one foot idling...

So I’m finally committing to learn one foot idling, then one foot riding. I’ve been practicing next to a wall, kind of hanging on while getting my balance to put my foot up on the crown, then a few rocks back and forth and I can usually let go of the wall do a few unsupported one foot idles. It all feels very sketchy to me, especially getting my foot to the crown, but I’m just forcing myself to do it over and over again hoping it begins to feel more stable. I feel like I’m on the right track. I thought initially I wouldn’t want to put my foot on the crown, but after trying it, it feels way more stable that way.

But I have a question to the people who can do it. When do you put your foot on the crown? The most stable position to me feels like when the other foot is in the 6 O’clock position, but the problem is from there it’s really hard to begin. Most of the time I do it with my foot in front at the 3 o’clock, this is the easiest to get started from, but just feels unnatural. I guess I’m still trying to find my balance point.

How do you go into one footed idling ? Do you start first 2 footed idling, or do begin 1 footed idling from the get go.

Thanks in advance.

ditch the wall

I just learned this skill a few months ago myself. I start with two-foot idling. Then I put less and less weight on the top foot until it is barely touching the pedal. Then I can remove the foot and put it up on the crown. I strongly recommend ditching the wall. Once you learn to one-foot idle you can practice moving your unicycle left and right while idling with one-foot. I improved more by practicing that skill than by simply idling.

I agree with not using the wall as well as putting your foot on the crown. If your foot is planted it will help generate the movement of the idle.

I learnt to ride one foot ride before I learnt to one foot idle. Riding is easier than idling so I think it’s the same when doing it one footed. I find they both come a lot quicker if one foot riding is learnt first. It’s as easy as riding and taking your foot off. You’ll fall off at first but after a little while it will come to you. The fist few pedals will be the hardest. I wouldn’t worry about putting your foot on the frame until you fell comfortable enough to do so.

Attach the concave curvature of your shoe’s sole to the upper tube of your frame. That allows you more control over your unicycle with the non-idling foot. This is the most stable foot position.

I made a little ugly sketch:

Idling one foot with the free foot not on the crown is much more difficult. The free leg has to be as stiff as possible. Cause if it is not, then it is an additional pendulum that destabilizes you.

As you noticed - if you start with your pedal at 6 o’clock you are toast. This is true of most uni skills except some mounts.

Generally start with two foot idles, then when your front foot is pushing down during the idle the back foot comes up and off the pedal and onto the crown. Some people find it easier to rest the free foot on the side of the fork instead of the crown but whatever works for you.

For many it’s hard at first to get your free foot up high enough to rest on the crown. This is even harder with larger wheels. It will eventually become natural as your muscles practice the movement. Also, I find with one foot idles my pedals go from nearly 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock with a micro pause during the transitions. With two foot idles I keep the pedals more at 4 o’clock to 8 o’clock.

Since we are both “near Seattle” we should get together some time!

  1. Learn to be 100% confident at conventional idling. relying almost exclusively on your bottom foot.

  2. Look at a fixed point about 20 metres away.

  3. Think of the uni as moving between two specific points, rather than just backwards and forwards.

  4. Think of the uni as a pendulum, and your head as the pivot.

Thanks everyone. After watching videos of people doing it over and over again I guess I need to figure out how to transition my foot off from two foot idling to one. If I set myself up with my foot on the crown I was surprised that I could actually one foot idle up to 10 times without touching a wall. As soon as I figure out how to get my foot off the pedal I’ll have it.

My trials uni (the one I’ve been practicing on) is kind of short for me (good for trials, but on the short side for freestyle), I know thats not helping make it easier. I’ve got a long neck on the way, but I’ll probably have figured it out by then.

Yeah Kenny, I could probably use some actual social interaction. I’ve been meaning to join up with you guys in North Bend, but it’s soooo far from Bellevue :stuck_out_tongue:

When I first learned to idle on my left foot, it was helpful to press the frame back with my (parked) right foot, then let the frame swing forward, but later my left leg got so it was doing pretty much all the work. Now that I’m learning on my right foot, pressing back with the parked foot is again helpful.

The first times I idled on one foot without a wall, I did not start from a two-footed idle, but from a rollback mount. To me, one-footed riding seems more distant from one-footed idling than you might expect. A post by John Foss from many years ago says that going from an idle into a one-footed ride is much more difficult than just suddenly parking a foot while riding with two feet. In any case, I still haven’t ever ridden on one foot, but I suppose it’s the next step.

Well I’ve unlocked the mystery. I pulled a couple of them off. It was easier than I thought it would be, they are not pretty, but I have something to go on now. I had been focusing on the wrong foot, I would keep my mind on the foot I needed to move… That didn’t work, when I began focusing on the idling foot, it totally clicked. I move my foot when my idling foot is getting to the 9 o’clock position, feels pretty stable.

Thanks again. Been awhile since I learned something new, feels great!

I learnt to idle normally, and one footed came pretty quickly after. I think, as you found, it just needs to click in your mind and then you can do it pretty well.

One foot riding was pretty difficult for me at first, and I still haven’t mastered it. Knowing how to one foot idle definitely helped.


Yesterday I was out practicing in the intersection near my house, I was 1 foot idling and began to draw an audience… It felt good. Cars would slow down to watch me, one even stopped in the middle of the street for a minute or two. I can usually idle with one foot for 20 -30 times and it feels rock solid, it’s kind of strange to think a week ago I couldn’t do it. The last little bit is giving me a fair amount of trouble and thats getting back to the crank to ride out of it, I’m sure it’ll come with more practice, but I never thought that would be giving me trouble :stuck_out_tongue:

I guess it’s onto 1 footed riding now…

^ Can you one foot idle on uneven slightly bumpy surfaces?

Not sure if I could do that. The street where I’m doing it is nice and smooth, not like a gym floor, but like a nice smooth street.

Yeah I was wondering if it would be [too] difficult on an uneven road. I’ve seen plenty of videos of people doing it on even roads but don’t recall seeing someone do it as mentioned. I’ll try it once I learn the skill as well, you have gotten me interested in learning it.

Yes, with practice it’s possible to idle and ride 1-footed on some pretty rough ground. Like dirt trails or bad pavement.