Learning To Ride at Age 50

I’m 50 years old and I just learned to ride this year. I’m curious to know
if there are any other old geezers out there who were foolhardy enough to
take up unicycling at such an advanced age. I know there must be a few
riders in my age bracket, but what about new riders? Can I get in the
Guinness Book of World Records? Can I at least drink a Guinness?

-Ken Grunstra (desperately trying to learn to idle)

Drink up! Congrats on learning at your advanced age! But don’t hold your breath for any age awards – I’ve read of people learning in their 60’s anyway.

I learned at 45 (now 54), and am enjoying it now more than ever. Partly because of this support group. :slight_smile: Keep working on that idle – it will eventually come. Then it’s on to 1-foot idling, etc. Try hopping too – that’s pretty easy, and fun.


Yes you can drink a Guiness.

Keith Williamson of the Arizuni club in the Phoenix area has a member who is 92 years old and learned last year at age 91. They also have as members a couple who learned in their seventies.

the spirit that moves u to learn to ride a unicycle at age 91 blows me away
it reminds me of the icelandic lady who ran for a six year term as town councillor at age 102. u go girl!
i’m trying to convince a california based friend of mine to give the uni a bash
i hope this dispells the age argument before it starts!!

Re: Learning To Ride at Age 50

----- Original Message -----
From: Ken Grunstra <kagaroo.hotmail.com@unicycling.org (at)>

> I’m 50 years old and I just learned to ride this year. I’m curious to know
> if there are any other old geezers out there who were foolhardy enough to
> take up unicycling at such an advanced age. I know there must be a few
> riders in my age bracket, but what about new riders? Can I get in the
> Guinness Book of World Records? Can I at least drink a Guinness?
> -Ken Grunstra (desperately trying to learn to idle)

I am 74 and still learning. I bought my unicycle over a year ago and I
still can’t ride, but I keep on trying. So far I can go the length of the
hallway without touching the wall, but I still need the help of the wall.
I’ll keep on trying though.


Unicycling is one of those unexpected pleasures that I have taken up at age 50. “Unexpected” has become a frequently used word in my vocabularly ever since. There are UPRs (unexpected RIDES, which seem to be the preliminary stage before Unexpected Dismounts), but also the unexpected pleasures of facing the challenge of riding the one wheel. I think that every once in a while in life it’s healthy to have an experience that makes you feel incompetent again. Unicycling is great therapy in this regard. I highly recommend it along with a sense of humor and some good shin guards.

Generation II

My dad, more or less your age, used to talk about getting a unicycle, so this year for his birthday I got him one. I don’t know if he’s planning on learning or not, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if he’s riding circles around me next year.

ya, my dad got one a few years ago, and never learned to ride. I saw his, learned to ride ect. lately though, he’s been trying it a bit. I mentioned this post to him, and be asked me to get his pads, so i’m thinking that he might start agan in a few days

Re: Learning To Ride at Age 50

On Thu, 15 Aug 2002 16:42:13 -0700, “Ken Grunstra”
<kagaroo(at)hotmail.com> wrote:

>I’m 50 years old and I just learned to ride this year. I’m curious to know
>if there are any other old geezers out there who were foolhardy enough to
>take up unicycling at such an advanced age.

You scare me. Is 50 old?!?!
I started unicycling nearly two years ago, at age 47, and I still
thoroughly enjoy it! Maybe it is my way of showing that I’m NOT
(nearly) at an advanced age!

Klaas Bil

Learning to ride over 50

Hello. This is my first post. My name is Keith and I am 51 years old and live in Saint Petersburg, Florida…I think I found the right place in this forum, for those over 50…They need a section just for those 50 and older. I started to ride a uni because I can juggle and certain ones would ask if I could ride one and juggle at the same time. So I bought one…I have been riding on and off for about a year. I practice about once a week if I can:( Sometime maybe once a month. I can ride across the basketball court, turn around and ride back, I though that learning a bicycle was hard, but this is even harder. Is it normal for it to tire your legs out that quick? I have the seat adjusted. but after about 1/2 hour it’s time to quit.
If their is anyone in the Saint Petersburg area that can help Email me…Thanks and glad to be here…:smiley:

Re: Learning to ride over 50


You are using new (well, hardly new just different) muscles and using them infrequently. Also, if you are still learning, you are putting alot of energy into balancing and some of that is from your legs as you change torque to maintain balance in one axis. It will take time to get them in shape. Thirty minutes is probably a good work out for you right now.

You have the seat adjusted but does that mean you have it adjusted correctly? A search through the fora using the keywords “seat height” will take you to a few threads that will explain how to adjust it properly. If you are a tallish fellow, say over 5’-10" (178cm), you may want to ride a 24" wheel which will give you a smoother ride. Also, remember to keep your weight on the seat and think about doing that as you ride. Eevery time you correct at this point you are probably standing on the pedals.

My mate Andy bought a unicycle at the age of 49 and has made intermittent but substantial progress. Now 50, he can freemount (often) ride and turn, and we’ve done rides of up to 5 miles. I’m well proud of him.

I’ve just turned 40, and until last year, I had hardly ridden my unicycle more than a couple of shows a year for at least 10 years. Since about March 02, I’ve probably ridden 1000 miles+, bought 6 unicycles, modified all of them (simple stuff: cranks, seat, pedals, lights etc.) and learned what an incredibly varied and challenging sport it is. I hope to be riding at some level for many years to come, even though it is inevitable that the amount of riding that I do will stabilise at a lower level than it is now.

Learning to ride over 50

I didn’t expect any replies this quick. I was wondering Harper, how good do you ride and how long have you been riding? and does it really get easier to ride the more you practice? My wife says I am to hard on myself. And Mikefule you must be pretty good if you are doing shows…I am proud of myself just going across the court because I never though that I would get as far along as I have, but it has taken alot of practice. I am 5/4 and use a 20" uni.

The one thing that I really like is…There is this one guy I know who is real good at everything and he knows it and is always bragging…Good at evertthing except staying on a Uni…Ha, Ha, Ha. Sorry I got carried away for a minute…I will except any advice that these young kids give Me…Bye.Keith :smiley: :smiley:


Re: Learning to ride over 50

What doesn’t? In no time you’ll be in Carnegie Hall.

She is probably right. If at any time while unicycling you find that you’re not having a good time, stop for a bit. As with any challenging activity you’ll hit a wall occasionally (figuratively that is, not literally, I hope). Be patient and enjoy the process even while looking toward a goal. It’s a blast to be able to observe even the small incremental improvements you’ll experience.

As well you should be.

Enjoy yourself, man. It’s fun, it’s unusual, and it helps keep us young!

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

I’m younger now than I was a 20… Hi JJuggle, I visited your web site…Nice pictures…:slight_smile: I was just wondering, the unis with the big wheel, where can you get those? Are they harder to ride than the 20"? I was thinking about getting a 24" would you recommend that move or just wait until I learn to ride better? I heard the 24" is easier to ride…Bye…Keith :slight_smile:

Re: Learning to ride over 50

I’m 50 and have been riding since I was 11 or 12. I got seriously into it a little more than a year ago. I have passed level 4 and am one skill away (seat on side in a circle) from everything required for level 5. I commute 5 miles each way daily during spring, summer, and fall on either a Coker or a geared unicycle. I took third place at UNICON 11 in the over 45 one-foot race (I like to plug that whenever I can). I ride trails occassionally with some local guys and do trials stuff infrequently. I have been on many 15 mile or longer rides. I own 8 unicycles and my collection is dwarfed by those of many others.

Yes, it does get easier the more you practice. And thanks for calling me a young kid. The internet is a wonderful, anonymous thing.

I’ll be turning 50 in April and just started riding this month. You are not alone my friend!

The big wheel unicycling is called “The Big One” and is made by the Coker Tire Co. Generally they are just referred to as Cokers. Check out:


I’m not much of a technical rider meaning that I don’t pay attention to pedal styles, crank lengths, etc and so don’t have strong feelings one way or another about different “styles” of riding. I will say that the Cokers are a blast, perfectly ridable (one fellow on this group learned to unicycling on one), but present some additional challenges. They are great for going distances and going fast and a number of people commute to work on them. Many people find freemounting them (getting on them unassisted) to be a challenge, but it is perfectly doable, even for 5’4"ers like ourselves.

I have never been on a unicycle of any size including the big wheels, giraffes, 24", 20", or 28"er that is harder to ride than any other. All have different uses and present unique problems in learning, but none is more difficult to ride than another once you get down the basic feel of it. Others will be able to express this better and in more detail, I think.

A general rule is that the bigger the wheel the easier it is to go farther. You wouldn’t want to ride 10 miles on a 20" unicycle (unless you want your tender bits to hurt very badly, that is), but on a 24" one it is doable, 26"-29" unicycles make it easier and for most Coker riders a 10 mile ride is a walk in the park. Of course, your mileage will vary, particular depending on the hilliness of your chosen path. (What’s life without a few bumps, though?)

For more info check out: http://www.unicycling.org . There are links there to a variety of information and search this forum as well for information.

And ask lots of questions. One thing never in short supply here is advice and opinions.

Oh and by the way, I LOVE YOUR CLOWN AVATAR!

Raphael Lasar
Matawan, NJ

Re: Learning to ride over 50

I have the same problem, butt [sic] I’m finally conquering it!

With practice, you will put more weight on the seat, and less on the pedals. Otherwise, it’s like going uphill the whole way.

Try this: Do an assisted start. That is, mount by holding onto something. Pedals horizontal. Let your weight really shift to the seat. Feel it. Now ride a few pedals. Ride up to something and stop with your pedals horizontal (grab onto something so that you stay on the unicycle, but you come to a stop). Do you feel your butt sink into the seat? Do you feel your legs relax and your weight shift to the seat? For me that sensation was VERY noticeable when I stopped like that. It was an indication that although I thought I was sitting with my weight on the seat, in fact, I took much of my weight off the seat as soon as I started to ride.

The pedals turn VERY easily – if you don’t have one foot resisting the other. I devoted entire practice sessions to sitting on the seat. I focused my attention on my butt and how it felt on the seat. Putting more weight on the seat throws off your balance at first, and it does not come easy. Sitting on the seat should be a level two skill. (maybe use a buttometer to see how much weight you put on the seat?) The first time you do it and you are pedalling along easily, it will be one of those “wow!” moments of the learning process. Good luck!

uni57 (Dave)