Intermediate balance

I’ve been learning to unicycle since May. I’m able to free mount and stay on for 1 km consistently after which I’m tired.

When sitting with weight on the seat it’s much more difficult to stay in control over bumps, so I sit back a bit and transfer weight to my legs. This provides a lot of control, but it’s tiring.

How can I improve stability while my weight is on the seat so it’s less tempting/necessary to sit back and use my legs for control?


Greetings and welcome to the forum. And welcome to unicycling in general.

You are doing well, and making great progress. Just keep doing what you’re doing. You will find that the cure for most riding issues is: “more riding.”
You will always need to transfer weight to the pedals to go over bumps and such. But the more you ride, the stronger your legs get, and after a while you will hardly notice this. (You are correct that keeping most of your weight in the saddle most of the time will conserve the most energy.) Holding onto the saddle handle helps when negotiating rough terrain. (You didn’t mention if you’re riding on the road or on trails.)


Thank you LanceB!

I’ll try reaching for the handle.

Up to this week the riding was on pavement, but I’ve I started on crushed stone at the forest preserve. It’s not quite trails, but it’s more complicated than hard top pavement.

Riding on different surfaces will definitely help. You will be surprised how fast you tire when you start riding on rooty/rocky trails and your riding will naturally improve (up to a point) fairly quickly.

So true! When I first started unicycling, at the point when I could ride five miles on pavement without much problem, I tried my first off-road ride. After two miles I was about ready to collapse, and readily accepted the offer of a car ride back to the parking lot. But I was hooked, kept at it, and quickly got better. (The moral of that story is that riding off-road takes more strength/energy than road riding.)
I predict the OP will be riding like a champ in no time! :slight_smile:

Lower your tire pressure.

When I learned I would run 30-35lbs but I found it quite bumpy when it got rough but that was what I needed to ride.
I’m running 20-23lbs now and my tire absorbs a lot more energy (bumps).

As has been said above, the best practice is riding off-road on uneven terrain: muni increases your control and ability to go over bumps more than anything.

Your muscles will get stronger and your control so much better so that small bumps on the road will become very easy (saddle comfort in the saddle for long rides is another issue).

Also, as said above, too high tire pressure also makes the bumps harder as it “bounces” you off.

Depends on your tire as well as your goals (if wanting max speed on the road then you usually need pretty high pressure).

Caution with those numbers, which assume a fairly fat tire. If you have a typical, basic unicycle with a 1.75" tire, that would be way too low.

Yes, you want to sit on the seat most of the time, but you have to raise up a little bit for the bumps. The more you ride, the better you’ll get at knowing when you need to do this, and when you can stay more relaxed. All the while, your legs will be getting stronger. :slight_smile:


I have been learning to ride a 20" unicycle since June. I am impressed that you know how to free mount already! What did you do to learn it and how much practice did it take? My uni has teeth on the peddles and when I miss I get cuts. Not fun.

Anyway, with an hour or so of practice once every week or so, I’ve been able to get to the point where I can go 43 revolutions on my uni without falling. I think I could go further-- but that’s as long as the tennis quart is where I’ve been practicing. I feel terrified to practice without a fence next to me just in case I get nervous and swivel… how have you been practicing?

My mother is learning to ride, too. Her and I ride around the block together every once in awhile. Do you have anyone to practice with?

Welcome to the forum, ChelSpellcaster. My first unicycle had somewhat smooth pedals. I think that was good for learning. I was less likely to stay on the unicycle for too long during an unplanned dismount (upd), and this made riding safer. Pinned pedals are great for really bumpy terrain and drops (mUni riding), as well as some one-footed riding, where you need to push the pedal over the 12:00 position (I slipped off and broke my toe practicing this because my pedals were too smooth), but for most everything else, I consider them to be a nuisance. So much of the control of the unicycle is based on subtle and continuous shifting of the foot position. My current pair of Twisted PC pedals on my 19" are completely smooth (almost too much, now), but now I can slide my foot position from the toe to the arch and back while riding. This has brought way more finesse to my riding. While pins keep you from slipping off the pedals, they also inhibit you from slipping onto the pedals. To put it another way, pinned pedals make it harder to learn how to keep our feet centered on the pedals, because we are relying more on the pins, and less on our muscles, to do the job. I practice a lot of jump mounts, and being able to immediately reposition my feet upon landing makes me way more successful. I don’t know what kind of riding you do, so I can’t say for sure what kind of pedals you should use. There does need to be a certain amount of grip between your pedals and shoes. I like to achieve this with less grippy pedals and more grippy shoes. Changing between pinned and unpinned pedals will probably not feel good at first; like anything else, it takes some getting used to. Good luck!

Thank you! Will keep that in mind.

Thank you! I will experiment with tire pressure.

To increase confidence/safety, I bought leg protection from I also wear wrist guards. They’ve both protected me more than once, and I was able to get right back going without injury/fear.

Here’s how I learned to static free mount.

(a) Watched every static free mount video I could find (and several of them several times).

(b) Place my right foot on the back pedal at 3 or 4 oclock and the seat firmly between my legs where I want to be seated while riding (with left foot still on the ground). Just to be sure I press the right foot down a bit to confirm the seat is in solid contact between my legs.

(c) Stare at the left pedal and don’t take my eyes off until riding.

(d) Jump up (26" wheel, so you may not jump up as much depending on how long your legs are) and forward transferring weight from left foot to the seat while the left foot finds the left pedal. Don’t press the right pedal down while jumping.

(e) When the jump is perfect, I’m sitting on the seat, leaning forward, and pedaling. Getting the jump right requires all my concentration.

There is a path at the park with a chain link fence next to it. However, the fence doesn’t go all the way to the end of the path. So, I used the fence to get going, and when the fence ended I was on my own. At the beginning, I fell when the fence ran out, but this got better with practice/confidence. If you can go 43 revolutions you’re far better than I was when I started trying without the fence. The fence was effective for teaching me to keep pedaling. However, it also taught me to lean on it, and that held me back.

I haven’t ridden with others yet. That sounds like great fun. :slight_smile:


Thank you for the warm welcome. I think you’re right about my peddles. I find the teeth frustrating because I have to position my feet several times when I mount before they feel comfortable. I can’t move them freely during riding. Maybe I would learn faster if I got new peddles. Otherwise-- I should invest in shin guards.


I think I’ll do what you did and order some guards. If I get some guards and some smooth peddles that don’t yank on my sneakers, I’ll likely be more confident to practice without the fence. There’s a nice basketball court at the top of my street that I could try out. :slight_smile: Thanks for all of your feedback!