poor habits? ((Part 3 of Hopelessness Saga))

Well, I have the potential to be the sucess story of this forum. Two months ago, I learned how to ride a bike at age 16 with the help of these forum members. Two days ago, my first unicycle arrived.

Now, I’ve only had maybe a grand total of an hour and a half of solid practice since I first laid my grubby paws on this thing. But I’ve noticed something about my posture that has been troubling me.

It seems to me that, whenever I watch other newbies riding their unis, or read tips on starting, everyone’s arms are flailing around. I, however, continue to keep a deathgrip on my saddle’s handle. It’s not really for balance–I’ve experimented with not holding on and had similar results–It’s mostly just so I don’t drop the damned thing every five seconds. It’s loud and it looks painful and it’s too much effort to pick it up every time I drop it.

Is it better to just let the thing fly, even if it doesn’t seem to be impeding my learning? Or can I continue to save my uni’s appearance, my eardrums, and my back?

((PS–I’ve also discovered a problem with my “runway”. It’s just long enough [about the length of a truck] to get a good start while touching the fence, but once I get going good, it’s time to either bail out or kiss the siding on my house. Could this set me back on the learning curve?))

Thanks for everything, I owe a lot to your opinions and responses.


Well, everyone always says to ‘let the unicycle fall’ when you’re learning. So I think it would be worth it to just sit on the seat without your hand on the front, and use that arm for balance.

Way back when I learned (30 years ago), I remember trashing the seat of the crappy uni I learned on. It was such an inferior uni that when I upgraded to my Schwinn, it was like riding on something with auto pilot…just so much easier…but I digress.

If you are really worried about your saddle, maybe purchase a cheaper, but not totally uncomfortable saddle, to put on your uni until your bail outs are fewer and less dramatic. I think that maybe you’ll have a shorter learning curve if you’re not worried about trashing a seat…just a thought.


Put socks on your saddle. That will muffle the noise and protect the uni seat.

Quick grab usually works

I went for the “let it fall” method when starting out, and the bumpers on the seat got a bit chewed, but nothing drastic.

Now I’m still not brilliant, but find I can usually grab the seat to hold the uni a split second before the fall. I’t s sort of a reflex action now, so I’m sure you’ll get it.

When I let my nephews learn by using my kids’ unis, I put strips of duct tape on the front and rear bumpers. Several layers thick. But we were out on a pea gravel concrete driveway. Very rough on falling seats. Later, just peeled it off.

The saddle can take it but i totally understand on the lazy front. I learnt with my hand off the saddle and its probli the best way because you need the balance but now i ride with it on just because i CAN! No,really i find it more comfortable mainly because i am a trials and muni rider so i have it on there most of the time anyways. This more then likely made little sense but i can hardly see the screen through my hair as i got it straighten by a girl on campus.

The first thing I learned when trying to ride was how to fall off and land on my feet while holding the saddle. My saddle is chewed up anyway by now, but it would probably have broken months ago if I hadn’t gotten into the habit of catching it. In general therefore, it is better to catch the saddle when falling of, provided you can do so safely. Don’t ride holding the saddle though, as it will greatly hamper your balance.

When I was first learning, I was very self-conscious of people staring at me–so I found a place where no one could see me during those first few “uni-falldown” days. Perhaps you should find a place where you wouldn’t have to worry about making noise if you think the crashing uni is too loud. If the noise bothers your own ears, why not get some earplugs?
The more you uni, the less you crash. The more you crash, the more you land on your feet. The more you land on your feet, the more you grab the unicycle before she hits the ground.
Remember–unlike bikes, unicycles are meant to hit the ground–it is normal for them. My own unicycle must have hit the pavement about a billion times–the seat handles are scuffed up a bit, but she looks more beautiful than ever.
So don’t worry about your unicycle hitting the earth–just launch yourself into the abyss with arms flailing wildly. We all go through it–like young birds tossed from their mother’s nest, we start to fly. Gripping the saddles handle comes later–after your saddle has had enough of hitting the ground, it happens naturally.
good luck!

I took some of your advice and covered my seat in some of my dad’s old tube socks. It looks gusty, but I guess that’s all okay.

I was mostly worried about the noise for two reasons:
1–So far, most of my uni-ing has been done at night (any time between 9 PM and 1 AM) in a small, tight-knit, quiet neighborhood. It’s echo city.
2–Everyone on my street has a dog. Specifically, a small-town dog that isn’t used to strangers making loud noises in the middle of the night. Last night, I had every dog in a mile radius barking and howling at me every time I dropped the damn thing. ((It’s good aversion therapy, though… it really made me focus on not dropping it nearly as much as I might have.))

As for the laziness of picking it up, it’s also painful. Pretty early on, I took a good ass-plant into the pavement, and my right thigh seriously objects to much downward motion, now. Again, great aversion therapy.

However, I have been really concentrating on holding my right arm out instead of strangling my saddle handle. I still have a hard time breaking the instinct to grab it when I’m about to fall off, but at least I’m not riding with my hand welded to the seat.

I still wish I had a longer runway. And I’m also worried about how much I favor my left side over my right. ((I tend to keep the fence to my left, mount with my left foot first somewhere around 5 oclock, cling to the wall till slightly before 7 oclock, and use my bad right leg to start pushing forward. Therefore, my right leg is in a lot of pain, very tired, and I fall to the right and land with all my weight on the right leg, making the pain worse.))

I don’t know what to do. I’m doing pretty well with what I’m doing (making the length of a pickup truck while only touching the fence a few times) as long as I stick with the above method, but if I change this at all, I’m fairly wobbly and unstable. I want to progress and work the kinks out later, but I don’t know if it’s easier to just correct all my errors now, or later, when I have more of the basic foundation down.

Ack. Muscle memory is not my forte.

Thanks again,