Learning Journal

That would still be quicker than me. :frowning: A few evenings ago I finally did more than 15 unsupported idles from a free mount. 16 in fact, couldn’t get to 20. So I won’t offer advice.

From me too! If I can do it…

I’ve been practicing the forward - backward - forward thing and there is some good info in your post elpueblo, but one thing I didn’t see mentioned that has been a make or break for me is the pedal position when making that first stop. What works for me is stopping at the point when my right pedal is coming up behind me and my leg is compressed, then initiating the rearward motion with that foot.

This is what…

…worked for me…

Choose your dominant foot and use it to rotate back and forth in the 5 to 7 o’clock position. The key for me was to put some weight on this foot as opposed to putting all weight on the seat.

The other thing that helped was to make sure and not rely on a chair, wall, etc. when you lose your balance. This becomes a mental crutch. Instead, turn your wheel in the direction of the fall to get your weight back under the wheel.

Now, I’m up to 70-80 idles with ease after learning these two tips. Also, this helps with turning in place and still stands.


I think a “crutch” is great for exploring the range of motion and mechanics associated with a new technique, for helping the beginner feel more comfortable just sitting on the seat and moving the pedals, and for assisted mounts (I never rode anything larger than 26" so I’m not going to engage in tough-talk about the need to self-mount). The physical and psychological danger begins when we use walls/crutches intermittently, to ride a little, grab a little, ride a little, etc. As a beginner I started to realize that falling into these various supports was more dangerous that UPDing out in the open.

For idling, losing the wall allowed me to twist around madly while learning, which was pretty rough technique, but got me started.

My knees have been extremely happy throughout all my unicycle adventures, but idling is an exception; for some reason, after about 25 cycles of idling, the muscles in the 6:00 knee, right around the knee-cap, get very tense. I need to relax!

More idle chatter

Wow great info and encouragement guys. Thanks.

I’ve kept up the indoor practice but haven’t been able to get out and try to idle while riding. So far I can’t get beyond a few unsupported idles but I’m not so frustrated about it. It will come with time. LargeEddie I’d be very happy to do 15.

Yes I’m still using the back of chairs. So far this is ok because I do let go and desperately try to continue without hanging on. Sometimes when I’m loosing it my hip brushes lightly against one of the chairs and I’m able to adjust without falling off.

I suppose I’m really cautious about falling because I banged up my knees twice while learning to ride. Both times I fell to one side directly onto a knee cap. One injury took weeks/months to heal.

Lately I’m trying to concentrate on getting weight into the saddle. I think that’s a key factor but so hard to do. When I struggle to stay up, all the weight starts shifting into my dominate foot. I can feel it tense up and then it’s especially hard to stay up.

Seems as if all this idle practice is helping improve my overall riding skills. Yesterday I was able to better navigate a rough part of the bike trail I was riding. Usually I would stop at that spot but this time I was able to ride slowly through and continue on.


Seems as if all this idle practice is helping improve my overall riding skills. Yesterday I was able to better navigate a rough part of the bike trail I was riding. Usually I would stop at that spot but this time I was able to ride slowly through and continue on.[/QUOTE]

Hey vertigo :slight_smile:
You might just have given me a huge help there. :slight_smile: I am useless at idling and I only ride at one speed. If I slow down for any reason, I upd. Sooooooo, maybe I should try riding slowly for no reason other than riding slowly. That sounds like a good help.

This last week I have down on the beach, practicing circles in the sand on my 29". I’ve had great fun. But then I’d thought I’d be clever and ride along the waves as they broke on the shore ( like they do in the movies, only on horseback etc etc) I was looking pretty cool till I fell off. :stuck_out_tongue:
Oh, and I did a fantastic face plant when I tripped over some seaweed :smiley:

Good call. That helped me a lot. That and doing stalls every 1/2 rotation with the cranks parallel to the ground. Not just for idling but hopping as well. It helped with my overall balance.

Funny thing
I’ve just started thinking along those lines too… working on slow skills.
I can’t still stand at all, it just feels completely impossible!
More hopping is progressing on my 20" toy, my idling is regressing as far as I can tell. :angry: And dismounting ‘correctly’ is very inconsistent.
Idling to me is more for feeling more confortable on the wheel, hopping is about practical riding skills.

Why has everybody taken to riding in the sea nowadays, isn’t it cold?
Alucard, looking forward to seeing the seaweed faceplant photo :smiley:

I started well before you did! If you can’t do 15 six months from now, I will be disappointed in you whether you are or not. :slight_smile:

If you’ve got things enough under control to feel that using your hips to shift the seat around would help, probably means you’re very close. I’ve had this sense while practicing lately, that it’s something like static free mounting in this respect, with the feet and butt working against each other to keep things in balance. (Got to 20 last night.)

Agreed. Learning aids can aid learning. And if not much is accomplished on a particular day, it’s not that big of a deal, or not for me anyway. It’s all about having fun, not so much racing against anyone to be the first or needing to accomplish some numerical thing.

Funny about that. When I was just starting and trying to do my first launches away from a support, I had a chronic bad wobble after about a half wheel revolution while I was still trying to get up to speed. Putting a second support six feet or so ahead of the first one really helped me get past that rough spot. I just needed a tap to steady myself, then I could go for a pretty good while. The low-speed wobble eventually worked itself out but that let me practice unsupported riding until it did.

Sounds about right. I’ve gotten fairly good at hopping in my driveway, even going up and down a reasonable slope. Now I’d like to improve at quick transitions from riding along to hopping, to be able to use it to get past obstacles and recover from bad situations on short notice. As for idling, I see it more as a way to build toward skills I really haven’t started working on yet, more towards flatland and freestyle riding.

Quick question… is there a thread on the forum or a web site that has some of the basic skills or tricks and a description of them?

Quick answer:


Edit, one more:

Ah thank you for that. The videos aren’t working for me in the first link, but the descriptions from the wiki link are good so I’m reading through them now. Thanks again!

Oh, I see. The pages linked from the “levels” list aren’t working for me either. Oddly I can open the HTML source of the pages and play the videos manually.

Most/all of those skills seem to be in this list as well:

There’s a lot more on that site if you hunt around.

Hey kr :slight_smile:

I have had a great week ( last week) riding around in the sand and practicing circles. :slight_smile: there were some guys on surfy boards and I was just showing off:p
I’ll post some pics next week when I get home.
I also had a go today at seeing how fast I could go before falling off. I get a lot more reckless and daring when I know I’m going to land in soft sand :slight_smile:
It’s interesting looking at the difference made by fast lines and slow lines. Much less wobble :sunglasses:
Pics next week…

DaUniGuy, hopping? One day Sam, one day…

Starting to get the hang of my uni

I’m finally getting the hang of my uni. I now know what position my body needs to be in to ride successfully ( leaning forward, not sitting straight :slight_smile: ),
I can ride backwards for 3 revs, get the uni to stand still (not idling) for 3 seconds and can get up to 10 revs. I’m getting plenty of attention at the park where I practice as well !

You’re all helping me to stretch my skills. Thanks :slight_smile:

Beach riding sounds fun Alucard. Look forward to seeing pictures. I might have a chance to try beach riding out next month. Do you have fat tires?

Great progress Batou. Keep it up.

LargeEddie I’m getting there.

Practice has moved to a basement garage with a somewhat slick concrete floor. I mount with assistance but immediately let go. I can wriggle my hips to the right and stay on for a few idles. Wriggling to the left is more difficult. My left side is weak no matter the skill. I would practice idling on my left foot but that would take forever.

I’m making slow progress and feel I should improve with more practice. No matter what, working on this skill has improved my overall balance.

Well, after spending a week reading all 141 pages of this thread, it’s probably time to say hello. I’ve just started unicycling about a month ago, and while I’m nowhere near as fast a learner as lots on this thread, I think I’m doing okay, certainly better than I expected. I’ve only practised on grass areas so far, with my best ride today. It was only 70 metres, but I was pretty happy. So I came home from the park and started trying free mounting, which I only started trying a couple of days ago. After a lot of watching youtube mounts, and no success before today, I made great strides forward today. I managed about 5 successful mounts, but all the attempts were closer than before, so that looks hopeful. I am currently on a cheap unicycle and I think the seat is a little too low, but is as high as I can get it. I’m expecting a new stem and seat to arrive tomorrow, so that will hopefully improve things. The current seat is certainly uncomfortable, and after todays free mount practise, all I can say is it’s lucky I’m not planning on having more children :slight_smile:

You are doing really well. Grass is harder to learn on than a hard smooth surface… though it is softer to fall on.:wink:

Unimyra’s free mount video is about as good as you would find anywhere for a static mount.

Yes OTM, grass might be softer to fall on, but I still managed to bruise or crack a couple of ribs last week. Fortunately doesn’t hurt when I’m riding. Tomorrow I’m going to a carpark, so hope I don’t crash too hard.

Thanks for the introduction, Unik. Great to have you aboard!

When I read through the 120 or so pages of this topic that existed two years ago, I had to remember to keep looking at the datestamps of the replies. It was very easy to read through a few pages and not notice that several months went by from when someone started to learn a skill until they had finally mastered it.

I’m sure you’ve seen us repeat this over and over, but it all gets better if you give it time and keep doing it. Stay safe and have fun.