Riding alignment

Hi All,

At last i can post on this forum! :slight_smile:

I managed to master the basics of uni-cycling this year during lock down and I’ve been going from strength to strength. The one this that frustrates me is it seems my body is twisting to the left in order to keep going straight. It’s not always like this but more often than not it happens and it drives me insane.

All I can think of is that its my dominant left leg causing me to twist in order to keep the control.

Wondered if anyone else out there has similar experiences…

I had this problem a few months after I learned to ride. I think some muscles on your non-dominant side get tired and the sideways posture is a way of compensating. There are other threads about it. It’s a pretty common issue.

I fixed it by learning to ride with both hands on the front of the seat. It feels really awkward but it forces your shoulders to stay square. It took a week or 2 before riding this way felt normal and then the twisting was gone.

Try switching your saddle hand for now if you are using one hand.
Then like aarons said, try to learn how to use both hands for (or one or the other) for different conditions.

Good luck.

Many people get the twist when they are learning or fairly new, it’s pretty normal. One thing to try is to ride on the other side of the street to ride on the opposite slope or camber.

If you can you can try to ride twisted the other way as well, or ride with both hands on the saddle handle, or behind your back. Once you can ride with your hands behind your back your twist will go away.

I have the opposite problem. I noticed I was leaning on the right side 1 or 2 years after learning unicycling.

It bothers me a bit, but I tend to get used to it. I’m not 100% sure where does it come from, but one thing is known: my body isn’t perfectly symmetric and my hip is a bit off by about 1.5cm. :woozy_face:

Welcome here @mrmortar!
There are a lot of factors that could cause this. And trust me I’m an expert on riding twisted… I’ve been doing it on and off for quite a while now. As said, it’ll iron out when you get more proficient and more relaxed when riding. And sometimes it’ll come back for god knows what reason.

I’ve been doing it again recently and remembered talking about it here:

And reading about it there:

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Wow, ok great feedback everyone and reassuring to know its not uncommon.
I had a inkling it may be partly down to the initial stages or riding. I notice its not as bad on my 20" uni but then I find that one easy to control so kind of figures.
When i rode off today from fresh i was fine but as i got into it (I presume as more tired) the twisting came back.
Will try the using two hands approach.
I was worried it might be the result of something else.

Also noticed I have a tendency to ride to the left of the trails too which is annoying me, almost like i’ve got this ingrained sense of keeping to my right of way on UK trails.

I think most people favor one side or the other. After eight years I still turn left more naturally than right. (I’m right-handed, but left is my natural dominant uni side. I mount with my left foot, and tend to hold the handle/use the brake with my left hand.)
Fortunately, like most uni-related issues, the solution is: more riding.
My unicycle mantra (especially learning new skills): “Hours in the saddle.”
Good luck!

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I used to have a similar problem.
Here are 2 distinct reasons that I found and solutions for the imbalance:

1.) I was applying unequal pedal force. Once aware, I consciously “weakened” the power side, until the wobbling lessened and became more stable. Also, I did the opposite which is to “apply more power” to the weakside; however, apply more power to “an already weak and exhausted side” = less coordination. Didn’t work as well.

2.) I was applying unequal “pedal timing”. On my right foot, I was driving down from 12 to 6 o’clock. On my left foot, I was driving from 11 to 5 o’clock. Thus, you can imagine it had the same effect as a car with unbalanced tires. Once, I became aware I focused on my left and right precision.

By the way, if you’ve ever ridden on a “crowned” road or bike trail, you will definitely feel something “weird” with your pedaling. Do not worry, it’s just your body trying to compensate for the road tilt. Let me tell you it can get quite tiring on one side.

@slamdance - Interesting comments, I was kind of aware of pedal force but its really hard to focus on keeping the force through one leg. I’ve been doing lots of really basic trail/bridle way terrain and I don’t think this help with any of this as I go back into auto pilot in order to overcome obstacles. Maybe I need to get on some flat tarmac and do more practicing.

@LanceB - yeah I can certainly appreciate the hours required to overcome the issues. Each time I ride I find one other element becomes more natural.
I normally ride an MTB or Road bike but realised in order to improve I needed to focus more the Unicycle. Trying to ride my Unicycle after doing a road ride my legs were shot and then I was unable to give Unicycling the focus it needed. It’s become the norm for me that if I look outside and its good weather, I choose the Unicycle lol.

Do you find yourself getting more twisted as you ride? I can sometimes “reset” my body position with a hop, or just briefly rising out of the saddle.

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Sometimes yes. Self mounting makes it worse i find because i may not have positioned myself on the seat centrally. I shall persevere and hopefully it all falls into place.

Pedal Precision Exercise:

I call this the “no hands” unicycle riding:

  1. Find a flat hard surface that is fairly long distance a half a mile or longer.
  2. Ride with both hands on your thighs and “try” to go straight.
    a.) You control which way you drift/lean by varying down pressure of each pedal.
    b.) If you drifting to the right, you must “minimize” your right pedaling power…or drive left more.
    c.) You can also apply a little control by “leaning” your body a little bit, but this won’t save you.
    d.) If you get in trouble, just swing your hands up and save it.
    e.) At first, you might maintain straightness for a pedal or two, but keep doing it and you will get better.

This exercise forces all the balance to be generated by your pedaling. Not equal? Fall down.

  1. If you can do this. Next put your hands on your hips.
  2. Too easy? Next put both hands on your front saddle bumper.
  3. No problem? Congratulations! Now buy a saddle handle bar, and enjoy.
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@slamdance where’s the step with the pockets? :eyes:

If you can put your hands in your pockets…or better yet, ride with handcuffs on…then that is a circus act. We will buy tickets to see you do that.

Actually, I know “you advance riders” can all do this…so please, don’t reply back with answers like:
a.) juggling with both hands while riding.
b.) texting on my cellphone while riding.
c.) Holding my laptop and editing my video while riding.

My comment is really to help the beginners understand how improve their pedaling or fix their “twisted riding position” with precision pedaling. So, if this helps any of the beginners out there,…let me know your progress.

One last thing, I forgot to mention for precision pedaling:

Foot placement on both pedals must be ABSOLUTELY THE SAME.
However, if you just free mounted and struggled to get up…it may not be.
You must learn to “slowly wiggle/twist” your feet as you lighten pedal pressure to allow it to shift into proper precision. Also, be careful “looking” down at your pedal. Get used to “feeling” your calves rub against the frame fork, to verify your foot position.

This really affects your pedaling action, because if you are on your toes on one pedal and you are not on the other…then the power and leverage is different…it will FEEL UNEQUAL for sure

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