Serious Idle Help

I need some serious Idling help, need suggestions I can’t seem to get the backwards thing down.


Sorry, I’m a bit busy now…but have you had a look through ? You might find some of that stuff useful.


I learned between 2 tables, and just going back and forth until I could take my hands off of the tables for brief periods that got longer and longer.

I can still only idle with my right foot down, and then for 30-50 cycles.

Re: Serious Idle Help

i’m confused
are u battling with idling or with riding backwards?
or both?

on idling, the best two bits of advice is:
Step One - Practise
Step Two - Repeat

and the other one is to slow down
most people i’ve seen start the idle-learning process moved too fast
your stabillity is not found in pendulum-like manic to-and-fro’ing
it’s a very controlled movement

the pendulum comparison is handy tho because it does help to think of yourself as a pendulum
your head remains in (pretty much) one spot while the wheel goes forward and back
what u’re basically doing is riding forward but leaning back so when the wheel gets to go as far forward as it will go, u’re overbalancing backwards and will fall off the back if u don’t ride the wheel back in under your balance point
u don’t stop there, u now ride it so far back, that u overbalance forward and would fall off the front if u don’t ride the wheel back in under your balance point…

does any of this make sense?

the table suggestion is kewl
as is the suggestion to practise it in a doorway or a hallway
if u do, be prepared to clean the walls after every practise session else someone is going to get upset

Re: Serious Idle Help

I have been trying to idle for the past 9 months. My best so far is 11 cycles. Not good but it is feeling better and more in control. I am not giving up yet.

Hang in there and keep trying.

I can still remember learning to idle. The frustration of the pendulum swing getting smaller and smaller until I just bottomed out.

What size wheel are you on? For a 20 try to get the cranks to swing from almost horizontal to almost horizontal (3:00 to 9:00). On a 24 the wheel will cover a similar distance but the cranks don’t get all the way to horizontal.

By the backwards thing I assume you mean you are having a hard time getting the back swing down. Try to get the crank to almost 3:00 (front) and stall for just a moment before bringing the tire back under you.

I’m not very good at it yet either. My best has been 7 cycles. I just go to the tennis court where I usually practice and hold on to the fence with one hand. Then I idle, slowly and as controlled as possible with the cranks getting to nearly horizontal on each cycle. I try to just use light pressure on the fence to keep my balance. Then, once I feel a little bit confident, I move completely away from the fence so I don’t rely on it. Good luck. Practice, practice, practice.

There is a lot of good advice here. My two cents would be to not use a crutch or walls more then to get the feel of idling. Since you can do 7 cycles then you are doing great! Keep at it and leave the walls alone!

My breakthrough came by learning the reverse mount (to start idling), which gets you one cycle into idling immediately!

I can now idle till the cows come home (400-500 cycles is as far as I have ever counted).

Idling is also a great way to start learniing how to ride backwards since your already one step into it!

It took me two weeks of 1 hour per day to finally idle 200 times! Just keep practicing!

make sure that your pedals are vertical (srry, evry1, but i had to say it). you should also practise going backwards, which will eventually lead to you learning how to come out of the backwards motion(sounds like that was what you were having trouble with.) and don’t forget - when you start sliding backwards on your learning curve, ride normally for a while, practise some moves you already know. no learning experience can be forced.

Some months ago someone (John Childs?) described
“superidling” which, in my opinion, is the quickest way to lear idling.

Perhaps there should be a list compiled on this site with advice about standard, beginning techniques, since they so frequently pop up here, and have been answered dozens of times before. A search for idling will easily turn up 20 threads.


When I saw the thread title, I thought you were complaining that the maid was lazy. “Gosh, posh!” I thought.

Be that as it may…

Idling and riding backwards are closely linked skills. The earlier comment on this thread was therefore very relevant. Learn to idle, and your reversing will improve; the converse applies.

Here’s how I learned, and it took me about a week or two of half hour sessions, working hard, but occasionally throwing in a bit of normal riding to break the monotony:

Ride forwards at a steady pace. Stop, with pedal down, then ride off.

Repeat a few times.

Now, ride forwards, stop, and allow the bottom pedal to ride up a little. You will need to let the wheel run just ever so slightly ahead of you.

Now push that pedal back down to move the uni back under you until you are leaning ever so slightly forwards, and ride off. The pattern is: forwards, stop, back, ride off.

Repeat ad nauseam, or until you feel sick of it.

Now, try for this: forwards, stop, back, forwards, stop, back, ride off.

Repeat ad hoc, or as seems right in the circumstances.

What you are doing now is stopping and idling very briefly, andriding out of the idle. You are improving your low speed skills, and hopefully you are not learning to idle-until-you-fall-off.

Now it’s simply a case of going for 3 rocks, 4 rocks, five rocks and so on. Just practice ad infinitum, or at least until tea time.

The trick with idling is to identify the natural rhythm of the unicycle, and keep to it, rather than trying to force a rhythm onto it. The idle is a steady pendulum swing from one position to another, and the time to swing is when you need to.

Also, look at a fixed point at eye level 10 - 20 metres or more away. If you look at something close, or look at the floor, you will find idling harder to learn.

Search the forum and you will find numerous versions of the above advice, phrased differently.

Mikefule: I have tried this a bit, but i can’t get it working, it is like following:

I go forward in steady pace, speed up a so that i lean backwards, and brakes, i pedal backwards half a rotation, but then i cant hold on any longer and falls forward.

I was out a minute ago, and noticed that i can’t get the right foot down, any tips?

I can go like 2 rockings if i o it after the mount, but not i i stop and then tries to idle…

well heres how i learned to idle and it worked fine for me. i first tryed to idle just from unicycling and it didnt work. well my next method was this, i figured id learn how to ride backwards and since i obviously knew how to ride forwards i figured i’d find a median in between the two and it worked. it took me a couple weeks for a few times a week and it worked fine now i dont have a problem idling

Re: Serious Idle Help

On Tue, 26 Oct 2004 17:14:56 -0500, “lleberg” wrote:

>I go forward in steady pace, speed up a so that i lean backwards, and
>brakes, i pedal backwards half a rotation, but then i cant hold on any
>longer and falls forward.

Lean back more before you pedal backwards. May seem scary, but you
will roll your wheel back under you.

>I was out a minute ago, and noticed that i can’t get the right foot
>down, any tips?

Do you mean you can only idle with your left foot down? Then just
practice that for a while. Vanilla foot idling can come later.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

I got a little one. Does it offend any one? - Tim

And there’s your problem!

Don’t speed up to lean backwards.


How do you dismount? Can you dismount smoothly and tidily off the back? When I dismount from any of my unicycles, including the Coker, I like to stop and step neatly off the back. And I don’t achieve stopping by speeding up!

So, slow right down, but steadily. In normal riding, you are leaning forwards. The wheel is trying to keep up with you. It’s like being in orbit: you keep falling, but you never land.

As you ride more slowly, or more smoothly, you need to lean forwards less.

So, by timing your deceleration, and making it smooth, you can allow the wheel to ride under you. You should already be in deceleration mode, so you are applying a retarding force on the pedals, but, by timing and shifting of the body weight, you can achieve a situation in which the wheel is just starting to overtake you, you’re travelling very slowly, and it’s all under control.

Then, when you push down on the rising pedal, you don’t have to do it hard, or suddenly. It’s more of a pumping action (like operating a treadle-powered sewing machine) than a stomping action (like dancing to Johnny Legend).

Keep it smooth, and work WITH the unicycle, not against it. dance with the uni, don’t fight it.