Proper Non Pushing Leg Weight When Pedaling??

I am new to unicycling and learning on my own. I believe that I have to much weight on both my legs which correlates to not enough on the seat. I can ride 300-500 feet so far, but feel as if my leg that is not pushing down has to have a bit of weight on it or I will upset my balance. At the same time, this weight, or tension, creates an isometric exercise on the leg that should be getting a momentary break and seems to lead to premature fatigue. I am running a marathon in a week and am not in poor physical condition, though I realize running isn’t the same as unicycling. Any advice or education is greatly appreciated!

Your question implicates there is such thing as proper non-pushing leg weight…

I think should be about 0, or -depending how measuring- just the weight of the leg itself where possible.
Otherwise you are standing on the pedals rather than seating on the seat.
That last thing (sit!) is important for beginners; to be able to balance.

Now on a path cobble stones you would want to stand a bit, to not loose your pedals.
But on a equal level perfectly smooth marble surface you shouldn’t.

Some weight on you pedals is normal, however there should be a deadpoint where you should be able to lift or shift your foot without consequence. When cycling in uneven terrain or uphill i tend to put more weight on the pedals to increase control. This is typical for level terrain cycling for beginners as well. At least it was for me.

In the beginning i also used to ride in a bit of a yawing motion, holding the saddle with my legs. While this normal for cornering at low speeds it also puts a strain on your skin and tire.

Maybe some experimentation will speed up learning, try to lean into corners or ride with legs an knees a bit more apart.


One way to see how much weight you are putting on your pedals is to adjust your foot position while riding. If you can lift your foot off the pedal and re-position it on the upstroke, than you’re doing a pretty good job of keeping most of your weight on the seat. (How aggressive your pedal pins are will have a bearing on this.)

It’s called beginner’s rider eneficiency. Every newb goes through it. The fact is that you use so much energy at this beginner’s stage in stabilizing yourself, with your arms, legs, back, in fact, your whole body; that it is hard to lessen pressure off the foot…until effeciency kicks in

As for now, three simple words biginners to abide by.

“More saddle time”



thank you everyone who has, or will be, commenting

I have been riding for less than a year. I have not been particularly good at getting most of my weight onto the seat. I have been focusing a lot of SIF riding and Muni, where weight-on-the-seat applies less. I understand that I will not learn certain techniques, such as one-footed riding and one-footed idling, until I get more of my weight onto the seat.

As a beginner, I my feet hurt from all the pressure I was placing on the pedals. I am guessing this is normal for beginners. Your original post reminded me exactly of my experience as a beginner.

When we stand, the weight of our bodies is on our feet. This is natural. Balancing on our butt is unnatural. Learning to unicycle involves some unnatural techniques. It seems logical to approach learning by starting with what we ‘can’ do well, which is balancing on our feet, then later on, learn how to balance on our rear.

The transition to more weight in the seat will happen, I’m guessing, incrementally. If you try to make it happen all at once, your butt will end up on the pavement! Like the other posters said, “More saddle time.” Good luck!

+2 for what UPD said!

Yup, “more saddle time” applies to me too:D

Today i had an awesome ride on the 36er. Little squirmy and out of balanced at first. I’m sure my legs was trying to figure out the right amount of pressure to apply. Only after sweating profusely after the 25 minute mark, my body kicked into another gear ( sorta speak). Dude, I was on a roll on a huge wheel, bigger than half of me. Ascending and descending, torquing here and torquing there. Rolling thru grassy mud like nothing. I discovered that to practice my balance even further, I took a tennis ball and bounced on the ground to catch it. I’m sure many of you guys know it already. It pretty great because it gets you out of focus on your legs and focusing on catching the ball. So you have to make quick adjustments by your legs arms and hip to catch up to the ball. Just make sure you’ve gotten your fall down to automatic though :roll_eyes:

Then later I went back and picked up my 29er, of which I wasnt crazy about riding before. Relatively the thing feels small now. I had discovered that i can raise it couple of inches higher than before.
Whoa, what a blast I had on it now! Much better control. It felt so light. I am now fine with the 145mm of which I wasnt fond of before. The thinner was fine, though I think I will soon get a 2.5 for it.

So the lesson to my long windedness is…

…dont get too frustrated at self
What you might not like now, youll probably will enjoy later as skill progresses ( viseversa)
Saddle time, saddle time, saddle time.

Darn, now I have three equally favorite size unis, and only one butt…:smiley:
Yeah, to the rights of their own, all possess a unique riding experience, especially with different cranks and tires to play with.

So keep on riding and good luck!!:):wink:

Beginners have a lot of tension in their legs, I think because it allows for more rapid reaction to imbalance if you “pre-tension” those leg muscles. Don’t worry about it, it will automatically go away with more riding experience.

I think (not sure) that I relax each leg on the upstroke, I let it be carried up by the pedal which is powered from the other leg. But if I ride a long uphill, I make a conscious effort to lift my leg on each upstroke using its own muscles. Those muscles otherwise have little use in pedalling, and so the effort of going uphill is distributed more. When I read the title, I thought your question was about this…

Bill, you put it too nicely…
( and, not as they/I can help it)

Yes, for sure, beginners have a lot of tension and “pre-tension” in their leg muscles, however, i dont think it has more rapid reaction to imbalance than to a more seasoned rider. Just an “overly -reaction” to imbalance which causes more muscle fibers to again correct the over imbalance, thus the grotesque inefficiency :roll_eyes: ;):smiley: