Opinions on this safety equipment for me

I haven’t wanted to go outside with my uni since the only safety gear I have is a helmet. I have searched and read a lot about what to buy and have so this is what I have come up with considering the facts that I am 52, overweight, have busted my wrists, and a newbie.
In my cart at 661, I have:
4x4 knee/shin large
DJ Elbow
wrist wraps.

Views/opinions welcome

A helmet and some good wrist guards are the most important things you should have.

I don’t think the shin, knee and elbow pads are as critical at this point but I am sure they will protect you from some scrapes.

Yeah, for a newbie, wrists and helmet seems to be all you want (as a club president who has seen many many newbies)

you don’t really get into the elbows and knees or shins until you get good and start doing stupid stuff.

However…any safety equipment worn will always be in the right place if you need it

I’d say wrists and leg guards, helmets seem to come in useful less often, but many people ride outside without wearing any kind of protective equipment. Some sites offer the 661 4x4 and the 2x2 (arm equivalent) as a package, which i would imagine is cheaper than buying two seperate brands. You only really need elbow pads if you’re going to be riding the most hardcore Muni and trials, sure you could fall on your elbow riding down the street, but if you’re going to take that approach to everything then you’ll end up looking like the Michelin man under all that padding. Remember, when it comes down to it, you’re going slower than if you went for a jog and probably alot more carefully it only seems risky because you’re not used to it.

I see people fall backwards, land on their back, and hit (in some cases CRACK) their helmet all the time.

(by all the time, I mean at least 5, your call)

The problem is not risk, but risk assessment, and a culture that is being hamstrung by risk aversion.

It is very unlikely that you will hit your head on the floor if riding in a normal manner (i.e. no jumps and drops) away from traffic. I can’t remember the last time my head hit the floor (but that could be why!)

However, the consequences of hitting your head on the floor could range from a nasty bruise to paralysis or death. So a helmet is a good idea for many types of riding. I almost always wear one.

My worst ever injury was a big cut to my chin (7 stitches), and I now wear a full face BMX helmet for what I pathetically try to pass off as MUni riding.

Wrist guards will prevent more injuries than any other piece of safety equipment - I’ve relied on mine several times in a day. Even on “safe riding” (road and easy trail) I wear at least a pair of cycling gloves to protect my palms.

Knees and elbows? Shins? Wedding tackle? Ankles? Eyes? You could go out dressed up like Robocop and still get squashed by an unexpected steamroller. All protective gear has its place, but don’t simply subscribe unquestioningly to the modern dictate of making everything so safe that it’s too much trouble to do it. Otherwise, you’ll sit safely on the sofa until you keel over.

You mentioned wrist wraps. I’m not sure what that is, but make sure you have a pair of wristguards with some kind of splints (hard plastic skids) in them. That’s the primary place to protect for beginner riding.

The helmet is fairly optional at this point, but it won’t hurt you to wear it.

After wrists/hands, the next most at-risk area for an adult learning to ride is either knees or shins. Knees for if you fall down, and shins for if you take the wrong foot off the pedal first (slamming a pedal into your shin).

With all thse posts that are going on, don’t forget to get some riding/practicing in.

Notes: Yes, your wheel will want to stop with one pedal down. This is a standard part of the learning process. Try to never stop there. Practice riding in nothing less than complete half-turns of the wheel, from horizontal cranks to horizontal cranks. Don’t stop in the dead spot, and don’t waste time with smaller wheel movements. Learning to ride is the process of understanding the vehicle when it’s in motion so find a good fence or similar thing to hold onto, and start rolling along it! :slight_smile:

Thanks guys for your help. I am changing my order for wrist-wraps or wrist-guards (661 calls them wraps and they have the inserts.
Well, my wife just came in the room and saw what I was writing and she wants me to order everything! :wink:
I suppose when the boss speaks …take heed :wink:

Thanks John on that bit about horizontal to horizontal 1/2 crank cycle.
I will work on that.

Thanks everybody for input. I really appreciate it since I am basically alone in this.

safety gear

I restarted riding several months ago and was doing really well until one day… I was “standing up” to adjust my “boys” and went off the back hard. In this minor gravity downburst I accelerated at precisely 32 ft per second squared and hit hard on wrist, forearm, elbow, back, and (nearly) head. Had never gone down this hard or fast in all the time I had ridden. The unicycle rocketed away about 30 ft. Jammed a wrist bad, elbow took a glancing blow–rest of me okay.

Was out of town for two weeks, couldn’t ride. Came home to read about our friend who “powdered” his elbow and decided I was going to wear more than just a helmet from now on.

When I returned I wore the hard brace I got for the injury “just in case” and found some soft elbow pads to wear. Rode for several days and as I tried to maneuver to head home after seeing lightning–I went off the back again. Not as bad, not as hard…but same wrist, and same elbow (this time protected). I won’t ride again without them. Despite the fact that I was still recovering from a previous injury, I came away virtually unscathed (although my wrist complained a bit). The stuff works!

I’ll wear it again tonight as I go for another ride. Absolutely helmet and wrist guards–always for me, and likely the same for elbow pads–mostly because of that heartbreaking story that was recently posted.

I’m 54 and 150 lbs.

All the best.


my 2 cents. I wear a helmet, 661 4x4s, full finger mountain bike gloves, and good hiking boots. My UPDs tend to be fairly mild and for the most part I land on my feet and run out of 90% of them. The helmets because I cherish my head and the brain inside of it. The 4 x 4s because when I do hit the ground I tend to hit legs first, knees or shins. Gloves because sometimes I grab trees to stabilize an otherwise out of control ride, or I fall and put my hands down for initial contact with the ground and then try to roll out of it. And good leather hiking boots because I tend to land on my feet and run out of most falls, sometimes down hills or rocky sections and these boots tend to give my feet good support and protect my ankles from twisting.

And I love the fact that you are a fat old boy and you are out there doing something about it. You may not suddenly become a skinny young boy but you not wasting your life on a couch feeling sorry for yourself! Right on man, work hard and learn to ride, it’s an amazing thing to accomplish!

The only thing that will garuntee you never get hurt, and it also enables calorie burning like nothing else…

A unicycle costing over $700.

(is she still reading over your shoulder?)

PS…All of the head-hitting-the-floor incidents I have seen have been from beginners learning to ride.

I am doing street riding and trials and have not need shin guards yet until I hopped onto a couple of stacked cinderblocks, and my shins hit the edges and it felt awful, but just for riding they aren’t necessary at all, and a helmet may not be necessary but the thought of me drooling on a bed in a hospital makes me wear one.

i think the most important thing you need do is not worry about falling off, its this mindset that gets you hurt and/or stops your progression. its gonna happen whether you like it or not, its part of learning. setting small goals while learning is what most people do, which makes hurting yourself very minimal. it only gets dangerous when you venture too far beyond your ability.

its all a mindset

balls? what balls?

Get on grass and learn to fall on your feet, then go to pavement


i can’t imagine learning to ride with full leg armor. maybe some soccer shin guards at the most. wear the wrist guards when learning, and maybe the elbow pads if you’re worried. save the 4x4’s for later. my old man is 50 and not very athletic but he recently learned without ever wearing any type of protective gear.

That’s great. Wish she could have seen this before I had to order all the extra stuff .
The coker that I dream about is in your price range :wink:

Well, after first calling 2 LBS and Walmart, I had to order something and that is what I was looking at when my wife came in the room. I couldn’t believe the lbs’s didn’t carry anything. Oh well.
The lawn around here is probably harder than pavement. It is very hard and has about 2 inch ruts down the length of it. Lawn was mowed the same direction for years :frowning:
I found out how much quicker the wheel moves on concrete compared to carpet :wink: Took it out on the sidewalk, and people would have had a great laugh watching. Literally loosened a handrail when I grabbed it.
Wonder what tomorrow holds for me :wink:
Thanks for all the comments, ideas, help, etc. Enjoyed it all.

me (soon 57) with complete protective gear:

this is a “robocop” gear …
my main problems:

  • other unicylists may poke fun at me
  • the moment I take one off is the place where I get hurt (I should meet with a “mental trainer”)

now as a beginner I falled backwards and hurt my head on concrete (that made an eerie sound!) -> helmet ever since
hurt my wrists -> wrists protections (broke one pair)
falled backwards again on 29"-> forearms protections
pedal pins (bad scars) -> 4x4
broke my Achille’s tendon -> protections for the back of the leg

the funny thing is I can ski like mad and almost never get hurt but uni seems to be fatal to me (again may need the help of an headshrinker)

oh no u’re not

keep us posted on your progress

When I first started I did not wear any safety gear…because I don’t think this forum existed with all the tips and what I liked about unicycling was the freedom. I then fell on my wrists and thought, I have some old roller blade wrist guards somewhere, so that was it, I started wearing wrist guards.

Sometime later I fell off totally unexpectedly and really hurt my knee and took a lot of skin off. I then thought… I have some old roller blade knee guards somewhere, so started using them as well.

Sometime later, I was telling a friend that I could ride in the bush. He said “Of course you wear a helmet” and I thought…Ihmmm…I have an old bike helmet somewhere, so I started using it as well.
It came in handy once when I was learning how to jump and ended up on my back and hit my head on the ground.

Sometime later, also learning how to jump, I lost the plot and fell on my coccyx. Hmm I thought, I had already broken it a few times from other sports…“maybe I should wear padded shorts” so I got some 661 bomber shorts and wear them on the outside of my cycling pants (that’s another story). They have been very useful I must admit as they protect the thighs as well.

Sometime later, when I was learning to do “trials sort of stuff” I ripped my shins badly (not the first time, I must admit. Hmmm I thought "maybe I should get some 661 knee and shin guards.

Sometime later I read on a forum about someone smashing an elbow and recommending elbow guards. Hmmm I thought, I better get some.

On the 2005 KHs I seem to bash my ankles…Hmmm 661 Dualies

There is a moral to this story. What started out as total freedom, now takes forever to get organised to go for a ride, and doesn’t feel like total freedom, but like wearing a spacesuit.

Two things have happened, I have learned skills because I am not that afraid of falling off, and now occasionally I go for safer ride just wearing wrist guards, just for fun.