Muni question

Hi there

This probably has been asked before but couldn’t find it in other threads.

I’m getting into muni at the moment (26’) and I found a bit of a dilemma: I always use the left hand for holding the saddle when going uphill/downhill/over bumps, braking, etc and the right hand when I want to hop/rolling hop. So the questions is: when rolling down hill holding the saddle with my left hand I find it really difficult to hop with the same left hand without losing balance (to hop properly as I am used to I would need to swap hands quickly…). Watching videos in you tube it does look to me like that the best way is that you learn to use the same hand for everything… Is that the case for most of you?

for me it is

Pretty much everyone I know has a preference for using the same hand for everything. Personally, I try to use my off hand when I’m doing easy stuff, just to balance the bodily forces, but I definitely can’t ride as well that way.

Thanks both for your reply. :slight_smile:

I had the feeling I should be using the same hand for everything. Your answers confirm that.

Recently I already had to relearn to do aerials: to hold the saddle with the left hand whilst off the pedals (used to do it with the right hand) so I’ve got the correct hand position to twist the uni clockwise when learning unispins… I have to say in the beginning I found it really difficult to use a different hand but I’ve got there in the end.

I’m afraid I will have to do the same with the jumping/hopping :frowning:

I personally use my right hand for everything. I’m getting to the point where I can ride with both hands on the saddle, but if I were to try to side hop/rolling hop/brake with precision with my left hand, I’m sure it would be more difficult…just like writing my left hand.

At the end of the day, whatever works for you.

Doing anything ambidextrously on a unicycle usually takes more work but will make you a better unicyclist. Every skill we acquire in this sport is connected in some way to the next one. Learning a skill on the opposite side can feel almost like starting from scratch, though the process is usually a bit faster.

If you have the ability to use either hand, don’t throw that away.

You’re right :). It definetly feels like starting from scratch. Somehow I initially learnt diferent moves using the hand that automatically felt the best for each task without really thinking about it. I always thought that’s what most people did untill now. I am quite surprised as I’m definitely not ambidextrous at all.

I guess I might as well learn to do with each hand what the other usually does and afterwards concentrate on the one that overall feels the most natural to use.

One thing you can say about unicycling: the learning process takes many years!

+1 on that.

I assume that other riders, like myself, have discovered, in the process of learning, how lopsided their technique is; a few examples:

  • As a beginner I could more easily turn counter-clockwise.
  • I initially favored one handed SIF with my right hand.
  • I am more successful at rolling jumps with my right foot forward.
  • On a very steep downhill, I am more comfortable braking with the right hand.
  • On a very steep uphill, I am more successful at climbing with the left arm out for balance and the right hand on the bar-end/seat.

BTW (and it should come as no surprise), I am right-handed.

I have discovered a paradox: if a rider wants to get better faster, and does so by pushing their technique to the limit (jumping as high as they can, riding up/down the steepest, bumpiest hills, etc.), then that rider may be lured into performing these difficult techniques only with the dominant hand/foot/side-of-body. So, at the same time the rider is achieving more, they are also limiting their technique to one side of their body.

My advice to beginners is to practice mounting on both sides. This is an easy way to self-consciously start using both sides of their body evenly.

I certainly agree with this! I’m right-handed, but VERY left-side dominant on the unicycle – mount with left foot, hold the handle with left hand, turn left easier than right. I’m practicing right-side foot and hand techniques, but it’s hard to get used to. I don’t think it’s been mentioned here, but I think it’s also better for your joints in general if you use them equally. One can develop tendonitis by using one hand exclusively.
So yes, if you’re just getting started, use both sides as equally as you can.

This is pretty funny, My left side is worthless sometimes. I can’t throw or kick a ball with the left or hardly screw a nut onto a bolt left handed.
But on the Uni.
Left hand on the bar, Left hand on the brake. Tricky stuff or mounting right pedal back, and right arm for flailing for better balance. And the oddest thing, if I’m really tired after a long ride, when I let go of the bar I will start twisting my body to the right to keep going straight, regardless of camber. I have never twisted to the left. :thinking:

Almost everything I do SIF is two-handed. However, my learning process started with one handed SIF. I was relying a lot on my right hand, and developing tendonitis. Nothing permanent, luckily; I am back to normal. So, I’m wondering if it’s possible for someone learning SIF to start two-handed and avoid any injury. At some point in the future I might improve enough to do one-handed SIF without stressing out my arm. For me, the added control of two hands on the seat outweighs whatever ballast I might get from a free arm.

I read something interesting a long time ago: Most people are right handed. Most right handed people, when attacked or surprised, will defend or respond with their left hand up and will give offensive blows with their right hand, which is down. Imagine someone holding a sword and a shield. The reflex to put the left hand up and the right hand down, when performed behind a steering wheel, causes the driver to drive off the right side of the road. This is safer than driving to the left, into oncoming traffic. Which proves that in England they drive on the wrong side of the road.

If someone is right handed but grips the seat/handle with the left hand, my question is: does it take more dexterity or strength to hold the bar/handle or to create balance with the free hand? I read some surveys on the forum asking people which foot forward they used for a particular technique. I remember that things got pretty confusing. Too many factors.

Thanks all for your feedback, great to hear such sound advice. I’m also right handed in writing etc…and ‘right foot forward’ when jumping. So thinking about what you are saying: I think I have used my left hand for grabbing (the seat when braking/going uphill) because it is easier to keep balance with my right hand being free. I’m guessing that when I swap hands for the other tasks (I use my right hand for holding the seat when hopping/jumping) it might be because hopping is a more difficult task in my mind (or iat least something you learn after basic riding /going up hill/downhill etc…) and automatically, when I first learnt it, I went for the strength/dexterity of my right hand on to the saddle rather than free for balance…

Anyway, I’m glad to say I’m learning now to do the opposite with each hand and is not going badly. I’m already used to leaning with both hands at the same time on the T bar when on flat stretches of road so I think that is helping quite a bit for learning to switch hands.

As others have said is probably good for your fingers to get used to use both hands for everything as I don’t know about you but when breaking with one hand for a very long strech of downhill my arm/hand/fingers hurt by the end of it… so switching hands to let the other arm/hand rest could come useful indeed :slight_smile:

hmmm… I’m right handed and do everything with my right hand. My left hand is extremely stupid. I don’t do anything difficult with it and would not be able to do so. But from the beginning on I allways used my right hand for grabbing the handle (when mounting, hopping, riding, braking, etc.) and my left one for balancing.

Maybe you are. Ambidextrous means a lack of dominance. Everybody has a dominant side, but some people are dominant on different sides for different things.

No. Speaking for myself, at least. I am right-handed and right-footed. In unicycling, the foot dominance is measured by which foot you mount with, and which foot is in the dominant position when doing other hard stuff. That, to me, is the foot in the back. The front foot has less control over things, unless you’re going backwards. I mount with my right foot, and do hoppy things with my right foot back.

But I hold the seat with my left hand. A bit of background here: When I was getting into unicycling, very few people held onto the seat at all. First of all, they didn’t have handles. Schwinn seats were just smooth on the bottom. The only people holding the seat were a subset of the nerds that raced unicycles at the track. This was one of the main competition events at Unicycling Society of America conventions (there was no IUF). Racing was done on 24" unicycles for distances up to one mile only.

So I didn’t start out as a seat-holder, and only learned that later, when I wanted to be fast on the track. Later came riding downhill, big jumps and other stuff where it came in handy. But my dominant hand was always the free hand. That’s the hand you use for balance. Holding the seat doesn’t take any particular skill (though operating a brake is another story!).

EDIT: I just remembered another reason for left-handed seat-holding: The old Schwinn seats, like all other unicycle seats in the 70’s, didn’t take well to being dropped a lot. So catching the seat was a big deal. Dominant hand to catch the seat, non-dominant hand to hold on while riding! I think that was one of the core reasons why I’m a left-handed (mostly) holder today.

When you hold the seat with one hand, your body has to tense up in a non-symmetrical way, since the tension is all going up one arm. Your body gets used to doing it that way, and doing the the opposite way will feel very different. But you can get used to it pretty quick if you just keep doing it.

I think you should give your left hand more credit. Your left hand is that athlete that sits on the bench and keeps hoping to be allowed to play. Of course he won’t be great if you finally let him, but if you give him time I’m sure he will surprise you. Learn to juggle. If you can already juggle, your left hand should be mad at you for calling it stupid. But if all those other weirdos can learn to juggle, so can you! It gives your hands a chance to work on a more even playing field.

And it’s not like learning to juggle is hard, compared to riding a unicycle! I can teach most adults in 15 minutes or less.

I can juggle 4 balls, 3 clubs or 3 rings. But I’m not able to brush my teeth with my left hand:D