Old Problem, New Request

This is a bit of a desperation post. Yeah, I’ve done alot of searching for reasons behind this issue, am hoping for a few fresh ideas from this though…

Issue: While riding it “feels” like my uni tends to want to go left. Now, when I say “tend” to the left, it’s just that, I can ride straight as an arrow, it’s just that it always “feels” like the uni wants to head left…

Request: Does any one have any other suggestions or tips on how to practice to alleviate this issue.

Background:

I first started riding 9 months ago. Started on a 24" Sun. Then got a Torker DX 24", now also have a KH24.

One of my first posts ever was a request to help me with an issue where I have a tendency to go left while riding. There are a lot of threads out there which talk about the mechanical issues, which I thought I had, but it turns out it’s just me. I had a world class unicyclist try out my Torker DX and she said it seemed like all was in working order. I didn’t want to harass her with a ton of questions, so left it at that. Then I got the KH24 and have the same feeling as on the Torker.

Well, it’s months later, I ride 3-6 miles on the KH24 5 to 6 days a week. Was doing mild single track, but now just ride the streets since it’s so cold and snowy. I still have a tendency to go left, especially when I’m pushing hard up hill. I’ve also noticed that my left foot “tends” to work it’s way away from the crank, whereas my right foot always stays very close to the crank.

I’ve been telling myself to just keep putting the miles on and it will fix itself. I am working on one foot riding (can’t do it yet but I think I’m getting close) to see if additional skills like that will help also. BTW, working at being able to one-foot with either foot. It “seems” that when I’m working on one footing with the right foot I go more straight, while with the left foot I tend more to the left. I may be cracked in the head though, heading out in a few minutes to work on it again.

Now, I’d like to get a 36’er this summer to start distance unicycling, but I’d really love to fix this issue before I get it. I don’t think I’d enjoy distance riding while fighting this “feeling” for hours on end.

Put your seat on straight!

Since the problem is you, the only thing you can do is practice, which you’ve been doing. It sounds like the problem now may be that you’re practicing bad form and never improving. You might try changing crank length or riding different terrain, anything to force your body out of its bad habits. You could practice riding with one or both hands on the handle too.

Also, it sounds like your pedal stroke is asymmetrical because your feet do different things. One footing is good, but also consider how your feet feel different when you pedal. If you’re emphasizing one, practice emphasizing the other.

Ride faster or slower. Practice basic skills like idling, one footing, maybe backwards riding. Basically, just try doing things differently. It should work itself out.

I always have thought it’s kinda retarded that no unis have a slot with a ridge that keeps the seat on straight. I know this could become an issue if you wanted to switch your seat to ride backwards, but at least for new riders (like me) I think it would help. I adjust my seat all the time, and it never quite feels straight.

I’ve had this happen when I had feet in different places on the pedals, also when the seat wasn’t high enough, so I wasn’t putting enough weight on the seat.

Also, some people are naturally a little twisted and need to turn their seat slightly to one side or the other (which makes their unicycles horrible to ride for other people).

Oh and look at whether you’re twisting your body or tensing up and try and relax it and look straight forward.

With me it happened a few times when I was new and then just went away with riding.

Joe

Is apparently cos it would cost a lot more to machine, and be hard to get the tolerances high enough to make it fit well. It would be a bugger if your post got stuck in too, as you wouldn’t be able to twist it to take it out.

Joe

When a seat post makes a tight fit with a frame, rotation of the seat is often necessary to move the seat up or down. A keyed seatpost would make this rotation impossible, hence it may become very difficult to move your seat without mechanical help.

Also, manufacturing a keyed frame and matching seatpost would be a bit more costly than what’s available today.

The point is moot. It doesn’t really matter if your seat is off by one or two degrees… it shouldn’t affect your riding. It’s quite a bit of silly fun, actually, to ride a uni with a “swiveling seat”.

P.S. “Kinda retarded” isn’t the best choice of adjective. Try harder next time.

My guess is that you’re right handed and, being so your, left leg is stronger but less co-ordinated than your right leg. It sounds as if you are pushing harder with your left leg and tending to turn left. Your left foot is sliding toward the outside of the pedal indicating further that you are not only pushing hard with your left foot you are also pushing out with your left foot. How do you correct this problem? Be aware of it? I wonder if you could replace your left pedal with a pedal spindle or a slippery pedal for a while. This would make you keenly aware of pushing outward with your left foot. I don’t know if it would speed up a solution to this problem or not.

I’d agree with this. What may also help is to try focus on keeping your left knee pushing slightly inwards when you’re pushing down, however you don’t want to exaggerate that movement too much as you may end up putting a lot of unnecessary strain on your knee. Try keeping your inner thighs closer to the saddle, thereby pulling your knees in.

I have this problem as well, despite having ridden for something like 35 years. However, it happens only in some contexts these days. I mostly ride muni, and have 24 and 29 KH munis. I don’t notice any of this when riding the 24, but I do “lead” with my left side. If I’m grinding up a hill, I’ll hold on with my right hand and hold my left hand out in front of me. This feels normal to me, but I’m not sure if it’s the way others also ride or not. W

When I ride the 29er on singletrack, I generally have no issues whatsoever. Adapting to the trail keeps me moving all over, so I don’t notice any particular tendencies to lean one way or another (although I still lead with the left on climbs). The problems happen when I ride fire roads or paved roads on the 29er. Road crown does a number on me–especially if the crown rises to my left. It feels (although doesn’t look) like the uni is trying to achieve a perpendicular plane with the road surface; it’s like it’s trying to tilt to the right under me. If I ride on the other side of a road (so the crown rises to my right), then there’s no problem.

Because I don’t ride on roads much, it’s not that big a deal anymore (except for winter, when my local trails close when wet and I’m stuck on fire roads). I’ve tried all the foot placement remedies, seat adjustments, and so on, but to no avail as yet.

What I suspect may be true is that this is just how I ride (and I probably have some bad form issues going on, as Phlegm suggests), but when out on a singletrack trail I don’t have time to think about/notice it; I tend to find road/fire road riding a bit boring. Maybe that’s why I like muni much more than other forms of riding.

At any rate, good luck. The suggestions to keep trying new things that are challenging are great–they’ll likely take your mind off the issue.

I had the same problem for more than a year, when I started unicycling. Then it went away and came back, when I got my 36. I am quite sure the problem is most often not with the uni but with the rider. We are all asymmetric and it takes a lot of unicycling till we use our body more symmetrically. Some suggestions:

See if the uni is all straight and there is nothing loose. Have a good rider try your uni, if he feels no problem, the problem is most probably with your riding.

Sit straight, breath to a spot behind your sternum. Keep the head straight and upright. Try to relax while riding.

See how you push with your legs. The problem you describe often comes from pushing with one leg and holding back with the other leg on each pedal revolution. Try to do it the other way round. When you got the feel for it, push and hold back with both legs equally. Thinking “left, right” while pushing might help with this.

If you are sitting twisted and one shoulder is backwards, imagine you have a backpack hanging on the other (front) shoulder. Push that imaginary backpack back with your elbow. Voodoo - but it helped for me.

I still have this problem sometimes, mostly when the conditions are adverse like strong headwind. It is more like a cramp in the mind and body, when I relax, it goes away. Eventually it gets better and better with practice. Actually it is not really a problem, if you ignore it, it gets bored and goes away.

The suggestions helped me and they helped others. I think it is a common problem and unicycling is the solution to it. :slight_smile:

somtimes seat post brackets are at a bit of a tilt to the right or left…
it sucks

I had this problem when I went from a 20 to 26" uni. everyone told me it was me, and that i’d get used to it… but it turned out to be the tyre. the center knobbles were quite pronounced so my natural ‘slight’ lean to the left meant the tyre sat on the road with a definite lean to the left. dunno if that’s your problem. but worth checking or trying a lower profile tyre.

STM

I have the same problem sometimes mostly on pavement and cambered roads but sometimes for no reason at all.I think the problem is mostly in my head though because when I’m offroad on my muni it never seems to happen.I think because I end up so consumed in navigating the terrain that I tend to ride by instinct instead of thinking about it too much.

Dominant/stronger leg, crown on road

I had the same problem you had when I switched from 20" to 29".

For me riding on sidewalk that tilts towards the road as opposed to tilt away made me feel uncomfortable. Also riding on the crown of the road (opposite direction of traffic) made me feel uncomfortable. It felt like the larger wheel was forcing me to follow the crown and tilting the unicycle to one side.

Over many kilometers one leg became stronger, back muscles and balance over came the tendancy.

One thing that helped me was to increase the tire presure. This caused my tire to have a bit more crown of its own.

Suggestions:
Try to increase tire presure.
Try riding on opposite side of crown on road (empty deserted road).
Try twisting seat in opposite direction to offset twisted feeling.

I still have “the leans”. To the left, same as you. But it got better when I practiced going backwards alot, where symmetry was even more essential. Seemed to physically translate when I went forwards again.

Might also try Harper’s new “accelerated” riding style.

A lot of great advice on this thread.

I had a problem like Harper mentioned. One of my legs was just too dominant. Practice helped correct this as my other leg got stronger over time. I also practiced pedaling with very little force from the dominant foot. Not one footed by any means but just barely applying pressure. It seemed to do the trick.

Thanks everyone for the replys and great advice. I was reluctant to even post this question, but am glad I did as there are several things for people with this issue to try, continue doing, and just some generally good inspiration.

Definately agree with you on that one!

Been working on that for the past several weeks and will keep at it.

Thanks for the advice and training ideas.

I’ll give it a shot putting a flat slick pedal on that side, definately worth a try, and thanks alot for the assessment. I’ll be thinking about those issues as I’m riding.

I’ll also give this a shot, thank you.

I also notice it alot less when riding singletrack, except when powering up steep sections. It’s nice to hear your assessment as a long time rider, gives me some hope that I’ll still be able to progress!

Did it, and she saw no problems, it’s definately me. Happens on both my DX and the KH.

That seems like a great way to look at it also, thank you for the advice.

I’ll give this a shot, I run low pressure off-road, but never up’ed it now that I’m riding on pavement in the winter, thanks.

I’ve just begun working on backwards and idling, will keep at it!

I noticed this specific problem on two out of three of my unis, a 24" and a 29er. I rode each down the center crown of my street and noticed the pull - can’t remember if it was to the left or right. I could ride slightly to either side of the crown and feel more or less pull. When balanced, I would expect to feel an equal and roughly opposite amount of pull depending on which side of the crown I ride, but a minimum amount as I ride the flat center of the crown. In my case, some mods to each uni improved the problem significantly. It is not necessarily just a rider problem, although I’m sure that could be a factor for some.

On my Torker DX 24", the wheel was not 100% true with the frame, with the tire being closer to one side. I thought this might be why it was pulling to one side, so I added a small shim to the end of the frame where it contacts the bearing. It took me a few tries to get it right, however this centered the wheel and made a big difference in my case.

In the case of my 29er, shimming the bearing seemed to make no difference. I then tried swapping the cranks (left crank onto right side and visa-versa) and then reinstalling the wheel the opposite direction in the frame such that the right crank and pedal were still on the right side when pedalling forward. I guess the wheel or tire must have had a slight imbalance since this solved most (not all) of the problem. At least it made it rideable, where before it was too distracting to lean that far to one side just to go straight.

Anyway, that is my experience. I’m sure a few out there will think I’m a bit wacky.

-Aaron

Torso Twisting while Riding

I also experience this problem. I think that if you do a thread on torso twisting you will find old threads of mine onthe subject. This issue pops up every so often and is a very coomon problem on larger unicycles. I only had this problem on my KH29. Never on my KH24, Onza 24 or KH20. A couple of months ago I did a 50km ride on my KH29 and did not have this problem at all. this morning I commuted into work and had the problem. Go figure! Make sure that your saddle is on pretty strait. A few degrees tilt will not make a difference. Also make sure that your feet are place symetrically on the pedals. Don’t have one foot snug against the crank and the other foot an inch away. This is hard for beginners that have a hard time adjusting thier feet after they freemount. As you ride more the problem will go away for the most part.

Unicorn