Progression in Learning

I’m curious how the different skills are learned and in what order. I’ve been riding for almost two months and can freemount and ride foward. My turns are still akward and I can’t do a figure 8 unless it’s very large. I’ve been trying to learn how to idle with much difficulties. So I started practicing riding backwards and now all of a sudden I can idle a little.

Skills in the order I learned them

  1. riding foward
  2. free mount
  3. graceful dismount (stopping and dimounting . . . on purpose)

New Skills

  1. riding backwards or idling (whichever comes first)

I would add hopping to new skills to learn but I need a cycle that will hold over 200 lbs and I won’t even try with my Torker.

What order did you guys learn your skills and what are you working on next?

Steve Anderson

Forward figures
Ride off a curb
Ride backwards
Hop up a curb
Seat out front
Seat out back
Idle one-footed
Ride one-footed
Hop in place lots of times
Hop up stairs
One-foot and backward figures
Wheel walk

How much over 200 lbs? You can probably hop on the Torker as long as it’s curb sized hopping. I’ve dropped 12 or 18 inches on a 24" Torker (weaker wheel) and a 20" Torker and I weigh about 180-190. I hop like a little toad on either one of them.

To Harper

I’m about 205. I’ve got enough to work on for now. When I get my new cycle (probably a KH24) I won’t have to worry about bending the axle.
After that will be a cruiser. I’d like to eventually get a Coker although if your hub goes into production I’d be real interested.

Steve Anderson

I tacoed my 24" Torker on a 18" drop. Just some contrast. With a 20 you would be fine.

I’m sure you’ll see the evidence as a few more people post their lists, but I’m confident in saying that it’s going to be generally the same list for everyone, but with individual variations. Some may have learned to ride backwards before they could idle or vice versa. If we start listing mounts then there could be close to infinite variation!

My order (as I can remember):
riding forward
freemounting (standard rollback method)
hopping (weak, rather uncontrolled)
idling (pretty sketchy)

-------- this is where I took a year and a half break from unicycling, as the seatpost/clamp on my Norco wouldn’t hold my weight (200 lbs). Then I bought a 20" Bedford Freestyle (four weeks ago). --------

idling (pretty much as long as I want to)
hopping (controlled, in circles, etc.)
riding off curbs
hopping onto curbs
kick-up mounting
riding down stairs
riding backward
suicide mounting
one-footed idling
larger drops (1’)

working on:
improving all of the above
riding seat in front
riding on stomach
one-footed riding
wheel walking
hopping on wheel

That’s about it for my current situation. In terms of having a uni that can support hopping (I’m 200 lbs.), I’d recommend the Bedford Freestyle ( That said, I have already warped the pedal axles (Darren said this shouldn’t have happened and is sending me a new pair – I purchased some BMX pedals anyway for the wet and snow, which should hold up great). I also twisted a crank a few days back, which Darren said is to be expected when hopping, given my mass (but he’s also sending me a new one those – Darren is pretty amazing!). As for the rim and crank, they seem as solid as, if not more than, this here Canadian Shield.

I’m currently looking at a Profile/Alex wheelset though, so that I can hop, drop and generally play recklessly to my heart’s content.


I think it’s really interesting to see what order people learn things in and particularly what order people choose to do things in. Personally, I love to do trials and muni stuff. I also love freestyle things but I haven’t spent anywhere near as much time doing freestyle practice. I think that as great as freestyle is, I prefer trials and muni because instead of learning set freestyle tricks (or skills), trials and muni seem to have more variation. This is surely different for those people who are really good at freestyle and are making up routines and so on. With the trials and muni practice I’ve done I can now try lots of things like ledges, drops, gaps, etc. in heaps of different situations and places. By the way, it’s come to the stage where I automaticaly see things as trials and muni opportunities.

Anyway, onto my list…

Ride in a straight line
Ride in a curvy line (on purpose:))
Ride off curbes
Ride off smalerl drops (1’ish)
Hop off smaller drops
Hop/ride off bigger drops (2’ish)
Hop up curbes and sets of stairs
Different mounts
Ride backwards
Hop/ride off bigger drops (3’ish - this is where I’m stuck because I start to bend things at this height)
Gap between things
One-footed idling then riding
Riding seat out in front
Riding along narrowish rails, ledges, etc.
Improving still stands
Wheel walking (not very well)
Riding down stairs
Hopping on wheel
Doing still stands on wheel
Riding stomach on seat

When my custom muni is finished I’ll probably do a few more freestyle things but mainly work a lot on dropping, gapping, hopping up to things, riding narrow and raised rails. In particular, I’ll try to work my way up to about 6’ drops. We’ll see.

Well that’s it…I’m sure I missed some things out and got the order a bit wrong but the jist of it is:
Basic stuff
Trials and muni skills
Some freestyle skills
Applying trials/muni skills to different and more difficult situations

Sorry about the long and boring post,
Andrew Carter

Riding Forward
Mounting Left Footed
Dismount Gracefully
Riding off Curbs
Turning either way

Then I took a 29 yr break while I let my weight reach 200 lbs. Joined Memphis Unicycle Club. Its nice to have others to learn from.

Now improving on:
Hopping (pretty long)
Hopping Sideways (12 inches or so)
180 turns either way
Hopping up curbs (I can make it 3 out of 10 times)
Different mounts (left foot, right foot, leg round front, jump)
idling (6-7 pumps is all right now.)

Frustrated by:
Riding backwards
Oh…this list is too long…:frowning:

My checklist of skills:

  1. Riding faster than a speeding bullet.
  2. Leaping tall buildings in a single bound on a Troxel.
  3. Tearing a telephone book in half (while riding).
  4. Catching a bullet between my teeth (while riding on Chicago’s south side).
  5. Nabbing king cobras by the neck while downhilling in Bhutan.
  6. Stopping a speeding locomotive on my Coker with 4½ cranks.

And if I have time after all that, I would probably speed around the world on the Uni.5 stopping and eventually reversing time so that I could find life less than 40 again.


Since everyone has the specifics covered, here’s my very general progression:

1978 -1985 High school/college years. Forward, backward, spins. Didn’t know about skills, tricks, trials, or Muni.

1986-1999 Dormant

2000-2001 started exploring trials, Muni, freestyle and Cokering with 90% time spent on skill levels.

2002 Plateau’d at about skill level 7.5. Now I’m spending 90% of my time on Muni/trials:

For freestyle, I work occasionally on level 8-10 stuff. I’ll probably have one foot backwards, pirouettes, and such down soon. Not sure if I will ever get around to some of the more arcane stuff such as hand wheel walk. I’d rather spend my time working on the following Muni stuff:

4 foot drops and greater, Riding thin rails, 180 on a rail or small object, Gapping, Jump height.

I’d really like to learn that thing that Kris Holm does where he jumps up and rotates the tire 180 to get his strong foot in the right place. Can anyone else do that? It would be incredibly useful in tight trail situations. I just haven’t figured out how to get started practicing this. Basically any trials type skill that will enable me to traverse challenging terrain and I’m there.

My inclination towards Muni over freestyle is that I have access to great trails and trials obstacles in and around New York City. I do not have access to an indoor space. If I had the time and the access to an indoor space, I might spend more time on freestyle. Seems to me that practicing “upper level” skills comes easier when you have a perfectly flat, dry (and preferably smooth, e.g., wood) floor. Doing pirouettes on concrete chews through a tire in no time. Then you’ve got to deal with sticks twigs, and crap on the ground. On the other hand, none of this is an issue with Muni/trials. My two cents


This skill I have down! But I haven’t yet figured out how to recover from it, so I’m still performing it. Any hot tips?

Wow, and I thought I was the only person who tried rolling off curbs as soon as I could aim myself well enough to ride on a sidewalk.

My progression was:

  • Fall
  • Ride
  • Freemount (right foot only)
  • Aim
  • Rolling off curbs
  • Steering
  • Mild off road stuff

Working on:

  • Hopping (I can get about four hops in before I fall over)
  • Still-stands (to try to improve the above)
  • Idling
  • Hill climbing (there’s a super-steep hill right next to my house that I’ve been trying to get all the way up)
  • Suppressing the desire to spend all my money on unicycles


Wow - now that’s tough. I gave up trying to learn that…

Phil, just me

1987 ish
Learned to ride forwards.
Learned to freemount.
Learned to ride simple trails.
Learned slow speed control and tight - ish turns.

Learned to freemount more confidently, and in more circumstances and with either foot.
Learned to idle.

These were my specific goals for the year.

Found out that other people ride unis too. Met some of them. Bought 6 new unis.

Learned in this order:
Hopping holding the seat. Dead easy.
Idle left foot down. Took a few sessions.
Gully plummeting (taught by Arnold the Aardvark!)
Reverse. Came with the idling.
Idle right foot down. Took a little bit longer to get it smooth.
Idle one foot, left foot down. Took only 1 session to learn.
Idle one foot,right foot down. Took a touch longer.
Mounting into one foot idle, or transferring to/from one foot idle.

My main advances have been in confident control of the uni on a variety of surfaces and slopes, and in building up speed and stamina. I’m more interested in ‘skills’ than ‘tricks’ so the one footed stuff etc. is coming slowly.

Rding forwards, left foot, one footed. Still working on it.

Re: Progression in Learning

In article <>,
JonM <> wrote:
)- Hill climbing (there’s a super-steep hill right next to my house that
)I’ve been trying to get all the way up)

One hint I’ve found important on steep hills is to look at the top of the
hill, not at the ground in front of you. You really have a pretty low
gear from a bicycle perspective, so it’s more about keeping your momentum
going than it is about power.

I learnt in this order:
standup riding
hop up curb
front hop (lunge)
180 Hop
hop down stairs
1 foot
And so on…

I can’t really remember the order I learnt (cor, it seems so long ago… almost a year now! :)) but I’ll have a go…

-Falling off
-Very wide corners

This is where I thought (“YEAH, I really can ride the damn thing!”)

  • Dropping off kerbs
  • Idling (while watching lots of Simpsons)
  • Hopping
  • Hopping up kerbs
  • Hopping up a kerb in under a minute (woo!)

This is where I could ride to work (about 2, 3 miles)

  • MUNI!
  • How to get a massive hole in your leg (within 15 minutes of above)
  • Backwards
  • One foot idle
  • Standstills of a few seconds or so
  • Seat in front
  • Pedal grabs
  • Jump mount / suicide mount
  • One unispin (just one; I’ve not done it since)
  • Impressive Faceplants
  • Small flights of steps (6,7 ish)
  • Wheelwalking a few metres
  • Riding one footed
  • Rolling hops up stuff

…and I think that’s where I am now.

Current targets are:

  • Rolling hops HIGHER!
  • Rolling hops down stuff (LOWER!?)
  • Giraffe freemounting (Frustrating!)
  • Wheelwalk better
  • To find a hill so I can say “I’ve been up <Insert Well Known Hill / Mountain Name Here> on a unicycle!”

And I’d love to be able to coast. The other side of campus has a very long but not very steep hill that is just asking to be coasted down…

(Okay, it was longer than I anticipated. Sorry…)

Phil, just me, at the “post quota” for tonight :roll_eyes:

Re: Progression in Learning

On Wed, 04 Dec 2002 20:42:10 GMT, (Tom Holub) wrote:

>One hint I’ve found important on steep hills is to look at the top of the
>hill, not at the ground in front of you.

I’ve also found that this helps. I think it is because you can sustain
the effort of climbing better if you see how long you have to keep at
it. Also it looks more doable if you look up all the way. Hm, I think
these statements hardly work as explanations. But I second Tom’s hint

Klaas Bil

"Assuming Rudolph was in front, there are 40,320 ways to arrange the other eight reindeer. "

now let me think…

eat chips while riding (with mayoniasie and cheese)
kick off weak foot.
roll ciggarete whilst riding.
ride down step.
roling mount
suicide mount
freemount giraffe
bang head off shop canopy whilst riding giraffe.
hop up step
beat off violent gang of idiots armed only with unicycle.
idle one foot on frame
ride seart in front.
crank stall
idle one foot extended.
idle one foot with legs crossed (and light zippo on heel)
jump over double decker bus in a single bound.
grab (to rubber)
kick up mount.
drop 2foot+
static balance
break cranks
live off small amounts of monney untill can afford profiles.
hop on wheel (start and stop on pedals)
wheel walk.
install profile cranks.
show off at skate park.
one foot ww
static balance
ride rails.
be told by david pozantner that its amazing how out of control i can look and yet fail to fall off rails
crank idle

now begining to happen,
one foot ww spare foot extended
stand up hopping
hand ww.
various transitions. between stuff i can already do.

and all the things i missed out.

Re: Progression in Learning

In article <>,
Klaas Bil <> wrote:
)On Wed, 04 Dec 2002 20:42:10 GMT, (Tom Holub) wrote:
)>One hint I’ve found important on steep hills is to look at the top of the
)>hill, not at the ground in front of you.
)I’ve also found that this helps. I think it is because you can sustain
)the effort of climbing better if you see how long you have to keep at
)it. Also it looks more doable if you look up all the way. Hm, I think
)these statements hardly work as explanations. But I second Tom’s hint

When I’m looking at the ground in front of me, my momentum tends to
stall. I think the problem is that my body tries to adjust itself to
perpendicular to the surface if I’m looking at it, so I wind up leaning
back too far.

Re: Progression in Learning

On Wed, 04 Dec 2002 23:38:07 GMT, (Tom Holub) wrote:

>When I’m looking at the ground in front of me, my momentum tends to
>stall. I think the problem is that my body tries to adjust itself to
>perpendicular to the surface if I’m looking at it, so I wind up leaning
>back too far.

Tom, yes you need to be further forward than perpendicular to the
slope. However, you even need to be further forward than true
vertical. The reason for this is explained on
<>. Understanding this effect has
really helped my hill climbing ability.

Klaas Bil

"The dial tone of a normal telephone is in the key of ““F””. "