Learning to turn

Well I’ve been practicing for 3 weeks now, and making a bit of slow, but decent progress. Most of the time, I’ve been practicing at an old tennis court. My best ride was 3 laps around the court, that was very cool.

Then last night I rode mainly up and down my driveway, and tried to make it around the corner and down the sidewalk. I can not do the corners consistantly, but I did make it a few times. I made it up and down the slightly sloped driveway, several times. I definately need a post or something to hang on to, for starting, but that is ok for now.

I’m doing ok with the big circles at the tennis court, and have made it around both left and right, but now I’m thinking about tighter turns. Is it better to just twist? One video that I watched suggested that. I find myself wanting to lean a bit into the turn, but I can’t control that very well yet and seem to fall to the inside of the turn. I guess I need to learn the twist.

So I’m looking for suggestions on, what worked for others to help them get turning tighter turns? I know practice is the most important, but I want to practice the right things. I’ll look forward to some suggestions. Thanks

No, nothing specific, it’s not like it’s more than riding around.

I wouldn’t twist except on very steep turns, though. Just ride around a bit and you’ll get the hang of it. You have probably noticed how natural it is by now.

Keep practicing. You are doing fine. I think it is better to ride around turns rather than to twist. Twisting wears out your tire quicker.

For tighter turns to the left, lean left and forward, increase speed slightly.
For tighter turns to the right, lean right and forward, increase speed slightly.

The control for doing these turns comes with practice. Keep practicing. You are doing fine.

I found doing s-turns while riding helped
with me to lean into turns.

You might want to try to do some figure eights
around garbage cans if you want to practice turning.

I am a little further along then you are in that I ride around in a pretty confident manner and I can make right angle turns, but I am also working on tightening up my turns so that I turn around in tighter areas. I also have a wheel chair ramp I want to be able to ride down.

Just FYI I used to ride a lot 25 years ago but I’m finding that I’m pretty much having to learn to ride all over.

In reality you will want to do both kinds of turns twisting and leaning so practice both. Like was suggested above doing figure eigths and circles is the way to learn to turn while leaning. At slower speeds you can tilt the unicycle to the inside of the turn and remain upright with your body. When you turn sharper you will find that you naturally will find that you need to pedal faster and that you have to twist your upper body in the direction of the turn more. As you learn to ride faster in turns in general you find that you will start leaning with your whole body in line with the uni. Its a centrifugal force thing not to different than on a two-wheeled uni (bike)

As for twisting turns, ride along the lines of the tennis court and try to turn left/right and the follow the court line. Try to makes this turn by riding up to the where the line turns right or left and make a quick twist 90 degrees when your inside foot is in the down stroke. After a litte practice you will be able to make that right angle turn and while riding right along the line.

I hope this isn’t too confusing. When I rode 25 years ago I never practiced riding and don’t remember setting out to ‘learn’ to turn. I just rode more places and further distances and after awhile I found I could do a 180 turn in a wide sidewalk. Now I practice turns to so I can go ride more places.

I figured out how to turn by rebuilding an axle on one of my old trucks, after putting a lift on it. It is all about steering geomentry. Look at the front wheel of a bike, the forks are pointed forward. If the forks were pointed back it would not track well and you would weave all over the road. That is what happened when I put the lift on the truck. The place that the tires made contact with the road was in front of the axle. This made the truck wander all over the road, and resulted in a death wobble. I fixed this by adjusting the caster angle with shims to roll the axle back like bike forks.

Ok, back to turning a unicycle. The next time I got on my unicycle, I leaned back just a bit and into the turn. The result was a nice smooth turn that I can do everytime.

I am sure most people will say this is B.S. but this is what worked for me, after I fell off 1000 times.

pretty sure what you are trying to describe is referred to as ‘rake’ angle of forks, and you have probably nailed something on the head here by your purposeful ‘leaning back’ which is probably more ‘sticking bum back and actually leaning forward’ so that the seat sits behind the center of the wheel, thus creating a rake angle that will help naturally stabilize the wheel.

for anyone who doesn’t follow, try this experiment : get your uni and DRAG it by the seat so that the seat is ahead of the wheel and notice how the wheel falls over and quite literally drags on one side. Then try doing the opposite and instead PUSH the seat so that the wheel is now in front of the seat and notice how with enough momentum the wheel tries to keep itself upright to at least some degree depending on how much speed you put behind it. this is what allows people to ride bicycles no-handed without wrecking randomly. the wheel naturally tries to keep itself stable.

Fairly sure getting comfy on the uni and just sitting as natural as possible creates a small rake angle anyway, and newbies who are finding that when they try to turn or do much at all feel as though the uni gets grabbed or somehow caught on the ground are possibly sitting TOO straight so that the seat is too far close to directly above the wheel.

In the end with uniing it’s all about finding the sweet spot… a little lean a little twist a little extra pedal pressure here a slight tweek to foot position there etc etc. Uniing is fickle, and it doesn’t take too much to upset the ‘balance’ in more ways than one.

Thanks for all the suggestions!

These responses, give me some new ideas to try. It’s pretty amazing that you can learn to unicycle thru the internet, by videos, asking questions, and gathering information. I’m slow…but it’s working. Thanks