New "senior" rider - day 60!

Hello from Rhode Island, USA! If there are any riders up this way, give me a shout. I’d love some help learning to ride.

Short bio: I’m 65 and retired for 3 years. I’m fortunate to be a snowbird and have a winter home in a very active community in Florida. I juggle, and joined our clown club there, which does some nice volunteer work. I bought a unicycle 2 years ago thinking it could be a part of my act, but never gave it a chance.

A few months ago, we had an out-of-state couple over for dinner, and I was flabbergasted that my friend, who is older than me, rides a unicycle. That night was one of those “if he can do it…” moments.

My birthday present to myself was to set a 60 day plan - I would practice and not quit for 60 days. Well, today is that day 60, and I’m a unicyclist!

Learning by myself was VERY challenging. I’m active physically and thought I have good balance, but it was really tough for me to get past the first few wheel turns. 30 days, exactly, before I had a hands free run of over 30’. I tried fences, walking poles, whatever I saw on YouTube, but I did a face plant on day 1, and was timid to just let go. Another factor was seat height. I equated a lower seat to safety, thinking it was easier to get off and not fall. When I finally raised the seat, I quickly started doing better.

A big issue for me is conditioning. I thought I was in pretty good shape, but this sport is humbling for me. I can ride my bike 15 miles an hour up and down hills and hardly break a sweat, but when I ride my unicycle, it feels like I’m doing wind sprints! I practice for 1-2 hours, and I’m wiped out. Is this normal, or am I just an out of shape old fart???

My practice routine now is to ride until I’m out of breath, which is usually a couple hundred yards. I’m at the awkward stage of learning how to sit and spin the wheel vs standing. So, I ride, try some mounts. Ride, try idling. Ride, practice something else.

I had no idea that it would be this hard! EVERY aspect is something new to learn, from turning to mounting, idling to reverse. I went a few weeks seeing daily improvement, then had a couple of awkward days. I’ve fallen a few more times, but now it’s from trying to save something when I’m tired.

I love it! Life is all about new challenges, and this is a physical and mental challenge for me. This is a great site, with lots of expertise. Any help with the conditioning part would be appreciated. I’d love to start doing some more distance.


Welcome Curious George and congratulations on learning to unicycle. I started a few years ago and still remember the frustration of it taking so long, along with the satisfaction felt at every little first-time accomplishment. Breakthrough moments have gotten to be pretty rare after four years of riding. Enjoy them while they last.

I think the feeling of exhaustion you’re getting how is what most of us went through before we learned to actually sit on the seat and get most of our weight off the pedals. Keep riding and your body will figure that out, no worries. In the meantime, it’s a heck of a workout for the quads, isn’t it? :slight_smile:

It’s good having you in the forum. I hope you’ll post updates on your progress. It’s always fun reading about new riders’ adventures and reliving the experience a little bit.

Hello Curious,
Wow, you are amazing! I have always been glad to have learned to ride in my teens and thought learning at retirement age would be just impossible.

Splendid that you are retired, so you can feed this addition.

That makes you… normal. :slight_smile:

No, you are an exceptional old fart! Beginning riders get wiped out at any age but you, sir, are an inspiration! I like telling people that anyone can learn, and you are another powerful example.

Sounds like a pretty good, disciplined routine. Of course it’s all lower body and core. If you want to mix it up with some good upper body stuff, do push-ups every time you fall off! :astonished:
Or not. I know how often we fall while learning. Fall = dismount; hopefully falls to the ground are few and far between.

This is also normal. We sometimes plateau, and then we may shoot forward on a good day. Sometimes thinking about riding even helps you the next time you practice. But also, you’re getting to the stage where not thinking about riding can also help. Another learner just wrote about following her daughter while she rode her little bike, and afterward realized he was turning equally well to the left and right! Most people start out with a “stronger” side for turning.

All of these things will work themselves out. If you can find others to ride with, it can accelerate some of the process as well. Enjoy these early days of adventure!

Hello George,
Did you say old fart? I am 68 and got my first uni as a surprise gift to my 60st birthday.
At our age, it might take bit longer to learn but we can still ride and enjoy!
Don’t give up and one day, we might ride across the US together?



Thank you for the kind words. My legs are sore from riding yesterday, but I’m encouraged to go out again today! Unicycling is challenging and fun at the same time.

Hans, I am now “following” you and Berta! Congratulations on your successful trip. Whenever I am tired, I will go to your pictures for inspiration.

Day 30 picture

This is me on day 30. I’m now working on free mounts and longer distance.

Old :dash: never die

Relax and enjoy, I’m 59 and still ride periodically, find that jogging helps to increase cardiovascular thus you’ll reduce fatigue.

Welcome to the OGOOW club! (Old Geezers On One Wheel)!

I read that and immediately took it to mean, “Oh God, out of whiskey.” :slight_smile:

I’m enjoying the updates. Keep on rolling Curious George and the rest of you geezers.

Next 60 days

Hey geezers,

Thanks for the replies and encouragement!

This really is fun. I don’t think I’ve done anything in which every couple of days, I can point to some type of progress.

So, I’m committing to my second 60 day challenge. My goals are to:

  1. Lose 10 pounds to help the conditioning
  2. Free mount twice in a row
  3. Idle for 10 seconds
  4. Ride one kilometer

Small victories! Curious

Wow well done! It’s easy to make a 60 day commitment but not so easy to actually stick to it, kudos :slight_smile:

Lots of good idling advice on the forum! Since part of idling involves getting the wheel out in front of your center of gravity, I suggest you first (if you haven’t learned this already) learn how to dismount safely with the unicycle in front of you. This will make learning to idle safer; you’ll be less likely to fall on your rear. Another thing to try: Ride at normal speed, then come to a sudden stop, then ride out of the stop. Once you stop falling off the front during the sudden stop, you will have figured out how to get the wheel in front of you. If you practice idling while holding onto something, try to make it so your wheel can pivot, rather than going back and forward in a straight line. Increasing tire pressure slightly can help the wheel pivot more naturally. Good luck!

Great advice, and thanks! You are right on about dismounts; I still fly off the front, and have yet to learn how to come to a stop and hold. I will definitely work on this.

Hi Curious George.

Keep up the hard work.

Here’s a photo of a ride I took with Dal in Vancouver. He’s 67! I think he learned when he was 60.

It was difficult to keep up with him on my little 29er.

kilometer ?:slight_smile: I am impressed: I thought the metric system did not apply to US measures :stuck_out_tongue:
You are on the right track!


Thanks for the pic and encouragement. Thank YOU for your volunteer work this year!

Wobbling Bear, thanks for the posts! Yes, I use metric for my friends in France and Germany, so when I say I rode in 30 degree weather, they know I was sweating! Also, 1 kilometer is shorter and an easier goal than 1 mile!

Another practice day today. A couple of 1000 foot/300 meter rides. Curb mounts are now consistent, and I did 3 free mounts (after MANY failed attempts). Small successes…

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