RTL: a rider told us their "How I learned to uni" story

John Foss, from RTL Team Centurions remembers:
“I originally learned to ride on a Troxel, tricycle-technology unicycle in 1976. It fell apart from the use. I finished learning to ride on a Schwinn Giraffe in 1979. I don’t recommend this method.”


Just a side comment. Why are their seats so low in the ad? :thinking:

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I thought the same thing.

I think when you are “learning” the lower the seat the better for learning:

1.) Less mm’s or inches to fall and hit the ground.
2.) Easier to free mount. You don’t have to be on your tippy toes when trying to stand up and free mount.
3.) High seat = less leverage = more muscle engagement of the legs. Not just learning to contract/extend, but the accuracy and timing of “working” the muscle during the pedaling cycle. You won’t get this if you just rely on high seat, minimal knee bend and ankle leverage.
4.) Beginners don’t need high seat and high leverage pedaling on the unicycle. We are not doing an extreme uphill section on the tour de france.


I disagree. The seat should be as high as the learner dares.

A sideways fall for a learner can be very daunting if they can’t catch their fall before overbalancing because the seat is high. The height where they feel they can catch the fall will still be too low to be optimum but the greatest inhibitor of learning is fear, so it is a compromise.

I learnt on a unicycle that was far too small and it definitely took much longer than it needed to. I look at that uni now and am amazed that I was able to learn on it at all.

My two cent:

I see a variety of height preference when people learn to unicycle.

My personal opinion is, to sit a little lower than you would on your normal bike makes sense, because you need to work a lot more with your legs. I find my feeling of control best when I go something like 1 to 5 cm lower as compared to my biking setup. But as low as in the first picture to me is way to low. Reminds me of some scenes from devinsupertramp (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrUiBbDsXms), setting seats down to give you room for movement and jumping / landing, not because it makes for easy riding.

When you start unicycling, the challenge is do develop new coordinative skills. That’s probably “easiest”, if you start with the setting closest to your personal preference. A little bit higher or lower is up to you, when you have riders to give you feedback, listen to recommendations and test them for yourself. Don’t go for extreme positions as very far up or down, they will make your time more difficult.

And slam, for your point 3:
“High seat = less leverage = more muscle engagement of the legs”
I disagree. Compare walking in normal height to walking lower comparable to the posture those riders have. The resulting muscular extra effort is so much worse, you won’t get far.

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