riding UP flight of stairs on Coker?

I heard some experienced Coker guys can not only right down stairways but ride UP stairways! :astonished: Is this true? If so how do I master this trick? Do I just ride as fast as I can then ram through it? (then fall flat on my face :roll_eyes: )Do I need to deflate the tire pressure first? Is there any ‘jumping’ involved? I am guessing the stairs are about 6inches or less in height.

i dented my rim just going up a driveway. going up stairs at high speed sounds like a bad idea for you and for the rim.

I have ridden up many stairways throughout NYC, with the highest I’ve gotten up being a 6 stair set. The first time I did it was at Grant’s Tomb (where the New York Unicycling Club meets), and it was up a 4-stair set on Uni57’s super-Stockton Coker (it was before I had an Airfoil rim Coker) after hearing that Brian MacKenzie had ridden up those same stairs on his Coker when he was in town visiting. Ever since then, I’ve been riding up various stairways on a pretty regular basis. It actually looks harder than it is and I doubt you will have a problem mastering it. Though the method varies a bit with the height and thickness of the stairs, in general my technique is:

  1. I would only attemt it on an Airfoil rim.
  2. Make sure you have good pedal position - don’t smack into the staircase with your toes on the pedals.
  3. Make sure you have good tire pressure. I run my tire on fairly low pressure and popped my tube the last time I went up a set, so I haven’t had my Airfoil Coker on the road for a couple of months and thus haven’t been going up any stairs recently (on my steel rim Coker). Too much tire pressure may be bad, too. My guess is 45 pound of pressure is probably ideal.
  4. Always get up off the seat just prior to smacking into the staircase.
  5. A good deal of speed/momentum is necessary for the larger sets, but isn’t necessarily needed for the smaller ones. You can get up a 4-set without too much speed. I find it easier to use the speed to carry me up the set really quickly, though (Uni57 always got a kick out of how fast I’d get up the stairs… it does feel almost instantaneous when you hit it with a lot of speed).
  6. Hit the first stair with your frame close to upright, but pitched forward slightly.
  7. If you don’t want to do the high speed technique, which can be a bit disconcerting the first time… then when you do the slower technique, it may help to kind of push down a bit harder (slight acceleration) as you smack into the first step.

If you don’t nail it, most likely you will land on your feet and not your face. It just looks scary… I’ve never been injured in an unsuccesful attempt at going up stairs - just going down stairs (backwards).

If you have an Airfoil Coker… give it a try. Once you do it, you’ll be addicted to it and you’ll see stairs in a whole new light! And don’t forget to update this post regarding how you made out. I look forward to hearing about it!

I can ask Uni57 to take some video of me hitting an assortment of staircases in the City, if you think it would help.

Best of luck… but you won’t need it. You’ll probably nail it on your first attempt!

Oh I forgot to mention… always hit the staircase staight on (perfectly perpendicular) - as long as you do that (with an Airfoil) your rim will be fine.

I would love to see video of you riding up stairs. that sounds amazing.

Nice! Mind if we quote you on that at www.unicycle.2ya.com?


Heh heh… you ran out of bandwidth

If you are referring to the (hopefully) helpful hints I gave regarding my technique for riding a Coker up stairs… while I am by no means an authority on the matter, I do have some experience, and if you would like to put my suggestions on your site… you have my full permission. It would be my honor to be quoted on your site. (If you weren’t referring to my stair riding hints, then I just made a complete fool out of myself :o !)

I was referring to your excellent tips, thanks.

video PLEASE, i dont see how this is done unless its really shallow steps, i mean, the stairs around here im pretty sure you cant ride up on any uni.

I will ask fellow NYUC member uni57 to shoot some video of me going up a few different stair sets. I know he’s really busy, though… so it could take a little while. I really wish I could find someone (preferably another rider) who lived in the City or nearby and had the time and desire to shoot stuff on a regular basis.

Evan, the steps dont have to be really shallow. That 36" wheel can plow up some pretty big obstacles and the Airfoil rim can really take a beating (the vitrually indestructable Stockton wheel can withstand even more abuse). The 4-set of stairs at Grant’s Tomb definitely aren’t shallow!

I do have to admit that the first time I did it (and even on subsequent times), I was pretty amazed that the rim doesn’t get bent or damaged and that the tube doesn’t explode (well it did the last time - not explode - but it did pop, but that was my fault due to insufficient tire pressure). You do feel a pretty good thump when you hit that first (thick) step and it feels pretty nasty for the rim. I’ve checked my rim, though… and never damaged the 'foil going up stairs, so I don’t worry about it anymore. Just remember tip #8 (the one I added)… to hit the stair straight-on and there should me minimal risk of damage (on a airfoil rim of course - tip #1).

Regarding shallow sets… there’s a nice triple 3 set in Battery Park along a route I (used to) ride often - it’s 3 sets of 3 shallow stairs in a row with about a 4 ft wide flat area between each of the three-stair sets. I haven’t ridden (or hopped) up those 9 stairs in a while! Actually, I just realized that if I count those shallow sets, my best stair hopping record is actually 9 stairs not 6, but I don’t really count it because the stairs are quite shallow and I may have rolled on the flat section in between the stairs, which means I wasn’t purely hopping.

Thanks for the advise HCR! I am going to attempt this on 3 flight of stairs tomorrow. Hope I don’t UPD too hard. :roll_eyes:

I’d like to attest to Andrew’s up-stairs riding… amazing! I’ve seen him do a very blocky 4-step with very deep risers, and also I have seen him do this set, heading up, which is around 9 stairs, not shallow, but medium depth.

Haha, thats pretty crazy. That 9 set is impressive. I’ve always tried to do the stairs by my house on my muni going up but it’s hard to get past the first couple.

Andrew, what size cranks do you do your urban Cokering with?

I’ve used my 26x3" Muni to ride up several stairsets, the technique I use is very similar to HCRs, except I pull up as I hit the first step, as if riding over a kerb stone, then treat the rest of the flight as a steep, bumpy ascent. With enough speed I fly up, and with too little I just stall, hop sideways and effectively ‘peck’ up the ‘bumpy slope’ which of course refers to hopping up the steps normally. On several occasions I’ve even stalled out, regained balance and carried on, just like on a steep Muni section. My 26 has got a Large Marge rim, so the risk of rim damage is very low.


what size cranks are you using?

I’ve made it up about a 10 set on my KH24, you just hit them with as much speed as you can. They were only about 10cm high stairs but still, it’s not as easy as it sounds, I think most coker riders would struggle on the same set and it took me a fair amount of practice to make it the whole way up.

It’d be great to try on a coker with a big run-up and a fat tyre…

Doesn’t David Pozanter ride up steps on a 20" in U2?

175s, good muni length. I wouldn’t want to try it on the 127s I’ve got on at the moment, I’ve still got to get used to those.