Learning to ride uni

On the Subject of learning to ride a unicycle. Response to Raman
(ck26@columbia.edu) asking how to learn how to ride. Also may be of use
for archives.

Disclaimer: Everyone is different - This is how I learned (by myself).

Prerequisite: An available (good) unicycle and more importantly the desire to
learn and stick with it.

  1. Get familiar with the feel of sitting on the unicycle. I stood in a doorway
    so I could hold on to something on both sides. Start with the unicycle seat
    low enough so that you can easily sit on it with your feet on the floor.
    Have one peddle down and place one foot on it. Next hold onto the doorway
    and put your other foot on. Just get the “feel” of this for a while. Next
    turn the peddles a quarter turn so that they are in a horizontal position
    and get the feel. Try right and left foot forward in this position. Try
    moving forward and back a little at a time. Get the feel of what your feet
    must do to keep yourself on the unicycle.

  2. Now get the feel of balancing. Learn to only touch the doorway lightly. Try
    using only one hand. Try only one finger. Try no hands for a second. Try
    this with left and right foot forward. Try it with moving forward and back a
    little. Once again get the feel of what you must do to keep your balance.

  3. Next try to venture out from your “safe” doorway. Let go and lean a little
    forward and try a half turn forward. Just be ready to step off if you start
    to fall. Remember to take the “upper” foot off first when stepping off. (You
    will know why if you do it wrong.) I think it’s better to fall off forward
    than backward. The uni will fall on its nose and receive lots of abuse. You
    can control how fast the peddle go around, so don’t step down hard on the
    top one as it’s coming down (like on a bike) Rather keep the pressure about
    the same on the peddles. At first it will feel like you have two times your
    weight on both peddle, but after a while you will learn to put your weight
    on the seat an only a little is needed on the peddles.

  4. Repeat step 3 but add more turns and go farther.

In my experience it took me a few weeks to learn (to go 10 feet or so). I
learned by a little practice (15 - 30 minutes) every day for 2 weeks. I would
think one could learn faster but I got sore after 30 minutes. The more you
practice the easier it is (go farther, get less tired and sore, easier to
balance, etc.) The main thing is to stick with it. I hear too many people say “I
tried that once.”

Other notes: You may want to raise the seat up as you get more comfortable on
the uni. To get on point one peddle back and down, place your foot on it, sit on
seat (seat post angled back) and rock the uni up and under you. You may want to
practice this first in a doorway.

    Do not get/use a cheap unicycle. It is better to get a solid one that
    does not give in the bearings, the peddles or the seat. A loose unicycle
    in not fun to ride and harder to learn on.

    Have fun. I found it was worth the time to learn.

– Dirk Iwema Internet: iwema_dirk@ae.ge.com