Schlumpf learning journal

Saw that and hoovered up tons of vids.

But that’s really reassuring to hear what you’ve achieved in 6 months.

I’m itching to get back out to a nice big flat and empty car park and just hammer away at shifting up and later down - I don’t think I mind the odd tumble when I know I will be getting the skill in my arsenal :slight_smile:

Fully protected with KH gear for sure. It boost confidence too.

I’ll prob post updates here and there in this thread - while trying not to bore everyone with my GUni diary :joy:

Thanks for your insights!

New Tyre - Test Ride

So a very short update on progress (or going backwards, kind of!…)

I have made some updates the the G26er.

Namely a Maxxis Minion DHF 26x2.5 which happily fits the older narrower KH26 frame - and a KH T bar set up (along with maggies)

Now the Minion rides so much more like I expect my unicycles to ride in 1:1 over the Hookworm - which is great…. But in 1:1.5 gear it feels totally like I’m back at the beginning of learning to Schlumpf.

Could a tyre feel fine in 1:1, but markedly different/harder to ride in 1:1.5?

Doesn’t seem really logical like it would, but I guess the pressures applied are “different” and the balance envelope may then change.

I was riding late and it was a bit dark so I’m going to put this backwards step in progress down to lower energy and the dusk gloom making my road awareness less assured and ‘in control’ feel. And maybe just having the T-bar there threw me off a tad?- I know it did when I first added one my to 36er… :thinking:

Wish me luck for my proper trip and practice session tomorrow - and hopefully I’ll report back the Minion is working in both high and low gears like a champ :crossed_fingers:

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Wow that’s beautiful looks very clean and sharp love the blue brakes. You really look after it.

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Thanks! It needs riding more. It’ll get more dirt on it soon… think the person I purchased it off second hand had it unused in a bedroom/cupboard. To my eyes it is hardly used and a 10 year old version.

I’ve enjoyed giving it a bit of TLC with a blue Magura brake hose and T-bar. Currently I can’t believe I managed to find a Schlumpf and have the scary-joyous challenge of learning this new UNIque-skill!


Not had the time yet to update this thread with my thinkings and learnings re GUni-ing - but yesterday I did confront a build up of fear that had crept into riding my G26er - and I was so happy when something clicked and I turned a corner. Both literally and metaphorically!

Not the most thrilling or advanced show of unicycling skill. But for me this was an achievement and I know I will now be ready to face my normal ride proper in high gear for a good stretch of the way :grinning:


Some decent progress this weekend - two rides on G26er.

Not that impressive by experienced Schlumpf riders’ standards… But for me this is the start of being physically able to ride it for a decent distance (3-4miles) in High.

And I know this can only propel me forward to get more confident with the wheel / gearing overall and then introduce on the fly shifting.

Hope some here find this interesting or enjoy that simple fact of seeing my development in GUni Land :gear::heart_eyes:


Great videos, it looks like you’re just casually riding but inside you’re razor focused. At least you didn’t take your daughter for a ride there was some debate about doing that I recall. Have you run anything to track the speed you’re managing?

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Thanks! Watching it back, I’m thinking why does it feel so hard and scary. But all aspects of unicycling are small mini personal milestones overcome - bit by bit. So I’m sure I’ll get more confident with things the more I ride. Just been a huge relief to actually be able to ride more than 100 meters.

I think from the back up speed of my wife in our Urban Arrow riding at the same pace behind me - I’m only at 8-9MPH - but this is not very accurate. I think I’d be happy to push myself one day to 10MPH but not at this stage.

If anything I’m working hard to keep the wheel slow and controlled as if I just rode it like a bike it could go really fast but I’d not be able to run out of it and I don’t feel like a bad UPD while in these early learning days.

Can’t wait to ride again! Fingers crossed for a nice weekend


Ride 4 - High Gear has Clicked :tada::champagne::gear:

Ok this is probably more like ride 5-6 but posting as 4 as today’s ride was the best so far as not just a mini practice session.

For those that don’t fancy reading all my thoughts below but are interested in one day trying a Schlumpf Uni -

TL;DR - I would wholeheartedly recommend it. It’s such a wonderful, exhilarating and enchanting feeling in high gear.

The core achievement today: riding the full path back (Saltford-Bath) in high and no UPDs or just getting off due to feeling nervous. And towards the end I could have gone faster and further. It all just clicked and the muscles were doing most of the actual processing / compute power.

This was for me a breakthrough as before this I had ridden several long stretches but I wasn’t ever feeling happy or in the zone. And it never really felt like an achievement but more a practice session.

Today’s 2 miles or so in high gear - while it is tiny I know, was still something I’m so pleased to have managed.

The path is fairly easy going if I’m honest. Nothing that challenging - however for some reason I’ve been having days where fear of UPDing in high gear was overpowering as I ended up backing off and going home “early”.

Not a great feeling.

But today I found that all the trying / fearing / practice has paid off.

Things I feel I learned so far:

KYT (Know Your Tyre)

What I mean by this is be fully confident in riding the GUni in 1:1 and with the tyre you’re going to be running in high.

I’d come to this 26”x2.4” unicycle from fixed unicycles with fatter tyres, and as such this was in actual fact a new feeling.

Getting super confident in the 1:1 ride and knowing how the wheel rolls and reacts has been key.
Today, I rode part of the way there in 1:1 and was imagining how it would feel, and how I’d react in the high gear mode. Odd approach and perhaps not really possible, but I think it helped. Like mapping out muscle memory from one ride and trying to push some forward learning to help when actually in high gear.

BITZ (Be In The Zone)

Sorry I had to keep with my theme. This relates to finding a way to be comfortable sitting on the uni in high gear. Before, I was helped up on to my G26er by my wife (Thanks Terez!) in 1:1.5 but then pushed myself to ride forwards. This sometimes worked for a bit but I wasn’t seated properly or connected to the unicycle. Taking the time to in effect sit and guided idle a bit gave me the sense of how the backwards / back pedal pressure worked and feel more “in control”.

The same process I’ve found is needed when going back to 1:1 after riding in high. (I’m not currently interested in learning to shift or freemount as at this stage I simply want to enjoy both gears and now I can ride without too much active thinking.)

CYS (Control Your Speed)

For me to have gained enough confidence to ride without worrying or stopping, I’ve realised I needed to work harder at controlling my speed. This doesn’t mean just riding slowly. But being deliberate in how fast I wanted to ride. This is more about, riding the unicycle than having the unicycle ride you (if that makes any sense). Sometimes I’ve felt that when not in control the unicycle is dictating the day’s ride, and really it’s better when it’s the other way around.

Knowing I can slow down and speed up consciously has given me a great deal of confidence - and today’s ride I feel this is the final piece of the jigsaw that helped me to relax and just ride!

RTBAM (Relax That Body and Mind!)

Before: I was 90% focused on thinking: worrying, fighting the fear, hyper analysing every bump and just plain tense, mentally and physically.

And let’s face it it just isn’t fun to ride like that. Nope it’s just plain energy draining.

However, once most of the technical stuff sinks into your muscles and the brain allows you to stop worrying about all the above - you are much more capable at actually riding and preventing 90% of the aforementioned fears or areas that cause the worry in the first place.

Today, that happened and it was such a relief. To actually ride like I’m used to when confident and in the zone, as like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders - and I was no longer riding with a gorilla on my back. To have the wheel be for the most part under your control - and where your body position starts to lean in the direction of travel rather than be tense and reticent - it is just amazing, and I love the sensation that came from today’s ride as it reminded me of when I first felt like I could ride a unicycle without actually over-focusing. The body was doing the bulk of the work.

I knew I could UPD or a mistake might happen but I put that aside as focused on riding and not worrying.

To sum up, this Schlumpf purchase and journey has only just begun for me - but I’m in the path now good and proper and it’s hands down the best thing I’ve decided to have a go at since, well - learning to unicycle in the first place.

Onward and, err… forwards, I shall happily go!


It’s great reading your updates on your guni journey just be wary of overconfidence. I see you did mention controlling your speed. I’ve had a few stacks on my guni because of that but I mainly have trouble controlling my speed on the downhills as I’m just so used to riding flats I forget how much faster a slight downhill can make you move, you really need to be in control from the get go.

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Thanks! And I can see what you mean. Thinking more about how my last post may read I can totally see the valid word of warning about being over confident re speed.

Happily I was on a measure of -10 confidence wise for ages and recently I’ve moved up to a level +1 - but my exuberance in my recent post came from the fact I never through I’d feel confident in high gear.

And yes your point about being weary of getting overconfident is a super important one. I think with guniing it can at times be hard to sense how fast you’re actually riding as it almost feels slow - perhaps due to the leg based cadence making you think it can’t be that fast due to the slower leg motion.

I currently ride very short distances as we (my wife Terez and our daughter in Urban Arrow) ride together and speed wise I’m only going about 8mph.

It’s been nice to finally ride at 8mph and feel steady and in that unified and connected zone. Don’t really know what switch is flipped but something tends to click and you almost become one thing - human and wheel, just rolling.

Hope to be able to get more rides in before it just gets total wet and miserable for our outings this season.

Happy guniing! :smiley::pray:

Hope this is the best place to post. Half a video in its own right but also a continuation of my detailing the experience of learning to Schlumpf.

Hope those that watch it find it enjoyable.

The most complex filming and edit I’ve done yet!



I see you’ve removed the handlebar is that working better for you? You seem to be using your free arm to balance quite a bit. When I’m riding my 29" that doesn’t have a handlebar I tend to just keep my free arm in the same position hanging/pointing backward. Glad to hear your progress and updates keep us posted.

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Yes I removed it as I found it caused a huge mental block for me when I was in fear of the high gear and riding in general. Sometimes keeping things as simple as possible helps when trying to focus on one core challenge. In effect I found myself thinking about where to put my hands and this was too much mental energy when I needed to focus on riding.

But I totally agree that a bar handle helps streamline the body position.

On my Oregon I should probably add one, as I find I like to grip the saddle handle with both hands - and only fling out my left if I needs a quick adjustment / correction.

At present I think I keep my left loose and directed out mainly as a slight safety precaution (it reassures me) for any UPD. But I have already been able to put both hands on the saddle and ride.

It still amazes me how helpful to balance it can be to have one hand out held up like a conductor conducting their orchestra. Micro shifts in hand position help with the ride, still surprises me how it can help.

Already feeling up for a session of shifting practice - going to aim for a manual swap from 1:1 and 1:1.5 and back many times. To keep shocking my body into the two zones. All this without worrying about freemounting.

Then I’ll go for it from 1:1 and try a shift in a nice safe and empty car park I know. It will be fun and interesting to see how I adjust now I’m that bit more confident with riding.

Seriously this is such a lovely machine to ride!! :heart_eyes:


When I first tried a guni the owner didn’t have a handlebar attached and I was so used to riding a 36" with one. After I got the hang of some UPD’s on the guni in gear I asked if he could attach one as it really helps with hand positioning. Even now after months of riding I’m finding it works much more smoothly when you have both hands on the bar.

One hand balancing is really handy skill as there’s a lot of benefit to keeping one hand on the saddle at all times. It’s very rare I need to use both hands to balance at the same time, usually when I’m trying to ride very slowly but for most dicey bits I can get by one handed which makes it a little harder to adjust to 2 handed riding but when you do it really improves your riding.

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100% agree on the bar for a 36er. I have one on my fixed standard 36er and it helps so much with that wheel. I can fully imagine how it works on your GUni!

I will try and add my spare TBar to the GUni again once I’ve played around with my trial and error shifting as I expect a lot of crashes.

I ride 100% of the time with my right hand locked onto the saddle and in the future I’d love to experiment with the Handle Saddle and alternative methods. I can imagine you could get quite a pace in with two hands on a TBar in high gear and the balance coming from core and legs alone.

So much to learn and I am itching for my next days off work! :grin:

After a near life threatening miscarriage for my wife over a month ago now - we were back out for a family ride again today, Boxing Day!

We were both so pleased to be out and riding again - and while my Schlumpf learning hasn’t been the most pressing concern of late, I’m pleased to say I wasn’t rusty and feel more confident than before.

Tons to learn but I’ll get there.


Good that you can find time for your passions when your family are having trouble. Hope your wife is doing better and glad she’s still with you.

Is the UPD in the video shifting related or you just hit something? You have such a casual riding style there.

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Thanks so much :pray:Totally agree …

That’s in fact a graceful dismount gone wrong :joy:
I think I mis-timed it or didn’t realise how strong gravity was or how fast the ground was coming up under me.

It really does look like a fall but I was trying to stop and get off nicely.

Did have one UPD earlier in the trip, and that was due to some people crossing the path trying to make way for me while I was also trying to mentally process a root or two under tarmac. I’m pleased to have had that UPD as it wasn’t as bad as I imagined it to be on a GUni :grinning:

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Musings on Geared Riding - inspired to get back to writing here due to reading @hillin post :pray:

This post is to allow me to share the realisations I’ve had that both speak directly to the process of shifting up, but also more generally on the art of this weird experience - riding a uni in high gear.

I’m by no means a great geared rider, but I’ve had lots of stuff whirling around my head about it and how it both makes me feel, and how I tackle areas I find either challenging or am fearful of.

I tend to use metaphor or simile or just plain odd ways to describe what I’ve experienced and that “eureka moment”, so please bear with :pray:

1– It’s all forward!!!

What do I mean by this? Moving forward on a unicycle is pretty essential as speed is your friend. I’ve recently realised (or my brain has finally transferred this realisation to my body, and disengaged its over-control) that focusing forward is even more important on a geared wheel.

I had a bad experience shifting when I was too behind the wheel and the free play of the shift led me to fall backward flat on my back. Not fun.

You want to fall forwards. Always!

2– It’s muscular

When it gets asked if a G26 is like a 39” wheel or rides like one - or if it is harder or easier etc etc, I personally kind of shrug and mental type back my reply: “It’s just different”.

Geared riding for me feels like a whole new animal in the Kingdom of The One Wheel. Is so different that I’d be inclined to say it isn’t anything like normal fixed unicycling, and the ride is much more like on a bike*!

(*in some ways, not the balancing bit— that’s like unicycling :stuck_out_tongue:)

So the way the trippy, buzzy, feeling of riding a geared up unicycle strikes me most is: it’s muscular.

This means, it is initially more of a physical work out, and your legs do feel they are doing more to get the results you get. Am I riding a virtual 39” wheel? Possibly, I can’t tell - but I am riding a more muscular 26er, YES! It has more grunt, more weight, more heft, more leverage, more MORE

But speed to my mind comes way down the list of what the system can offer. (Admittedly I’m a scaredy-cat, and enjoy the continued integral nature of my skeletal structure— but I don’t think you automatically just go faster in high gear)

So you’re landed with a new unicycling species - it’s more gorilla :gorilla: than rocket :rocket:

I think this chunk of text completed grunt point :white_check_mark:… But what’s with the weight aspect, Felix?

It may be stating the obvious, but any wheel geared up will “feel” more weighty. I guess this is coming from the increase in the torque - cranks to tyre, and the fact that moving said crank from from 12 o’clock to 1, shifts tyre-rubber over dirt by double the distance.

I hear the words: “virtual 39er” forming on someone’s lips somewhere. Yes. I guess this is why we’ve come to coin the comparison via the extrapolated 1:1.5 wheel ratio. G34>>36er, G36>54” etc., etc….
But the wiring in your brain is being altered when riding an actual 26” wheel, in its high gear mode. I don’t believe it feels the same as if I just hopped on an actual 39” wheel. So we come back to my feeling the wheel is a weighty 26er in high :gear:

More heft and more LEVERAGE comes next, as a way to sum up the feelings I have too I feel.

With weight, you also get more heft or power if you like. Press down hard enough to go over X size root and you will quickly realise you don’t need to press as hard. At least I think that’s the case logically. The brain’s rewiring happens by itself and I’m no electrician… but the sense is that you get more for your input to the pedal rotation. That’s not to say with less energy expended though.

So heft being power, what does that really get you in the unicycling space? Power via gearing on a bike is all about speed in high, upwards gearing — but on a geared unicycle it’s also leverage.

I think the easiest thing to forget when first getting acquainted with high gear riding for me, was that it works forwards and backwards.

I could feel the forwards sensation and the increase in the rotational torque I had under my toes, but it took me a while to realise this was on tap in equal measure on rear pedal pressure, or in effect “braking”.

I still forget this from time to time, even today! The gearing is fixed in high so you’re able to control the wheel forward and backwards in the same “heft space”, if you follow my mental picture :brain::crossed_fingers:

I think it is this control, that is makes the whole experience of riding a geared so trippy and almost magically unreal. If you ride bikes you know the feeling of a high gear and its cadence, but it’s not quite the same feeling on a uni in 1:1.5.

You need leverage for the process of riding (unless you freewheel) so having it under your front and rear foot does make you feel like you’re atop a larger wheel. It’s darn cool :sunglasses:

The above point leads me nicely onto:

3– Misconceptions

——A) I recently realised that shifting up into high gear wasn’t going to make me suddenly go faster.

I’d always just tense up at the idea of pressing the button and not in any sense looking forward to the experience of the shift. It was to me like I was about to press Turbo or the Ejector-seat switch - and my brain was solely focused on the shift being likely unpleasant.

This was a misconception, as I’ve realised that shifting up isn’t about increasing your speed, but slowing your pedals cadence. At the point of having just shifted, they - the pedals, feel stiffer, slower - and I now see that you have to trust your body: it won’t be pressing down on them at double the pressure instantly after shifting.

Just like on a bike, if you shift up into a high gear too early, things become slower regarding your pedalling and you may need to stand up and work harder to match the bike’s gearing size, with more speed.

Another way of looking at this - when unicycling up a hill, falling off suddenly doesn’t really happen, it’s more that the wheel gets too slow or hard to turn and you stall. So I’ve started to focus on trusting it and mentally picturing that I’m shifting /across/ not /up/ - across to a different Rotational World Order.

——B) I had always felt when I first started riding in high gear that I should: “hold it all together” and cling on in there. This tense Felix was going no where fast. It was exhausting!

I was in fact making myself sit too much behind the wheel. On a fixed unicycle the principal of being always in a state of falling forwards can (after practice) feel like an acceptable thing and when you get good you want to have a body position that’s more forward, over your wheel — on a wheel in high gear I found this much, much more scary.

But you don’t need to be scared (I’ve discovered). It’s again back to the leverage the high gear gives you. It may seem like you’re reaching into the abyss by trying to fall further forward, but you’re helping ensure you put direction into those pedals, and as you do, the high gearing brings things back into line as with a fixed wheel, it just does more of it: so you need more of that falling forwards too!

——C) Needing to anticipate more…

It dawned on me yesterday, after I’d taken a big dive forwards when my high gear control had been lost —that I was over-reading the road.

All of the stuff I’ve said so far for A - re shifting not being an instant turbo boost is true at that stage, the shift - but I think it is very easy when settling into high gear to at times over-compensate for the road. You can think you need X when you need Y - and this can lead you to get into uncontrollable speed.

Ride the hill, when you’re on the hill -

I was looking ahead far down the path, and physically over preparing myself for a small uphill hump. I was starting however to ride as if I was there already - in the hill, but before the hill. Big mistake :rotating_light:

While high gear riding can feel like you’re on top of this big muscular wheel, you are in fact still riding the patch of earth beneath you - just like any wheeled device.

So, I’ve now recognised the need to dispel the desire or misconception: to be prepared for what’s coming up. Scan the road for sure, but riding that hill when I got to it, would have been a piece of cake and a matter of a bit of extra pressure to push the gearing and me up and over it. Doing this too early in anticipation, got me going faster than intended and I stopped reading the road where I was riding… and probably missed a slight mini-downwards section of the track which is what led me to go flying forwards off the GUni and…. splat.

[I swear when you fall like this, your brain’s film speed goes up to something like 240fps. It was all so gloriously slow. CRAAASH!]

So I’ll draw this long ramble of a post to a close with some recent practical tips that helped me shift up better-er than before:

  1. :speaking_head:Speaking to yourself out-loud when struggling to shift - “Come on! Now! Go go go on you ****** thing!” - whatever takes your fancy, actually helps. I used this when I was determined I’d get it to shift, and was trying to push my brain past its natural caution and reticence. Shouting at yourself as you ride may make you look a little mad to other passers-by, but heck they don’t know the lengths a Schlumpf owner has to go to master their art :muscle::joy:

  2. :yin_yang:Steady pedalling - this seems key to a nice non-shock of a shift. I found my last two shifts to happen without any real jolt or balance correction, and I credit the fact I was focused on keeping my pedalling going evenly round in circles and not letting the process of shifting change this. Like tapping your head with one hand, while doing circles on your belly with the other :sweat_smile:

  3. :man_in_lotus_position:t2:Once you’ve shifted, take a beat and ‘be’ there in the new space. You’ve got to keep pedalling of course, forward forward forward, but I have found it helps centre oneself to take a few seconds - 30 even, directly after shifting where you focus on controlling your speed. This lets you recognise you have geared up backpedal braking at your disposal, which I find reassuring when I the decide to put on a bit of steam and move forward faster.

I’m sure I’ve got few other ideas rattling around in my head regarding this magical version of unicycling - but I’ll let them brew and distil for another day.

I’m cog-nisant this post has gone on for long enough :gear::brain::joy::pray: