Seeking advice/tutorials on riding one-footed

Hi All,

I want to add one-foot riding to my skills. I ride a 36".

By putting progressively lighter pressure with my left foot, I managed to get my left foot off for one complete rotation, catch the pedal, and take it off another rotation, and repeat.

First issue: managing to do this for more than one rotation, or even at some length.

Second issue: The other foot. My right foot seems reluctant to lift off the pedal. It’s sort of cowardly, or maybe has great wisdom that I lack. I can spend 30 minutes/day for a week without making ANY progress with this.

Any guidance or tutorials? Thank you.

There don’t appear to be any tutorials on one-footed riding a 36. I can pedal around reasonably well with my left foot (up to 70 revolutions) on a flat-crowned 20" uni, but I can’t ride one-footed at all on my 29-inch, and even if it had a flat-crowned fork, I might not be able to. The problem with one-footed riding on any larger wheel is that there is very little space between your body and the top of the fork, so your non-pedaling foot would have to be tucked up really high, unless you’re one of those people who doesn’t need to rest his free foot on the crown, but in that case, you probably would have already figured out the answer to your question!

There is literaly no point to learn it on both sides, excluding for personal reasons. From what I remember when learning was that I sucked a lot and it took many attempts. Just don’t give up, because it’s a super cool trick. And as song said, make sure you tuck your foot up onto the crown as fast as possible.

My first advice would be to borrow a smaller wheel (20" or 24"). This is not to say it can’t be done on a 36", but it’s enough work to learn it on a smaller wheel, then translate that to the bigger wheel.

The hard part is getting the pedaling foot over the top. You have no control there, and have to balance the pressure to keep your foot from separating from the pedal. All of your control is on the downstroke (pushing you forward) and the upstroke (slowing you down). The bigger/heavier the wheel, the more effort it will take, and more finesse required, to keep things within the parameters to keep you riding on one foot.

Determined to learn it on the 36"? Try a slight downhill. This will help keep you rolling forward, and possibly help learn the deceleration techniques you will need on the upstroke. Also work it on level ground. Practice dismounting, since you’ll do it a lot. And don’t give up!

For further critiques, send video of your attempts.

Like song, I learned one-footed on a 20" with a wide, square crown. It really helps me to put my free foot on the crown; I’m wondering if I’ll ever learn with the other foot hanging out in the air. So, step one, get your hands on a smaller unicycle.

Another poster mentioned the unimportance of learning one-footed on either side. I encourage you to practice on both sides. I think it’ll make you a better rider in general. Someone in a past thread (JohnFoss?) mentioned that one-footed skills are good in mUni situations where you briefly lose contact with one of the pedals; the skill will help you avoid a UPD in these situations.

I learned one-footed riding in an unorthodox way. I first learned one-footed idling, and I increased the size of my idles, until I was able to go over the top and perform my first rotation. This may have been a harder method, but in the end I improved on two different skills. One-footed idling is a lot of fun, and with a wide enough crown, it’s almost more relaxing to one-foot-idle than it is to regular-idle.

It may help to have your seat higher, in order to put more weight on seat, and less on the pedal in the 12:00 position. As I practiced one-footed idling, I focused on getting more weight on the seat and on the foot-on-the-crown, prior to rolling over the 12:00 position.

Glad to hear you’re expanding your skill repertoire!

I haven’t spent much time riding one-footed on a big wheel. I feel there’s a big difference between riding with foot on frame and foot off and the general riding benefits you get from being able to ride one footed is more attune with the former while on a big wheel I would be forced to do the latter. I can ride all the permutations (left/right/on/off) on 20" and 24" wheels and as John mentions starting with a smaller wheel will make it easier (like most skills/tricks). I personally feel one footed riding is a great skill to have that helps out in distance, muni, and sports. Even if you don’t actually ride one footed in those disciplines being able to gives you extra control in situations that may otherwise result in a UPD. As far as dominant or non-dominant (left/right), whichever one seems easier at first is the one you normally practice which will get better since you practice it more. If you practice the other side it will get better, too. Originally my right was my dominant side for one footed riding. I didn’t specifically try to practice with my left but early on in my coasting practice I found it easier to start with my right foot on the frame which meant one footed pedaling with my left to start. After enough practice without trying to and without thinking about it my left got better than my right for one footed riding.

So is one-footed riding the way to learn gliding, with no feet riding? Or maybe, I should not be chicken and when I have some forward momentum, swing both feet to the side and see where that ends me up. It would be great to be able to do that.

Excellent! thank you, everyone, for all this wonderful advice/help. You guys are GREAT!

Maybe I’m stupid or stubborn, but I’ll probably keep trying this on the 36" at least for another week. Then I’ll dust off the 29".

John said to learn dismounting. One-foot dismount?!! For me, it’s always off the front. Is that OK? I never intentionally dismount off the front/forward.

I also like the idea of one-foot rocking. Do people do that on a 36"
thanks again!

Gliding is non-pedaling riding where you use your foot on the tire as a brake. Coasting is non-pedaling riding where you don’t touch the tire. Both need to start on a hill going down or get up to speed somehow. I can’t glide very well, but I use one footed riding to get up to speed when I practice coasting. I wouldn’t say one footed riding is a particular prerequisite to gliding or coasting. I can coast with one foot on the frame but I find two feet on the frame much easier (some people are the opposite). I find coasting with both feet off the frame to be very difficult and my longest runs of this are usually by accident. You may find more success with coasting by starting with at least one foot on the frame. (There’s a version of coasting with feet out using a brake called “brake coasting” or “Beau coasting”. I cannot do that yet so I’m not sure if that’s similar to anything else.)

When you dismount forwards, even though it is a simple way to get off, your uni might just flip sideways and you might drag it along a bit. Especially if you want to dismount before a traffic light or something, it is best to dismount to the back, so you can have the uni in front of you. That way the uni won’t swing against a car or cyclist standing next to you.

I haven’t come so far that I always UPD behind my uni. UPD-ing is something uncontrolled, like the wheel locking up when ur riding over a bigger obstacle. In cases where I feel that I am about to lose balance, it might give time enough to step off backwards.

yesterday, while riding one-foot, i had a UPD off the back. The uni went flying about 15 feet in front bouncing off the curb. Obviously I have a lot of work to do.

Thanks everyone for the tips!

Like most skills, keep your weight on the seat. For a 36" frame, something can be attached to the frame leg with a hose clamp for a foot rest. Watch sharp edges, though. You could probably duct tape a small piece of wood or rubber hose to it which would have no sharp edges.