I had just the same problem (drifting to one side when riding on the sidwalk) as
you for a long time. Meanwhile I got rid of it. I think there are two main
reasons for my difficulties to ride straight forward:
At first most sidewalks are not built exactly horicontally but are a bit lower
at the left side, such that water can flow to the grindstone. So you have to
struggle with the fact that you are pulled towards the street (left, if you are
riding at the right side of the street) by gravity.
The second, and even more disturbing thing there was, is the fact that I was
riding with a rucksack on my back (I was riding to work so I had some luggage to
take with me). As the rucksack was not filled completely, the contents allway
slipped from one side to the other. All these movements I had to compensate by
contrary movements of my body, so it was a very unsteady trip. I don’t know if
you have any rucksack or bag with you. But if you have try to avoid it, or if
not possible, try to fix the things in it (perhaps by putting a pillow or
anything else into the bag) so that there is no chance that things can slip
around in the bag.
>Just this summer I started riding my uni to work on a regular basis and I seem >to always drift to the left. If I am on a sidewalk I end up over on the left >edge. I try to lean more to the right to correct for this but it feels really >unnatural to me. Any ideas what might be wrong in my “style”?
All the suggestions so far sound reasonable (poor posture, sloped riding
surfaces, misaligned wheels, uneven tire wear, etc.) but I’ll bet it’s postural.
Every so often I find myself doing this too. I have learned from my
chiropractor that I have a slight spinal curvature which places the center of
my shoulders a few millimeters to the right of center of my hips. And one of my
legs is slightly longer than the other. Very few people actually have perfect
bilateral symmetry, BTW but there is a range of variance that is considered
Andy, when you find yourself drifting sideways, look straight down. Does it seem
that you can see more of one side of your wheel than the other? If your posture
is such that you tend to lean a bit one way, then this will clue you in to it.
If so, try to shift things around so that when you look straight down, all you
see is the tire tread on top of the wheel. Assuming of course that you do not
suffer from amblyopia and have good binocular vision.
It could also be that you are not sitting on the saddle squarely, that one
‘cheek’ is hanging off the side or the saddle and your pelvis is tilted. Does
it feel like the saddle is pressing against the inside of one thigh more than
>Just this summer I started riding my uni to work on a regular basis and I seem >to always drift to the left. If I am on a sidewalk I end up over on the left >edge. I try to lean more to the right to correct for this but it feels really >unnatural to me. Any ideas what might be wrong in my “style”? I am sure it is >me and not the unicycle. Is one foot stronger than the other? Any ideas on how >to correct for this? I have only been riding a uni about a year and a half so >maybe it just takes more practice? I didn’t really see this problem until I >started going longer distances this summer and I thought it would get better >with practice, but it doesn’t seem to. It also seems to get worse at the end of >the ride when I am more tired.
Andrew, I would be tempted to say it wasn’t you at fault here … If you have
been on top regularly, I would think your body would over come most of that
twisting by itself without you even thinking of it. Don’t over look the obvious,
it could be any thing from a seat slightly off center or twisted (only has to be
a little bit because on long distance your legs will tend to relax more and this
problem will be more prominent, and when you get tried, it will become only more
prominent), even the tyre un-evenly worn would cause this twisting. I ask you,
have you tried turning around and going back along the same sidewalk in the
other direction? This may tell you if it’s the sidewalk tilt. Ever tried to uni
on carpet? The twisting is quite violent on some carpets because the direction
of loops in the carpet, I take it theat the sidewalk is not carpeted! but some
surfaces can make quite a difference.
Ross Mackintosh \\ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ c oo + + ) Y
oo + E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org + / _oo + + ( / + If the world was the size
of an orange… + \ + It would be much to small! + (( /L )) + + _/
A possible cause for left (right) drift is the even wear that can be caused by
gliding with the foot on one side of the tire. This causes the tire’s contact
with the floor to shift about a centimeter or half inch to the other side. This
can certainly be the cause of left (right) drift.
People who wheel walk one footed may also encounter this problem. Even just
normal wheel walking could cause it, if the feet are not wearing down the
Even if you never wheel walk: The tire might be defective such that it contacts
the riding surface left (right) of center. Also the tire might be fine, but the
wheel could be dished to one side or the frame misaligned to the wheel.
> Ever tried to uni on carpet? The twisting is quite violent on some carpets > because the direction of loops in the carpet, I take it theat the sidewalk is > not carpeted! but some surfaces can make quite a difference.
I once rode a giraffe on astro-turf - a very strange experience. It felt like I
was on the side of a hill! Try it for yourself… %^)
Peter Philip email@example.com of the LUNIs - London's Unicycle Hockey Team +44
181 341 7587 Coordinator of UNICON VIII - The World Unicycling Convention 1996
I was the person that asked the original question about drifting towards the
left while riding. Right after I asked the question I went into the hospital to
have my appenix out then was gone for a week of vacation and so didn’t get a
chance to try or test any of the ideas that were mentioned. I am back riding
again and have had some time to analyze the problem further.
Here is my analysis of the situation so far:
The tilt in the sidewalk is a factor but isn’t the major concern here. I think
the problem is the seat. The seat seems to slide under me. I can correct it for
a short time but it seems to slide back to a poor riding position pretty easily.
I end up feeling like my body is kinked at the seat junction and my head, torso,
seat and wheel are not all aligned vertically.
I have a newer Schwinn style seat with the plastic bumpers on it. The vinyl on
this seat is pretty slippery and this may be the problem.
I have 2 other unicycle seats at home which I need to get around to trying. Also
the pants I wear seem to make a difference.