Newbie advice

Hi all,
had a uni for about a year now and have decided to focus more on learning to ride it. I can do the wall thing to get on but my pedalling is VERY erratic. Any hints on how to avoid the dead spots at the bottom of the stroke. I seem to favour right foot at 6 o’clock and then flick myself off. Also I am using the balls of my feet, should I be using the flats? Finally, what height should I aim for the saddle to be, too low an dI find it hard to pedal, too high and hard to reach for pedal, any guidelines…

Re: Newbie advice

Some of this works its way out as you ride more.

Sit heavy in the seat, like if you were holding onto a wall and resting. If all of your weight is on the pedals, you tend to keep the pedals from going through a smooth stroke.

The other thing that is tough to get used to is there is no coasting, you have to mentally force yourself to keep pedalling until it comes naturally.

Set the seat height as you would for a bicycle - with your weight centered on the seat, your heel on the pedal, and the pedal level, then your knee should be just slightly bent, just enough that it isn’t straight. Note that this is to high for trials or MUni but good for flat or roads.

Whether you are on the balls of your feet or the instep seems to be a personal thing and depends on what you’re doing, I favor the balls of my feet when on the road with occasional instep when doing MUni.

You probably are still not putting your weight on the seat (a common problem when learning) so you have too much pressure on the pedals. Two things, try to put more weight in the seat and try to think pedal-in-a-circle instead of thinking push-down-on-the-pedal. Even professional cyclists have to remember to pedal-in-a-circle.

Have fun learning to ride and remember to stick to it, you CAN do it if you stick to it.

We will expect to see a post of I CAN DO IT!!! from you, it’s a great feeling.

On my way

I have spent two hours practicing already. Pleased to say I now have bloody holes in my right shin (boy these things drop fast!) but have managed three connected pedals (although it feels more like a controlled fall at this point).
I have made two wooden poles to act as stabilisers as there are just not enough walls on the roads!

Right, let’s get you started.

With the cranks in the 6 and 12 position (vertical), sit comfortably on the seat. Wearing flat heeled shoes, put your heel on the bottom pedal (which is at bottom dead centre/6 oçlock position). Your leg should be straight, but you shouldn’t need to stretch or 'lock’your knee. That is exactly the right height for a bicycle saddle. However, for a unicycle, you would probably lower the saddle a tiny amount - a centimetre/half an inch.

It matters. You wouldn’t run down the road with your knees bent, or go hiking on tip toes. In the same way, you need your unicycle seat at the right height to be able to pedal smoothly and efficiently.

Against a wall. Put the pedals at 6 and 12, with the lower one further from the wall. Put your foot on the lower pedal, with a lot of weight. Put the seat in position between your legs, then pivot the whole unicycle and yourself up into position against the wall. Keep your weight on the lower pedal as this stops the unicycle from scooting away from you.

You are now sitting on the unicycle, with the pedals in the 6 and 12 position. You probably have both hands holding the wall.

Allow your weight to sink onto the saddle so that your feet are only lightly resting on the pedals. This is important: weight on the seat.

Now, move the unicycle until the pedals are in the 9 and 3 position (cranks horizontal).

About now, you should feel confident to take one hand away from the wall. You will have the unicycle about 18 inches (45 cm) away from the wall, parallel to the wall, with the cranks horizontal, your weight on the saddle, and the hand nerest to the wall supporting you slightly.

Now, get comfortable in this position. Experiment a bit, moving the unicycle an inch or two forwards and backwards. Keep most of your weight on the saddle.

Now, adjust the unicycle into such a position that your favoured foot is above horizontal. If you are right handed, you will probably favour your right foot. This means you need to get yourself in a position where your right foot is at about 2 and your left foot at about 8 on the clock face.

Now, angle the uni slightly away from the wall. Allow the uni to start to fall ever so slightly away from the wall. Now pedal.

Count the pedal strokes.

Keep practising.

Your sequence will go something like this:
1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,2,1,2,1,1,1,2,2,3,1,2,2,1,3,2,3,2,4 and so on. That is there will be lots of times when you make exactly one pedal stroke then fall off, but gradually, the number of strokes will increase until you are regularly doing 2s and 3s. By the time you are regularly doing 5s and 6s, you are on the cusp of unicycledom. 10, 15 and 20 pedal strokes are within sight, then you start aiming for distances: 10 metres, 20 metres, down to the corner, 500 metres, 100 miles…

Keep at it, in short bursts of practice lasting 20 - 30 minutes. If you fall off the back, you are doing it wrong. If you fall off the front, that is good. The secret is to commit yourself. Start to fall forwards (ever so slightly) then move the unicycle to keep up with you. Like an object in orbit, you are always falling but never landing.

Pedal smoothly, weight on saddle, and look some distance ahead. Keep your back straight (don’t stoop forwards).

Good luck.

I started unicycling less than a month ago. I started practicing by just riding arroung holding onto stuff. Once I could do that well I started in a doorway and would try to ride as far as I could. It took two weeks to learn how to ride farther than three feet. after the third week I then built my distance up to 40 feet. Now I can ride for about 1/3 of a mile. Although I still need to learn how to free mount (no sucsessfull attempts at it yet). But just keep trying and you’ll get it.