Learning Journal

Our half finished basement is our uni playground. Build speed on the linoleum then do tricks on the carpet (where it doesn’t hurt when you fall). We’ve even got a 2x4 skinny and some other trials features. We race, shoot hoops, and play uni hockey. Might need some drywall work before it’s all said and done. I refuse to furnish beyond the futon. We are blessed with a lot of space. In the winter, the kids and I have a blast down there.


Basement is an awesome place to practice for us as well. Sometimes we’re all down there going round and round. Working on building some trial obstacles, etc. Any ideas? No room for us to play hockey…that sounds like fun.

It was warm the other day and we went to a skatepark. After practicing a while we ended up playing “tag”… My daughter was “it” and couldn’t tag the boys so I overheard her say,
“I’m going for the easy target,” referring to ME!!! :astonished: Now, that is an incentive to practice more…:smiley:

My learning technique now is to do exclusively freemounts, except if it is a bona fide safety issue. I did a lot of riding today and had to mount maybe 20 times. Mostly, I hit it in 3 tries or under. I did have on episode that took many tries.

The big victory today was learning to pick my left foot up a little and reposition it on the peddle. Such a small thing but incredibly important to riding comfortably.

Well, I will do some work on my idling while I watch hockey tonight.

Good job, kayakzz! Little by little it all comes together.


My indoor idling is very slowly coming along. Counting a forwards and backwards as 1, I am routinely doing 5-6 of these and I have ocassionally done more. I can now swing the tire underneath me most of the time for support. Of course, once I really get it I will still need to translate it to outdoors on uneven surfaces.

Sounds like that’s coming along well. I worked on idling for a while Monday evening, in the driveway under the porch light since I don’t have a safe place indoors (and anyway I warm up quickly enough practicing this stuff.) 5-6 times was probably as well as I did too. I mainly need to get a feel for how to keep going mainly straight back and forth instead of pivoting wildly from side to side, what to do with pedal pressure and upper body twist I guess, and get it down so that I do it the same every time.

And yeah, my driveway isn’t flat anywhere. I’m sure it matters too, but I haven’t figured out yet whether it’s easier to be facing uphill or down. :slight_smile:

Keep it up!

Now tht I’ve got a 20" wheel too I’ve been working on idling as well…
After 3 weeks of it I’m up to low 40s and high 20s for different feet :o But still not at all reliably, so still working on it. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ideas I’ve had are;
1/ concentrate on keeping your weight on the seat, like all the people say…
2/ practice dismounting, it’s good to learn but also got me used to leaning back and staying in control. I have never liked the feeling of leaning back.
3/ get a 20". There’s no way you can get bored and decide ‘to hell with this’ and ride off down the road for a fun spin :smiley: I try to do 30 min sessions most days.



Thanks for the tips. I’m trying to idle but don’t get far. I’m having a hard time letting go and I get bored after thirty minutes. I need to focus!

Totally agree with kr and Vertigo. :slight_smile:

I get soooo bored in my hallway. And when I’m out and about trying to idle on my 29" I get distracted and end up just riding away.

Do you know, I’ve never practiced dismounting my 20"or 19", I’m never on them long enough before they spit me off the back :stuck_out_tongue:

School report reads : Must try harder :roll_eyes:

over a year since riding

I have been off my uni for over a year and Monday my daughter says let’s go ride our unicycles. I go with her but I am thinking that I will be back to clutching the fence again. Not the case. I was able to ride right away again going until my legs were jelly and wouldn’t go any further. I am really feeling it today and now I can’t wait to ride again. I don’t know why I stopped.


Great to hear, Chigins. And very well done to your daughter for getting you back on it. It’s good to know that the riding skill part doesn’t go away during that length of a layoff. We’ll be looking forward to more ride reports now that you’re rolling again.

Thanks LargeEddie. I’m Going to get my daughter a 20" wheel because she has outgrown the 16".

I’m thinking I may get a 20" for me too. I learned to ride on my 24" but it seems like the 20 might be good for practicing stuff.

I really do learn something new everytime I go out on my unicycle. :slight_smile:
Even if it’s something small like riding over a pine cone and not coming off.
Or managing to stay on while 3 little dogs run riot around me ( quite proud :stuck_out_tongue: )

The other day though, I had a real DOH ! moment. …
I changed my cranks and seat…so off came the cranks and seat …(can you see what’s coming ? )
I put on the new seat.
Then I noticed the Nimbus badge was on the back of my unicycle frame.
“That’s odd” I thought, I’d never noticed that before :roll_eyes:
Then I put the new cranks on and went for a ride.
About a mile into the ride…my pedals fell off !
SPLATT …down on my knees I went…

So I’ve learnt to pay more attention when swapping cranks etc :slight_smile:

Get a matching pair? Seems like a lot of kids I know would’ve been thrilled to get the same new unicycle as their dad. And yes, they’re great for practicing in my experience. If you aren’t going anywhere, it doesn’t really matter how quickly you aren’t getting there. :slight_smile:

Ouch! :frowning: I hope your knees are ok. That seems like one of those perils of our modern multitasking world things. Gotta keep your head in the game all the time!

Back in

I’d started to teach myself to ride and I had to stop for a while, I’d decided to have a quick practice on afternoon and felt like not wearing any protective gear. Wound up having a UPD , tried to stop quickly by turning my ankle and was rewarded with a loud pop coming from my ankle. I was definitely NOT riding for awhile after that.
Just recently got back on and have gotten up to 4 - 5 revs.

What I learned is ALWAYS wear safety gear :slight_smile:

Sorry to hear that, Batou. Good to see that you’re back at it!

What safety gear do you use to protect your ankles, that you weren’t wearing? I’m down to just wrist guards and a helmet these days, I must admit. The other stuff got to be more annoying regularly than a ding in those parts might be occasionally. But I’m casually thinking about what to add if/when I’m going faster or doing bigger drops and riding riskier stuff.



I use lace-up ankle guard plus shin guard that have an additional piece that fits around my ankle as well . I’ve sprained both ankles ( the left one has been sprained twice!, tore the tendons on one) - so I tend to protect my ankles, and have taught myself to roll in the direction of my fall, rather than try to stop (usually! ). I also wear knee guards, elbow guards, wrist guard, fingerless gloes and a helmet, so I have a bit of gear on before I ride.

Idle Chatter

I’m starting to get a bit more serious about learning to idle. I’ve looked through nearly all the posts in the forum on the topic but feel like I’m missing something. This is skill seems so much more difficult than learning to ride forward.

Perhaps I can keep track of my progress here in the Learning Journal.

Last week I moved the furniture in our living room around so that I could practice on my 20" wheel every night. I was very diligent about practicing but so far have only made minor improvements. Once in awhile I can do a 3 - 4 half revolutions before loosing my balance.

During each session, I placed two chairs back to back with enough space for me to practice between them. When I started to fall too much to one side I would grab on to a chair for support and then try again. I tried not to be so quick to grab for support as I think doing so hinders the learning process (at least at this point).

I’ve tried lots of things so far.

  1. Barely holding onto a support and practicing the movements until I feel comfortable. I’m very successful at this.
  2. Riding forward very slowly and then trying to do a 1/2 revolution back. I can’t seem to get this. When my bottom foot is in the 6 o’clock position I end up dismounting instead of reversing.
  3. Starting from a static mount and immediately trying to idle. This feels totally impossible so I don’t try it much. I also try from a roll back mount but I can really only do a static mount.

So far I think my best bet is to practice by briefly holding on to something then letting go and trying my hardest not to grab for support.

Last night I hit upon an new exercise. I started out by holding onto a railing, let go when the rocking felt natural and after a few rocks, when I would normally start to tip over, I instead rode forward.

Feels like it might take me all year to learn this skill.

I don’t think it will take that long…I spent a winter learning to idle and hop (in the kitchen). I learnt to idle by practising the roll back mount over and over again, after all a roll back mount is half an idle:D…good luck.

Learning to idle

The symbolic moment for me, learning to idle, was the first time I rode forward, came to a quick stop, pedaled backwards half a revolution, then continued pedaling forward. After trying that a bunch of times and dismounting each time, I finally got it once! I’m not sure what I did to make it work; I accidentally did the right thing, and was later able to emulate my accidental success. I was riding on a baseball diamond, which made the prospect of falling backwards less scary.

Here is a suggestion for beginning idlers which you can take or leave: find a soft but smooth surface, such as a baseball diamond. Ride forward, at decent speed, then stop abruptly. Your goal is to achieve a still-stand, momentarily. To do this while stopping abruptly…requires that you are leaning back at the moment you stop. The abrupt stop should cause your mass to continue falling forward. You will no-doubt front dismount a bunch of times before learning to lean back a little more. Your goal is to increase the hang-time of the momentary stand-still.

Once you’ve improved your abrupt-stop/momentary-stand-still, do the same exercise, but this time, just after your have abruptly stopped, but before you have time to swing forward, do a quick back pedal.

One bit of imagery that works for me: When I was a kid, if you came to school in clean, white, new tennis shoes, other kids would try to step on them. Imagine that you are facing the kid with the white shoes, and you want to step on them. You reach out with your foot to step, but the rest of your body is behind your foot. You step quickly, like a lunge with your foot, then back away. The stepping foot is like the foot on the forward pedal, at the moment of the momentary stand-still, and the center of gravity is behind the stepping foot.

I spent a fair amount of time holding onto a fence while learning to idle, but that did not seem to help me while riding. In the above example, I only idled once, but that opened the door to unassisted idling, as well as riding backwards.

Running a 20" uni with longer cranks helped me learn a lot of technique, helped me feel more stable and in control. Following the above advice with a larger-wheel and/or smaller-cranks…could make the abrupt stop hard on your knees, cause an unintentional extra-rotation and UPD, or make you fall from a greater height. More advice: If you don’t already have a 20", get a 20", especially if you’re interested in learning to idle.

Just my two-cents.