Questions RE: children unicyclist

Two of my children have recently (within the last 2 months) learned to ride the unicycle. Our school does a circus yearly and their P. E. teacher has really been great at getting them excited about the unicycle. They are 9 and 7 years of age. Our 9 year old just picked up the giraffe too, she is amazing. Does anyone have riders this young? I also have a 4 year old that is very interested in learning. We don’t have a unicycle that is small enough for him. He is fairly small (41 inches tall, with a 17 inch inseam). Are there unicycles made that would be small enough for him? The little bit of searching I’ve done, I’ve only found ones that have a minimum height of 4 feet.

Thank you!

Congratulations on your riders.

My youngest launched right before she turned 6 and was a rider shortly after. She is petite and started on a 16" Torker/Unistar CX.

Unicycles are measured by tire size. Sun makes a 12" and there are 14" too but not as common.

Another thing to consider is even on a 16" the standard seat post may not allow the seat to go all the way down to the top of the seat tube. Sometimes cutting the seat post so it goes lower will get it to fit for shorter legs.

I’d measure a 16" for you but I just remembered all my 16" club uni’s and Abby’s too are out on loan. (Yea, that means kids are learning on them!)

Where do you live? If your local bike shop has unicycles you can measure one. Measure from the top of the pedal in its lowest position to the top of the seat. Also go to unicycle.com and check out their beginner series.

Keep us posted.

Congrats to you!

My 7 year old daughter is very good; can free mount and ride indefinitely without falling on smooth surfaces. (Muni is next.)

My 5 year old son rides ok, but still uses the walls and couch to circumnavigate the house.

Thank you Steve

Thank you for you time and information. I’ll check out those ideas. We live in Silverdale, Washington. How do you find out about area clubs?

Deanne

I am 14, I have no kids lol. I was wondering with all these parents who teached there kids how to ride unicycles, did they teach them how to ride a unicycle before they learned how to ride a normal bike? I have heard that if you learn how to ride a unicycle before you learn how to ride a bike the learning process is much easier, is this true? Thats very impressive to hear that 7 year olds can ride unicycles, my little sis is 7 and she just learned how ride a bicycle. I wish I could have learned how to ride a unicycle when I was that young. But my father used to be a pro bike racer so I learned how to ride a bicycle when I was 3 and a half.

Silverdale Cyclery carries Torkers but I don’t know their current selection.

Harvy’s bike shop in Lynnwood has lots of unicycles in stock, including a 12".

Harvy’s Bike Shop
19920 Hwy 99 Suite C
Lynnwood, WA

(425) 774-8951

Their “sticker price” is often high so go in prepared on what it is really worth. Ask for the club price.

Most of the Puget Sound unicycle programs are school based. The Uniques are a non-school club based in the Lynnwood area. We practice on Tuesday evenings.

I got to head out for Baseball. More later.

Congratulations on the young riders, it’s such a rush to watch them go, isn’t it? I’ve got a 7-year-old and 5-year-old who both ride. My 7-year-old is freemounting and doing small trials stuff (little ramp to a platform about 4" off the ground and then off the edge), my 5-year-old is getting some long-ish rides in (100ft. or so), and mounts assisted still. She doesn’t know how to ride a bike yet…seems as though learning the unicycle has been good for her because of the low speed and the immediate balance correction (unlike a bike which she has to go faster on and can’t correct balance as quickly on). I have a 4-year-old who is interested in doing what her sisters are having so much fun doing. Today the local club (newly formed by Billham…25-plus riders at times) is having its first show at the church where we practice. My girls are quite small, and we had to cut the seat posts for their unicycles (16" Torker CX’s), but that seemed to make them fit perfectly. Have fun!!

–Bob

My 5 year old son wanted to ride a uni also. His inseam was somewhere around 17". I ended up getting the Sun 12" http://www.unicycle.com/shopping/shopexd.asp?id=644 and then cutting down the seat tube (this is the part that the seat tube slides into) then cutting a slot and putting on another quick release.

It was then the right size for him to fit on. If that is confusing, and you’re interested in doing that modification. E-mail me or PM me and I can probably explain a little better what to do.

I highly recommend you aim for a 16" wheel if possible. A 12" will be outgrown very quickly, and they tend to be awfully wide for their height. Pedals hit the ground with very little lean, etc. A 16", even if it starts out a tad tall, will see lots more use.

I highly doubt it. Though you would have less to unlearn, you would have a lot more to learn. For the average person learning, the goal is to translate the already-familiar motion of turning pedals to replace your foot motion in walking.

It’s like learning to drive on a manual shift car instead of an automatic. Sure, that’s how everybody used to learn, but it’s much easier to learn the steering, braking, traffic part, and later add in the clutch and shifting part.

Re: Questions RE: children unicyclist

On Sat, 30 Apr 2005 12:20:33 -0500, “mom3” wrote:

>Does anyone have riders this young?

My daughters learned at age 9 and 11, so a tad older than yours. In
those days, we went to a club frequently where the youngest riders
were about 6. I have read that the youngest person witnessed to have
unicycled across a stage was a mere 18 months old!

On Sat, 30 Apr 2005 13:52:16 -0500, “One on one” wrote:

>and then cutting
>down the seat tube (this is the part that the seat tube slides into)

One on one means to say here:

“and then cutting down the seat tube (this is the part that the seat
POST slides into)”.

You might benefit from my “Tips for beginners” page at
<http://www.xs4all.nl/~klaasbil/uni_beginners.htm>. If anything, the
Word document will clarify the terms seat post and seat tube for you.
Good luck!

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“When it comes to the family jewels, you won’t be having fun until they’re having fun. - Jake D”

Back from baseball, man was that a long game. :roll_eyes:

I agree going for a 16". If he fits, it will give you the most longevity before having to get another uni.

Our local Brier Elementary has a unicycle program with mostly 16’s and 20’s. They also have one 14"; the PE teacher says he thinks some kids actually learn faster on the 14". But they do move up to the larger wheels right away.

As for area clubs. There seems to be a lot of school based programs in the greater Puget Sound area but the communication between them is often little to non-existent.

North Bend Elementary has a very good program. They recently hosted a workshop day that drew about 150 riders. It was advertised through a regional PE teacher gathering and through this site. Hopefully we’ll continue to do regional stuff once or twice a year.

Another is Sultan Elementary. They network with the Seattle Hill/Maltby/Hidden Creek area and do a uni day in May but even that is by invitation.

If you ever want to come across the sound to visit the Uniques send me a PM (Private Message, click the button at the bottom of this post).

Last time I stopped by Silverdale Cyclery they told me they sell about 100 unicycles a year. With that volume Kitsap should look into organizing a year-round club!

What school in Central Kitsap do your kids go to? I used to go to Emerald Hights over there in Silverdale. I know that Mr. Eckland and also Gayle Smith have unicycle clubs going on in their schools. They both team up and do a parade in the summer, also. (I’ll be there!) Darnit, you just missed a big convention in North Bend, but I’m sure they’ll have others. I live in Port Orchard. About the unicycle small enough, I would say if you cut down a 16" uni, it would work. Hope to see you sometime!

Tyler Cox, 11 years old
Port Orchard, WA

I agree that a 16" wheel is a much better choice for the above reasons, but, a child with a 17" inseam doesn’t have the option of riding a 16" unicycle. It can’t be cut down that far to make it work. So the 12" is the only option if Mom3 wants her son to have a unicycle at this time.

Thank you Klass Bil for correcting that.

The Memphis Unicycle Club has 2 boys (not related) who learned at about ages 5 and 7. I think they are 6 and 8 now.

The younger boy learned to ride on a 20-inch. It looks like he is riding a coker :slight_smile: . His brother and father both ride.

The older boy learned to ride on a 16-inch. He is the only one in his family who rides. He wanted to learn and his parents supported him. Now his dad is learning.

Both boys took a long time to learn. About 6 months. However, both boys stayed with it and now both ride proficiently for long distances. They were the unicycle stars in 2 parades this past December.

Hi,

my older son learned unicycling at the age of 6 and the younger started with it when 7. They both learned on 16" unis. My daughter learned at the age of ten and she started on a 20" uni.

As someone noticed before, I also see that small children learn faster on unis that are not too big for them.

I would aim for an 16" uni too. And I believe that this should be possible with an inseam of 17"!

Don’t forget to put on short cranks, because this reduces the needed leg length as well.

Secondly, wearing shoes with thick soles increase the total leg length!

If you add up

  • half the wheel size --> 8"
  • crank length 3.5"
  • tyre clearance --> 0.5"
  • frame tube --> 3"
  • thin saddle --> 2.0"
  • this all adds up to --> 17"

HTH

Cheers,
Franz

Great news for all you parents who have gotten your kids to ride!

I am bummed and jealous. I “live” Muni and trials. I watch the vids regularly and there is a 12" sitting in the garage ready to ride. No takers:( I have a just turned 7 year old and 5 year old boys.

I guess there is hope - one of these days.

Cheers

My son, Tio, started to ride at just over 3 years old, but it wasn’t until he was 4 before he could ride unassisted. His first uni was a 12" with a cut-down frame (where the seat post enters) as he couldn’t quite reach the pedals. Shortening the cranks also helped (thank you Roger). At 4 1/2 years old he rode 1km non-stop on his 12". He’s now 5 1/2 and has moved up to a 16" uni which should keep him going for a few more years. The hardest thing he’s found to do so far is to free-mount. It was only this past weekend that he’s finally managed to get on unassisted. It’s great to think I don’t have to follow him around the street anymore - I can just ride with him instead.

Tio learnt to ride his uni well before he could ride a bike without it’s stabilisers fitted. When the day finally came to take his stabilisers off, he actually rode his two-wheeler without any problems what-so-ever. I’m convinced that the balance/coordination side of unicycling had helped him in riding his bike. To this day he spends 95% of his time on one wheel as opposed to two.

Tio has a younger brother, Zak, who is 1 1/2 years old!! He is a big 1 1/2 year old though… Hmmmmmm…

Thanks to all!

Wow, just wanted to say thank you to all who have been so helpful, with all of your interesting responses. I’m really impressed that I was able to get to much helpful advise from so many people.

To Tylercox, my children actually attend Christ The King Accademy in Poulsbo. The PE teacher there is great. We do have some neighbor friends that attend Cougar Valley elementary that learned unicycling through the school, and I know there are several school around that do circus clubs.

I also got and e-mail response from Pat Davison, thought you all might like to read his response:

“My daughter rides a 12” wheel. It was made by Tom Miller of The Unicycle Factory in Kokomo, IN. I believe he is easy to find on the internet…I don’t have his number handy.

He had several small ones that he had cut down from adult size frames. I don’t know if he has anymore right now, but I do know that he will make anything you can imagine. Highly recommended!

Our daughter, Mabelle, learned to ride at age 3-1/2, and she rode in a show for the first time on the day after her 4th birthday."

Thanks again!!