Riding Stairs?

How do you learn to ride stairs?

Failure looks as if it might hurt…

I suppose you practice riding a single drop-off about the same height as the riser and them progress to doing multiple steps?

Any suggestions on how a coward should learn?


Going down just one drop with ease is the requirement before you should go to stairs. Wear atleast wrist pads, but knee pads are also recommended. I’ve never fallen badly, but they give you a feeling of safety. Also try finding stairs with wide steps. It helps you to recover balance before you go down the next step. Also try to ride a bit diagonally, this helps on the balance also, making the steps feel a bit wider again. A bigger wheel and a fat tire help. I first tried it with a 20" uni with a 1,75" wide tire. It works but the drops don’t feel nice. Something like 2,2" or wider would be much nicer. If you can get a cheap and wide tire if you don’t have one yet. It also helps on your hopping and landing. And looks cooler;)

start with 3 stairs, then find bigger and bigger ones

a 3" tire on a 24" wheel makes stairs seem like a gentle slope
a thinner tire or perhaps a trials uni can still do it, but you really feal the thump thump thump of each stair and almost have to react to each step.

grab onto your seat, or preferably handle, forcing your feet into the pedals, making you and the unicycle one unit.

Try to pedal smoothly, and perhaps a little quicker than you ‘think’ you feel comfortable with.

Good luck

I’m not that good, but I can ride easy stairs. I started with a long set of quite shallow steps and started one step up, then two steps up and so on. I actually started with the wheel braced against the back of the step above, which might make it harder, but means you can learn progressively more easily.


One thing that makes me feel really smooth is paying attention to where I focus while riding down the stairs. On longer sets I feel the smoothest when I focus on a point 1-3 feet out from the bottom/last step. You can see me doing this in the following video:

http://www.gb4mfg.com/videos/gb4_big_stairs_NS.mpg ~15 MB

(For you video critics out there: the video shows stairs and only stairs)

no expert or anything close. but my first ever attempt at stairs resulted in be landing at the bottom of the 15 stair set on my chest, wasn’t fun. After that I didn’t try stairs at all, but then just a few weeks ago I did again, and it felt mighty good. I would say just go for it, try stairs with a longer run and lower rise, they will be easier then just going to regular stairs right away. Stay focused, and don’t give up, wear the proper protection if you have it , and Believe.
Good luck

My progression was -

  1. got very comfortable with moderate drops of up to 2 feet, over the course of maybe 6 months of practicing. By this time I was comfortable gapping/landing/manuevering under varied conditions.

BTW, I wouldn’t even bother attempting stairs unless you have decently fat tire and decent rig. Why risk injury to yourself and the uni?

  1. I could roll smoothly off curbs and one foot+ surfaces with no thought as to pedal position. Just ride at it and off it - keep the wheel spinning at a normal rate.

  2. Add a second step. Now you’re simply going down an incline with two BIG bumps thrown in. Let your legs act as shock absorbers while your overall momentum follows a smooth, decisive line. Do this until your so comfortable that you can’t resist trying three steps.

  3. Add a step at a time as your comfort develops. Allow time, don’t rush it and don’t suddenly decide to go for it and try ten steps all at once. The greater the number of steps, the more comfort and experience you need. No point in having to bail off steps if you can avoid it. Besides, once you get the feeling for stairs, the progression comes fairly quickly. Stairs are not really that hard, but be sure you are ready for them before you try.


Thanks for the advice everybody who replied. I think you have given me very good suggestions on how to proceed!!:slight_smile:


Re: Riding Stairs?

In article <UNI.GUY.w4eh3@timelimit.unicyclist.com>,
UNI GUY <UNI.GUY.w4eh3@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:
)no expert or anything close. but my first ever attempt at stairs
)resulted in be landing at the bottom of the 15 stair set on my chest,
)wasn’t fun.

A hint to those watching at home:
If you’re going to start doing stairs, don’t start with a set of 15.

Just trying to be helpful.

I think I’ve determined your error

I found visualising the steps as a slope of equivalent gradiant helped.

Re: Riding Stairs?

Put on the pads first. Don’t own pads? Call yourself a coward? Get some pads!

Good advice from Merrill and others. The part about having a fat tire is important. riding down stairs on a fat MUni tire is a lot easier than doing it on a 1.75" tire, or on a 20" wheel for that matter. Larger wheel, wider tire, big difference.

Don’t try to go slow. Best bet is to cruise it. Practice with a number of stairs you are comfortable with, and go off the top edge at different pedal positions. As you go down longer sets of stairs, every pedal angle will eventually come up, so you want to be used to it.

Have fun! If it’s not fun, do something else. I haven’t actually worked on riding down stairs much Ever since I rode up a set earlier this year, I felt down wasn’t that big a challenge… :roll_eyes:

See my video:

Re: Riding Stairs?

thefatcontroller wrote:
> How do you learn to ride stairs?
> Failure looks as if it might hurt…

The trick is to imbibe just enough beer to ease your fear of pain (and
your capacity to feel pain), without drinking enough to significantly
impair your unicycling ability.

I’ve never managed to hop up stairs while completely sober, but after a
couple of pints it becomes a whole lot easier. Going down stairs I’ve
never had much of a problem either way.

Danny Colyer (remove safety to reply) ( http://www.juggler.net/danny )
Recumbent cycle page: http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/recumbents/
“He who dares not offend cannot be honest.” - Thomas Paine

i suggest gloves

also, its easier if you dont really try to line your pedals up or anything, just ride up to the stairs and then down them without changing pace

good luck

Riding stairs on the 24x3 is a breeze. most of the time anyways.

Id recomend more than a usual amount of protective gear. MY most recent mishap was at the end of a 40 stair set. The wheel twisted, I was going very fast and I ended up geting bucked off, hit the rail with my spine and sumersalting backwardis over it. Probably better off this way, as I landed in grass, not on the concrete.

Hey Brian and Tom, thank you for the given.haha.
And yes I did learn from the fall.

Riding stairs is really scary at first, but when you practice more often it gets so much easier. Just do about three stairs at first to get used to the bumpy feeling of riding down stairs. Then just progress upwards.
My tips would be lean forward, keep pedaling, and get a running start. Or riding start. Whatever.

Hi Simon.

Yes, I larger tyre helps. I can ride down steps on my trials, but most of the time just clear them if i can. It is much easier on my Muni though. it is 26" and rides the stairs no problem!

Aaron is getting much better at riding stairs too! I hope he enjoyed coming up on thursday as much as I did!

Try and take the stairs asif it was more of a ramp. The larger the wheel, the moe it will ‘smooth’ them out of you. Try riding short steps, as long ones dont ‘smooth out’ asmuch, and you get more drops = less control.