Learning - Attempted rider

I always want to learn unicycle, I bought a 20inch last month.
I have been on it around 10 -15 times, approximate about 25hours.
I find it really frustrating, I can’t seem to be able to paddle further than 1 meters.
Most riders in forum seem to pick it up fairy quick after 15 -18 hours.


  1. Most advice mention don’t put weight in the paddles BUT on the saddle and sit upright. When I put the weight on and sit upright the unicycle seem to get ahead of me. I think my balance is really bad.

  2. So to help with balance, I googled in you tube suggest to learn about rocking to get the balance, I found it really hard to practise below, please advice
    clip 1 : https://youtu.be/Ajj7nEcUC-U
    clip 2 : https://youtu.be/OAJRsXIGuGU

much appreciated

Congratulations! Deciding to do it is the big thing.

We all learn at different rates and some people like to boast, and some don’t quite tell the truth. :slight_smile: I don’t think I was any further along than that after 25 hours of practice time.

I’m sure your balance is just fine. Try to keep your weight on the seat as much as you can, but it will be difficult to do that until you have been unicycling for a good while. In fact, it’s probably safer having most of your weight on your feet right now, since you can get off the unicycle more quickly and walk away safely when you have an unplanned dismount. (UPD) Right now your body is protecting you from getting stuck on the seat and crashing.

Hmmm… He’s teaching a kind of idling, which is an intermediate-level skill. I have doubts about that approach. I think it’s better to practice turning the wheel the normal way, but whatever works for you is ok and trying different approaches isn’t so bad. It will come to you eventually if you keep working on it. There are lots of other videos that might give ideas of other ways to practice.

I enjoyed watching this one myself:

Welcome and good luck!

Thank you BigEddie, thank you so much for taking time and reply !!!
Much much appreciated your support.

That’s me in the short clip, in the 0:03 second, the unicycle went before me then I have to come off at the back,

  1. Though I though my posture is upright enough?
  2. Would it because I haven’t gone quick enough ?
  3. is the speed ok? I did try to go fast, but I feel am not in control

Please see the link if you have any advice

You are doing great, but are always falling backwards. To fix that you should lean forward and deliberately try to fall off the front. You’re almost there.

I agree with Unimyra…there is a really good video out there (can’t remember which one) showing that if you always fall back, then fall forward on purpose. Try to do the opposite of what you are doing now. Most importantly, just keep riding. Everyone is different. It is easy to compare to others, but not really helpful. Looks like you are having a lot of fun. That is what is important. You WILL get it! Please let us know how it goes, it’s always a happy day when a new rider “gets it.” Good luck!

Hey! Glad to to see another fellow learner around. I am few hours ahead of you, on the learning curve. I spent the first 5 hours - getting no more than a single lucky revolution. Seriously. Once in a while, something cool will happen, and that’s why you’ll keep coming back to it. The more hours you spend, more cool things keep happening. It took 8 hours to even manage my first 1 meter…

When I first started out, I couldn’t practice for more than 20 minutes. It was exhausting! The folks around here (and every single tutorial video) aren’t kidding when they say that all you have to do is keep at it, and it just clicks. Honestly, this binary nature of unicycling (you get nothing at all - and suddenly you do!) is an unnatural learning curve. At least, I was getting a solid workout out of it (considering I lead a sedentary hardware engineer life), and managed to lose some weight. So, I kept at it.

I started learning off against a chain link fence. Back and forth, daily, till my pedaling seemed to get better - on its own. Then, i started launching off of a corner. In the beginning, I couldn’t get the whole “sit on the seat” thing either. But one day, I was think I was too tired, and sat on the seat without realizing what I was doing - and since then, it just stuck. The skill just “optimized” itself - because sitting on the seat wasn’t as tiring as adding my weight on the pedals.

I’m not in a position to tutor anyone, but my “enlightening unicycle moments” (EUM?) happened when I took a day off, every 3-4 sessions. I guess my body/brain just needed some time to internalize the control system required for this enigmatic contraption which is unstable in three dimensions. My hypothesis is that unicycling is a complex non-linear dynamic control system. There are too many control knobs - sitting straight, peddaling without getting stuck in the stalling position, sitting on the seat, not falling forward/backward, not falling sideways, smooth pedaling, turning, speed control - and terrain adjustments for each of those.

Imagine learning all of the above… damn… hardcore stuff. This is way harder than skateboarding. There’s no way I could actively focus on each of the above at the same time. So, I kept rotating between what I was actively learning. Sooner or later, one by one, they became muscle memory (which can only be learned by spending time on it - like a musical instrument). I can’t unicycle yet, but I am getting better every single hour (on average :stuck_out_tongue: ).

Alright, another analogy. Writing is waaay harder than unicycling. We don’t realize it, because we’ve already spent years! learning that skill. If you aren’t ambidextrous, try writing with your off-hand, and you’ll see what I am talking about. Learning to unicycle in 15-20 hours is relatively instantaneous compared to that.

I am a gamer. I have 80+ hours on quite a few games. So, I was like, if I could spend 90 hours on Terraria (great game, try it), then I can spend at least 50 hours learning to unicycle. So, far I have 11 hours of learning - check my learning thread?

Edit: It might help getting a better seat. I switched mine with a nimbus gel. Sudden improvement (or placebo effect)!

Looks like you are doing very well! You also have someone else that you’re learning with, and that always makes it more fun.
What everyone has said is perfectly correct. Just keep at it, and you’ll get it. You’re training your brain. You have to do it enough times that it becomes “muscle memory.” So you don’t think about it, like walking. (Which, when you think about it, is an extraordinarily difficult task. Yet we seem to do it easily, no?)

RidingSKC: Welcome to the forum! Step 1: Learn to fall off the front of the unicycle. You will almost always land on your feet, but for the other times, be sure to wear wrist guards. The fear of falling backwards is going to be a motivation killer. I suggest finding or creating a good launching site. For me, it was a curb which backed up to a fence. I curbed the wheel at the 3:00/9:00 pedal position, so it wouldn’t roll back when I mounted. I assisted mounted, holding onto the fence behind me with outstretched arms. Then I leaned forward and started falling forward. At some point, my center of gravity was in front of the hub, over the front pedal, forcing me to put weight on the front pedal, forcing me to pedal forward. Or I would end up stepping off the front, naturally. You might consider practicing leaning forward, then stepping off the unicycle without even turning the wheel, just to get used to falling forward. Try a tiny increase in your seat height. If it’s too low, that could cause you to recline while sitting on the unicycle, putting your center of mass behind the hub and causing you to fall backwards. Again, at this point I think the goal is to change the direction you’re falling. The essence of forward riding is falling forward and pedaling forward to get the unicycle under you. Be patient. We’re all supporting you!

Hey man, congrats on your progress. You’re doing great, even if you don’t think so. I have no doubt that you’ll get it, but it has to come on its own. This is a fun hobby and form of exercise, and you don’t want to start out by programming yourself to associate it with frustration. If you’re not having fun, you’re not likely to keep at it (unless you’re somehow getting paid to do it, hahaha!).

For some of us (definitely including me), sometimes there’s no avoiding the frustration. It may come, but don’t feed it. Try to just chill and not worry too much about whether or not you can ride very far. If you keep your cool, you’ll eventually be rewarded, and we all have good and bad days, so one day may be better than the other. Even just attempting to learn is good for your mind and your body, so focus on that and be proud that you’re one of the few people that really try to learn and put in the effort. You deserve a lot of credit for that!

Good luck, and keep it up!

In agreement with the posts above, one piece of advice which stuck with me was 'fail differently '. I think it was Albert Einstein who said something along the lines of ‘the definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting different results’.
Basically, if you’re always falling the same way, you’re always making the same mistake and not learning from it. If you make different mistakes you can then find the middle ground ‘between’ errors and then you will be able to ride your unicycle.
The other advice I’d add is to find a positive to focus on and take away from every practice. It could be anything from 'I managed 2 full turns of the wheel instead of just 1 yesterday ’ to 'I practiced today even though it was pouring down with rain '. Just find something positive about your session to keep your spirits up until next time.
Good luck, keep practicing and you’ll get it eventually!
On a side note, where in Scotland are you?

It may not be as much about balance as alignment.

Later on when you can ride, you may find yourself using a variety of body positions. But the simplest one is to have your head over your shoulders over your hips and (obviously) the contact point on the wheel.

The thing is that a large fraction (perhaps even a majority) of the population today is not used to standing or sitting like this, but rather goes through life sitting and even standing with their rear end displaced behind their upper body, rather than under it. Actually lining things up by bringing your hips far enough forward to be under everything else can feel truly odd and may take a lot of mental effort to become comfortable as an idea - wholly apart from this business of sitting on a wheel that wants to run out from under you. What typically happens when someone without aligned posture gets on a unicycle, is that their shoulders go forward and their seat goes back, and it all falls apart.

Trying to hold onto something for balance help can also create this kind of hunched, unaligned posture. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t use such aids, but try to use ones you can reach while sitting erect and aligned - for example a narrow hallway where you can touch both walls is great. Common aids like crowd control fences can be problematic at least for adult learners, as they are often low enough to encourage hunched posture. One doesn’t want to be using the aid to pull along, but rather as a help to stay within the narrow zone around the point of aligned balance where feeling and correcting the balance error is possible.

One of the early keys is going to be learning to sit with your weight on the seat and a fingertip on the wall, aligned enough that you can let your legs relax and become comfortable to just “be” rather than having to fight. Of course you will loose that ease when trying to move, but it is where you have to get back to in order to ride for more than a dozen meter’s distance.

The other is realizing where forward-backward control comes from. Basically, if you start falling forwards, you have to pedal the wheel with more determination so that it will catch up with your body. Conversely, if you start falling backwards you reduce your pedaling, and let your body sail back up onto the wheel. The thing is that in neither case are you “controlling” the wheel by locking it into a position between both legs - instead, you are only using your legs to push it along with a little more or a little less determination. A 20" unicycle with the typical 150mm stock cranks requires extremely minimal effort to pedal - it’s a lower gear than any mountain bike’s hill climbing gear - so riding is really about calmly reacting by peddling a little more or less, not about effort. Ironically, larger unicycles are easier as they respond more slowly, meaning there’s more time to think about the whole process.

LargeEddie, UniMyra, sukie47, LanceB, leafcutter, elpuebloUNIdo, Bradford, OorWullie, Engineer

Thank you all for your encouragements, I have since add on another 5 hours 1 hour a day, but still feeling not going anywhere, 2 days ago it feels like going back to square 1.

I was consistently managed gets to 1 METER, by surprise after trying for 200 times I managed One 2 METER, Oh my god !! I was so so happy :sunglasses:

Then the next day am so focus on getting up to 2 meters and I have become tense and it has made it worst !! :angry:

So now I back to square 1… to the wall.

It just feels like it never never going to click !!! Arrghh so so frustrating !!! :angry:

This is so far the hardest thing that ever learn in my life!!! I just feel like giving up….

yesterday, I notice my weight on my feet in concentrate on the heels rather than the ball of the foot “heel down” (Horse riding habit).
so I start to fix that by lifting my heel a little …I can’t be sure that the problem, but it gets a little better, I will keep trying…

I also try the advice from elpuebloUNIdo the stepping forward, I will keep practising. I have not managed to mount yet, only stepping forward.

Engineer, you mention below, does it mean almost like chest aligned with the knees?

I feels like 1 step forward 2 steps back !!

Do you ever feel like go back a step? my target of 2 months - 50 meters is impossible :thinking:

RidingSKC, You are closer than you think, just don’t give up. Everybody learns at their own pace and in there own way. If going back to a wall helps, do it. Whatever you need to do to not quit… I have a friend here who has been learning with me. I learned quickly and she pushed through hours and hours of difficulty and going only a few feet before turning sharply and coming off. I rode circles around her as she tried over and over to make it 10 meters. Now, I have broken my foot from falling off my unicycle, and she’s still riding. I never really learned to fall. There is great value in the struggle, and in the end, you will succeed. That is the only option for someone like you who is willing to put so much time into learning. You have a lot of people here pulling for you! You’ll do it and we will celebrate with you when you do! Keep it up :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Welcome to the addiction

This is my favorite tutorial. It is how I learned with the exception of I did not have a curb so I used a piece of 4" x 4" wood. I like this method because it gets you used to starting from the position of a static mount.

Just keep at it. It will come.:slight_smile:

Extremely helpful advice OorWullie. The underlined helped me so much in the beginning, and is still helping me. It also helps with juggling. I even suspect that the person who came up with that saying about “failing differently” or “fail better” was a unicyclist since that advice is tailor-made for learning how to unicycle.

RidingSKC, congratulations on your progress, you’re doing great! You’re doing waaaaay better than I was after 25 hours, that’s for sure. I’ve been unicycling for only 8 months and I remember going through exactly what you’re going through.

Another bit of helpful advice I can give you is to relax. Practice deep breathing. Use the power of visualization. Imagine yourself riding far before your next attempt. Take a break every now and then if you’re practicing for over an hour. All these things helped me out tremendously.

Good luck to you and have fun!

Whatever you do don’t give up RidingSKC! I was there too with the 1 step forward and 2 steps back, and so were a lot of other unicyclists on this forum. I regressed many times myself. It was very frustrating making all this progress and then next thing you know you’re almost right back to where you started. I remember going 10 meters one day unassisted then next day I could barely do 3 meters. Then finally I could do 10 meters again, then next thing I know I’m doing 25 meters, 50 meters, 200 meters and saying good bye to the long fence.

You will get there too, don’t worry! Your patience and persistence will pay off and unicycling will soon feel like second nature to you.

I’m going to add one little suggestion. In the interest of not contributing to the over-thinking many new unicyclists get bogged down in, I’m just going to say it.

Try to go a little bit faster.

Not a lot, just enough to remind you to be a little bit ahead of the wheel. This is based on watching the video clip you posted above.

Another thing you can try is changing the venue. The spot in your video is good, but if you have access to a driveway, or something with a slight downward slope, you might like it.

Try breathing out -honestly it works.

I tense up a lot when I get tired and can’t get going again.
I found I was taking a deep breath and holding it in, tensing the stomach muscles and being unable to balance.

A golf relaxing technique worked for me, breathe out just before I set off.
The exhale drops my shoulders, relaxes and loosens the muscles, and helps with my first 3 pedals until l breathe in again.
By then I’m normally pedalling ok (for a few more yards anyway)