Rail Riding/Stillstand

Rail riding - how the hell do you manage to stay in a still stand that long? I have no problem riding a skiny about 3 or 4 inches wide, but I go relatively fast, so there’s that wheel holding you upright… Whenever I try to ride on the 1.5" side of a 2x4, I can’t get any farther than about two feet and I lose the stillstand.

I’ve been practicing for weeks now, and havn’t seen any improvement. How have all of you gone about developing this skill?

I can only sit in a still stand for about 5 seconds max… I know this isn’t the easiest thing to do, but I can’t figure out why I’m not improving.


practice practice practice. not like i can ride uber small rails but i can hold my own with the group i ride with.

though I’m not good at this either, I think it’s very important to make use of your hands a lot.

Use your hands like a balance stick (if that’s the right word for the stick that guys on the ropes in the circus use), and don’t hold your hands as if you were ‘just’ riding.

that’s just what came to my mind.

I think it’s probably worth having a closer look at how your whole body is moving. Maybe experiment with having both hands out wide, or one on the seat, or arms up high, or low.

I made a little video tutorial on rail riding which can be found at www.unicycle.2ya.com . It may help a little.

I would absolutely love to see Dustin Kelm rail riding. With a 5 minute stillstand he’d be a machine on rails! I can only stillstand 5 seconds or so on average with the odd 10 or 15 second run, but when I’m up on rails I seem to be able ot do a little better, and the wheel isn’t moving all that much side to side (it can’t afford to on the narrow round ones).

There’s about 2min20sec or rail riding in my movie (see my signature) if you’re interested.

I found some beautiful rails to try out around my area…one with a 90 degree turn (2" wide flat rail) and then down a steep bit - I can’t wait to try it! There’s another couple of really nice ones too…a couple with nice corners and another round one.


Thanks markf and wogri.

Andrew, I’ve seen the tips on your (and Peter van Boekhout’s) site… and have watched/stared in awe at your big movie. I can’t figure out how you mount a rail like that… I’ve tried it a bunch of times and immediately fell off… its a lot easier holding on to something/someone, getting my feet on, and then going… thats how I can get a few feet on a 2x4… but getting better at mounting just requires practice.

As to actually riding the rail, I’ll try holding my arms differently, rather than just straight out.

There are a lot of great rails I would love to ride around my area too… the ‘cart corrals’ at Tops have a high 1.5" flat rail around them. There is a really long (probably 75 feet) parking lot divider thats about 2 inches wide that looks awesome… I wish I could go try them.


dustin kelm on the rail lr2 by adam bettcher 2004.jpg

one thing that helped my skinny riding recently was dumpster diving for wood. my roommate and i went out at semester break time in the college we used to attend(graduated) and grabbed all the lumber from lofts and other furnature. We layed some donw/nailed some together and made a 20-ish foot long skinny. its only about 4 inches high, but we built a little ramp up to it out of a random 2x4. that helps a ton. no mounting on a skinny, no hopping and riding transfer to worry about, just get set, ride a slight incline go.

my advice is build some skinnies, some ramps, and then practice practice practice

Thanks Dustin, that’s a huge crowd!


I’m also in the ongoing process of developing this skill, and I’ve found the most helpful thing to be substituting idles for still stands. Every time I’m out riding and have to wait for a street light for example, I’ll try to hit a still stand. It’s all about adjusting the weight of your body over the uni rather than moving the uni under your body. It’s very delicate and takes awile to get the hang of, but when you can maintain that balance point it feels really good.