I just bought a unicycle . In a moment of pure madness … what have I done?
So far, you’ve spent some money. What’s next? It could change your life.
I have just placed the order. It is yet to reach me. It’s a learner’s 20" from unicycle.com. Next I will be scouting for a quiet place preferable hidden from my neighbours’ prying eyes in order to learn the sexy unicycle samba. Lots of hip movement yes? :o
You probably won’t be thinking of your hips at all, but that’s nothing to worry about. It will seem impossible. That’s normal. Eventually you will start to DO the impossible and that’s when the fun starts. Up until then, it’s basically all work.
Lots to read is available in the main forum; best to start there and don’t post much until you’ve read that and worked on it in your secret practice spot.
BTW, when it comes to it, you’ll have to figure out which is your dominant foot. Do you think it will be your left, or your other left?
The moment of pure madness is when you ride your first single revolution.
My dominant foot is my left, I think.
I will not be experiencing my first revolution for some time. Still waiting for the package to arrive.
At the moment, I have a bike helmet. That is the only safety equipment that I have. Don’t plan to do stunts. So do I need safety items like shin guards, wrist protection thingy, gonuts protection? :o
Riding a unicycle at all is a stunt.
Wrist protection is important unless you are a martial arts master who can fall from any position without involving your hands.
Ah … I missed the boat on the wrist protection. I clicked my order, I browsed a bit and saw the Kris Holm glove wrist wrap thingy. By then the box was already out the door. These unicycle.com folks were very efficient.
p/s - do I have to answer the one “wheel” question every single time or is this just to torment newbies?
The intent is only to torment robots. The moderators should notice soon that you are not a robot, then you won’t have to answer the question, I think.
Personally, I am more a fan of the roller-blade-type wrist protection, the ones with the plastic inserts. As a beginner, the unicycle shoots out from under you; I guarantee you’ll go down on your hands at least once…and it only takes once. Not to scare you. Rather, I want you to feel safe (though as a beginner, you will not look safe to others).
Welcome to the forum!
When I first started learning, my shins got hit by the pedals a couple of times, so I bought some soccer shin guards, but after about a week, I noticed they hadn’t taken a single hit, so I stopped wearing them. They were too hot anyway, and in KL, they would have been even worse.
Other than that, I have never worn any protective gear, though I would if I were practicing high jumps, unispins, etc… stuff you don’t need to worry about right now.
I am not promising you won’t get hurt, but you should be OK if you are careful, and even if you are not, your injuries will almost certainly just be small scrapes and bruises. As long as you find some flat open pavement and stay away from any walls or fences once you have your feet on the pedals, you will almost always land on your feet when you fall off.
Hmm…I think there is no one-size fits all solution and it depends on your attitude to risk, tolerance to pain, preference for feeling free vs feeling padded, most likely age and related bone resilience and lots of other things.
Me, I started a year ago and got all the padding I could get. Didn’t need any of it until last weekend when I came off while practicing the big wheel, couldn’t run it out and managed to bruise my knee (despite KH Percussions), split my thumb where it stuck out from the HillBilly half finger glove, put mayor ruts into my HillBilly wrist protector plastic thingmy (hate to think what that would have looked like on my palms and done to my wrists), bruised and cut my elbow after the 187 Killer Pads dislodged on impact, and put nice abrasions into my backpack when skidding out on the road.
So, for me, as another oldie entering this sport, it is body armour all the time.
Oh God . I hope you recover fast. I will try to find out about the wrist protection thing that skaters use. From some of the videos I see, the wrist guards only protect the wrist, fingers are exposed. By the way, big wheels are how big? 36"?
I can live with some scrapes like song’s experience. :o
As a learner I got pedal bites on my calves a couple of times, fell on my butt once when riding, fell on an uncovered shoulder and scraped a lot of skin off it. So as a beginner, don’t ride without shoulder coverage. Fell onto my hands a few times too.
As someone more experienced now, on a big wheel (36") I recently managed to UPD twice on slippery ground on inclines and declines. Wore very good elbow and forearm protection, really good knee protection, wrist protectors. My wrist protectors are quite scraped up now, but much better than if it was my skin. (The wrist protectors are the ones you get for skateboarders). I always wear a helmet. In my most recent UPD, my backpack took the impact when my unicycle flew over me. (Gravity)… Forearm guard (connected to elbow guard) was covered with dirt. Got a bruise nearly 10cm diameter just above my knee protector where something impacted it. I am so glad I was so covered up though. Ps. My new KH handlebar also ended up very wonky from that UPD. I don’t know what forced that but some metal bent! Must have been quite an impact.
Nooo … its here!! Shipping was really fast. I am definitely not prepared. Its heavier than I imagine it to be.
I have assembled the sucker. Pumped the tires. I tried mounting the unicycle besides a wardrobe in my room barefooted. That was dumb. Had my first fall. Yea. That thing is squirrelly. It wants to shoot off in multiple directions from under me.
I have yet to order the wrist guard.
The tire range is 45 to 75 psi. Right now I have about 70 psi on the tires. Is that too high?
What is shoulder coverage? I think I will not ride bare chested :o. Will have t-shirt on.
Perhaps yes, you might feel more comfortable with lower pressure. Up to you to try. It might be less squirrelly with less pressure. (Or it might just be you)
Put some shoes on. (Perhaps sports shoes).
What you want to do is feel comfortable sitting on it holding a railing. Then go and do some rotations using the railing for support on one side.
When you’re on it, have a slight knee bend at the maximal part of the crank rotation…
I was wearing a dress without sleeves… it also didn’t cover my knees… bad choice. If you are wondering I’m a middle aged woman.
You’re a woman ? I re-read your post and try to visualize it in a womanly context. Wow, you are hardcore!! How heavy is your 36" unicycle?
That is what they do. Welcome to the most difficult but potentially the most rewarding skill you have ever attempted.
The most important factor in learning are persistence and having fun. Take a break if it stops being fun.
The riding style of a beginner is entirely different from an accomplished rider. Experienced riders usually advise how they ride which isn’t what a beginner needs. If you want to watch a video, view someone riding off road as it is much more like the way a beginner needs to ride.
Set the seat high as you dare while still being able to catch a fall to the side before falling too far to save yourself. This will probably be lower than ideal but helps alleviate your fear. Fear is a great inhibitor to learning.
Although the goal is to sit on the saddle you can’t do that until you can keep the wheel fairly precisely under you. Until then, the misaligned downwards force on the saddle will pop the uni out from under you, as you discovered. Put most of your weight on the pedals and grip the saddle between your thighs to keep it in place. (If the saddle is too low you won’t be able to grip it because you thighs move around too much.)
You MUST lean forwards to get moving before pedalling or the wheel moves, leaves you behind and you fall on your arse. This is what happens to most beginners on their first attempt. Then they stop trying and put the uni away forever.
Surprisingly, beginning unicycling isn’t much about balance. The basic principle involves falling forwards and driving the wheel under the fall. This is much like what we do when we walk. Think, put the wheel where you would put your leading foot if you were walking. This allows you to use some established neurological pathways.
With this in mind you must first learn rudimentary steering. Start out by holding onto something like a fence and get the feel for steering the wheel by twisting with the hips against your upper body inertia. This should only take a few minutes.
Do not persist with a wall or fence beyond this skill. Supports prevent you steering into your fall because the wall gets in the way. Or conversely when falling away from the wall you will jump off because you feel insecure without the support. It also tends to make you put the wrong hand out as you fall towards the wall.
Like on a bicycle, as a beginner you cannot ride slowly. Hold onto something, lean a LOT more forwards than you expect then start pedalling to quickly get the wheel under you and the wheel up to speed.
Do not think of riding so much as a balance of forwards and backwards pressure on the pedals. You don’t yet have the reactions for balancing forces on the pedals. You need to concentrate on moving forwards.
The uni is much more stable when the frame leans slightly back. You must lean your upper body slightly forwards to keep your centre of gravity above the contact point of the wheel with the ground. Do not sit up too straight but do not hunch. A little forward lean goes a long way.
Try to adjust the position of your upper body above the wheel at your hips rather than your waist. Don’t hold the saddle as you need your arms to help with the balance. Try to keep your legs moving in line. It complicates balance if your knees are swinging out.
Get used to running out of an emergency dismount. Always step off before you lose control even if you have only travelled a few inches. Develop your falling skills as you go so you are not afraid to fall.
Ideally find a very smooth grassy area with a slight downhill slope. The grass will slow down the tendency for the wheel to fly away while the downhill slope will overcome the resistance to rotation and bias your motion in a forward direction. It is also a lot better to fall on.
Move to a smooth hard surface as soon as you can keep the wheel under you and are comfortable with running out of emergency dismounts. It will suddenly seem a lot easier. Then work towards sitting down. You will not believe the level of effort it takes, especially until you can sit down.
Thank you for the primer. That is a lot to digest. I will remember to lean forward and grip saddle with my thighs when I do my second attempt.
Probably the first daylight ride will be mount/dismount (step through thing) and practice walking away and letting uni/me fall forwards/backwards.