Riding Backwards

I made a post about this a while ago, and it degenerated into a flamefest (I don’t remember how). Now, however, I’m at college, and I’m working on my uni skills again, after taking a month break or so. I’m having a hard time just making my feet move backwards – it’s not very natural at all. I’ve been working on a wall, and every once in a while, I can do it for 1-2 revolutions, but I stop pedaling after that. Should I be looking in front or behind me as I learn, and I assume I should be looking behind me as I do it, correct? Anything else I should know? I feel like I’m learning to unicycle again, and it’s frustrating :angry:

DO you lean back at all? Just like learning to ride again oyu have to learn which way to lean again…Try to lean back a lil and practice, you might want to wear a helmet for that one, do to falls of the back…

I do not, I know I should, it’s very hard to learn to lean THE WRONG WAY though. I’ll try leaning backwards while holding on to the wall, I’m definitely going to start using a helmet, falling onto the back of my head could be devastating.

yea a helmet is prolly real wise with that. i hit my head and fell on my back twice when i tried it like a year ago. i dont know man my advice with that is just set it aside for a while and learn something cooler. it came to me when i didnt even try after a while.

I found it easiest to practice in a fairly open area. Look before you start to see what’s behind you. Mount and look forward into the distance. Keep your weight on the seat, lean back, and ride. Your elbows and tailbone are the most likely injury zones.

Search Andrew Carter’s tutorial site or the Marsh sisters’ site for how to tips.

Ohh yeah the tailbone, they take forever to heal, mines till hurts in car rides…but I broke mine learning to one foot wheel walk on a round frame…try it without a wall, just free you know…

Wear leg armor, because if you fall backwards, there is a chance that the pedals will catch your leg. It happened to me twice in a row. Cut my ankle open riding backwards and then cut it open again, same place, still riding backwards, two days later.

As far as riding goes, I went just a half a revolution at a time until I got it. Well, my backwards isn’t perfect, but I can do it. Ride forward, and then stop with your strong foot down, do a half idle and then make a half rev backwards, so your weak foot is down, then go forward again. It would probably help to be able to idle on your weak foot, but I can’t, and it wasn’t a problem.

And you’re right, it is very un-natural to move your feet backwards. Everything is the exact opposite and counterintuitive. I’m not sure if the wall is a good idea to learn on, but I didn’t use one so I have no comment in that area. However, I’m definitely using the wall for my wheelwalking…

It will probably take a long time but it is totally worth it. Don’t look over your shoulder, that will through your balance off. Find an area that is super flat and paved, and then just practice. Took me probably a little longer to learn to ride backwards than forward, I guess.

One thing is for sure, a whole new world of tricks becomes available once you can ride backwards (in terms of street riding). Good Luck!

I learned quickly by holding onto a rolling recycle bin. It helped me a learn the motion.

If you havn’t yet, i’d recomend learning to Idle, and also, try riding down some steep hills, this will force you to apply back pressure to the pedals, maybe make it a little less akward feeling.

As others have noted, it might be a good idea to try it away from the wall. Probably the best way to practice it is just to come to a stop and start pedalling backward. After all, once you’ve mastered backward riding that’s usually how you get into it. Some other things to try are mounting directly into backward riding, and working on idling. However you practice it, try to find a nice open level space so that you can pedal backward without worrying about smashing into something and without looking behind you.

I disagree. A young member of the Memphis Unicycle Club is a perfect example. When riding backwards, he turns his head to the side to look back over his shoulder. He can see where he is going and can ride long distances, around corners, up and down hills, all backwards.

From my own experience I do agree, turning your head does throw your balance off a bit until you get used to it. I am still trying and it’s getting better. I can ride further backwards.

How would I learn to idle? Just work on going backward one revolution, then forward one, then back, etc.?

I guess different things work for different people.

Right now I’m learning to idle as well as ride backwards. I’m doing better riding backwards than I am with idling though.

Two things that seems to help me when riding backwards - look into the distance from where you’re coming from (as has already been mentioned), and secondly, when you start to fall towards your rear, lean back just a little (which feels unnatural, but this will push your waist forward a little, and keep the unicycle balanced).

There is an instructional video available at http://unicycle.2ya.com/ giving some hints on learning to idle.

The trouble is people invariably twist their upper body to allow themselves better visibility over the shoulder. If you twist it will put you off balance. Looking over your shoulder without twisting is fine, but be aware that its probably not recommended while learning.


relax your hips

that’s the best bit of advice i ever got on learning to ride backwards
if u’re going to learn while looking over your shoulder, it will probably take u a while longer, but then at least u’ll have that skill and u won’t have to learn it once u can ride backwards while looking forwards

remember that u can’t just stop and start pedalling backwards and hope to start riding backwards
remember the basics of learning to ride
u have to create the ‘dynamic balance’ that makes riding a unicycle possible in the first place
when u started learning, u probably pedalled the uni out from under yourself a couple of times before the idea of leaning forward finally settled in
same thing
u have to start ‘falling’ backwards before pedalling in that direction will help create that ‘dynamic balance’

don’t just try n ride backwards untill it falls apart
along that path lies injury
set small goals
decide to ride two pedal-revs back, stop and ride forward
once u can do that smoothly, go for three, stop and ride forward
four, five and six
and so on
once u get there, u’ll be able to push for slightly longer rides, riding in circles and figures of eight

u should really work on your idling at the same time
i think it’s suggested that u be able to idle before u learn to ride backwards

Yes I do agree with you, learning to look over your shoulder at what is behind you is definently key, haha. But I was just saying that I think it would have been impossible for me to learn to ride backwards looking over my shoulder. That was a skill I integrated in once I could go about 20 feet backwards.

that’s what you should do for any trick.

break it down into steps or parts, then learn one part, and then progress to the next one. it works, and so far, for learning to ride backwards, i’ve progressed to 2 3/4 revolutions this way.

All I remember from learning to ride backwards is that it hurt and took a long time. It took me almost a month to learn how to do it almost decently, and in the process I almost broke my arm. Just keep with it and practice a little everytime you unicycle and eventually it will come to you.

(hint: use the force)