Question about downhill gliding

I’ve been making decent progress on two of my unicycle goals for the year (backwards wheel walking and double wheel riding) and even recently started working on another one (bc wheel) but so far haven’t gotten anywhere with my downhill gliding goal. I can one foot wheel walk with either foot and can coast fairly well (100+ foot runs are common). I’m wondering if there’s anything else I can do to work up to it or if I just need to keep practicing it as I’m doing (on a mild decline). The tread in the middle of the shoe of my gliding foot is worn considerably more than my non-gliding shoe so that’s progress of a sort but my runs are very short (5-6 feet). Should I practice on a steeper decline?

5-6 feet is longer than me :smiley: Are you maybe pushing to hard with your braking foot?

That may be part of it. I may not be going fast enough for even the light touch that I imagine I’m imparting to the wheel and should try on a steeper hill. Looking at pictures of downhill gliding I probably need to keep my thighs closer together and maybe experiment with angling my braking foot.


Which one of those girls is you? :slight_smile:

If you’re coasting 100+ feet but not gliding much, there is definitely something wrong. Probably just too much pressure on the tire. For gliding it helps to have a smooth tire, rather than knobby, but it works either way. The way to develop your gliding “touch” is with some one-foot wheel walking, where you let the wheel skid under your foot. Try for a little bit of skid with each push, or several pushes with longer skids/glides every once in a while.

You don’t need to go steeper. Instead I’d recommend going flatter, and working on lightening your foot pressure. If you can get a video together, that will tell us more.

Thanks for the tips! I was using this technique with my left foot when I figured that would be my braking foot but haven’t worked at it as much now that I’m trying to use my right foot for braking. I’ll keep practicing on flat and lightening my touch.

I wanted to update this thread in case people find it in the future searching for tips on gliding. I’ve been practicing gliding 3-5 hours a week since January. I could already one foot wheel walk well. By the time of the previous post in early March I had switched my gliding foot a couple times and figured out the body position I needed to practice in (knees and thighs close together). I switched my foot one more time and practiced solidly from mid March to May 25 when I shot this video (gliding attempts are at around the 4 minute mark):

The video shows glides of a couple feet at most. On May 26 I had a breakthrough and started getting longer glides of 5-10 feet (and longer). Part of the issue may be getting better at getting a good hard push on the tire, but I hadn’t changed anything except get more practice of exactly the same kind I’ve been doing at least since March.

Wow, you really like to put the camera far away! So not many pixels to see what you’re doing. The gliding section of the video would be more accurately labeled 1-foot wheel walk. I couldn’t really make out any gliding. Based on that, the suggestion I can offer is to be willing to fall off more, and stick it out for longer glides. So find your balance, then keep your foot in place; don’t do any more pushes until you’ve gone somewhere. You clearly have the balance skills required, as seen in all your coasting. I never thought of trying to juggle while coasting! Though I have done it on a BC Wheel, based on seeing someone else do it. For some reason it’s easier on the BC.

Which it sounds like you have. Smooth tire and smooth shoe will make it easier to work the fine finesse, but aren’t absolutely necessary. I think Kris Holm learned his with knobbies tires and climbing shoes. But his gliding was very gravity-driven. For flat ground it helps to have smoother surfaces.

Thanks for the feedback, John! Even with the camera that far away I didn’t get the whole length of my coasting runs on camera. Maybe I’ll save my pennies and commission a video from Brian MacKenzie some day. I threw in my gliding attempts just to get a snapshot of my progress, which on that day was a maximum glide of two feet or so, and didn’t feel like moving the camera closer. The very next day I made significant progress beyond what’s shown in the video. The way I look at it is that it’s like washing your car to make it rain. I’m not sure I can make much progress juggling while coasting but thought it might be good practice in the same way I think juggling while wheel walking helped me with that. My BC wheel skills are rudimentary now but I’ll have to check out your hypothesis regarding juggling on that later on.