Over developed calf muscles

After a lifetime of cycling (2 wheels), scottish/highland dancing and latterly unicycling, my calf muscles are quite “well developed”. My wife knitted my kilt socks for our wedding with much larger calf bits than were in the original pattern! This has the downside of not leaving much of a gap between them when I’m on my uni, even when I try to use the outside portion of the pedals. On good days, my calves just rub against the frame, squeaking like a little bird undergoing cyclic torture. But on my cross country runs recently, my calves have been painfully abraded by the knobbly tyre itself.

I think it’s about time to get full leg protection, and blow the expense! And blow the heat, as we are currently in a heat wave.

Anyone have any other advice? Or a similar experience?


:astonished: how big are they? they sound immense! :stuck_out_tongue:
i have the KH pads, very hot and sweaty. :stuck_out_tongue:

yep…661 4x4s…hot and sweaty as well, but id rather have that then be cut up and bashed by stuff.

or maybe veggie wraps would work for you?

You may want to try these. I don’t have large calf muscles, but I tend to not keep my feet straight on the pedals. My feet usually are pointing away from unicycle, leaving my heels inside to rub on the cranks.

I use these spacers with my 36" KH. They put the pedal out further from the crank so my heels never rub.

The additional Q-factor is not a good thing, but I was getting so bad that once in a while the crank would knock my heel and push my foot off the pedal. The added Q factor only seems noticeable on slippery pavement; wet, or small gravel, where the wheel tends to want to steer slightly right, or left more with each pedal stroke, but has not been a problem.

The spacers are very strong, there is no feeling that the leverage of the added length will damage cranks, but I would not plan on doing drops with them.

edit: I think I had found them for $29 somewhere on internet.

Here are the less expensive ones:


I have bought three sets from this guy. He also has an even less expensive mild steel extenders.


I have two sets of these and one of the stainless steel.

He is super easy to work with and responds really fast.

I use these and my pedals still rub so I almost always ride with soccer socks. My calves are not super developed I just happen to have calves that are more prominent to the inside.

The pedal extenders sound like a good idea, that and/or cranks with more Q (outward flare). If you simply add the leg armour, it makes your calves effectively wider, which will cause fast wear & tear to the pads.

Pictures, please. :slight_smile:

Thanks, guys, for all the suggestions. I did realise that leg protection would have made the legs bigger, but, as DSchmitt said, I’d rather erode the protectors than the legs. I didn’t know there were such things as pedal extenders. I’ll go to my LBS to see what he can do first, but thanks for the pointers on the net. At least I know what to look for. With 4 unis it could get a bit expensive. I’ll try to get one set and see how it goes.

John… I was really trying to spare you the pictures, but if you really want to see… Everybody else, look away now!

The leg abrasions do not look too bad now but they sure hurt in the shower as I scraped the grit out!



holy crap! they’re massive! :stuck_out_tongue:
I love your muni too :slight_smile: phantom frame?

Yup. It’s a Phantom.

I’ve taken to searching out farm tracks and lanes around Cambridge. “Muni” it isn’t as we have no M’s. So I suppose it’s “XC-uni” instead. I did manage to find a contour line on the map the other day! It can still be quite challenging coping with ruts and puddles. Had quite a good/bad UPD landing on my shoulder in the dirt. The bruises are just about cleared now.


Wow… I’m not sure that wider pedal spacing will help enough, since they’re so far from the problem. Maybe a thinner tire would do more. Another thought, if you are lucky maybe shorter cranks will help get your calf’s out of the range where they rub. Either change takes you closer to a XC-uni, which may fit your terrain better.

Those pedals look small but pictures can be misleading so I’ll let you ponder that one yourself.

Leg armor is a good idea. It will be hot and you will get used to it. IMO it is better to spend money up front for safety gear than pay medical bills and/or suffer pain and recovery after the fact (as I sit here with a broken arm :frowning: )

Ezas - Soccer socks…I was watching the world cup and was eye-ing the socks.
Are they good ankle protection? My ankles are all banged up (but more from bmx racing than uni riding).

:)I have the same pedals!!

Soccer socks come in various thicknesses but tend towards the thin side because they are designed to stretch over soccer shin guards. I use soccer shin guards but with most of my socks I wear them on the outside of my socks. With my calves it can be tough to get the socks over the shin guards. Also by wearing them on the outside of the socks they slip off much easier after riding and getting all sweaty.

I wouldn’t count on soccer socks for anymore protection than you would get from any other sock. But the cloth definitely keeps calf rubbing from being so annoying.

For some reason this reminds me of the Triplets of Belleville

Thank you so much for the feedback on that Ezas… Thinking of ordering these ankle pads instead.


Mine are very similar to that except they extend up in to a cloth covered shinn guard.

None of that shiney plastic like you see on most Soccer shin guards. I got mine for $10 and they work great for just protecting from missed mounts etc. They are black cloth with just a little bit of white printing.

They look like this except they are black with white printing.


Those are cool too. I have separate knee/shin guards so it may not be better but since they are at sports authority I could check them out at a store. Are we helping the thread author anymore or have we just hi-jacked the thread? :wink:

HA - excellent film that. It was called “Belleville Rendezvous” when it was released here.


What’s your height/inseam? What’s your seat height like? When I first started riding muni I had my seat low for stability and hopping but I got bruises on my calves from them rubbing on the frame. And that’s wearing KH leg armor! Once I raised my seat to more of a free style height I didn’t have the same rubbing problem.

Thanks all. I don’t think any of you have hjacked the thread at all. All suggestions are welcome.

I do have footballers’ shin pads that have integral ankle protection. I haven’t worn them much recently as I haven’t been trying to leap around so much. But when I am learning hopping, idling etc (yeah, still :() I tend to wear shin pads (front and back!) and full elbow/wrist/knee protection against the very uncontrolled dismounts that can happen. If I am likely to graze ankles then those special pads are worn. Shin pads on the BACK of the calves are also to protect against pedal bites.

And thick hiking socks have been worn, especially in winter. I don’t like riding on long trousers because of the restriction in leg movement.

To summarise in increasing thickness, heat (and protection) the solutions offered are: 1) thick long socks; 2) shin pads (providing some sideways protection); 3) all round leg protection.

But I think I might try the pedal extenders as well.

Thinking about it, this “problem” might be the result of not having my feet parallel in their rest position. My feet are more comfortable when they are heel-to-heel in a V position. In this way the calves would be together. In trying to counteract this, by making my feet on the pedals to be parallel, the calves may come out from the frame.

Waaalrus… I do have my seat at the “proper height”. I have noticed that street and trials seats are a lot lower, but they would be excruciatingly uncomfortable for distance unicycling. I might be able to go 1/2" higher but I don’t think that would help much.

Lots of things to try. Thanks.