Is idling rather scary for newbies???

Hi there,

I am reaching the stage in my basic unicycling career that I want to start learning how to idle on my unicycle.

I am following Charlie Dancey’s method for idling, where you pedal forward like normal, take just one pedal back, and then carry on again forwards.

My problem is that, for me at least, that backward pedal seems rather daunting! I don’t like the prospect of falling backwards and hurting myself. Is this a common feeling for a lot of newbies? Do you overcome it after a few tries?

I am not after the usual help and advice with idling (that may come later), but I am just wanting to know a few opinions for those who can (or hav at least tried) to idle using this method.

Thanks, in advance, for all help, advice and information that is shared!

Many thanks

Mark Watson

that’s how i learnt to ride backwards, but not to idle, it does seem a bit over the top, id; just mount holdng on to a wall and start idling, then stop leaning on the wall and see how long you can hold it for.

Even if you don’t know how to do it, it’s not scary at all. You’re stopped, and if you feel youself starting to fall off, you just step down without even thinking, and all is well :slight_smile:

I never really tried to learn how to idle… it just kind of happened randomly one day that I was able to pedal backwards, forwards, then backwards, then forwards, then fall off, and I said, hey, this is kind of like idling!!

dont be a woman about it, just do it, learn to ride backwards and then youll be fine

Hi there,

Thanks for the help guys!

Thats all I needed, but by all means leave some more opinions if you wish!

Many thanks

Mark Watson

Every new skill is a challenge. Idling is awkward at first but every time you try it, it gets a bit easier until eventually you think it is very easy.

Remember how hard was learning to ride? Keep practicing, idling will get easier.

I learned to ride backwards before idling, and it wasn’t scary learning to go backwards.

Sometimes when I learn new things, I get people to yell at me and ridicule me, helps me learn faster…

Just find something that helps you learn quicker.

There are many women with excellent unicycling skills. Your comment implies otherwise, and many would find it offensive.

I recommend keeping blatently sexist comments off of public forums.

That’s how I learnt. I don’t remember it being scary (mind you, it /was/ 13 years ago and time may have dimmed the memory). I /do/ remember that I tended to practice within grabbing distance of some park railings. If you have some handy railings that you can ride near then you may find that they boost your confidence. Just make sure the tops are higher than head height, so that there’s no risk of impaling yourself if you fall on them!

If the backward motion is scary, you might not be letting the lower crank roll forward enough, like not leaning back far enough on the forward stroke, limiting the amount of torque you can put into the pedal to roll backwards again.

I was pretty freaked out when I first tried it. But if you just go for it you will probable get the pedal back. Then it is like straight into backwards ridin.
WAY FUN!!! just go for it and have fun.

I’m getting to where I can idle about a minute

With my right foot down (lower). There is only 2 ways to idle, I learned left foot down first, on a 19 ". I bet a skinny tired 20 " is easier or the same. Then it gets harder as the wheels get bigger. The 24 isn’t so bad, but I have never gone reverse on the 36. Maybe I should buy a 29 LOL :slight_smile:

I learned to idle watching movies. Wasn’t scary at all, but then I hate horror or gore, so I was laughing or crying instead.:slight_smile:

Consider learning on a small wheel while watching movies. Have a hand hold nearby, so you don’t have to remount every time you lose balance. Just go for it. Try to keep your balance, while making up bs with the lower foot on the pedal. Make it up as you go along. Can be a bit dull and slow. So watching movies is the hot set up IMHO. It has taken many more hours to get the basic idling feel, then it did to learn basic straight riding, for me. I think I started to idle a few months ago, watch a movie a day, and I get tired or lose my balance after a minute or so. So it is much harder then riding forward, many times harder for me, don’t give up. It just gets better slowly.

I can ride 100 feet reverse before I start to get scared. I need to get better at doing the 180 look back. I think I might wear a helmet before I try this on the 36. It really is all just instinct to tighten up at a certain point. I am pretty sure as my balance improves and I get better at the snap back glance, riding backwards will seem normal.

Anyway, riding backwards, and idling are related skills. If you can idle with either foot down, riding backwards will seem ok. It’s the same as changing your lower idle foot.

It is a weird tech though, more about time spent, then substance or comprehension, I can’t think of a single good tip. Pirate movies !LOL, and put in your time on the seat, and it will work for you.:slight_smile:

Maybe try learning in a doorway. Just then you can hold either side and as you get better just use less pressure on the door frame. Very similar to learning to ride holding a wall or rail. That’s how I would start off learning (If I was allowed inside).

Learning to Idle

I must say that it is probably better to learn how to ride backwards first. Learning to ride backwards is much harder than learning to unicycle forwards. You have probably never pedaled backwards before in your life. I know that I have never ridden a bike backwards before. Learning to ride backwards really increases your riding skill. I am mostly a MUni rider and once I learned how to ride backwards I improved my MUniing dramatically. Once you learn to ride backwards you will want to change directions. I found it much easier to change from forward to backward than from backward to forward. This changing of directions will lead you into idling. I was riding and doind a half revolutions backwards and then continuing to ride way before I could ride backwards. It never developed into idling. Learning how to ride backwards is a skill well worth learning.



I did not learn to idle using this method, tried but no luck.
Since I have two uni’s, I started with my 20" by holding onto a wall to mount and start the idle. Took me a while to learn, with lots of practice. After I could idle back and forth longer than 1 min I moved to practicing on my 29".
This was harder due to larger wheel size and rocking motion was a differenet rythm.

Now I am practicing the combination of freemount and idling.
So far I can freemount 100% of the time and idle longer than a min on both unicycles.

Moral of the story is practice, practice, practice.

I am still at the very beginning and althiugh I have read many tutorials I have the feeling that I do not go anywhere with idling.

I guess I am missing an important part of the rocking motion. Everybody says that you should move the lower foot/pedal. But intuitively my upper foot tries to take control. I have the feeling that I can’t control anything with the lower foot.

Riding forward is no problem, and freemount (roll back method) works 20%

Trying to ride backwards is a real nightmare. It feels like I have to learn again from scratch.

give me a break dumbass you know what i meant, i know there are good women riders i was just saying dont be a “BABY.” Is that better? It pisses me off that half the people on here just post replys just to argue. Does it make you feel good? Arguing on the internet? Obviously it does so it would be nice if you just posted your argument bullsh*t over in jc. As for being sexist, yeah i guess i am i dont see any decent female street riders, yes a few good female trials riders but thats different.

I am not a moderator but still I would recommend to stop this immediately.

I do not have a problem with spoonthumbs original post, but there will always be others who carefully search for comments that can make them feel offended. It’s a question of attitude.

So, if you use expressions which could potentially offend others, just live with the fact that you may get negative feedback. But don’t feel offended by the feedback. Just ignore it and stay calm.

I recommend that there should be no more post about this. If you really feel you need to comment, open a separate thread unter ‘just conversation’

My 2 €-cents.

20 inch easier to idle?

Idling is next on my list of skills to learn. I have a 24" and a 29", but am thinking it would be easier to learn on a 20". Is it worth getting a 20" if I have a 24" and 29"?

Are there any other skills that are better learned/enjoyed on a smaller wheel?