Re: Newbie report
I found the best way to learn to idle was to see someone else doing it! I had been trying for ages to do it with a small fidgety movement, with the cranks horizontal. I was able to keep the uni more or less balanced for a few seconds. Then one day I saw an expert and realised you do it with the cranks passing through vertical, not horizontal!
Some tips to help you:
It is easier to learn with your tyres pumped up rock hard as it removes at least one variable.
It is easier to learn on a flat smooth surface, not on grass.
Keep your weight balanced on the seat, and plenty of weight on the bottom foot, swinging that bottom foot through vertical. Your bottom foot does almost all the work. (Later, you may learn to idle one footed.)
Look into the distance and try and focus on an object. Whatever you do, don’t look at the ground.
Count the pedal strokes and set achievable goals.
As for whether it’s best to learn with a wall or a bar or in the open, I’d say it’s best to learn in the open. What I did was ride forwards, slow down, then stop by pushing down with my bottom foot. Momentum carries you forwards until the bottom crank is somewhere approaching horizontal. From here, do a confident half pedal backwards, regain balance and ride away. Do that lots of times.
Then see if you can stop, half pedal back, half pedal forwards, backwards again, then ride away.
And build up from there.
I found it best to learn with one particular foot down (in my case, the left) and then learn the other way later.
In fact, idling and riding backwards are closely linked skills, and you can do a super idle (where the wheel makes more than a complete revolution each way) or a mega idle (where it does two or more complete revolutions each way). You will find that it suddenly comes, and you will be idling and riding backwards within a couple of half hour sessions if you set your mind to it.
With the freemount, the idle and the ability to reverse when needed, your riding will become immensely more fun, more rewarding, less tiring, and safer in crowds. After that, most of the skills you can learn are optional, depending on what you want to get from your unicycling.