Iowa State Stair Riding Pics/Vids in gallery

I took a break from finals studying today to ride some stairs that I have wanted to ride since I started my college career at Iowa State.

The video clip is large (83.6 MB) and uncut, but worth viewing if you have a decent connection. Edited and lower resolution versions will be up in the near future.

I can’t take credit for the video clip work or soundtrack, though I did suggest the last track.

Video commentary:
0 - 2 mins = practicing riding slowly down stairs
2 - 3 mins = building confidence on steeper stairs
3 - 4 mins = large case with steep/sandy stairs
4 - 6 mins = in transit
6 - 8 mins = Final and biggest set (~60 stairs)
- run 1 = chicken after first case
- run 2 = lose it on the 3rd to last step
- run 3 = nailed it!


  • Throughout the video I worked on riding down as slowly and under control as possible in preparation for the final set. On the final set some turns had a short run out with a pretty low railing over a big fall.

Awesome video. Definately worth the download. I need to get some footage of places around town that I’ve been working on. It feels so good when you nail something for the first time that you once thought was impossible.

Two questions:
Did you have permission to ride down those indoor stairs?

Where is the video posted? It’s not in the gallery and I can’t find it on your web site.

Very cool. I’m too chicken to do long stair rides.

Sorry, the video upload failed the first time. It’s uploading again now. Adam had a different (low bandwidth) link. Can you use a FTP program to upload videos?

The permission wasn’t written, but I had an informal “OK” on the terms that this wasn’t going to be a regular thing. I waited until I knew I had the skills and the photographers to try it. As you can see the video was taken after hours when the building was nearly empty.

EDIT: I’ve opted to upload the no music soundtrack version. If you have it, play Gavin Rossdale’s “Adrenaline”.

Yes. But you don’t FTP the file directly to the gallery. FTP the file to a publicly accessable place and then tell the gallery uploader to grab it from there. Scroll down to the bottom of the gallery uploader dialog and you’ll see the place to do the FTP style upload.

If that still doesn’t work then copy the file to a place where Gilby can access it. Then email Gilby and ask him to manually copy the file to the gallery.

awesome video dude, that stair ride is insane!

That stair ride is cool!!! I’d be nervous just walking down them. Next, you can hop up them all;)

Were you using your brake? Did you lower your tire pressure any?


I experimented with brake use during the first stairs. I could ride them either way, but I could go a little bit slower while using the brake.

I didn’t do anything special with my tire pressure, though a lower pressure might have been nice. You can get a feel for my tire pressure by watching me hop, especially in the uncut version.

A low res, edited version is now up in the gallery (~10 MB).

I’ve just downloaded your stair video (the full one) and am very impressed.

I’ve pottered around on the concrete steps of Sheffield town hall before, going down one step, then two, then three; you’ve inspired me to go back and work on building it up.

I wondered if you had any tips specific to riding down steps?

Also, when watching the indoor ones, I had a vision of a unicyclist riding down an up escalater(maybe called something different in America-I mean the moving steps in shopping malls) and staying stationary. Do you reckon its possible? It would surely be a good way of practicing steps; I guess the really difficult part would be getting permission to do it.


I’m glad you enjoyed the video. Here are a few of my thoughts on stair riding, take them with a grain (or pound) of salt.

  • Different stairs feel comfortable at different speeds. When you find the right rhythm, it’s similar to riding down a semi-steep hill. You’ll know it when you find the speed. In the video at about 2:19 I find this speed and the stairs are just effortless.

  • I’ll check my tire pressure later and post it here, just for reference.

  • A rolling hop into the stairs sometimes makes the stairs feel smoother. I didn’t do this for any of the stairs in the video as I was trying to ride them slowly.

  • An escalator sounds like a fun idea that I wish you hadn’t just given me :). I’m not sure how difficult it would be to match the escalator’s speed such that you remained stationary. Perhaps you could make friends with a mall employee who would vary the escalator speed to your liking.

I’ve come really close to riding a moving escalator, and even closer to riding one that was stoped.

The problem with them is the steps are steep and have a much higher rise per every step. 2, they are moving so it adds additional timing to the situation. 3, each step has hundreds of jagged teeth that are just asking for a peice of my flesh.

Maybe one day when I get the balls I’ll try it, but I wouldnt reccomend it to anyone for praticing to ride stairs. It would be much more dangerous and difficult than normal stairs in my opinion. This would deffenatlly be a thing to attempt for only thoes well experenced with stairs.