Killing the legs

hi all, new unicyclist here. Picked it up since i needed a hobby and figured why not? Now on to my question…

I’ve been unicycling now for about a month and a half. Still learning how to free mount the uni. Getting better the more I practice. But when I do get on and start going, after a few hundred yards, my legs are practically giving out. I try to put all my weight on the seat, but it doesn’t seem to help. Am I doing something wrong? I’ve read that the longer you ride, the more use to it your legs become, but that doesn’t seem to work for me. I can barely make it around my apartment complex without having one, or both, of my legs giving out on me.

I still ride though, cause i enjoy all the stares I get from people when i ride past them on it. Just would like to venture out a bit further than the loop around the apartment complex.

That is normal at first.

When I first learned my legs got tired really fast to. After a while your muscles get stronger and you can go much farther without getting tired.

Keep riding. It WILL get better. When I started, an early goal was to just get across the tennis court and that left my legs worn out.

Now my limitation is how long I can sit on the seat before taking a short rest. I still need to stop about every 20 to 25 minutes to rest my “seat” but I am still looking for and trying new seats and different adjustments.

You read right. Keep riding. It WILL get better.

It just takes time but you will find your legs get used to the exercise plus riding will become easier so its less of a effort actually concentrating on what your doing which tires you out just as much.

Is the seat at the right height? Riding with the seat too low is much tougher work than with it at a correct height. Your leg should nearly straighten out completely at the bottom of the stroke.

The seat is a little higher than where my hip is at. I rode a bit longer today, i just went out and made myself ride further. That’s basically how i learned how to ride in the first place. I just went to a tennis court and rode to the other side of the court. Then, from there I went out to the parking lot and rode down the street.

I don’t know if i need to move the seat higher or not, but I can ride with the seat at its position now. I will try moving the seat a bit higher tomorrow when i go out and practice in the AM. Other that than, I will keep plugging along and hope for the best, its about all I can do now.

^ and you should be sitting on the seat, not using your legs to support your buttocks above it. rest with all of your weight on the seat, with the seat at the proper height, and you should be fine.

Yeah, i catch myself often having to sit back down on the seat to allievate the stress my legs are going thru. When I do finally sit down and pedal, its so much nicer, but getting there is difficult. Also find my feet seem to tire out as well, which is odd since I was always in the mountians in Korea. But I know it takes time, and I will pay my dues and continue forth!!

Try setting the seat height about the same as for a b*ke, with one of the pedals at the lowest point and sitting on the seat with your butt level (and spine vertical), your HEEL should just rest on the lowest pedal with out stretching your leg out completely straight. This will change as you do other things (MUni or tricks like hopping) and is definitely a personal preference thing, but heel on the pedal is a good place to start.

I can tell you that keeping your weight on the seat is a learned skill, that, with your condition, will greatly affect how tired your legs get - the first time I went a 1/4 mile my heart rate was 190 and I had to stop (my legs had turned to lead, too), now 20 miles is a nice ride. So, keep your weight on the seat and be conscious of how much weight you put on the raising foot. Yeah, I know, cycling, chewing gum, talking to five different people while solving Rubix cubes and watching your weight is a little hard, but you can do it. Not to mention balancing. It’s all worth it the first time someone says “Wow, look at that!”

Also… really try to relax. If you can stop being tense, your muscles will work a lot less and you will have a lot more endurance.

Relaxing seems to come with time as much as anything else… Just keep at it…


Try riding on a slight downhill for awhile, and you should be able to easily see if you are putting your weight on the seat or the pedals. Riding on a slight downhill, you should just need to move you legs with the pedals, and apply little to no force to keep moving forward.

keep almost all of your weight on your seat. the other small percent should be on your descending pedal. this makes riding on flat ground effortless.

A very good point.

When I started riding again after 25 years of not riding my legs were soooo sore.
At times they felt like lead and simple things like getting in and out of the car were a chore. Luckily things got better when a) my muscles got used to it and b) I learned to relax. :slight_smile:



Do what Brian says. Raise your seat until your leg almost has to straighten all the way out to pedal. May feel scary at first but its a key to helping you stay on the seat. Good luck, it will get better.


Come tomorrow, I will try raising my seat up a few inches more and seeing how that works out. Hopefully I can find that sweet spot for my seat to be in and its off to the races.

Beginner Blues


congrats for learling to ride. the saddle height should be just a little below your navel. In the beginning you get tired really fast because you are not relaxed and you are laways fighting for balance. As time goes by you get better and start riding in a more relaxed manner and you don’t get tired. I have done brisk rides for over an hour without getting off the unicycle and I was not tired. In the beginning however I remember not even making it to the end of my street. Also keep in mind that the 20" unicycle will get you more tired than the 24" unicycle over the same distance.


yeah, a 24

20" uni’s are great for expert trials, or total beginners . I’m a level 1 fat guy, and the 24 x 3 muni is much better for my "neighborhood touring " kind of riding, then the 20 “. A nice deluxe ride, with less effort in leg rpm.
I’m real new at this, and I need to go a bit faster to keep balance. 24” is easier and more fun.
Now if I actually learned anything and wanted to try something…
For just riding around, a 24 is easier for me. And that’s all I can do !
I have never tried to free mount. I am lucky to have a nice area with lots of walls and stuff.

Well for the legs getting tired, it’s only natural cause your body needs to adjust to the fact that you’re learning something new. So give it time and it will adapt to it. Kepp up the good on the freemounting too. :smiley: :smiley:

Also welcome to the forums my friend and i hoped this helped

Well 24" are very good for street and may also be good for beginners i’ve heard. Learning to freemount takes time and patience but the rewards are sweeeet cause you don’t have to rely on leaning on anything. I should know, it took me sometime b4 i could freemount my unicycle as well. So alot of perseverance is also a good thing to have.

Take care, have fun and enjoy the world of unicycling for both of you. :smiley:

Thanks for all the tips guys and gals. I ride a 24’ special (ebay no-name). Didn’t really know what I was doing when I bought it, but happy i got that size instead of a 20’. I am about to head out and ride a bit, so I wil take your advice about the seat and try to relax and have fun.

One last thing before I head out, does anyone know where I might can go test for lvl 1 around the Charleston, SC area? I know I can do at least lvl 1 stuff, pending me mounting my uni in the first try.

Ok, so i went out and raised up my seat to just below my belly button. I must say it did make a HUGE difference in the way my legs feel and felt during the ride. As some of you said, it was almost effortless. I did notice I wasn’t able to ride as far with the seat higher, but i’m sure that will change here in a week or so, once i get used to it being a bit higher.

Thanks for the suggestions and know I probably won’t post as often as most people, but I will still be lurking around the forums, reading and posting when I think its practical (can’t spell relivant, or however its spelled).