Riding Posture

Does anyone have any good posture tips for increasing speed and efficiency?

I read somewhere on the forum that pointing the toes helps. This seems to provide some benefit. My understanding of this is that it might be transitioning the vertical force of the downstroke in such a way that helps position the center of mass slightly in front of the unicycle. I feel that it enables me to continue applying pressure through the beginning of the upstroke.

Pushing down on the handle also seems to help. I assume that this is because I’m shifting my center of balance forward.

Leaning forward seems to make very little difference. Should this be the case? I don’t have a lot of trouble on hills, so I think I’m able to shift my weight forward; however, it doesn’t really help on the flats. If I hinge at the hips, my weight (more or less) stays centered over the unicycle. I think I might be messing something up here.

Any ideas? Other than ride more… I’m working on that one.:slight_smile:

If you’re going fast enough, an aero position should be helpful. Less benefit the slower you go. You didn’t say what you’re riding or what kinds of speeds you’re doing.

'Guess that would help, wouldn’t it?:stuck_out_tongue:

I’m asking this mainly to help improve my performance on my 29er with 125/150mm cranks (no touring handle). Typically I use the 125 hole; however, I only do this because I like the contrast that it has with the 165mm cranks on my 24 (and because I recognize that, with enough training, the shorter crank should be slightly faster). I tend to max out at an average of roughly 6mph regardless of crank. length.

Most of my riding is on multi-purpose paths (typically paved). While they’re not exactly steep, I don’t think that I’ve ridden any distance longer than a couple hundred yards that is actually flat. Most of the terrain around here is pretty variable.

My wife and I are planning on riding the Virginia Creeper Trail in the Spring. She will be riding her mountain bike. She is a very casual rider, so her speed will be relatively slow. While we expect her to ride ahead and double back occasionally, I’m trying to increase my average speed to minimize how often this occurs.

I’m not an expert but I’ve been recently making some gains in this area so will share my experience. I don’t ride with a handlebar but usually put some pressure on the bumper with my palm. I engage my abdominal muscles and try to pedal from my core rather than just my legs. I try to push one pedal and pull the other and focus on keeping the wheel as straight as possible. I usually ride a 36" wheel for distance and have also had to work up to being comfortable at higher speeds on it. If you’re going to work on one thing I would work on keeping the wheel straight without wobble, even if it’s just for short stretches.


I recently bought a 29" for longer distances and am wondering how to increase my cadence. As a beginner, my cadence was pretty slow. At some point, my balance improved and so did my cadence. As you get more comfortable riding (I don’t know how long you’ve been at it), you should get faster. If you try to increase your cadence past the point of comfort, you’re going to get worn-out pretty quickly.

The danger of riding at maximum cadence is, which was brought up in posts related to maximum speed: You may have to pedal even-faster to avoid a face-plant (or UPD to the feet at lower speeds). If you are at the maximum, you can’t give any more. And if your cranks are shorter, you may not be able to exert adequate impulse to overcome falling forward.

I’m happy to compromise cadence for my knees and for my safety. I have not been unicycling for that long, and I live in the hills. I’m happy to stick with longer cranks for the time being, which are slowing down my cadence, but which make me feel more in-control.

Practice, practice, practice…

Some good advice here so far. I’ve found speed doesn’t come by itself, once you get comfortable in the saddle you need to actively push yourself faster in your mind. One thing I do is counting in my head on my pedal strokes, 1, 2, 3, 4… repeat… Count faster and you go faster. Like @Waaalrus said, you need to pedal from your core to keep it smooth and relaxed, this helps a bunch.

I go through life at a relatively low speed, this translates to a relatively slow uni speed for me… I’ve learned to be o.k. with that and enjoy the ride. Some people like to go through life at a faster speed and this goes into everything they do.

This wouldn’t work for me. Counting would segregate the movement into strokes while speed is more about continuous spinning of the cranks.

Moreover I could not really count fast enough (even mentally) to keep up with my highest cadence.

I build cadence skills by riding down relatively gentle slopes on a very smooth concrete path. It is just steep enough so that the gravity almost equals the wind resistance at high speed. Without having to push hard or worry about surface irregularities, I can focus on smooth action.

The slope flattens out towards the bottom so I have to start applying power to maintain the speed.

To find the limits, one has to be willing to run out of a dismount at high speed sometimes. It is surprising how hard the power can be applied to avoid this.

Cadence is a really important skill to build. It isn’t just about speed. It is easier to ride up hills if the cadence is kept high. The faster you pedal the less of the less time you are in the dead part of the crank cycles.

I usually do my cadence work on the last kilometre from home which happens to be where my favourite cadence slopes are located on either direction I come from. This is also the time when I am best connected with the machine.

Funny that this comes up, as of this week I’ve begun commuting to work on my Guni with training for longer distances in mind. To get the most out of my 6 mile round trip ride, I’ve been slowly increasing my speed, granted I’ve only done this for 4 days now :roll_eyes: .

Something that’s helped a lot already, is just timing myself. My rides started at 15-16 minutes, and now I’m down to 12 as of this afternoon.

Part of it for me, is just pushing myself. I was shooting for a 15 mph average speed, and every time I would feel myself lagging a bit, I’d tell myself I was going to fail and I’d have to dig a little deeper. I ended up with a 14.9. So I’d say that goals are important. If you have a way to actually see your progress, I think it’d be beneficial.

I will also agree with the others above and say that counting helps a lot.

I’ve also found that when I want to go really fast, if I bend at the waist and hug my T bar to my chest, it helps to kind of isolate my legs from my upper body and spin smoother.

And, as One Track does, the last stretch of road to my house is balls-to-the-wall. I agree too that finding a downhill will help. There’s one on the way home that I try and ‘ride out’ the bottom of, using it to pick up as much speed as possible and carry it as far as possible.

I don’t know if any of this really does that much, but it’s fun. I love riding to and from work.

There are times though when it’s nice to sit up, relax, and just cruise.

Sorry, this is super scattered! :o

14.9 avg? Wow, screw 36ers, I need that G29 :astonished:

Keeping my eye on this thread, as I’m a slowpoke and wish I could go faster on my 36er. I’m using 125mm cranks on a 36er with a beautifully smooth tyre, and yet my average speed for a ride rarely goes over 10mph. Which is even slower in my mind as I can usually do 8mph average on my 29er!

I find myself ‘bottoming out’ if I spin too hard, and it makes me wobble about a lot. I’m thinking this is poor technique, but I’m not really sure on how to actually go about fixing it, besides ‘keep practicing’. I do find, as you guys have, that a slight, gradual downhill (Not steep enough to slam a brake on, but steep enough that you actually ride faster than a flat) makes me feel like the smoothest, fastest rider in the land, so maybe I need to concentrate on practicing on these spots and see exactly what I’m doing that makes it feel so smooth.

Lots of good thoughts in that thread, I’m also on the side of people trying to get smoother pedaling - I opened a thread a long time ago here, and I was told that with time I would get the difference between pushing the pedals and spinning the pedals. It’s still a subtle difference, and it could be that it’s lost in translation as english is not my first language… I’m also in the “I feel the ride is so smooth when I’m on a tiny slope down” club.

That seems like the key to it all. Now if you could give us more insight to how you actually pedal from the core… Sure it would open up a whole new world for us!

Tell me about it. It’s not easy to do or to communicate it. You kind of have to “become your center” and not be arms, legs, body, unicycle. I imagine a ball of energy behind my belly button that drives me. Seems to work as long as I can keep focused on it. It is really tough to do when your fighting to balance, I figure in another year or two I’ll get much better at it.

I have a 36" with a t-bar and 100mm cranks. When riding at speed the ability to control pitch using mainly the cranks is limited. To compensate i use posture for control by pushing and pulling on the t-bar. So far I did not increase speed up to the point that the unicycle is starting to drive the rider at which point control is essentially zero. I have had this at times with longer cranks going downhill. It is scary…

My friends have ridden the creeper on bikes and I told them I wanted to do it on my uni too! Post when you are going and maybe we can meet and ride it?? It would be my friend and his wife and my wife and I. No one is out to set any land speed records :slight_smile:

Thanks for all the great advice!

Looks like I’ll be focusing on increasing my cadence and pedaling smoothly. I don’t know of any extended downhills in this area that I could use for practice, but I’m sure that I can find something. I like the idea of timing my rides as well. Since I already use Strava (when I can remember it activate the app :roll_eyes: ), it should be easy to monitor improvements.

This sounds like a great idea! We don’t have a date set yet, but I’ll try to post it on here when we figure something out.