learner frustrations.

Hi all,

Has anyone any tips on beating the frustration I feel whilst not been able
to learn to unicycle? :slight_smile:

I can just about get on top of it, but am too scared to move forward, or the
uni flies out in front…

I suspect it doesn’t help as I’m having to learn on an uneven lawn (nowhere
else to practice other than in public!)


When it comes to binary, there are 10 types of people: those that understand
it and those that don’t.

Listen to music at same time! thats can be a great help with not getting frustrated, if u do start all I do is rest for 10 minutes (get a drink etc) then try again


Re: learner frustrations.


Try not to be afraid to go out and learn in public. I learned on a New York City street and had lots of folks walking by while struggling as you are now. In NYC most ignored me as they muttered to themselves, most of the rest were curious and encouraging and a few had unpleasantries to share.

Disadvantage: Some people are jerks and will be rude in one way or another.
Advantage: (Aside from the fact that you’ll have even ground to learn on making the process quicker and less painful) Many of those jerks will be people who pass by regularly and after you’ve mastered the uni you can if you choose a) overtly make them eat their words or b) take the high road and know, as will they, that if they had any integrity they’d apologize for their rudeness (although rude people rarely do that.)

The other advantage is that you’ll get over any embarrassment about riding in public up front.

Good luck,
Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Re: learner frustrations.

> I suspect it doesn’t help as I’m having to learn on an uneven lawn
> else to practice other than in public!)

You suspect correctly. I used to feel embarrassed to practice in public, but
that feeling was (in your case, is) stupid. Most people are
if they stop to talk and you can ignore everyone else. Contact with other
might also offset the feelings of frustration…

Arnold the Aardvark
There are 10 types of people in the world: one understands trinary but
the other two don’t.

I have just started to feel like I can ride. It’s been a month of practicing, but I can finally ride it. My advice is to get off the grass. I practiced for a while in the grass and got pretty discouraged. While I was able to go about 10 feet in the grass, this translated into about 50 feet of paved road. I suggest you go for the paved and just smile and nod at the onlookers.

>I can just about get on top of it, but am too scared to move >forward, or the
>uni flies out in front…

overcome this fear by focusing on keeping your weight on the bottom pedal
stand on the bottom pedal and realise that as long as u have your weight there, the uni wont scoot out from under u
to dismount from there, u simply topple slowly back, grabbing the uni as u (gracefully) step off
once u r comfortable that u can allways dismount in a controlled manner by keeping your weight on the bottom pedal, u need to ‘launch into the abyss’
stabilise yourself by holding onto a railing or a fence or a wall behind u and move the machine forward by pedalling as smoothly as u can
posture is important as this is the basis of balance
focus on maintaining a straight line from your axle thru your hips to your shoulders while u look out in front of u and not at the ground directly in front of the wheel
do not hold onto the saddle
use both arms to wave around semi-frantically
they may not neccesarily help much but they will make u feel better
keep your practise sessions light, fun and short
when u get frustrated or angry at the uni, stop as u r no longer able to learn when in that frame of mind
take a break, remind yourself of the basics and try again
this ‘grey period of frustration’ will be visited everytime u try n master a new skill on the uni (or any other skill for that matter)
get used to it, make friends with it and realise that it is a kewl place to be because it is the only place where u learn
remember that u r busy building new neural pathways in your brain to be able to communicate the small corections your body must make to maintain balance to your muscles
this takes time
by the time u’ve mastered the skill, there will be something in your head that wasn’t there when u started
this is the greatest gift u can give yourself
do it often

in this post i’ve borrowed heavily from charlie dancey’s ‘how to ride your unicycle’
the intention was not to plagiarise, just to share advice

oh yeah, keep your weight on the bottom pedal

on this site alone u will find unicyclists from 5 to 50 years old
scholars to scholarly types
they all learnt to ride and so can u


Re: learner frustrations.

“[neil]” wrote:

> I can just about get on top of it, but am too scared to move forward, or the
> uni flies out in front…

This is what worked for me…

Start next to a wall or something else to hold onto. While you are
climbing on, start with the cranks vertical and keep your weight on the
lower pedal. This will keep the uni still. Once your on, try rocking
backwards and forwards a bit while still holding the wall. Remember to
keep your weight on the lower pedal to keep the uni under control. Once
you’ve got a bit of a feel for this, try going half a revolution
forward, so your weight ends up on the opposite pedal. Build things up
from there.

Once your confident going up and down with the wall for support, your
ready to try launching into the abyss…

I recommend getting Charles Dancey’s book. It’s pretty cheap, and very

Jim Farrand, ML Group, mailto:farrand@cs.bris.ac.uk
Department of Computer Science, http://www.cs.bris.ac.uk/~farrand
University of Bristol, tel: +44-(0)117-954-5254
Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 1UB, UK

Re: learner frustrations.

“[neil]” <neil@chemicalbrothers.yorks.com> writes:

> I can just about get on top of it, but am too scared to move forward, or the
> uni flies out in front…
> I suspect it doesn’t help as I’m having to learn on an uneven lawn (nowhere
> else to practice other than in public!)

I learned on uneven lawn, but it was a public place (sports ground). I
think lawn is good to learn on because it’s more forgiving than
pavement. Try not to fear falling, because falling is
inevitable. Falling on grass isn’t really a big deal. Be prepared to
fall but launch like you are about to go 10 miles (or 16.09

Most people ignored me completely when I was learning. I still don’t
often get comments. I think I have got two “missing wheel” comments
all summer. Old ladies are often encouraging.


eval join ‘’,map{chr}(0x70,0x72,0x69,0x6E,0x74,0x20,0x22,0x4A,0x75,0x73,

Frustrations… just bear with it. It can be pretty annoying. Also, go out in public and don’t pay attention to people. Just go about your business. I’m a 16 year old, with a terrible back problem, Uni-ing is the only sport that doesn’t hurt. If I can do it, anyone can! Also, don’t forget to lean a LITTLE forward when going. NOT A LOT

Good Luck

The fear of learning in public is understandable, but don’t let it dominate you. Choose somewhere appropriate.

I don’t know what your home area is like, but is there a park or similar facility nearby? If you go to the sort of place where people are skating, kiting, or just bicycling, you will look and feel less out of place. On the other hand, learning alongside a busy main road is ‘out of context’ and may provoke comment. (Or perhaps people are too busy to comment!?) So, choose a place where you feel comfortable and go there.

What about practising indoors? Is there a local community hall, sports hall etc? Check the net and you may find a local juggling club who will let you squeeze in at the end of the room.

I learned a lot of my basic skills - mounting, idling and reversing - in a carpark which is empty in the evenings. Does your local college or a nearby office block have a carpark which is empty in the evenings?

As for riding on grass… the difficulty of riding on grass is proportional to the square of the height of the grass, so anything you do learn will be lots easier on tarmac or paving. One obvious tip for riding on grass is to pump that tyre/tire up rock solid. Reduce the rolling resistance as much as you can. Likewise, a slight downwards slope might help at first.

And as for the uni scooting away in front of you… that is a clear sign of lack of ‘commitment’ to the ride. Once you get into it, you will virtually always step off the front when you UPD. The thing to remember is that you should not try to keep the uni balanced at the end of every ‘step’.

It isn’t:
Step, regain balance, step, regain balance, step, regain balance…

What SHOULD happen is that the centre/center of mass (somewhere around your solar plexus, I’d guess, depending on diet and and a number of other factors!) starts to fall forwards, then the wheel follows smoothly. Think of an object in orbit: it keeps on falling but it never lands.

Good luck. Within only a couple of weeks, you will be covering distances too far to need to count the pedal strokes. Once you’re up and riding, it starts to be fun.

Mike :0)

Re: learner frustrations.

> As for riding on grass… the difficulty of riding on grass is
> proportional to the square of the height of the grass

Is that still an exact square law once you take Einstein
into account, Mike? :wink:


i just started unicycling at the begining of this summer, so learning is still fresh in my mind (learning to just ride, of course we are always learnin.). you said you were scared, remember, the uni is probably only a few feet off the ground because somethin tells me ur not ridin a giraffe. if you fall, it wont hurt, and you’ll probably land on your feet.
that is all the advice i have.


A mentor of mine once said “the beautiful thing about frustration is it means you are about to learn something”:slight_smile:
Try and keep a clear head. Enjoy the day.

once you overcome the fear of falling then you will be well on your way to unicycling enlightenment

the best way to get rid of this fear is to practice falling, just get on your unicycle and then fall off.
then do it again.
when you have learnt that the unicycle is safe to fall off, then you will start learning how to stay on.

Re: learner frustrations.

On Thu, 12 Sep 2002 13:22:00 +0100, “[neil]”
<neil@chemicalbrothers.yorks.com> wrote:

>Has anyone any tips on beating the frustration I feel whilst not been able
>to learn to unicycle? :slight_smile:

An even surface to ride on would make for quicker results, i.e. less
initial frustration. But then there would be an additional effort to
learn and ride on grass. The total effort/frustration might be

Another tip I once read: don’t try to stay above the wheel, but
instead try to keep the wheel under you. If you put force on the
pedals, the wheel moves forward and backward, not you (or at least not

Basically learning to ride a unicycle is summed up in three words:
practice, practice, practice.

Klaas Bil

If you had this signature, I have forged it.

Oh, and there are 10 types of people in the world, all of them
understand the decimal system.
In the last month or so, at least 5 people in this newsgroup had
variations on this theme in their signature.

what i do for frustration is a form of meditation. I don’t know what it’s called, but basically it’s concentrating on the moment. Every fall might as well be your first and think about why you fell every time. Did your foot slip, did you tilt, ect. It sounds wierd, but it works well.

Re: learner frustrations.

“[neil]” <neil@chemicalbrothers.yorks.com> wrote in message
> Hi all,
> I can just about get on top of it, but am too scared to move forward, or
> uni flies out in front…

Are you wearing safety equipment? helmet, wrist guards, ankle protection,
gloves? Having some armor can take out some of the scariness.

Borrow from other sports. Soccer shin guards offer some protection against
pedal scrapes. Uh-oh, I’ve brought cross-dressing in here as an off-topic.


Re: learner frustrations.

>Hi all,
>Has anyone any tips on beating the frustration I feel whilst not been able
>to learn to unicycle? :slight_smile:
>I can just about get on top of it, but am too scared to move forward, or the
>uni flies out in front…
>I suspect it doesn’t help as I’m having to learn on an uneven lawn (nowhere
>else to practice other than in public!)

There are only three steps to learning to unicycle:

  1. Get on
  2. Fall off
  3. Repeat

If you can find other unicyclists to be around while you’re learning, it will
help a lot. Other than that, there is no way around it.

Finding a smoother surface is a high priority. Learning on grass will increase
the difficulty and frustration level by a factor of, oh, ten or so. Possible,
but NOT recommended.

I learned by pushing all of the furniture to one side of my apartment and
careening from one wall to the other until my nervous system figured out what
crazy reflexes it needed to keep my body upright on the thing. It took me about
two weeks of this, an hour or two or three every day. Anyone with an average
sense of balance can do it; it’s just a matter of how determined you are about
sticking with it.

Moving out onto the sidewalk was the hardest part for me. Riding a unicycle
down the street inevitably makes one the center of attention, and getting over
my stage-fright was a big hurdle. It’s been a good thing for me that way; I’m
considerably less shy than I used to be.

  • Joe in MN

I love this newsgroup!!:smiley: Time seems so limited and I have to pick and chose what I read, but I read this one anyways.

I really was encouraged by the mix of help on this particular post. We had a lot of newbies helping out as well as some experienced riders.

I learned in my master bedroom holding on to the foot end of our sleigh bed and trying to ride 6 feet to the door. The carpet was a warn out shag carpet with little padding so friction was not to bad to overcome.

Get off the grass. Make sure your seat is the right height also.
Follow the advice in this post and you will be flying in no time.
Check your tire pressure, sometimes if it is really high, it can make it more difficult to ride. Too low and it gets gummy.