RE: Quick Q about one foot riding…
> Anyways, I have a quick question… When I try (very loosely used term) to ride
> one footed, I find that my weight as a result of the jerky motion of moving
> the one foot in that way throws me off… What’s the problem…? Is it just
> smooth out the leg motion of the one foot or is it to counteract the balance
The secret to one foot riding is getting the pedaling foot over the top. I guess
that’s not a secret, but that’s the hard part. It takes a nice smooth pedal
stroke, and very light pressure on the pedal as it goes over the top. All your
important input happens on the downstroke (the only time you can accelerate) and
the upstroke (the only time you can slow down).
If you watch a one-footing unicyclist from the side, you will see that the
unicycle bobs front to back as the person pedals. Like the wobble when you pedal
fast, it can be minimized to almost nothing, but I think it’s basically always
there. The wheel moves forward a little bit on the downstroke (in relation to
your center of mass) and back on the upstroke.
The other advice that’s been offered is good. Here’s my input and
variation on it:
Start by learning to idle (rock, hover) with one foot. If you can’t idle (rock,
hover), now’s a good time to learn. it’s a much more important skill than one
footing and I consider it part of the “foundation” of real unicycling. When you
learn this basic one footing, you will see where the foot can apply power, as
well as where it can’t.
Where I differ from one of the previous responders is that you should not learn
to ride one foot from an idle. Though it’s less scary, it’s several times more
difficult than doing it from a ride (IMHO of course). To ride away from a one
foot idle, you have to give a very strong power stroke, followed by a very low
speed pedal-over-the-top. That requires a very light touch that is easier
learned by doing it while riding.
Ride along with one foot doing as much of the work as possible. You will find
you can lift your non-dominant foot as it goes over the top of the pedal stroke.
It’s not doing anything up there anyway. As you get more comfortable doing this,
you can increase the time that foot is off the pedal. The last part left will be
where the pedaling foot goes over the top. You have to keep a real light touch,
and at the same time keep enough pressure to have your foot stay in contact with
At first, most people one-foot with their non-pedaling foot just held above the
pedal, where it’s ready to jump back there if necessary. Once you get more
comfortable doing it, you will find it a lot more comfortable to put the
non-pedaling foot on the fork crown. This allows you to relax that leg. Then
when the pedaling leg gets tired, you can switch!
I highly recommend learning it with the other foot (later). Your non-dominant
side will actually learn it faster than your dominant side did, assuming you
learn the dominant side first. Though I don’t try to do the higher level skills
with either foot, basic one foot riding is something that’s real useful if it
can be done on both sides. When I used to train for racing, I’d always do a lap
of the track with one foot, then another lap of the track with the other. Those
were the days…
In 1988 for the now-defunct Compulsory Artistic competition at UNICON IV, I even
learned to do a backwards figure-8 one footed with each foot. Now that took a
long time! But if I warm up enough, I can still do it.
Stay on top, John Foss, the Uni-Cyclone http://www.unicycling.com
“My uncle John is a Unicyclist. Not a Scientist.” - Austin Miller, age 8