Mama said there would be days like this...

Today was an “off” day. Almost nothing was working right and on the verge of a bad fall. I’m new to this sport (3 months) and do fine on my 20". Trying to spread my wings and ride larger wheels. I had been doing ok on a 26" I’ve borrowed for a couple of weeks.
Today the computer just was off and the more I fought it the more it got worse. I’m not giving up in anyway but just looking for support from you all.

I feel your pain when I am practicing wheel walking. For all the time I’ve put into it, I haven’t progressed that far.

I am interested in, specifically, what your struggles are…moving from the 20" to the larger wheel. Compared to a 20", larger wheels can be less responsive (especially if the wheel / crank ratio is less), and they can tire you out while learning to mount. If you’re getting frustrated on the larger wheel, I suggest taking a break from it, then broadening your technique on the 20" (practicing new mounts, idling, etc.). This might address some of the difficulties of the larger wheel, when you return to it.

The 26 has 165 cranks which seem long to me. I’m only 5’9". Most my problem is in the getting going part. I still don’t freemount either 20 or 26 but need to work on that shaky starting to pedal part.

    1. The same with others tricks… I have been now unicycling around 4 years (maybe more) and I am still far from mastering many tricks/diferent wheels properly… Practice and pantience is my advice… :wink:

We all have on and off days, I personally have found that a lot of it comes down to confidence. When a session starts badly, it can spiral downhill, and it’s sometimes better to just let it be. On the other side, sometimes you’ll have days where everything just works, and you get on a positive loop.

Yes so true form my learning journey. There where days when I could make tight turns and the next day barely turn at all. I hope folks understand that I’m not down about a bad day I’m just acknowledging that they happen to me. No way in Hell I’m quitting these fun sport.Cheers

Learning to wheel walk takes time, though mostly because you’re always afraid to lean back far enough. Of course, you shouldn’t really lean back, you just need to sit up straight, but it feels like leaning back because you don’t want to do it! If I hadn’t been so cautious, I almost certainly would have learned faster, but I never fell -well, almost never- so maybe it was worth it. Wheel walking is also very wheel-specific. First I learned to do it on a 20, then spent a few days re-learning on a 24, and finally on a 29. The only thing that usually interrupts my wheel walks now is exhaustion- it is quite a strenuous activity. Going from the tire back to the pedals also seems easy now, but it took a long time to learn, and it is especially hard to do on an unfamiliar wheel. Experimenting with different wheels also seems to help the learning process, though.

Unicyclists at any level -from beginner to professional- can learn to wheel walk if they take the time. There are also some unicyclists at all levels who don’t wheel walk. It is a somewhat separate skill. Someone even posted a story somewhere on this forum about a little kid who came across an adult-sized uni and was too small to reach the pedals, so he learned to wheel walk before he could even ride!

If my 29" practise seems odd/difficult/less fun I just go back to the 20" which then feels like a toy and so much fun. I get comfortable on that again before I go back to the 29".

As it’s got a bigger wheel, longer cranks, a flatter seat etc it’s not even like a bigger version of the 20". So at some point it will all become familiar - but all the time the 20" experience is getting easier and more fun.

Just keep at it.

That 26" does have really long cranks, like an old-school Muni. You should try riding up some low curbs on it. Instead of speed, see if you can go up it slowly.

For you wheel walking students, a good thing to practice along with the skill is dismounts to the rear. Everyone I know that learned to wheel walk (or maybe just those that learned how to do it backward) has a story about landing tailbone-first at least once. Like me onto the hard concrete floor of my parents’ house. The kind of fall where you just lay there for a while, thinking about life.

So to attempt to avoid that, teach your body the movements you need to get your feet under you from wheel walking position. Basically it’s making a quick but wide semi-circle from the tire to the ground on each side. I say semi-circle because if you go to straight, you’re going to find a pedal and hate the result. It’s all about curving your feet down, back and out of the space where a pedal might be at any point in its rotation. This will build your confidence (and also your hamstrings).

I reckon good protective gear will also give a bit more confidence. I am very careful and haven’t had pedal bite in at least a year. With just riding kilometres, the chance of slipping off the pedals is very small. When hopping, which I’ve been focusing on more, I’m also too careful. My b’day is coming up and I asked shin- knee- and wrist-guards. Maybe when Im all packed in cushioned material, I might dare more.

As for wheelwalking, I reckon it is the step up to gliding right. My big wish is to be able to glide on day. For now I don’t even dare take 1 foot off the pedals as it will most certainly end up in a UPD.

Mama say there’d be days like this… and, to make matters worse, you just got thread-jacked, and now the topic is wheel-walking.

Here’s an update on my wheel-walking progress. I took song’s advice from a few months ago, and have avoided using any kind of crutch, wall, fence, or starting place. Also, I spent a bunch of time practicing one footed idling (with the free foot in the air, rather than on the crown). I have been mounting directly into a wheel walk, rather than transitioning from forward riding.

The mount into wheel walking is as follows: I place both hands on the seat, holding firmly with straight arms. Then I simultaneously place one foot on a pedal (around the 8:00 position), and force my weight onto the seat. So, basically, between the two hands, the foot and the butt on the seat, things are pretty stable. If I rush the mount, I tend to end up with my center of gravity too far forward. If I take my time, my weight will be back sufficiently, and I’m ready to place the first foot on the tire. If I get the mount right, I’ll generally be successful for the first few feet-over-feet. I wait until I’m stable before throwing my two hands up in the air for balance.

I learned how to steer. The cinder on the baseball diamond is ideal, imho, for steering while wheel walking, because there is very little resistance to turning. I tend to over-correct while steering, however. I suppose that’s how we learn everything; start with a really crude version of the technique, then refine it.

I still haven’t wheel-walked more than 10 feet. Nevertheless, I am encouraged, because I feel the components are in place to be able to go longer. I just need more practice. I tire out after a while, particularly on the mount, and have to move onto other stuff.

I’m going to have better days and worse days, for sure, until I solidify my technique. Just like ScaredOldKid is feeling, I reckon.

I feel your pain!
Sometimes it just doesn’t seem to “click”.

Yesterday I was facing the exact same “starting” issue on my 27.5" (got if for some 10 days now). Part of it was also due to an uneven surface.

Also I wasn’t riding as “far” as I managed before.
At times it is better to just stop to avoid getting frustrated…

But yesterday I kept trying as I had a clear goal: riding from the grass into the muddy field and try to get in some revolutions before UPD.

And lo and behold, I finally managed some. Offcourse the longest ride didn’t make it onto camera as the memory card was full. Again.

See my latest video in the video section “two new unicyclists show their progress”.
Perhaps you will feel better after seeing me wiggling about :slight_smile:

Hmm. Well, I often wheel walk 100 meters or so now, but cannot do most of what you describe in your post! Starting a wheel walk from a one-footed idle is good, but I keep my foot on the crown until the moment I put it on the tire, which is always when the wheel is at its furthest forward point in the idle. Actually, I went through a stage when starting a wheel walk from a one-footed idle was easier than from riding. Being able to idle with a foot in the air would be cool, but I haven’t learned that one yet. Ditto for the mount into wheel walk that you mention.

Steering while wheel walking is much easier on a harder tire, due to the smaller point of contact with the pavement. When I wheel walk, my wheel tends to turn slightly toward whichever leg is taking a step, and these and other slight directional rotations are an essential part of how I stay balanced. At first I could only rotate to the left, but when I learned to rotate in both directions is when I finally started to go for longer walks.

For now, though, what I think would help both of us is the advice posted above by John Foss: to try rear dismounts from a wheel walk. I am curious about backward wheel walking too, but want to get one-footed first.

By the way, I don’t really consider this thread to have been jacked. Wheel walking is open to anyone who has regular access to a unicycle, so it belongs on all threads!:slight_smile:

Correction: my parents’ garage. The house was nicer inside, though my initial learning to ride took place in the basement; hard concrete (you know, not the soft kind).

That and 1-foot riding. While many people glide directly from regular pedaling, I learned it from 1-footing. It also teaches you how to work your non-pedaling foot on the fork; that’s your “control interface” beyond the foot on the tire.

That’s pretty ambitious, but hard. Now that you’re starting to get somewhere, you might consider easier methods to get started so you can spend more time on the walking part.

Once you are moving it’s all about finessing your side-to-side balance and making sure you don’t start speeding out of control. Don’t try to go fast, because you won’t get any meaningful gyroscopic help from your rotating wheel anyway. Take it slow and use your arms to help with the steering corrections. Keep your foot spacing so one foot doesn’t kick the other.

One-foot riding is definitely easier. I remember it took quite a while for me to get backward wheel walking down. Partly it’s due to the low speed, and poor traction with pulling your feet toward you (again, good workout for the hamstrings). Grippy shoes help! And work that rear dismount because you’re gonna need it! :slight_smile:

Wheel walking belongs in all threads? Said the person who’s currently into wheel walking! But I think it will go well with this thread’s title…

Thanks John Foss for the very good advice on wheel walking. I always try to do a bit of it here and there between learning other tricks. As with some other tricks I used to expect to master them in a few weeks/months of practising, but now I am happy if I manage to do them after few years!

Also I don’t mean to hijack this thread but on the subject of taking for ever to learn something. With my Trials uni I have been working quite a bit in learning to tuck/squat down so I can jump higher with the seat out in front. Nowdays I am able to squat successfully (without jumping yet) but still struggling to incorporate the tucking technique to improve the height of my jumps. I have seen quite a few videos on the subject and in theory I know what you are suppose to do… So, everyone, is it just me or does it take a long time to master the tucking technique so you can start to jump higher?