Question for other old beginners!

Can I ask those of you who are just ‘beginners’, have only a very basic skills level - forward, left, right, stop, and only learned later in life (after 30) what are you doing/what did you do to try to advance your skill level? I know obviously practise and hours in the saddle count but what things do/did you specifically try out - do you just try to cover distance, aim to master a particular obstacle (a curb, ramp) or particular skill - bunny hopping, etc? Have you found you plateau? I don’t get much time to practise (just an hour or two at weekends) and I am frustrated now by my lack of progress. I find trying new things scary and being in my late 30s my sense of self-preservation seems a bit too well developed!!

I’d love to hear others’ experiences.


Hi tet,
I often think the same thing, oh I’m not improving, I can’t freemount well enough…ect, I then try to shake it off by going to a completely different area to uni, change your enviroment (go and uni next to a kids ramp area… it’s amazing what you can do if you think you’re going to face plant infront of a bunch of teenagers! :slight_smile: ). I think concerntrating on one aspect of riding and the feeling of not progressing…failing to do the thing your trying to do causes you to fail in your head and when you think you’ve failed you have. Go and try something completely different. Watch one of the other guys videos from the forum and learn from them, imagine yourself doing what they are. I have found this a real help, and I hope this helps.
P.S body armour can also give you that extra comfort to try new things .

If you’re only riding a couple of hours a week, then it’ll take you a long time to learn. It only seems like you’re learning slowly because you’re comparing to kids on here who’ll be able to spend 20 hours a week riding.

Once you’ve got freemounting and general riding down, you can do a lot of things with that, without having to develop any new tricks like bunny hopping, one footed etc. Distance riding or muni are great, because you can learn the skills for them just by riding, rather than having to spend hours practicing tricks which is annoying if you have limited time.

The best way to learn to ride well as a person with a proper job and no time is to use a unicycle for your commute, although if you live more than a few miles away, that may be impractical.


My sense of preservation is also well developed, and my sense of immortality is rather scarce.
Even so, I’ve set my own standard such that if I haven’t fallen down at least once, I’m not trying hard enough.

Once I could mount and ride without falling off, I checked the list of tricks and came up with a requirements tree.
Nearly every trick requires idling, so I started with that.
Next, hopping is important to get up on curbs when riding in cities, so I added that to my ‘basic’ goalset. Since I do spend so much time in cities I added dropping off of high curbs and freemounting.

I’ve got most of these skills up to comfortable, if not brilliant, so now I’m aiming for MUni skills.

So, what’s your goal? Transportation, adventure, fame?
Giraffes impress people but aren’t that hard, big wheels go fast, MUni is great adventure. As long as you’re having fun, I say you’re doing it right.

I learned to ride shortly after I turned 50-years-old. I continue to improve slowly but it is good enough for me. Do a variety of riding. I ride a trials unicycle in the city, off-road MUni, freestyle indoors and 29er on neighborhood streets. Keep riding. The more you ride the easier it will become to learn new things. You do have to concentrate and practice on specific skills such as backwards riding, idling, hoping, etc. but the more you ride the easier the skills become. Every time you try a skill, you are one step closer to to being successful.

I understand completely about your “self-preservation” comment. I have not peaked yet and continue to improve enough to maintain my interest. I had a very successful MUni ride over the weekend. It was crazy fun!! I am still not real good at it but I sure had fun.

I have struggled to hop up onto a curb. Now after 3 years, it is finally becoming easier and consistant enough to be deemed successful. My muscle strength, skill level and technique have finally come together on this particular skill.

Keep turning that wheel. As you get stronger and more comfortable with riding, your skill level and your technique will improve.

As a professional trainer my goal is to get youngsters to do better than me as soon as possible.:stuck_out_tongue: (I do not train in uniing!)
So I am philosophical about slow progress as long as I feel pleasure in riding … the only thing I really crave for is rolling hop … anybody willing to teach me rolling hop at UNICON?

Me too and idling, but I’m sure once I master those there will be the next challenge. That’s one of the best things about unicycling, it’s a constant learning curve. I’m a self confessed addict.

Ahhh! I feel much better for reading those responses and they have given me some ideas!

Thanks very much



Search for him, watch his videos, he is in his 50s, I think youll like what you see =p

Riding with other people helps, well it did for me when I started. Get yourself to BUC, a unimeet or just meet other local riders. I learnt loads at my first BUC.

I know that for me, fear of injury keeps me progressing at a very slow rate. At this advanced age we don’t heal as quickly as the younger riders, even from mild sprains or pulled muscles. I tend to really creep up on new skills. I remember learning to hop. I was trying this skill on my 29er and came off to the side, landed on my right foot and twisted my ankle badly. I was off the uni for a couple of weeks and after that the memory of the pain kept me from even trying for a much longer time. I eventually eased back into it but it took quited a bit of time for such a basic skill. I hop pretty well now (albeit still lacking the directional control I’d really like) but it was slow getting to this point. I think the moral of the story is, just keep working at the skills you want. Slow of fast isn’t important, just keep at it.

I knew the active ankles I spent a ton of money on weren’t a frivolous purchase! Sorry you had to go through that. I say buy every piece of protective gear you can fit on your bod.

I too have the fear of injury thing. I tend to bail out when I’m doing stuff for fear of injury, so it takes me a bit longer to get there.

I would give 2 words of advice

  1. Enjoy what you’re doing. If it starts becoming a chore, do something else.

  2. Definately do not (I repeat do not) read the “look what I have accomplished in 2 hours” posts from 12-16 year olds, it will just encourage you to compare your progress to thiers.

One thing that I always think to myself is that I get all the more satisfaction when I can do something after struggling for 3 months than some youngster gets when he/she accomplishes it in half an hour. They will never know what it’s like to strive in this way. :smiley:


I only started unicycling last July. It took me until October, before I could go around the neighborhood. There were weeks in between of little or no apparent progress. Now I’m getting ready for unicycling the Tour de Cure charity ride (160 miles for bicycles!) at the end of next month. What helped me the most is just carving out some time every day to unicycling. Even if it’s just five minutes of freemount attempts per day, that’s much better than waiting until the weekend for a longer (and perhaps more frustrating) practice sessions. It’s safer, too; I think it is easier to fall in the beginning when getting fatigued. After 20 minutes or so, there may not be much more learning benefit. You are subjecting your body to an entirely new set of circumstances and it takes constancy of effort in order to get accustomed to the necessary body english and developing the right feel for balance.

Some other practice activities that did not require much time per day:

  1. Riding the unicycle up and down a hallway in my house a few times
  2. Buying a unicycle for my daughter and learning together (she’s great inspiration and a constant reminder to keep trying)
  3. Keeping the uni by the back door when I’m home and riding across my driveway (~30 feet) a few times when I go out for the newspaper or mail
  4. Keeping the Uni in my car’s trunk and finding a secluded parking lot near work where I can practice on occasion for 20 minutes or so during lunch

My family thought I was going nuts, at first. Now, at least they accept that I am but that this is a much healthier form of mid-life crisis than other activities I could have chosen. Good luck and keep trying.

I like some of the suggestions made. I think riding with others would certainly motivate me but I can’t find any other unicyclists in my area (East Kent, UK). I also think trying to do a little each day or as frequently as possible anyway, would help.

Cathy: your comment about not comparing oneself with the younger forum members is SO true. When I first found this site a read a few threads (those I could understand - I don’t really speak ‘uni’ yet) and thought ‘blimey, I might as well turn it in now’. It was only when I noticed by the style of posts and then the profile info that some of these were teenagers that I eased up a bit on myself.

Another slight hinderance is I am a runner and although I enjoy uni much more than running I am fairly self disciplined about my running as it gives me a lot of fitness and enables me to eat what I like but try riding your uni after a long run !

Anyway, I remain much encouraged by all your suggestions and comments - thanks!


I just ride every night I can with a friend and try different sorts of things. We push each other by having ideas and trying various things and them egging each other on to do the same trick or something similar.
I didn’t really progress much until I started to ride with this friend and more often and in the last 2 months I feel i’ve progressed really well in some areas.

Out of interest, what sort of uni and wheel size are you all riding? I ride a 24" Nimbus and it just occured to me while watching some video clips online that I would probably need a smaller wheel size and may be trials style uni to reasonably attempt some of the more adventurous moves like hopping up and down steps etc. Am I right - 24" maybe a bit on the large size for this kind of thing (clearly I am just looking for an excuse to buy another uni but …)


Children go about it in a fashion older people should learn from. For instance, the element of play. As an adult you are often goal-oriented and hence you have already from the outset planted the seed of failure. Children just play. They don’t think, they don’t plan, they just play.

“Don’t think - just cycle”, is my advice.

I ride a 20" freestyle in the gym and for unihockey, I also most regularly ride a xc 29er and a road 29er. I also have a trials uni and 24" muni, niether of which I ride very much but are there if I want to.

I may not be able to ride them very well but I’m fab at buying unicycles. You don’t need an excuse - it’s only fighting the inevitable.


Sound advice from a one year old.:wink: