Riding on Ice

I’m pumped. The local hockey team is going to have me start riding on the
ice during intermissions of games. They got the idea from a team in
Montana. (Boseman, I think they said.) I’d love some help on specific
techniques that others have found useful in riding on sheer ice like you
find in a rink. Here are my observations:

  • You don’t stop or idle. That makes you fall.
  • You turn slowly with very small movements of your upper body. No dropping
    your hip. That would make you fall.
  • You can speed up or slow down but you can’t do it too quickly. That would
    make you fall.
  • Well-used ice is only slightly more stable. You can’t rely on it to do a
    more drastic maneuver. That makes you fall.
  • You need at least a helmet, wrist guards and hip pads. Elbow pads are a
    close second and leg armor wouldn’t hurt. Falling without any of the above
    hurts a lot because you aren’t going very fast.
  • You constantly slide sideways a little bit because you (well, guys, at
    least) don’t sit precisely square on the saddle. If you’re careful you
    don’t need to adjust much for it.
  • Your pedals don’t really dent the ice when you fall (i.e.: hurt) because
    they don’t slam into the ice hard enough.
  • Ice is the most wicked cool thing that I’ve ever ridden on. (Literally!)
    It’s definitely VERY fun. The looks you get from the players who see you
    with a uni next to the ice are great, too.

Some questions I have are:

  • Does cooling your tire help with the slipperiness?
  • The Boseman guys were fending off snowballs using saucer sleds as
    shields. Were they holding on to the wall?
  • Any wisdom that I don’t realize I need? (After all, I always say that
    wisdom is common sense that isn’t so common)

Thanks for your help in advance.

Mike Peterson
Eugene, OR

Re: Riding on Ice

Mike Peterson wrote:
> I’d love some help on specific techniques that others have found
> useful in riding on sheer ice like you find in a rink.

I’ve ridden on an ice rink twice, and can add these observations
of my own:

(1) Reduce the pressure in the tyre. I think I used about 5 or 10 psi.
That helped a lot.

Just remember to pump it up again afterwards. The rubber flooring
they tend to use around the rink is very difficult to steer on when
you’ve only got 5 psi in the tyre :slight_smile:

(2) The quality (smoothness) of the ice makes a huge difference. At
the British Unicycling Convention in Cardiff we did a game of
unicycle ice hockey, last thing at night after the public session.
The ice was so cut up it was more like snow, and the game was pretty
easy, very similar to normal hockey.

However I’ve also tried on freshly re-surfaced ice at 6am, and it
was the most frightning thing I’ve ever down in my life!

I’d agree with all your other comments.

  • Richard

Put on a Nokian studded tire. I use the WXC 300, and I can do whatever I would be able to do on dry pavement. The studs don’t leave any marks on the ice. It’s great fun on a lake!

David Maxfield
Mitchell, SD

If you are invited to “perform” on a unicycle on ice at a hockey game, part of that show is presumably supposed to be you falling down. Bearing that in mind, you can start off by doing whatever things you think you can do without falling, and then put in the fun (from the audience point of view) stuff after that.

In other words, see how fast you can get going, then try to dismount and land on your feet (sliding). Or see how far you can skid sideways, where you make a sudden 90 degree turn and try to slide. Or try to get rolling and then suddenly stop pedaling, to see how far you can slide before pedaling again and riding away.

You can also try a studded tire. These can be bought or made, and will give you enough traction to make ice riding fairly normal. Don’t know how much impact they will make on the ice to affect the game though. If you ask about it they’ll probably say no. So I would just set up the tire and try it in the first game.

Lower tire pressure should indeed help on a non-studded tire. Just remember, you’re riding on ice. have fun with it, and remember what a hockey audience (supposedly) wants to see!

Definately try that one!

If you can get another Unicyclist or more to come out and play a game of Unicycle ice hockey would be a great thing for the audience to watch. Even just you and a goalie or something.


Wow, It’s been freezing rain for about an hour now, so it’s pretty much like ice out side here. I tried it on my Uni, but the ice is also so wet, due to the rain, so I really struggle to stay up. I couldn’t stay out to long, because of the rediculus rain that’s not letting up.


Re: Riding on Ice

At 15:04 2/3/2003 -0600, andrew carter wrote:

> > Or try to get rolling and then suddenly stop pedaling, to see how far
> > you can slide before pedaling again and riding away.
> Definately try that one!

Oh great. Now I’ve got people trying to see what someone ELSE can do first! :slight_smile:

Incidentally, they’re letting me ride BEFORE they run the Zamboni on it, so
they aren’t too concerned about the quality of the ice itself after I’m
done as long as I’m not doing something that’s going to seriously dent it,
like ride one of harper’s special unicycles that explode instead of
shooting off and hitting people after a UPD. Yup. I’m pretty sure that
short of explosives I’m ok.

Mike Peterson
Eugene, OR

i would definately try and practice first. Its been snowing in the U.K, and its all turned to ice. I wouldnt try moving, then trying to idle/go backwards/slow down quickly, because the uni will just slip away (as it did to me a short while ago)

hop on it. (rolling hop). You get better slides. You can even try turning 90 degrees in the air to get really cool slides like a stop in hockey.

although you also get better bruises this way, always wear armour when trying any stupid manouvres like this.


uh… isnt that going a little overboard? I’ve riden on ice and its not that bad when you fall. And its only a few bruises anyways. I think a lot of people on this forum are WAY overcautious when it comes to injury. But thats only my opinion…


I’d wear wristguards on ice, but a wrist first crash is the only likely crash that’s much worse than a skating one. You do go down a lot quicker than on skates though.