Techniques to think about/apply when trying backwards:
1.) Just like when first learning to ride forwards put heavy emphasis on the “down stroke” of the pedal, but at same time “resist” with the other foot.
So, when going backwards pay attention to the down stroke foot. Try to feel the pedal push away slowly almost in a straight horizontal line(i know it’s rotation…but try). It should “feel like” a second point of balance on the ground. Again, don’t forget the other foot, top pedal foot. Resist. It is coming over the top at 12 o’clock and reading to fall with gravity. Resist. Don’t let it just drop down. Apply steady resisting force…but keep it moving.
If you understand acceleration vs constant velocity, just think “constant velocity”.
2.) Knee’s inwards. Just like when riding forwards keep your knee’s inside to control the seat twist. Do the same when riding backwards. Knee’s inwards. You will notice that you can even control which way you are turning. This is key for the next phase “turning”.
3.) Lead with your heels. Not your toes. Your toes are for forward motion, but now going backwards what’s the front of your foot? Heels baby.
4.) Sit up straight. Don’t use any excessive back lean. Yes, if you lean back you will fall back. Unless you speed up your feet. Then you “have to keep going faster”. Never rely on “over-speeding”
5.) Pausing. What does that do? It allows the rest of your body to come forward(direction you are going). So, if you happen to fall back(direction away from you) just pause your legs for a moment. Then what happens? Yup, the rest of your body rocks forwards. In reality, unicycle riding(at least for beginners/intermediate) is like a back/forth porpoising motion. Upper body rocks forwards, pedal motion then body rocks back,…again…again… You will notice this dynamic most if you ride off-road on grass with holes on ground as “slow” as possible…how do you stay on? So, Pausing = rocking. Understand and use it to control your fore/aft compensation.
So, those are just a few backwards riding techniques that come to mind at this point in my developing backwards skills.
My level at this point is I can:
a.) Consistently pedal 2 or 4 pedals with absolute control.
b.) Go about 12 to 20 revolutions “most” of the time.
What I have yet to master:
a.) Go backwards “slowly” with rock solid balance.
b.) Learn to fully coordinate hip and shoulder twist to the backwards pedaling rhythm. (related to the first goal)
I don’t necessarily have a “perfect” double idle, but I have advanced fairly well in riding backwards.
So, I have proven to myself there is more involved than just idling to get the backwards thing.