Newbie looking for tips

hi all,

I needed a new challenge, something that I could do after work when I couldn’t get to the beach kitesurfing - and now that the nights are getting shorter this is more often than not. So what do I do? I gets me a unicycle! Everyone thinks I’m mad!
I just got a cheapie (20" one £40 off of ebay) to see if I liked this thing, but more to trash before I got something decent because after seeing what you could do - Trials and Muni - I knew that I could get into this!

So my bike arrives on Friday, I put it together in the evening, have 10-20 mins messing about in the house and go to the pub. Saturday I had 30mins or so practice in the house and after nearly wrecking it I thought…outside.

SPACE! Balance with one hand on the wall and 1 pedal rotation…2 rotations… 6 rotations. 30mins and getting late.

Sunday evening more paractice …lean forwards… 10 rotations …lean forward… don’t know how many rotations!!! I’ve got this!!! a bit of speed, fall forwards pedal more, start falling back slow down! kept going to the right (my ‘front foot’ (goofy)) turned shoulders to the left…50m:D to to the end of the street and round the corner:D:D:D:D:D 2hrs riding mmmmmm?

What stopped me? MY LEGS ACHED!! Jeez, a great thigh workout.

So a few Q’s for you pros -

techniques for slowing down?

and idling?

why do i get so much chaffing and bruising on the inside of my thighs?

Good to hear! You may like to check out for a whole stack of tips and tutorials in the form of text, pictures, instructional videos, and Word documents. There’s a video on idling and I think something on slowing down in the Word document in the ‘Basic Riding’ section.

Good luck,

thanks for the info, i’ll have a good read through.

one other thing, but i guess it’s just because my unicycle is cheap, the saddle keeps twisting to the lefthand side (where my chaffing is worse). I would guess that a higher quality unicycle would have a stronger clamp and a more comfy saddle?

… just waiting for this rain to stop - English weather!!! :angry:

Great going, Jonjon!

I probably got the same cheapie uni off ebay as you, and it’s served me pretty well for learning so far.

The only thing I changed was the seat stem as I found the shortish stem meant the seat wasn’t quite high enough. When the new one turned up from it was knurled, so that was the end of seat twisting for me!

I too had the inner thigh chaffing for ages, but all of a sudden it went and hasn’t come back - I put that down to somehow riding better in a way I can’t describe!

My thighs are still aching though! I should’ve kept more fit in the previous decades!

[edit] just a thought, maybe I was “clamping” too hard with the stress of learning to ride, and need to relax to stop the bruising and chaffing?

the clamping is definately the main cause of your chafing
try wearing cycleshorts to generally improve comfort
then get a decent seat
it’s a small investment u can always take with u to upgraded unis and it makes life SUCH a pleasure

the great thigh workout is a result of not quite putting enough weigh t on the seat
u’re still carrying a lil’ too much weight on your legs
relax, sit down and u’ll find u can go for much longer without the legs giving out on u

i used a hacksaw blade to ‘rough-up’ the saddle stem on my first seat in order to prevent the twisting of the seat
also get yourself a quickrelease clamp and loosen it when u twist the seat back into it’s straightforward position
if u force it against the clamp, u’re just ‘polishing’ the rails it’s sliding on and u’ll find the twisting gets worse

dont worry about the weather too much
u can practise idling indoors


Depending on the brand of saddle, the twisting problem might not be in the seatpost clamp/frame/seatpost connection, but rather in the seat/seatpost connection. Some of the cheaper saddles, for example the Savage, have a system where they don’t bolt directly on and instead have a more bike-like connection which quite often comes loose.


the weather

It’s easy for you to be glib about the weather Gild. Sitting there (probably sipping a pina colada) in deepest africa bronzing you’re already bronzed self in the sunshine. The summer here in England’s been horrific(wettest August on record). Many’s the day I’ve been sat here browsing through the forum waiting for a break in the clouds so I can go for a ride. Usually to no avail. Aah well. Atleast when global warming kicks in (more than it already has) we wont be frazzled to a crisp quite so quickly and we’ll be free to ride around our post apocolyptic land with big grins on our face.
Sorry to take it out on you Gild. But the weather has been utterly pap this summer, and it’s imfuriated me on more than one occasion.
Yours in dampness

and u’ll probably be extra bummed to know that when i visited your fair isle in may of this year, we had stunning weather for our entire three week stay
two days had rain in them somewhere
five days had some cloud cover
and we had 6 consecutive sunny days in Cornwall
your weather’s not so bad

Thanks for the great replies and tips, (and sticking up for the poor weather) I’m feeling very welcome!

I’ll check the saddle out when I get home to see if it’s lose under the twisting isn’t happening there, otherwise out comes the hacksaw blade! I also think that it might be just a little bit too short (1-2cm). I’ve also dug my cycling shorts out too.

I’m beginning to wonder if before long it will be worth getting something a little better? So I’m sure I’ll be asking for recommendations there later.
This usually happens with me - get something low-cost to see if you like it and get into it - I like it - get something better.

so here we are, two weeks later and what’s happened to my skills?

been working too much and simply not getting out, though I have made a discovery I’m sure a few of you have… don’t drink and unicycle!! ok, so it was a good idea at the time, but the palm of my hand and mobile phone in my pocket meeting the road didn’t think so!

skills are developing in about 5-6hrs

  • 30% of freemounts on first attempt
  • turning left and right (clockwise/anticlockwise?)
  • keeping within the width of a path
  • more weight on saddle means I can now go longer distances

I put my seatpost up a bit and it’s been easier.

It’s nice to be able to ride a distance now, does everyone get looks of great amazment and astonishment that you riding a unicycle?

I guess that the next set of hurdles are going to take time? Idling, riding backwards and riding very slowly?

thanks for the previous tips. they helped me loads!

Re: Newbie looking for tips

for idling, is suggest that you learn to ride a little better, then learn to ride backwards, and idle in the pedals vertical position(that held me back for months).
for the chaffing, you’ll get used to it, it’ll scar up, and then there’ll be no more chaffing:) yipee!

I had the same problem with original bolts.

I found better bolts.
(high tempered)

Got them slightly larger than original bolt holes.

(the original had play (slop fit) , so when learning
(dropping seat to ground forcably, and torso twisting)
… it got unberarable)

Then I re-drilled the holes in frame for a “exceptionally” tite fit.
(takes a couple whacks to knock the bolts out of the holes)

Put bolts thru all vertical seat post connections…
… once you find your “Happy” seat height …
(where you have clearance to stand on toes (like hopping curbs) , and sit back down works for me)

The Muni’s riders probably prefer more clearance…

Then, make some markings on the shafts.

Be sure make your markings so the bolts go thru perpendicular.
(no brainer, but hard to accomplish if shaft isnt secured titely when drilling)

Take seat/ post somewhere where you can clamp it down.
(preferably, a drill press)

I’ll take a picture of what I did to mine later today for you.

Jonjon said:

I have made a discovery I’m sure a few of you have… don’t drink and unicycle!! ok, so it was a good idea at the time, but the palm of my hand and mobile phone in my pocket meeting the road didn’t think so!

For more on this see the “To beer or not to beer” thread on the just conversation forum. It seems it’s not a problem for everyone!

I know they make the frames differently now …

But, maybe you can ‘McGiver’ a stiffer grip like I did.

Notice the hacksaw cut at the top of the extention pipe.
That cut goes thru the middle …

… so it pinches the seat post when tightened.

:astonished: wow, thats old skool…

im assuming u made that, so i was wondering what u used 4 the forks…


drinking and unicycling isnt so bad, really. just make sure you know how to unicycle first. alcohol takes away from your highest-level skills first, a saftey blanket of level 5 skills might be enough to keep your face off the pavement next time you drunicycle.


drunkencycle sounds better, i think (wouldn’t know about it, im 15)