Learning Journal

Yes LargeEddie, I had that problem, thought some people were much faster learners than they really are. But now knowing just how hard it is, everyone here is amazing! I think reading this thread has helped me so much, not just with advise on how to, but with general motivation to keep going out every day and trying. Thanks to all of you.
Hopefully if the rain stops today, I’ll get to try it all on a cark park sealed surface for the first time.

Roll back mount + idling

Today I did a few roll back mounts! I’m finding it’s easier to do them when I don’t put too much weight on the lower pedal … kind of like the static mount. I balance the seat between my legs and jump up a bit when I start.

Next step is to connect the roll back mount with several idles. Lately I’m consistently doing a few idles after a brief assisted mount. Getting a tiny bit closer each day.

Oh and Unik welcome. Keep up the hard work and keep safe. I like wearing knee pads and a helmet to give me confidence.

Beginner’s question

It has been my 5th hour learning my 24’ uni. Now I can ride around 100 meters then drop off, I can’t turn reliably, and I can’t free mount.

I have a couple of questions regarding to how to improve:

  1. What should I do now, just keep riding, and I will be able to ride 200 meters, 500 meters, 1km …? When learning bicycle I remember it clicked at some moment then I started to keep riding. Is it different for unicycle?

  2. Now I always fall to the front of the unicycle and land on my right foot. My right knee starts to hurt now because of too much impact. What could I do?


I would suggest you try riding on some slightly uneven surfaces and up and down gentle slopes as your next goals.

Are you sure the impact is causing the knee problem? Does sitting in a chair with your legs bent for extended periods cause you more pain than when you are riding? If so, the problem is probably muscular.

Unicycling builds up leg muscles very quickly. Landing on your right leg repeatedly will also build it up so it may be more affected.

It is important to stretch these muscles to even out the build up or they can cause problems including severe knee pain from them bulging and causing pressure in the knee capsule.

I suggest you start practicing free mounting. Each time you practice a free mount, start with a different foot on the pedal. That way, you will be more likely to dismount on your left foot.

One way to start practicing free mounting is to curb the back of the wheel, place your right foot on the back pedal, then swing your left foot up and over the left pedal, and onto the pavement. You don’t really get on the unicycle, you just step over it. This silly exercise might get you used to dismounting with your left foot.

100 Meters is great…you are on your way!

Welcome lars9! It sounds like you are doing really well. The more you ride, the more comfortable you will get. As for comparing bicycling to unicycling: I find that I still have to concentrate on what I am doing on a unicycle. On a bicycle, I can completely space out and the bike keeps rolling along. On a unicycle, as soon as my mind wanders I go down (appropriately called a UPD). One thing you might try to practice is a controlled dismount off the back. I managed to learn it quite quickly, but some of my friends had a harder time. It is much easier on the legs. Although I can’t plan for a UPD, I can sometimes direct my dismount so I don’t land so hard.

Neighbors: gotta love 'em!

Last night I rode my 29" road unicycle with the touring handle…around my neighborhood. I’m trying to get used to the setup before taking it into traffic. A few neighbors were talking in the street, so I stopped, to be social. One neighbor said I looked much more smooth when I was riding. Here’s where the story starts going badly…

I responded, trying to be humble and self-effacing, that the large size of the wheel made the unicycle I was riding more smooth, less jerky (my neighbors mostly see me on my 20" working on skills/jumping/etc.), and that this smoothness was not a reflection of my skill. While explaining this to the neighbors, I used the word ‘gyroscopic’. At that point, they stopped listening, they made funny faces at one another, and they made snide side-remarks regarding what was the next big word that might come out of my mouth.

I am used to getting kidded about the unicycle, so I struggled through our conversation. I told the neighbors I wanted to ride the 29" to the school, three miles away, where I work. Then the neighbor, who’d recently graduated high school, said that was a bad idea, because the kids would think a unicycle was ‘uncool’. I reminded her that my school only went through sixth grade. When I asked the neighbors to clarify they knew what a gyroscope was, they nodded that, of course, they knew about gyroscopes. Apparently, it’s all right to know about gyroscopes, so long as you don’t say ‘gyroscopic’. It’s an affront to plebeian sensibilities.

The conversation ended with one neighbor asking if I had any more long words to say. I responded “‘Unicycle’, that has four syllables.” I rode away, reflecting on the fact that nothing I say is going to change my neighbors’ opinion that I am a clown, and that there is no point in trying to discuss the laws of physics with them. Time to get out the juggling balls. [cue: circus music]

Jesus said we should love our neighbors. He didn’t say anything about having to ‘like’ them.

Same thing happened to me when I first started riding, except for me it was my left knee. Some days it would hurt so bad after riding that I’d limp around the rest of the day. Time helped work out how to “fall better” and I also began stretching my knees before every ride. I do the three advanced stretches in the following link before every ride. Takes just a minute or two and no more knee pain. http://www.physioadvisor.com.au/8108850/knee-stretches-knee-flexibility-exercises-phys.htm

Welcome Unik it is always good to have another senior citizen on one wheel. :slight_smile:

I want to second Vertigo’s comment on safety gear. I always wear a helmet Chris Holm gloves and leg armor when I ride. It really helps my confidence. I recently bought some hillbilly shorts for my new ventures into muni.

As the years add up the ground gets farther away, gravity gets stronger and the old bones heal a lot slower now. :angry:

You are doing AWESOME! Keep at and most important have fun!

Still really early days but you’re doing great, lars9! Unicycling never exactly clicked for me. Leg endurance, recovering balance from upsets from bumps in the road or of my own making, and relaxing and getting my weight on the saddle so my legs could work efficiently were separate but related things that came along each at its own pace. But they all really came from riding more.

You got there more quickly than I did, but it sounds like you’re at the point that was most frustrating for me–where I could imagine just getting on the thing and riding it but couldn’t do it yet. Have faith and try to enjoy the process.

Not saying this to be flip, but how about trying to land on your left foot? There are UPDs and then there are UPDs. Some of them happen so fast that it’s all we can do to land on our feet if we even do that, but most of the time you get at least a fraction of a second to plan ahead a little bit. See if you can either get off a half-crank sooner or stay on a half-crank longer if you aren’t about to go down “right now.” If nothing else, it’s a way to stay busy until you’re ready to do longer rides. :slight_smile:

Wow. You know them better than we do but it sounds to me like your neighbors are just garden variety jerks. I’ve stopped and talked to lots of people of all ages and every walk of life in my short riding career and not run into any like that. Maybe best to smile and wave and ride by them without slowing next time?

But I sure hope you didn’t say “plebeian” in front of them. :wink:

Oh, forgot to say that I second OneTrackMind’s suggestion to lars9 to start trying to ride up and down some gentle slopes and over uneven surfaces. You’ll learn a lot about balance and controlling your weight that way, and those are skills you’ll never stop using.

I started yesterday’s session planning to work on one footed riding… wow, didn’t expect that level of difficulty. Even practicing with what I thought was barely any weight at all on my left foot, as soon as I lifted it off the pedal I could never bring the right pedal past halfway up. Definitely going to take some practice on that.

I worked on my idling some, and while I can’t always stay facing the same direction I have got to where I can go back and forth 10 times or more…

I also picked up two new mounts…the jump mount and the rolling mount. I think both of these will come in handy on the bike trails.

Forgot to mention that all of yesterday’s riding was on a 24" nimbus I bought from strokin99 here on the forum. As far as sizes go, I started out kinda backwards with a 26" muni (which I’ve spent 98% of my unicycle time on), then got a 20" nimbus trials which I have just never taken to. The 20" seems so low geared and miniature to me. Now the 24" fills that gap perfectly, and inflating that street tire up has made riding on pavement much more enjoyable. I see myself spending a lot more time on the 24" now.

Regarding my negative run-in with neighbors, I think the neighbors may have been discussing home-owners’ association business when I rode up. One of the three women was a member of the board, and another woman had just been forced by the HOA board to replace her garage door. So, I’m wondering if the conversation, prior to my arrival, was already in trouble. The annual meeting and election is in a few weeks, and there is an unprecedented amount of in-fighting among the current board members and their partisan followers. Welcome to my first-world problems!

I make the mistake, when I receive comments about unicycling, of continuing to talk about unicycling. When someone says “How’s it going?” they typically don’t really want to know how’s it going, unless the answer happens to be “Fine!” I love unicycling so much, I just want to tell other people about it.

Nice work eastenn!

I’ve been off my 20" for a week or so. Now that I have more daylight to travel it’s getting harder to find time to practice idling or any other tricks.

I’m looking forward to daylight savings!

Hi guys :slight_smile:
and " Welcome to the forum" uni-newbies :slight_smile:

Well I’ve not unicycled for 13 days now :(. But it’s not too bad, I’ve been busy in my spare time chopping logs.
When I last rode my unicycle it was my first time wearing glasses. There was a discussion on this a few weeks ago and I wanted to add my two pennuth but couldn’t find the thread. It was weird as the pedals and the ground looked much further away. I was cycling on mixed rough ground and gravel path. I did manage it, but I’m guessing it’s a lot easier when on tarmac cos then you don’t have to keep looking out for dips and bumps.
So I feel a bit chuffed that I managed that.
But, there was also another post on here a while ago when someone was asking at which point do you feel comfy on your unicycle when first starting to ride. Please tell me that I’m not the only one who hardle ever feels “at one” with their unicycle. I feel it is a constant battle to stay on. Other than the few times I go into auto pilot that is.
I still find it fun to ride my unicycle though :slight_smile:

For KR I’ve put together a video of my adventures on the beach and I’ll put it up on youtube.
Vertigo The tyre is a Maxxis Ardent 29" x 2.4. Great for on the hard sand on the beach. I let a lot of air out but not loads and loads, as I had to ride back to the car afterwards.
Funny thing was, I was expecting it to be difficult to ride on tarmac with a near soggy tyre. It was no more effort than when the tyre is pumped up to the max.

Always looking forward to new movies :slight_smile:

Well, I’ve had my little 20" toy(Impact Athmos)for about 10 weeks now. What can I say?The basic premise that I wouldn’t be able to get bored and run away from serious practicing has been proven :smiley: with 140 cranks pedalling 50m is more than enough…
When I first got it it didn’t feel at all good, a bit better when I pumped up the tire and cut 25mm off the seat post. Over time I have been gradually raising the seat post, now it’s 40mm above where I had it… (the old maxim ‘measure twice and cut once’ doesn’t quite apply to unis, measure twice and wait a month might be better :wink: ).
Results have been not spectacular, I can now fairly reliably idle right foot down 30 to 50 times. Left foot down is more like 10 to 15 on a good day with the sun and moon aligned :o It’s a bit strange how the left foot hasn’t improved much at all.
Rolling hops are about 200mm (sounds better than 20cm, or even worse 8 inches). Side hops to the right are pathetic, and I hold the seat with my right hand which I understand is not ideal… Attempts to side hop to the left invariably result in bad things happening :stuck_out_tongue:

All in all, it’s been worth it, like road riding all the time is spent riding, unlike muni with 1 hours hiking to and fro to take into consideration.

Future goals are to get good at hopping to and over an object, then up steps. Not sure about down steps…I would like to do a 180 hop twist, currently need about 6 hops.

So for anyone who has wondered about getting a 20" isis hubbed wheel, I can recommend it is a fun and worthwhile buy. and it fits in with running, 30 minutes on this is like a warm up before a 1 or 2 hour run. :slight_smile:

Happy Birthday Alucard


:smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Happy birthday, Alucard!

Went for a ride yesterday, first time in a month. Started with a ride in the woods close to my place and really had fun. Felt really good, ground was soft with all the winter rain, and I surprised myself by being able to go over some pretty big holes, roots and even deep muddy parts. Really enjoyed it and it made me want to do more.

After 5ish km, I switched to my road 29"/125mm cranks, which has a brand new Hookworm tire. I felt really uncomfortable with it. It wouldn’t go straight unless the road was absolutely flat, felt like I couldn’t feel the “gliding” feeling I got from the 24".

Today, I switched the cranks to 150mm and went for a ride in town. Pretty much the same. It got a bit better, but it was frustrating mostly.

Clearly, I’m not putting enough weight in the saddle. Which I feel I can do better on the 24" off road. Is that because there’s something less scary about riding on soft soil (and slower) than on tarmac? Or is it the increased rolling resistance off-road helps with the constant pedaling? Maybe a bit of both.

I want to get better at road riding. Any advice? Of course, more saddle time is number one but surely there must be tips and exercices, or things to look out for. I rode more than 500km last year, so it’s not like I don’t ride…

I remembered asking about zigzagging and I found the thread. It’s funny because Nurse Ben talks about spinning the pedals vs pushing them. I feel like I still don’t quite know how to do it. Might rely too much on pedals to do front/back balance.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Yes, Happy birthday, Alucard. Hope you were able to celebrate by riding.

pierrox I have the same experience. This week I’ve been riding my 24" on small hills (in the street) and when I switched to my 29er [150mm cranks] this weekend my control digressed. I have a Big Apple tire. I thought about changing to the Hookworm but it sounds like I’d have the same problem.

At this point I have a love/hate relationship with my 29er. I like going faster but it’s so much more work to control when conditions are not perfect [no wind and absolutely flat pavement]. I’m toying with the idea of getting a narrower rim because the dominator 2 might be too wide for road riding. I hesitate though because I’d hate to put $ and time into it and get no benefit.

I guess I’m just not strong enough yet to get total pleasure out of my 29er.

krjames … wow you’re doing a great job with your 20". I’m tempted to get an Equinox after I master idling on my Torker LX. It’s fun to play around on the small wheel when it’s too wet to hit the road on larger wheels.