Never rode before.need advice.

My son and i are thinking about attempting to learn to ride unicycle. We are thinking about getting the Club 24" to learn on. We would be doing mostly paved rails to trails paths once we learn. Would a 20 " be better to learn on? And is the club unicycle a quality product. We are going to a private chain linked fence parking lot to use as support to learn.

Sounds like a good plan. The Club unicycle will serve you well as a learner. 20" is generally recommended, but I don’t think it makes much difference for an adult (or teenager over 1,50m / 4’11"). I personally don’t like 24" as a wheelsize overall, in my eyes it’s too big for trick riding, and to small for any longer distances. So my own recommendation is 20" for learning, and keeping it to learn skills like mounting, hopping and freestyle tricks on, and getting a different dedicated unicycle for whatever discipline interests you later when you learned to ride. (If you end up liking unicycling enough for that). Some people really enjoy 24" as a wheelsize for riding around on though, so while I recommend the 20", I don’t think a 24" would necessarily be a bad choice.

For the very beginning, I recommend having support on both sides of you. So for example, one hand grabbing the fence, one on an assisting person or appropriately placed parkbench, barrier, whatever you can find.

Once you feel more comfortable, one hand on the fence should be sufficient. When you are able to ride along the fence with one hand somewhat well, you can alternate that with using the fence just for the first revolution or so, and then trying to ride as far as possible without any support. Riding only supported by holding someones hand that is walking alongside you is good practice too.

Other random tips:
Mounting: You put the saddle between your legs first, then one foot on the lower pedal. (It should be somewhere between a 4 and 6 o’clock position.)

Body position: Make sure your sitting upright. For a beginner, both hands free is recommended. Having one hand on the saddle is something that helps stabilize your riding and making it more efficient when your already able to ride, but doesn’t help on the initial learning. (I have no clue why that is, but that’s how it works for most people)

Also, make sure you are putting weight on the saddle. It’s a common beginners mistake to stand on the pedals, which is not only exhausting, but also makes it harder to balance.

Seat height: Same general rule as for a bicycle, you want a little bit of a bend in your knee when the pedal is at its lowest position.

I usually recommend relatively small training intervalls of 15 minutes or so, then taking a break. Also, as previously said, I am a fan of mixing up the “exercises”.

All agreed, get a 20" especially if you’re sharing with your son.

And use the Search function of this website, the info is out there for sure. :smiley:

I agree with the others. A 20" is the best to start on. Later on, for rails to trails (which are pretty flat), a 29" or 36" wheel might be best.

Just a little digression: Finnspin mentioned mounting between the 4 and 6 o’clock position. I may have been reversing my clock…I would say to mount between the 6 and 8 o’clock position. I think we’re talking about the same thing, however. Can someone clarify the clock positions?

Pedal slightly nearer to you than bottom dead centre.

4 and 6 o’clock looking from the side that your mounting on (left pedal “down”, looking from the left). Might be good to clarify anyway.

There we go … depends on your dominant or mounting foot. I mount on the right and see in videos of people mounting on the right that they usually mount between 6-8, according to that perspective. Mounting from the left perspective that comes out to 4-6.

Re the 20 vs 24, I bought a 24 first and just got a 20. Haven’t used either much yet, but the 20 is very clearly much easier. To me, startlingly so. You’re low enough to the ground that if feels much closer to a simple step-off than a fall-off when you lose balance. And for me, the “sweet spot” where you’re finding your moment of balance feels much bigger. Like trying to balance on a softball versus a ping pong ball.

Regarding height, you’ll want to carry a hex key with you so you can adjust the seat post height if you and your son are different heights. Might as well start off right.

Last suggestion, consider buying the Nimbus II Triumph 20 incher. It’s about halfway between cheapest and most expensive out there. I just got the Independence (different pattern on the seat cover is all – American flag vs British flag). It looks like they’re only putting these two “sister” unis out as a limited edition lark and the Independence is no longer listed. It’s got a strong rim and a wider tire than you see on many 20 inchers, which should make it easier to learn on. Even more so if you keep the tire pressure moderate. My local bike shop said they’d sell the cranks alone for more than half the cost of the whole uni and was very impressed with the quality of the whole build.

Good luck and have fun! I think you’ll start having that fun quicker if you do the opposite of what I did and get a 20 first.

And also – think about getting some cheaper pedals without studs or with tiny studs, in case you fall backwards on them. That happened to me within the first half hour and it put me out of commission for three weeks.

Depends which foot you mount with. If you start on your left foot, the clock would read 4:00-6:00 (viewed from the left side of the uni). Mounting with your right foot the clock would read 6:00-8:00.

Agree with this. I got mine in the opposite order–bought a 20" first, then I saw a 24" at a second-hand store in town and got it too–but also did much more of my learning on the 20". I’m over 6 feet tall so it wasn’t about the height.

FrankS, not sure which hemisphere you’re in, but with the days getting shorter up here in my half, another advantage of the 20" is that I can practice after dark under the porch light at the end of my driveway and not feel cramped for space. In general, being able to turn the crank at a decent rate without as much speed and momentum favors the 20" for learning skills.

The only thing I can remember learning first on the 24" was free mounting. The fact that it’s much easier to turn the wheel of 20" uni also means that it’s much harder to keep still!

The consensus seems to be that unicycles are a lot more “horses for courses” than “jack of all trades” or “best of both worlds”. Most of us seem to have a unicycle to suit each type of riding we do. They aren’t expensive compared to gear for a lot of other sports and they don’t take up much space.

If you get a beginner’s unicycle now, you could be set to reward yourself for the achievement of learning to ride with a larger wheel size in a couple of months. sometimes has really good deals in mid to late November. Meanwhile you could peruse the archives here and think about would might suit you best. Also, watch the Trading Post section and see what pops up. I’ve gotten a couple of mine that way.

Good luck!

If I could only have one unicycle it would be my 20" trials. I can do any type of riding on it. The only downsides are: It’s slow, and the cranks are 140mm and that makes certain freestyle stuff more difficult. A distinction needs to be made between what’s optimal and what’s possible. My 19" Equinox has the most possibilities among my unicycles. A 36", on the other hand, is optimal for distance riding, but it is impractical for working on most skills.

If I could only have two unicycles, the second one would be my 26" muni, I suppose. The trails in my neighborhood are awesome. But, without the 26", I could still muni on my 20".

FrankS, you mentioned rails to trails. Practically speaking, you should pick the unicycle that is most accessible to riding in your local neighborhood. You shouldn’t have to make a special trip (in the car?) just to practice. Welcome to the forum.

My 20 club uni came today. I am able to balance on it and can move forward a little with a little help from a fence. Excited.
Thanks for the

I have both 20" and a 24 club.
The 20 gets the most use because I am always practising (free mounts, turns, idling etc), then I try to adapt those skill onto the 24"
I even surprise myself sometimes when I am successful.

The 20" is easier to learn new tricks.
The 24" club or similar will be more stable, less twitchy, smoother to ride, and faster.
I can see you using a 24" and/or 26" to go with your 20"

Good on you! :slight_smile: That’s exactly what I did to learn. Tip. The best fence is one you can slide your hand on the railing as you go. It should be an area relatively free area of pedestrians and paved without bumps.

Outdoor areas like a large empty car park with a fence or outdoor courts (like netball or basketball) with a fence along the outside are perfect. You may come to see many other great places to practise :slight_smile:

After the first two minutes of learning, the best fence is one that is very far away.

Fences are initially useful to get a feeling for the uni and learn the basics of steering by twisting against you inertia. Persist with a fence after that and they quickly become THE greatest obstacle to learning until after you can ride.

So many aspiring riders think a fence is an aid to “getting your balance” and it is sends them down a path toward frustration and often failure.

Firstly a fence is bad for balance because it occupies one arm when both arms are required for the extent of the balance to learn to ride a unicycle. Use both arms to keep your body upright above the uni.

Secondly, the fence inhibits THE fundamental action required to ride which is steering the the wheel under the direction of the fall. The fence demands the rider take a straight path when what is required is the opportunity to turn in any direction to keep the wheel under you.

High chain wire fences are the most dangerous place to learn. Before contemplating using a chain wire fence, please try this first. Put you finger through the chain wire and wedge a knuckle in the vee at the bottom of a square . Now imagine the damage to your hand when hanging your full weight on it.

Forget fences if you want to learn to ride.

Agree, though once I found one of these fences, I learnt quite quickly.

I didn’t mean that sort of fence! Still meant only the railing type. They do exist. E.g. Netball courts outside of Willoughby Leisure centre. There are also nice circles/semi circles on the ground for learners to try to trace and the ground is nice and flat.

Strongly disagree. One of the key mechanics someone who wants to learn how to unicycle has to get, is how to balance forward and backward. Fences (or similar) allow one to isolate that direction of balance. Of course, after a while, a rider should stop only training at the fence, and ride into more open space in order to get turning and side to side balance down.

I’ve been giving workshops for beginners for quite a while, and not a single person has had the difficulties OneTrackMind described, all of them learned on mostly a railing/fence.

It doesn’t occupy one arm if you ride at arms length, and let go of the rail once you have found a bit of balance. Your arm is then free, unless you fully extend it to grab the rail. The rail will not be in the way of your balancing arm, and if you get close to loosing your balance, instead of falling of and needing to remount, you grab the rail and stay on the unicycle.

It does of course limit the riders choices where to go, and that will be a hinderance at some point. But I believe that point is very late. Learning the mechanics of going forward and backward is the most difficult concept to get for most riders, side to side balance by steering is very similar to a bicycle. I also don’t think it’s as important, I have seen many people managing to ride straight(ish) lines before they figure out how to turn intentionally.

The one thing I have seen hinder peoples progress however is grabbing a single rail with both hands, which is why I pointed that out in my first post. It’s a horrible twisted position that will keep you from getting better, and should only (if ever) be used to mount the unicycle. After that, keep only one hand on the rail, with your arm fairly extended, the other hand free.

That almost universal assumption is the most common impediment to learning. Basic riding has far less to do with balance than leaning forwards and steering the wheel under the fall. Juxtaposition of forward and backward forces is very complex and comes later.

“Difficulty” is related to expectation. I don’t have much teaching experience but my learners have averaged one hour to achieve basic riding skill. The fastest learner was riding ten metres under control across grass from a backstop start after about twenty minutes in the saddle. (He stopped at ten metres because he ran out of space.)

Two arms balance more than twice as well as one.

And miss out the most important lessons about dismounts. Fear of falling is one of the greatest inhibitors to learning. I start learners on grass and tell them that they will fall off a lot so they had better get used to it straight away.

I promote the step on with the wheel against a backstop takeoff. It commits the rider’s momentum forwards, greatly reducing the likelihood of falling backwards. It also contributes to learning to free mount.

Steering is the very first thing that needs to be learned. Riding will not be possible until basic steering is achieved. I start my learners on a rail or post with the specific instruction, “work out how to steer the wheel”. A few minutes is usually enough to learn how to do an inertial twist.

Yes, that is why it is not where to start learning.

Almost every aspect of riding is completely different between learners and accomplished riders. So many learners struggle because they try to emulate the techniques offered by experienced riders. “Weight in the seat” when they need to be virtually standing on the pedals. “Back straight up like an extension of the uni” when they need to be leaning their body forwards to stabilise the geometry.