Is it just me ?

I am learning to uni with less than two hours (in 30 minute daily sessions) under my belt, but just 20 minutes into a session, I’m sweating like a pig with sweat running out from my helmet. It’s not even hot weather but around 12 degrees Centigrade.

Is it just me, or is it due to the inefficient way I am using my energy to balance?

Yes, but also unicycling is just plain inefficient, so it heats you up quick and it’s not fast enough to generate significant “air cooling” as you’d get from biking.

A unicycle has about 99% efficiency since it has no chain or gearing (if you have no schlumpf).
The only thing is the gear ratio is far from perfect…
On a 36er you do have some aircooling.

in the beginning riding the uni is very exhausting, tiring and sweaty.
The more you learn to keep your weight in the saddle (unless crossing an obstacle, jumping or dropping) the more your legs can relax, using minimal force for balancing. So the more you ride the better you get, and the more (longer) you ride.

keep at it, in retrospective i have to say i enjoyed every moment of it.



A lot of the balance in unicycling comes from movements of the arms and upper body, to reposition your centre of gravity.

When you get good, those movements will be small and precise. At the moment you’re making (relatively) huge movements. And you’re moving too far, so you have to move back again. Then you move back too far, etc. That’s why you’re generating so much heat, and why learning to ride a unicycle is so physically intense.

For a while, perhaps

I do remember that learning was a fair bit more physical than what it is once learned and used.

And so, maybe, it is just that. However, even learning should not take that much out of a person so it will likely also be an indicator of you general level of fitness.

Or, despite what you describe as low temperature, you may want to see if the relative humidity is greater than normal which you may not notice until you exercise. It doesn’t take much to sweat if the humidity up.

But in the end you will be so much more efficient that it will not be an issue.

I don’t think it’s a fitness issue, as I frequently ride my recumbent trike, which is no lightweight, 25 miles at a fast pace.
I have always lost most of my heat through my head, even when I was running most days, so it’s no surprise that it sweats when constricted by a helmet.
Also, the energy is being use mainly at a standstill due to constant UPDs, so lacking any cooling air flow.

OK. In that case lose the helmet.

I am aware that lots of people start with heaps of armour (shin pads, helmet, gloves) thinking that they can hurt themselves while learning. In reality learning in a sufficient, level and clear space is a very low risk activity. Unlike learning to ride a bike, falls and pain are pretty much the exception when learning to unicycle.

(Not referring to the sort of riding that may come AFTER you have learned - off road, grinds and stair hopping, extra-large wheels or gearing, etc - where it makes sense to use protection.)


While learning I never got hurt and 99% of all UPDs were of the “land on your feet in an upright position” variety. I didn’t start needing the pads until I took up muni where the occasional UPD has me falling to the ground.

As far as tiring out/sweating… pedaling is one thing, incorporating arms to maintain balance is another. It’s a full aerobic workout, like doing jumping jacks while also pedaling a bike. The more practice you get the less you’ll need your arms until the point where you’ll hardly move your upper body at all. More practice will also net you more efficient rotations. It’ll come with time.

Don’t listen to any of them.

It is just you.

Most of us normally unicycle 40 miles, strip off our riding gear, and like James Bond emerging from the sea walk into the nearest casino in our dry tuxes - or gowns as the case may be - and play baccarat while sipping martinis shaken not stirred.

Not just you.
I only ride my uni to work when I don’t have important meetings, and I basically take a spongebath before changing into office clothes. In contrast, I can ride various different bikes (including my heavy commuter recumbent) and walk into work without changing clothes (as long as I don’t race someone along the way).
Efficiency does improve over time, but I disagree with the comment about a unicycle being 99% efficient. Even for the best riders there’s always additional effort put into unicycling vs. biking to maintain fore/aft balance. Not to mention the lack of a freewheel and appropriate gearing (even with a Schlumpf, which used to make me sweat even more).