I still have difficulty keeping enough weight on the seat, but when I briefly do I ride much better with less fatigue.
Any suggestions for how to consistently keep the weight on the seat, not the pedals, will be most welcome.
Also, although I can frequently ride 200 feet or so, it still takes an effort to maintain a straight line or even make small corrections.
No point in attempting turning until this is mastered.
Could this be caused by the ‘weight on seat’ issue?
Raising the seat will make it easier to put weight on the seat instead of your legs. The wobble that you are talking about also comes from too much weight on the pedals, so try to ride with the seat a little higher and see if it makes a difference.
I agree with Coler, but… Just be careful because when you put all your weight on the saddle there is a greater risk of falling backwards. As a learner I suggest you take a gradual approach to this, slowly increasing your butt’s share of the load. You might try reducing tyre pressure to help stop the uni from squirting out from under you.
Not sure what to tell you, except for ride more. The body will figure out the right thing to do eventually.
When you are doing it right, it will feel like the unicycle is riding you, not you riding the unicycle, at least on flats and slight downhills. At that point you have to trust your balance.
When you hit bumps though and/or are going on steep uphill and need more control you actually put more weight on the pedals. You can only do this if your seat is lowered a bit, which is why trials, street, flatland and muni riders keep their seats lower than when road-riders.
But for now, just concentrate on riding smoothly, and you will want your seat pretty high up. Again, focus on leaning (with back straight as possible) forward a bit and let the unicycle guide you.
As a relative beginner compared to some of the veterans on here, I found the best way to learn to plant my butt on the seat was to raise the seat almost to the point it gets uncomfortable. That way you can’t put weight on your feet Next thing was to hold on, and pull up with your hand - I don’t know if it helps physically, but mentally it sort of makes you think you’re planting into the seat harder, so you learn how to ride without using your feet to balance (Which besides the leg tiredness, is the ultimate aim of butt-on-seat - to balance with your hips/abs)
It seems there is general agreement that the seat needs to be high.
I have not trained for a month until today, and I had put the original 114mm cranks back on to replace the 125mm I bought when I first stepped on to the uni. This was the first time with the 114’s so the seat height was set for the 125’s.
I know 11mm does not sound much, but it would probably make a difference to a novice?
Also, does it help steering to grip the seat between the thighs?
I don’t think so. When you beginning you should use your arms to help you steer. Twist your upper body in the direction you want to go, then let the uni follow you. Your lower body will automatically follow and so will the wheel. Relax and fall into the turn, keeping the wheel always under you and a bit forward of your center of gravity.
Don’t worry about grabbing the seat until later. Us “old-timers” learned before seats even had “handles”
Now I use the front bumper and/or bars all the time, but when you are first learning to ride avoid them until you are comfortable without them.
I cheated my seat up to a couple of millimeters above the safe limit line pretty early on so I can’t comment on whether going higher might help.
One that did help was figuring out that I was actually sitting too far back, as though I was trying to ride bicycle where you sit behind the pedals. I thought I was being scared about falling backwards but in fact I was too far the other way. When it feels like I’m almost going to pitch forward on my nose, my quads don’t burn as much and I think that means I’m doing it right. I’ve added about 1000 ft to my longest non-stop ride since I found that.
Another thing was to go back to my patio where I have the wall to help with my balance, pedalling forward a crank or two and stopping with the pedals at 3 and 6 o’clock. Then if my weight was really all on the saddle, I should be able to take both of my feet off the pedals. And I haven’t been able to do it yet. But I think that helped me get me a little closer and I plan to keep trying it.
One more: Try to ride more slowly. The wheel is more stable when it’s going faster so it’s easier in that way, but if I slow it down I pedal more smoothly and don’t have to make as many corrections, also my legs don’t tire out as quickly.
I.E. Do not always try to ride fast. I remember when my 7 yo brother was learning he used to try to ride as fast as possible so that if he did get a good run he’d go a long way. This became very counterproductive because spinning his legs so fast made him fall off more often.
On another note, I don’t think I never knew if I was putting my weight in the saddle until I learned to ride with one foot. I don’t know if it would be helpful, but you could give one foot a try.
I think that would cause you to lean/fall backwards. The wheel should be directly under you until you lean forwards as you accelerate. At this point the wheel should be a bit rearward of your centre of gravity.
11mm is plenty for starters. Gripping the seat between your thighs will tire your legs more due to increased tension. For turning practise get good at riding in a straight line, then learn to purposely veer to one side. As you get comfortable with this, you can begin turning over a progressively shorter distance. Arms out for wide turns, arms in for tight turns. When turning you should turn your body from the hips up to your head until you are facing where you want to go. Your turns will be a bit stiff at first but as you improve you will lean into the turns more. You might consider sticking with the 125mm cranks for a while until you’ve mastered the above.
Ride more, a lot more, and try to relax when riding, spin the cranks vs pushing, just like spinning on a bike.
A long slight upgrade might help because then you won’t be resisting forward movement of the wheel, but you’ll still have a little resistance to pushing, that way you can focus on sitting vs focus on modulating speed.
I’d suggest you ride with your hands off the handle or at least lose the death grip (just grab for balance), this will make it harder to stand and peddle, so it keeps you honest. Ultimately you will use the handle to pull your foot into the pedals, just like bikers use their bars.
Seat height is about comfort, so choose your height based on what feels right when your riding seated. I tend to ride a lower seat off road so I can clear my seat when riding standing on rough terrain.
Riding seated is really all about skill level, once you are better at riding, you’ll be more relaxed, you’ll do much less “micro controlling”, so you’ll just spin along. A relaxed rider can ride further and longer.
Yeah ride more, but esp more often. When learning I tried to ride once in the morning and again in the evening and definately every day.
What helped me keep my but on the seat is as I rode along I tried to have so little pressure on the pedals that occationally one would come off @ 12:00. At first I worked on one foot at a time.
That would work but spiky platic pedals sounds better. Won’t cut you but very uncomfortable to apply a lot of pressure.
At times in Muni I’ve done that when trying to negotiate a tight line between rocks and such, but no other time that I’ve noticed
To steer you can use your arms, pivoting your hips, or leaning. That was the order of which was easiest for me when I learned (easy to harder). Save holding the seat for hill climbing, Muni and hopping.
Practicing every day (or close to it) is very important in the early stages.
I think longer cranks are better for beginners. Also, I found offset cranks to contribute to “serpentine” riding. I think this is a personal thing, so it may not apply to you. But my path got a lot straighter when I got straight cranks.
“3. Ride barefoot with metal pinned pedals.” I don’t think I’d be brave enough to try it, but boy howdy, that’ll keep your weight off those pedals!
While I think it is fairly universally acknowledged that putting most of your weight on the saddle (vs the pedals) helps your riding, I don’t think it’s worth stressing over. “Hours in the saddle” is the mantra that solves most problems, I’ve found. Just keep pedaling! (Granted, I’m still a beginner, but that’s my opinion. As always, your mileage may vary.)