I am 50 yo, and I have always wanted to learn to ride a unicycle.
I have enjoyed conventional cycling all my life and have owned and ridden many different bikes over the years. The bikes I have ridden that were the most fun were the ones I built myself. I built my first bike when I was 10 yo that was a steel dragster frame with 20 inch wheels, backpedal breaks and modified ‘Cow Horn’ handlebars. There is something beautiful about simple machines like my first ‘hack bike’.
Hence the desire to go for a machine that is ultra-simple- a unicycle…
Welcome to the unicycling world, wobblysteve! Your new unicycle looks great, probably a good deal better than what most have learned on.
My main advice would be to settle into a regular practice routine, do it every day or as close as possible, and don’t judge yourself on your progress. You might do everything wrong a thousand times before you do it right once but the score doesn’t matter. Learning to ride a unicycle takes longer for most people than they expected it to, so don’t be too surprised.
As OneTrackMind says, there are countless threads of beginner advice on this forum to read through, some from as far back as the 1990s. So you’ll have plenty to do in the 23 or so hours a day when you aren’t practicing.
The DRS is a good starter uni I bought one when I replaced my ALDI crane one. It’s built much better never needed to adjust the cranks and I rode it around quite a bit. It has a nice curved seat that helps you stay in the saddle easier, the only downside is it lacks a handle in the front. As a beginner you don’t use the handle too much as you tend to put both arms out like a tightrope walker.
As your skills progress to intermediate and you stop flailing around like a madman it is nice to have a handle to grasp and go a bit faster but by that time you may want to upgrade unis if you’re enjoying the hobby.
This video is the best beginner unicycling tutorial I know of. It’s what learning to ride looked like for me, except I was on pavement and about 30 years older than this guy. Anyway, do what he does a couple of dozen times, and I can almost promise that you will be riding.
Thanks for the reply and advice OneTrackMind. I have been reading-up…
LargeEddie, I was surprised by the quality of the DRS Uni, it went together real easy. The only tools I needed was a 15 mm pedal spanner and Allen keys for the seat clamp and the main cap bearing assembly (I’m used to calling this bit a bottom bracket, but better start using uni terminology).
I can relate to your statement Unigan -
I did quite a bit of this yesterday (on grass), exactly the way song’s video showed. You must be a better man than me song, as I did about 40 tries, and on approx 4 of those managed to get about 3 to 4 pedal strokes before falling off. I pulled up a bit sore today.
Here’s a pic of my new ride (not really riding yet though)
Hey LargeEddie, the DRS uni is great, it went together real easy with the aid of a 15 mm pedal spanner, Allen keys and some bike grease. I practiced for about an hour yesterday on grass and fell off about 40 times. Yeah Im not keeping score but I did manage a few runs where I pedalled about 4 rotations before falling. I’s quite an adrenallin rush… brought back memories of learning to ride a bike as a kid…
This is how I sterted my practicing yesterday, thanks for posting this tutorial Song.
I did have the sense to start on grass… most of the falls were back on to my feet thankfully, however I did end up having a roll in the grass a few times.
If you’re still learning to ride more then a few feet don’t practise on grass. Grass is very challenging to learn to ride on initially as it has many bumps and dips that are concealed from your eyes and you really need to be able to ride by feel to pull it off, your best bet is to find the smoothest concrete available with plenty of room. If you’re really worried about hurting yourself get some gloves with good wrist support and a helmet. If you’re falling off the back a lot you’re probably not leaning forward enough or pedalling fast enough.
Once you can ride on concrete/bitumen easily then progress to challenging yourself on grass. What is your skill set currently at? How far can you ride before you come off?
Fair comment! Transitioning from grass riding to concrete would be easy, no learning curve, but going from concrete to grass riding is hard and unnerving for anybody who hasn’t ridden on or mastered grass before.
Well keep doing what’s working for you, funnily enough the only times I’ve only ever injured myself are on grass. Always my right knee gets scuffed and it’s pretty rare as most UPD’s you land on your feet. But I’ve had a few on grass where I’ve tripped and scrapped my knee.
as Canoeheadted has said once it becomes second nature you don’t think about it you just do it. I started riding on grass when pavement became easy for me and I wanted to challenge myself. After a while it really amazes you what you can ride one wheel across, you start looking at areas and thinking can I ride across that?
The one terrain that has me beat is sand though, I just can’t make any progress on that. As soon as my wheel hits it, I come straight off. If it ever snowed here I’d give that a shot too.
As a beginner, I could not ride and talk at the same time. So much of my attentions, my concentration, was taken up with trying to ride. I had to dismount before I could say anything more than a few grunts and groans. Within a couple years I could have a conversation while riding, and now I can look at people while talking to them…while riding.
I think our goal is to pay attention while riding. And to challenge ourselves. When we practice hard stuff, the outcome is that easier stuff becomes easier and takes less attention.
Thanks for sharing your progress with us, wobblysteve. Keep practicing!
A few days ago we had our first snow of the year. Not much - a couple of inches - and it didn’t hold long.
But it was my first time riding in the snow and a lot of fun.
It also made it very clear that there’s no such thing as a straight line. Not when I’m doing the riding.
My practicing continues - about an hour each day or until I become sore/tired/frustrated.
Most of my practice has been on grass. There is a nice smooth, hard section of turf right next to a post which I can prop myself against and push off from. My best effort was about 8 pedals before I fell off. I try to look up and keep my arms moving for stability, which seems to help.
Hey Unigan, I have practiced a couple of times now on a tennis court. I have aquired my sons old skateboarding helmet, which makes me feel a little bit safer on the hard surfaces.The pedaling is a lot easier than on grass and I can feel the ‘balance point’, if that makes sense. I was concerned that I would bugger up my seat from the repeated drops onto concrete so I gaffer taped a couple of layers of cardboard around the front of my seat. This seems to be working for me now.
Hey Garp, I have only ever seen snow twice in my whole life… in summer here it can reach 40-45 degrees celsius, which I think is over 100 degrees fahrenheit.