My wife sent me this cartoon as a joke (my real name is Jim).
So I ordered a Nimbus 29".
I guess the joke is on me…

“50+ learning to ride”

Welcome to the forum Jim. And there’s lots of older people here. :slight_smile:

Just one thing, I hope you are not learning on a 29er…

I realize learning on a 20 or 24 would have been more prudent…

Ok, get yourself a regular 20 (or 24) inch uni too and start on that. It’s not too late! It will be much better for you in terms of speed, falling and confidence to learn on a smaller wheel. Oh, and learning to freemount on a 20 inch uni will be infinitely easier than learning on a 29er.

I think that is good advice-- I posted a “wanted” add in the trader section plus I’ll look around on craigslist.

I am a beginner (50 year old beginner) and have started practicing on a DRS:
It was $135 AUD, and so far has taken hundreds of drops whilst I have been learning. Aboslutely no issues with this uni, other than breaking a small chunk off the pedal.
I gaffer taped some cardboard around the nose of the seat to protect it from getting scratched up but this was probably not needed.

Good on you BHChieftain…
There is LOTs of great advice on here.

I started practicing my riding about 12 days ago and my initial thoughts were that this is going to be almost ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ to do.

However, I have been able to crank out about 10 pedal strokes on several occasions now before falling off the front… It is all muscle memory, however my mental cues are:

  1. Look up and forward
  2. Breath in and lean slighty forward while starting to pedal (I seem to go better when my lungs are full of air and it helps make my upper body more upright)
  3. shoulders back and down
  4. Feel the seat, sit heavy in the seat (dont take the weight on your legs)
  5. Dont get scared and bail or stop pedalling - I have done this so many times… just as I am starting to ‘get it’ I freak out and ether stop pedaling or bail. On a few times when I bailed I removed my feet and stayed stuck to the seat and upright (almost like I was freewheeling)
    Just my 2c from one beginner to another…

I’ve never ridden a DRS but I think they would be fine.
Aldi ones tend to get crank issues - for some reason I’ve found they always seem to need tightening on the left. (I am left footed).
They are completely ok for learners to use unless/until there is a crank issue.

A solid uni for learners are Club unis, they have a hard seat though so you might want to replace the seat (Aldi seats aren’t particularly great either). I am really happy with the Club.

Cardboard protection - I reckon not necessary. Uni seats hit the ground all the time so they have the plastic bumper at the rear and the plastic handle in the front for protection.

Anyway, it’s good that people buy those Aldi unis, try, give up, so you can pick them up hardly used on gumtree for next to nothing.

Good on you! For me, it clicked when I spent time with a railing I could slide my hand on top of. One session (in a big empty car park) I found I really didn’t need the railing! Did quite a lot of long rides (50 metres or so) without issue. I did more and more riding away from the railing till I decided, yep, and then later that afternoon, rode on a pathway, showing the person who told me all about it in the first place. :slight_smile:
Mounting was definitely still a big issue though. Nowadays, I think, mounting a 20 is easy. But not back then…

Hey Gockie Im still waiting for that 'moment to occur. I recon I have spent probably 5-6 hours in total practicing over about 12 days.

I think you’re on the way. Just keep doing what you’re doing and I reckon you’ll get it really soon.

Feel free to share any videos of yourself. Facebook is a bit better (more user friendly) for that sort of thing though.

I have warned beginners not to rely on a wall, fence or other crutch, but in your case, it worked well. My concern is that the real crutch will become a psychological crutch that will stop the rider from riding out into the open. As a beginner, I never found a location in my neighborhood where I could ride-hold-ride-hold more than a couple feet.

Thanks everyone for the advice and encouragement!

Well, the nice folks over at were able to intercept my order and swap it out for a nimbus 24" (I’m 6’ tall). I’ll pick up a 29er if I survive the 24.


If you are not wanting to tear up your plastic seat bumpers while you learn, I have used white athletic tape cut in strips to cover them up. They get banged up after while so I swapped them out occasionally. Once I wasn’t falling as much I removed the tape. Note…you always fall at some point which is half the fun and what the bumpers are good for… how you fall is the key.

Excellent outcome! Get comfortable, learn to ride, mount and turn… then consider the 29er.

Btw, 24 and 26 are the sizes I enjoy the most. Good maneuverability, yet much less pedalling needed than on a 20. I’m 5’5". I’d even ride distances over 10km on them to go places. (For some reason I feel more camber issues on a 29". Maybe because I don’t have as much experience on it).

Anyway, good luck!

Nice tip, thanks!


Gockie, sorry, stupid questions follow … what are ‘camber issues’?
I assume that the road camber makes it hard to ride a uni straight right?
Do you always need to re-change your direction against the camber?

It’s hard to ride straight when there’s road camber. Most unis I have no issues. Others are simply horrid!

When I feel camber, I end up with my body tilted to one side, (very uncomfortable to ride) and when it’s really bad an arm is needed, waving about like a beginner to stay mounted.

Sometimes you just have to look for the flattest piece of road ahead, even if its towards the centre of the road.
I’ve been told to move my foot to the outside of the pedal on the low side, but it’s not that easy to do while riding (some pedals have pins for better grip, but it means you really have to think about taking your foot off to change its position on the pedal.)

I think tyres with greater cross section volume have this issue more than smaller tyres, and maybe the tyre’s wall stiffness is involved. Certainly tyre pressure is involved, making the uni more or less susceptible to camber. Worth trying to swap tyres and trying different air pressures to find what is best.

Neophyte on a Nimbus