New here

I’m new to this forum, and new to unicycling. First some background: I’m a bicycle fan, and when I got the accumulated mileage on my good bike to surpass the distance around the earth, I decided I needed to celebrate, preferably in a way related to biking, but NOT biking. I decided to learn to unicycle.

I’m finding it very difficult, but I’m making progress, and I was hoping that other, more accomplished riders might make some suggestions to help me out. In my defence, I want to specify that I’m 68 years old - not the ideal age to learn. I have now gotten my average distance per attempt to 475 feet (145 metres), and my goal is to be able to go around the block.

I’m finding it difficult to understand how I can go 475 feet and not be able to go as far as I want, but I end up losing my balance and coming off. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any other riders, and I just happened to accidentally find this forum. If it’s of any use, here’s a video of one attempt. That video was made about 6 weeks ago, and since then my distances have doubled.

I’m fairly confident that I will get it done in the next month, but I’m just wondering if I’m missing something important. I don’t know enough about it to know if it makes any difference, but I ride a 24" el-cheapo unicycle I bought (new) on ebay. I would welcome all comments and suggestions.


How long did it take to rack up all those miles on your bike? You’ve given me a new idea for a long term goal on my bike :slight_smile:

I watched your video and you are doing awesome! You have the hardest part behind you for sure.

I think at this point it’s all about learning to relax while riding. Just keep riding, focus on keeping your weight on your saddle. Maybe begin working on some other skills like idling, or even just riding, then stop momentarily then ride off again. Also free mounting, this will help you learn how to put more weight on the saddle. These will help develop more balance, and just give you some else to work on while riding.

You look like you are doing very well and it will just take time in the saddle to develop your muscle memory and a relaxed riding style. Although I’m not much of a bicycler I was in about the same place as you a couple years ago. At 68 I picked up a 36er after being a mediocre unicycle rider 50 years ago. In the last couple years I’ve learned to free mount, hop, idle, turn much sharper, and comfortably ride with both hands on a handle bar. My longest road ride to date has been 70 miles and there is no way I even considered that a possibility as a kid. It all just takes time in the saddle. Even old dogs can learn new tricks, just stick with it.

Jim Thode


No advice. Just saying hi.
The good people above (and probably below soon) have got it covered.

I’m from Montreal too but I’m only 60 :smiley:
You’re doing great nothing to add but go on, ride and ride again and practice free mounting which offers the real freedom.
I don’t know where you are in Montreal but I have ridden quite often in Angrignon park and it is a lot more fun than a parking lot. you have the long central road which is easy and trails around the lake.
I also ride the Iles de boucherville park a nice and easy 7 km loop.
I’ll be happy to help and share if you like.

You’re doing well. A lot of people post on here saying they can’t figure out how to ride three meters, and then we get into long arguments about what they should try to do first, but you are already way past that.

In the video, your arms sometimes jerk around suddenly, but that problem will go away on its own. I had already done a 13-mile ride before I started trying to learn any skills besides freemounting, but the learning suggestions made by anton005 and others are about right. Riding over rough ground and off of curbs would also be helpful right now, -probably more helpful than trying to get your 145-meter average ride up to 150 meters. Give that up for a while and try things that make you come off the unicycle after only going 10 meters. Conquer a few tiny hills, and then, when you try a flat-ground distance ride again, you may well find that you can ride as far as you want.

I think that is good advice. The key to unlock your distance problem may be hiding inside some other technique. My sense is that practicing harder techniques makes the easier techniques easier.

Though riding offroad will improve your riding, I don’t think you’re at the stage yet to ride down kerbs. I remember when just learning to ride, just staying on was already scary enough. riding down kerbs I still find scary after 4 years.

Combike ur doing really great. As said, now is the time to also focus on freemounting. as soon as you can do 1 out of 10 times, you can take the uni to the forest or fields where you dont have any post or gate to help you mount.
Just keep at it and yourr body will get used to the balancing and relax. I was wondering though, do you legs not burn after 100 metres?

You can ride, but how far?

Congrats on just “being able” to ride. Especially, at your age. I’m guessing you are stronger than an average person, plus also more injury resistant. That’s great. At early 50’s, I still thought I was “skateboard crash proof”, but i’ve had a few devastating falls from unicycling.

So you want to ride farther?..but can’t?

I’m guessing you need to get stronger?
so here’s few suggestions:

1.) Make it harder and ride on “grass”. This builds both strength and coordination, and if you fall down it is a lot softer. Grass riding forces you to get off the seat so you can “stay” on, because you can’t see the ground/anticipate the bumps/holes. This requires lightning quick pedal acceleration and upper body bob/weaves.

2.) Remove “leverage” from the unicycle, and make your leg’s work harder. Lower the seat so you work harder. Don’t try to pedal faster just keep it steady. Later on we can raise the seat and possibly entertain shorter cranks for mechanical leverage(but beware speed…speed=more broken bones/ligaments).

3.) Practice idling(w/assistance if you need), but just going back/forth is a great workout for your thighs.

Keep on…

Wel-Combike! (Welcome). Unfortunately you missed the World Championships of unicycling in Montreal in 2014. Here are:
Way (Opening Parade, Track)
Too (Trials & Gliding)
Many (Individual Freestyle)
Pictures Muni @ Mt. Tremblant
Of (Basketball Prelims & Slalom)
Unicon (Pairs Freestyle)
XVII (Hockey & Basketball Finals)
Montreal (Group Freestyle, Final Party)

Okay, now your eyes hurt. I told you it was way too many pictures…

You are doing excellently. I think you are falling off after that amount of time because your brain is catching up with your riding. You’re doing everything right, but then part of your brain is reminding your body that “This is impossible.” I think everyone goes through this, but usually after a much shorter distance.

Your form looks pretty great. Some people have offered some odd advice:

No to the first part, but yes that changing things up should help. You’re a little bit early for curbs and maybe rough ground also. I would start with trying to change your speed. Learn to slow down and speed up. Also make sure you are working on making nice turns in both directions.
Other odd advice:

I don’t recommend riding while using any mind-altering substances, even if they are legal in your area. :smiley:

Okay, grass is a little less scary because it’s more user-friendly to fall down on. Some grass is really difficult to ride on; it depends on the smoothness of the soil underneath. Proceed with caution.

I think that will just make you get tired sooner, but try it if you like.

You will definitely improve faster if you allow yourself to dismount on purpose. Notice I’m saying dismount and not fall! That’s the goal. Try stopping, with the wheel ahead of you. When you do this, the rear foot is the one controlling the wheel, so remember to step off first with the front foot.

You can also try idling, which is rocking back and forth. Start this by holding onto something like a fence, wall, or someone else’s car.

Activities like this will help mix things up, and give your body some varied experiences related to riding forward, and should get you to a breakthrough pretty quick.

You have a full year to prepare, and then around this time next year, you can join (some of) us at Unicon 20, in Grenoble, France! I think you won’t have much trouble with the local language there, either. :slight_smile:

This reminds of something i was taught about shooting in the army. If you practice hitting the targets far away, the ones closer to you will seem really easy afterwards:)

Edit: not that im a crazy gun lovning army guy, what I do most is make coffee and move troops signatures on the map for the officers:)

welcome to the Old Geezers On One Wheel club!

Just keep riding. Its mainly getting practice from where you are on.

Looking at your video I think you dismounted because you didn’t pedal quite enough and the uni momentarily got a forward lean.

If you ride close to upright you can get all your weight on the seat and the uni becomes very responsive but there is less room for error. However the moment you get beyond upright you must either accelerate very quickly or you are off.

Every wheeled device makes compromises between stability and responsiveness. When you can’t be so precise with the wheel position or the conditions are more challenging, lean the uni back a bit by leaning your body slightly forwards. It takes very little forward lean to do this.

With more experience we learn to ride more upright on the edge and have better skills to recover from a momentary lapse of balance.

The ultimate upright riders are the freestylers who need maximum responsiveness, seem to have no respect for the laws of physics and perform spectacular moves that defy comprehension.


First of all, I’m very gratified at the wonderful welcome & suggestions. I certainly feel less alone now, and very encouraged. I went out today and my average is up to 586 feet (179 metres).

Let me try to reply to the questions (and I appreciate all of your comments).

anton005, it took me 14 years, but that was generally 1 ride a week, and keep in mind that the season only runs from April - October because of our winters. I don’t ride in the cold, snow & ice (though some others do). My rides were up to 140 miles, though I haven’t done more than 120 in several years. (Shocked people, please note that the question was about bicycling, NOT uni.) I specialize in long rides - average over 65 miles per ride last year.

song, I’m happy to report that since that video was made, my arms don’t flail around quite as much, as my balance improves, and I’m becoming ever so slightly less tense.

Setonix, my legs don’t burn after 100 metres, though they do feel a bit tired. A bit less now that I’m making an effort to put more weight on the seat & less on the pedals. You have to remember that my average bike ride is over 100 km, so my legs are in decent shape.

Sincere thanks to all who replied and for all the encouragement, and I’m so happy that I’m not the only senior out there on uni.

indoor workout…IDLE

Find a nice doorway in your garage, and just work on idling.
You will be surprised how much energy this takes. Especially, with no hands…
Do this everyday or few times a day.

Keep on…

Welcome to the forum, from another “senior” member.

My only word of advice is “just keep pedaling.” That one thing pretty much covers most uni-riding issues.

Cheers, and happy riding! :slight_smile: