My wife sees the kids and I riding, doing Muni, etc…now she wants in on the fun. However, she is a bit apprehensive. She wanted me to ask for some info from members of the board (especially you women riders) based on your experience and any anecdotes you’ve come across.
She’s in her mid 40s and feels it is too late for her in terms of recovering from falls, etc. She’s afraid of really injuring herself.
She wants to know if you are aware of any women who have learned to unicycle in their mid-40s or who have given up because of injury. Also, what was the length of time to learn.
Falling is a greater threat as we get older. Is she athletic? Does she “know how to fall” from other sports like marshal arts or gymnastics? Is she willing to wear wrist guards, knee pads, etc?
I’d be encouraging but protective!
One repeated notion is that it takes 3 times longer to learn to unicycle as it did to learn to ride a bicycle. This can vary with age, motivation, quality of coaching, time on task, etc. The Long Island (NY) guys have special devices that work like training wheels for learning to unicycle. OnOneWheel?
There don’t seem to be many women on this forum, but learning to ride a unicycle definitely does not require extra upper body strength, so I see no reason why being a woman puts her at any disadvantage at all. She also has lots of unicycles and unicyclists around her, so she will have a much easier time than all those people who come here posting beginner questions. Since you guys do muni, she will probably also have access to safety gear if she feels a need for it.
My simple opinion based on me learning this year at age 58 but not a woman. I only fell on my ass twice, every other UPD while learning to ride was simply stepping off the unicycle. I consider myself in fairly good shape so I would say it just comes down to her physical condition at this time. If she is in good condition physically, she will master it easily with her family there to support her.
Not sure how representative I am, as I’m not a woman and I’m in very good physical shape (was still competing in endurance running and biking races when I learned). But I learned to ride when I was 41, all on my own without the help your wife will get. Took me about 2 weeks of practising for half an hour to an hour every day to be able to ride to a basic level. Never had any issues with falling off - I think I fell on my bottom once, on my hands a few times (gloves are recommended - I never wore any other protection when learning, but shin pads are recommended for learning to freemount) but mostly on my feet. Please tell her that she won’t injure herself when learning - especially as she’ll have you there helping, which isn’t something most of us had.
Your wife is definitely not too old! Riding is the most wonderful thing I’ve done for myself in a really, really long time. Be sure to wear safety gear…especially helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and gloves.
Many people say they know how to fall & don’t. A friendsaid when learning insisted he didnt need the rail and could do all his own, didn’t need any of my safety gear, then fell & broke his wrist, & then refused to ever try again.
I’d recomend her to practice falling down some grassy slopes. When I fall I try into roll out of it. I touch first w/ my fingers, allow my palms to hit lightly, lower my body (like doing negative fingertip pushups) roll to the side, hitting my elbow, shoulder, then onto my back. The idea is to spread the impact as much as possible. She should practice so she’s equally good at rolling to both sides almost so that it’s instinct.
Also she should wear lots of pads. When learning new stuff & Muni I wear knee/shin guard’s w/extra padding sown into the knees (661 4x4), elbow/forearm guards (Fox Racing), but pad (661 Bomber Pro), Hillbilly fingerless gloves w/ wrist braces (mine ran a size big), lace up ankle braces, mtb helmet, & a loosly packed backpack works as a back protector. When cruising around town I usually just wear my gloves, ankle braces, helmut & backpack.
Because of all this gear I’ve never had more than a mild twisted knee or ankle & a few mild scrapes. That’s w/ MANY HARD falls.
I started last year with no pads and just a helmet. After a week I bruised my knee and it hurt pretty bad but I didn’t give up. Got several bruises from the seat hitting the back of my leg. Still didn’t give up. I didn’t mind getting hurt a little because the excitement of accomplishing a difficult thing kept me going. Plus I was too bored with jogging for exercise.
When I started trying to free mount I fell badly on my other knee. Some women might have quit then but I just got knee pads and started taking my uni to the rubberized running track at the high school.and within a few weeks I could free mount.
She’s denfinately not too old. I’m older and would like to think that if I can do it anyone can. She just needs to go at her own pace and at least wear knee pads. I’ve never worn elbow or wrist guards.
I learned to ride forward about 50 yards after a week or so of practice for at least 1/2 hour a day. I think everyone should learn at their own pace. It might take longer if she’s worried about getting hurt.
I never learned how to fall and probably wouldn’t have ever done it on purpose.
Landing on my but from a 15’ drop from a jump @ 35mph skiing 16 years ago.
I’ve also notice having a REALLY strong core reduced the frequency & severity of UPDs especially my hip flexors. But I’m probably a special case w/ my paralysis, needing to get other muscles WAY strong to make up for the ones that don’t work.
I won’t go for a MunI ride (what I live for:) ) unless I can do 30 single leg lifts left, right, L, R, L, etc for 30 min w/o rest & not be tired w/ 5 lb per foot ankle weights.
I’m not a woman, but I’m in my 60s, and I fall all the time. (Especially lately, learning to ride backwards – man, that’s hard!) But that’s why I wear gloves, knee pads, elbow pads, helmet, shin guards, and (when riding off-road) ankle braces. Yes, that’s a lot of gear to put on, but it allows me to get right back up after I fall, without (significant) injury. (There are always small dings and scrapes to deal with, but no biggie.) As I often tell people I meet while riding, “the object isn’t to avoid falling, the object is to avoid being injured when you do fall, because falling is guaranteed.”
However, I will say that something about riding a unicycle has to “grab” a person in order for them to stick with it through the early learning and falling period. Something about it makes me want to keep riding, no matter what happens. If bradahj’s wife gets bitten by the “bug,” then she’ll learn no matter what. If not, she probably won’t.
But I would say that pretty much any person in their 40s, male or female, in any kind of reasonably decent physical condition, can learn to ride if sufficiently motivated.
Good luck, and let us know how she does!
I’m a female rider, 37 years old (so a little younger than mid 40s). I learned to ride the unicycle last year. For me, learning to ride a 24" Muni was much easier than learning to ride a 20" unicycle. I also own a 29" Muni wich I love. 24" and 29" are so much more stable for me.
I always wear a helmet, knee/ shin pads and gloves. My biggest problem are my hips. If I practice too much, I have to take a few days off. I have very wide hips, and I guess the unicycle seats don’t match them. But further than that, I really enjoy to Muni.
btw, I always ride off-road. I learned to ride the unicycle off-road too (in the beginning). I love the fact that whenever I fall, I won’t hit concrete :o
She (and I) appreciate all the time and advice you all put into your posts. Thank you.
We all got her on a 20" this morning in the living room. The oldest stood behind her, I was in front and the others were on the sides. She got her pedal positions to “3” and “9” and just rocked back and forth. Suddenly, she went past the balance point and let out a little scream ----- I just smiled remembering the same feeling when I was learning. All the kids thought it was the cutest thing seeing their mom take her first steps in learning to ride.
Anyways. I’m a female rider who begun riding in the age of 48. My (now ex-)husband and our two boys were riding and we were in Switzerland to the Unicon XIII in 2006, the three as competitors and I as non-competitor. Everything looked so fun and cool so I decided to learn to unicycle so I could be a competitor in Unicon XIV.
Therefore I joined the rest of the family and trained once a week in their club. And I am really not a fast learner and at that time not in very good shape. Within 4 months I could ride from one end of the sportshall to the other. The freemount was for me rather hard to learn, but eventually I got it.
As a result, I participated in Unicon XIV in 2008, which was held in Denmark not far from my home, so I could luckily sleep at home and not in a dusty classroom together with 10-15 others - Since then I have been to all Unicons (and won exactly 0 medals), but it is nice to meet unicyclists from all over the world.
Thumbs up! She will learn it, that’s for sure. I’m still riding, and it is a good workout, and fun. I like to ride in the nearby wood. As for injuries, I got some scrapes while learning, but nothing serious. But three years ago I broke my wrist from a backwards UPD in the wood. Only after that I bought some Kris Holm gloves … - I will recommend gloves and kneepads while learning, and helmet for longer trips.
Why shouldn’t she make her own account here?
The keyword for learning in this forum is: Practice, practice, practice.
Tell her, that my personal keyword on top of that is: Patience, patience, patience.
Sanne.Kj I’d add persistance, persistance, persistance
Good job keeping up w/ it So avg an hour/ session, that’s ~ 16 hours total.
The ideal is daily, pref a hour a day. (The total avg is like 14 or 15 hours) When I learned I averaged five days a week, a hour each. It took me two months to learn That’s a total of 40 hrs. I blame my slow learning on my paralysis.
One thing that kept me going is finding new things I could do. Sometimes that was tweaking something like way too low or too much air pressure in the tire then ride the same bit again, when it was too scary to let go of the railing or ride of that curb.
Not a woman, but I learnt to ride 3 1/2 years ago at age 53. Now I’m riding singletrack. Was long distance running before and lots of MTB.
Wedded to my protective gear: gardening gloves, wrist guards, knee guards (Race Face: they don’t slide off when you slide forward on the ground), shin guards when I have spiky pedals. Protective gear is easy to wear and works really well.