Some people have asked me to post videos, I apologize for not being able to do so. I am going at night so it is dark and I don’t have a good setup to do it anyways. I am also learning from everyone here. Thank you all for your advice. This is an awesome community.
My Idling “learning” process
When I learned and got better, I noticed 4 distinct “phases” as I got better.
Phase 1: On the lower pedal put down “maximum” weight. On the top pedal “shuffle” back and forth as fast as you can. It’s not natural at first, so I had to keep thinking “fast/back/forth/fast/fast”. At the same time you will naturally figure out how to lean your body back and forth. Tip: don’t sit up…get down and crouch…crouch…CROUCH!!!
Phase 2: Steering the top foot. Yes, you can “vector” the foot toward the left or right. That means as you shuffle fwd/back, you can kinda push it left or right. It gives you sideways leaning control. So, if the unicycle is leaning to the right, then you kick with more side force to the left to balance. There is “fine touch” that you will get eventually.
Phase 3: Get the Balance Right. (like the Depeche Mode song). So, as you get more efficient you will notice doing these things:
a.) Use less weight on your down foot.
b.) Crouch less and sit up/straighter on the seat. (yeah…now you can get more traditional…but good luck trying this at first)
c.) Rock your upper body with “less throw/movement” but doing this much quicker to anticipate balance and compensation.
Phase 4: Getting too easy and time to juggle. At this point you are:
a.) Fully weighted on the seat.
b.) Using less feet “shuffling” and more body “rocking”
c.) Also, here’s a big thing you can control side/side lean just by weighting or unweighting the seat. Remember there’s 3 down force vectors/load points for lateral ctrl: down pedal, seat, and top foot. They all work together.
d.) You will also be able stall for a second or two.
Here’s another tip: learn to free-mount by doing the half-idle technique!!! Keep on.
Idling is one of my aims currently,i have been doing both holding to a wall then try idling once ive let go of the wall and riding along,stop,try idling and either fall off or get going forwards again. i currently am stuck with a maxuim of about 8 idles by each method and i just cant seam to get any higher/longer.
I have tried many things to try and get more from swinging bottom pedal both harder,softer,short and longer movements.I have tried different pressure on saddle and pedals to try and get more idles.
currently here in the uk we are on lockdown but allowed to get out for exercise and my work is shut due to covid 19 so i want to make use of the extra time to try and make progress with this idling so any tips or advice would be very greatful.
I am using a club 20" on 125 cranks and a qu-ax muni 24" on 145 cranks and am at about the same level now on both.
Basically: either and/or both.
I found when learning that it was good to explicitly try both: i.e. try long “half revs” for a while, and then try shorter strokes. Also, try slow and then faster. As you get better you can do both and I would say middle-to-long or long is then the easiest, but that might differ.