I’m almost a level 2. I can freemount with my left foot 80% of the time, go as far as i want and cant do figure 8’s. How do i go about idling? Should I learn how to go backwards? If im not advanced enough for idling yet what should i do next?

Re: Idling



and with seemingly endless patience

apart from that, it’s a cinch


these threads for more detailed write-ups

Idling may be easy for some, but for me it seemed to take forever. It took me way longer than learning how to ride and freemount. I just got to the point were I can idle about 100 times fairly consistantly. I also started attempting riding backwards and can go about 20-30 feet most of the time. Riding backward seemed easier than idling, but I am sure that is only because of the idling practice. Good luck. Every new skill you learn makes you better at other skills. I think that is because your balance gets better with each progressively harder skill.

in my opinion every new skill is a frustration process to learn. but eventualy it clicks and futur frustration process diminishe.

idiling is learned well along with riding backwards and pitch in narrow curbs. that way you are not always frustrated by the same thing. it took me about a month to learn (3 times per week).


that can be attributed to the fact that we get better at learning

(another) one of unicycling’s (many) gifts


Re: Idling

I was just about to ask the SAME question. Today, I decided I “no longer know how to ride” which means I will “start over” and learn to go backwards or idle. Another problem is that I can’t hop yet either :frowning:
It is still hard to hold the seat.
So, I am at a fork in the road. Should one learn to idle, ride backwards, or hop well first? Which skill is the most valuable?

Recalling Universe2, we see a TON of hopping, less riding backwards and virtually no idling. Is idling included in hopping (shifting weight to either foot when pressure is not even)?

Also, I am to MOAB this month. Which skill should I take with me?

I guess what I am really asking is if I learn to idle, will riding backwards and hopping be very easy to learn?

Re: Re: Idling

those are expensive microphones
punch the person who stuck a fork in it

learn them all at the same time
this will add variety to your uni-sessions and allow u to switch from the one to the other whenever u feel the first tinges of frustration creeping in

remember to futher spice things up by alternating feet and having as much fun as your country or territory legally allows

When you hop you pretty much lock your legs. I thought about using only my ankles to jump. Of course larger jumps you need to use your legs to get enough spring.

I second the motion to work on all three at once. Idling is a bugger to learn, backwards is just unintuitive, and hopping… I learned hopping much later but within a few days could hop all over, though not very high.

I had the hardest time learning to idle, and I still don’t have it completely down. I was lucky enough to run into Tommy Thompson, a fellow climber, super uni teacher and multi sports ace, and he reminded me of the 10-hour rule. And when I think back on it, 10 hours is roughly the amount of time I’d put in when I could start idling at least most of the time. It’s seems like the top foot, the one feathering the peddle, is key. Ther other key is staying relaxed, but that goes for everything.

Riding backwards seemed much easier than idling, though I’m still struggling to perfect that technique as well. I totally agree that mixing the practice schedule to include everything seems the best way to avoid chucking the uni into the ocean. For me, working on just one skill, over and over again actually prolongs the process because I get frustrated and start flailing. Naturally, I want to learn everything in an hour or less, and I just have to lump it on that count.

That much said, I’m not remotely close to being able to idle on my Coker (with 5" cranks). With the 6 inchers I could sort of do it some of the time, but with the shorter articles I think I’m looking at the 100 hour rule.


To me, idling is all about muscle memory. You have to let that bottom foot spend enough time doing it to build up the specific strength. You have to feel yourself catching the pedal on the upstroke in front and behind. The only way to spend any time doing this is to hold on to something. A wall, a ledge, or in my case: my mailbox. Do this until your leg is exhausted by it. Rest. Do it again till you’re too tired to continue. 10 minutes of this and your leg has learned what to do. You’re building up some muscles too. You’ll let go little by little.

Wear yourself out in this manner 3 or 4 times today and tomorrow you’ll be able to idle.

Also, work on that skill from the official list where you ride along forward, do a 1/2 crank backwards, then ride off forwards. Soon you’ll be able to do 1/2 crank back, then 1/2 crank forward, then 1/2 crank back, then ride off. More and more until you’re feeling it.

i love it!

This is exactly the approach I decided to take on it because this is the “way” I learn something new. Starting today, I will do two (or more) 1 hour sessions switching feet and the side I use for a crutch every song on a music CD.

I should be able to idle by next week and from there, I believe I will be able to pick up riding backwards and hopping by MOAB. Another skill that I will need to pick up is the most important - stopping with feet horizontal. Believe it or not, that little issue is very challenging for a beginner.

Stopping with feet horizontal? You mean a dismount? Or what?

No. I just mean rolling to a stop so that I can hop, idle or standstill.

Hopping or idling, someone asked.

When I have time to ride (:frowning: ) I ride 20, 24, 26, 28 or Coker. I ride sometimes for an hour or more without dismounting. Idling is part of riding, if you mix it with pedestrians or traffic. The Coker I can idle briefly, just to show it can be done; the 28 (with 110mm cranks) is easy to idle as long as I start off well, otherwise I drop it on the first stroke; the others I idle indefinitely without conscious input.

The ability to idle helps you to stop and dismount neatly; it helps you to stop WITHOUT dismounting; it improves your freemounting; it helps you to adjust your position on difficult tight turns on singletrack; it makes reversing a practical proposition rather than a ‘stunt’; it is the first skill for putting on any sort of performance to a crowd.

On the other hand, hopping… On my 20, I can bounce up and down on the spot 100 or more times, and can probably get 8 - 10 inches off the ground on a good day. I’ve seldom hopped up onto anything, and I have never found it a ‘practical’ skill - unlike idling.

That said, I’ve watched Kris Holm on video and he couldn’t possibly do what he does without fantastic skill in hopping, jumping and dropping.

So I’d say idling is a core skill for any unicyclist who wants to ride well; hopping is only a vital skill for certain types of riding. I’d guess that confidence in idling will make hopping and landing under control much easier.

I have confidence that i will eventually be able to idle. I rode between two cars in my driveway and held on and did half rotations and full rotations. Now when i ride, i can go smoothly, then come to a hault, then go smoothly again. Next is to Go, stop, half backwards, then go again. I also want to be able to mount with the half rotation backward.

i learned to hop before i learned to idle, to hop you dont really need to know how to idle, i also learned to ride backwards before i learned to idle…is that weird?

I was doing 2’ drops before i could properly ride forwards, because i was getting pissed off when i kept UPD’in really quickly so i held myself steady and learnt the principles of hopping quite quickly (more endurnce than height) and started juming off the flower bed outside my house

i find that hopping is quite a practical skill, and used to use it in place of idling, and do sometimes, when im ina really tight spot. i find that riding backwards helped me to idle alot, and rather than falling off i always would try and break into hopping to steady myself… i use the same principle when learning to get more proficient with idling, i just try not to leave the same spot by a combination of small hops and static riding to riding to keep my balance
jena and ppl that were at LJC was telling me that onefoot idling was easier, but i cant to it for shiznit.

Another place for practicing idling: a door frame (with the door open :slight_smile:

Once I could idle a few/several cycles, I found the difficult thing was to stay in place (instead of slower wander to one side or the other). The solutions to this I found were: keep the seat centered (not leaning agaist one thigh or the other); keep the hips level; stand heavier/lighter on one pedel vs the other.

To keep from getting exhausted one must remember the old adage: keep your weight on your seat! (Mind you to correct your balance, you may find yourself standing hard on the pedals. That’s ok, just remember to get the weight back on the seat when your balance stabalizes).

I agree with duaner and using a doorway, 2 cars! thats just playing dangerously especially if you run metal platforms on your uni.