Slackrope unicycling...

I’ve set a goal for myself to (eventually) learn to slackrope unicycle. Naturally the first step is to learn to slackrope walk.

I have been practising a little on a very short 2m long rope beside the fence. Without the uni that’s easy enough, but today I bought 12m of rope and set it up between two trees and I was amazed at how much more difficult it was. I’m pretty much back to square one in the skills department now that I’m onto the bigger rope. I have some questions for you…

Can anybody from the slackrope walking world tell me whether or not experienced slackrope walkers pay much attension to rope length and slack-ness? Seems to me that a longer rope is always going to be much more difficult to balance on, is this true for experienced slackrope walkers though? What is an ideal length to learn the basics on? How slack should it be?

From the very short attempt this afternoon (mostly very short because I was practising over my driveway which scared me a little and I’m planning to try on grass from now on), it seemed like slackrope walking is going to take a long time to learn. I had no control when up on the rope…the difference between 2m and 12m is incredible.

I’m trying to convince myself that this will be just like learning to unicycle in that at first it seems almost impossible but quickly gets easier as you get used to these new forces that you have to counter at odd angles. There are things on the unicycle that I used to consider almost impossible, like the rail riding Kris Holm does in New World Disorder, that are now a little more within my reach so I’m hopefully slackrope walking then slackrope unicycling will be the same.

I guess whenever I doubt that this can possibly be accomplished I should look to that “Reino” guy who did the inverted slackrope ultimate wheeling. :slight_smile: My attempts today at simply balancing on the thing mack that skill of his even more incredible to me.

So does anybody have any tips for a raw beginner? Anyone here have any experience with slackrope unicycling? Am I right in guessing that tightrope unicycling would be similar in difficulty to riding very narrow (20mm diameter or so) rails? How tight is a tightrope?


the slack rope in my garden is between two trees about 6m apart. the rope (5cm climbing tape) is attached to the trees at about chest height and dips to about half way up my shin at its lowest.

Try an look at something vertical infront of you when balancing and not the floor or rope, this way its much easier to see weather you are remaining vertical.

the foot that is not on the rope should point towards the floor and if its lower than the foot on the rope it will act as a very good counter balance

dont try and walk across the slack rope, balance on one foot and then put your other foot on the rope and tranfer the weight and balance to you new foot and remove the trailing foot. It sounds, and looks i lot like walking, but is good to have that mind set…

tight rope is much easier, and should be a tight as possible, unless you want some bounce int their to help you jump off the wire (with back flip if desired)

as for unicycling on either, I’ve not done any rail riding…

good luck dude and hope that something in here is useful


My experience is that the longer the rope the easier it is. You say you do a 2 meter rope. That is very difficult for me. I think about 6 meters is about right. Even a 6 meter rope is difficult at the ends, so make sure you start out in the middle. I think slack rope walking is much easier than learning to unicycle. I forget which one I learned first. Basically there are 4 foot positions to learn. Each foot by itself and each foot in front of the other. When you have those 4 positions, then you can walk. It really helps to have something to hold on to while you are learning. After that you can “freemount”, without any assistance if the rope isn’t too far off the ground.

I’ve never tried to unicycle on the rope, I don’t think I’m good enough on the uni.

I hope this helps.


Here is a short thread and some pics of Vaughn’s slackrope set up. He uses a portable hammock frame.

(You were the only reply to that thread, any correlation?)

Hey, Andrew,

The whole slacklining thing is huge in the rockclimbing world, which is where it started. If you Google for slacklining you’ll find a bunch of stuff. Or go to They have a discussion group just for slacklining.


So is there a difference between a slack rope and a slackline?
It seams that what you are talking about is just hanging a loose rope between two trees, but I can do what I thought is called slacklining, but it is done with stretchy climbing web stuff, so it looks tight untill you step on it, when it streches and wobbles all over the place. So is there a distinciton between the two? which one is harder?

Also when you try to ride your unicycle on it, are you going to take the tire off, or try to ride it with the tire still on (if that is even possible)?

WOW, I slackline too. Its soo fun. I could not uni on it though

Slacklining is usually done on 1" nylon climbing webbing, yanked tight between two trees (typically) producing a slack line of 30-50 feet. The nylon webbing strectches at first but once the play has been worked out of it from various tightenings and folks walking on it, it stretches little, but still some. For that reason, and because I think a uni would roll much better on a round rope as opposed to a flat piece of webbing, I suggest using a 11mm static line, which has almost zero stretch.

I can’t imagine anyone doing this without removing the tire and riding on the rim. I got a feeling that it won´t be much if any harder than regular ‘slacking,’ which is a sort of moving stillstand on a line instead of a wheel.

For the whole lowdown, check out:


Thanks a lot, that’s all very helpful. I’ll get back to you when I’ve made a bit of progress.


I think you have to look at the length between the anchor points and the length of rope, and the ratio between the two. There’s no doubt some complicated maths here.

With sufficient slack, you become the “bob” of a pendulum. A long pendulum swings more slowly. That’s why a 2 metre slack rope may be harder to walk on than a 5 metre one or longer.

Of course, for unicycling, the deeper the dip in the rope (the longer the pendulum) the harder it’ll be to ride up the hill. The wheel will skid, and control will become impossible.

Conclusion: you’re a crazy person and will probably die in the attempt. :astonished:


P.S. I have walked slackrope, but not for many years, and not much then. It was great fun. Good luck.

Thanks. :slight_smile:

i actually have tried this. itook the tire and inner tube out and rode onthe rim. ican do a couple rotations,but i have not had much time to practice. it is definitely doable

I’ve ridden a very loose tightrope that was about 12’ long (ummm, maybe 4meters? I don’t feel like doing a conversion in my head). It was a round line, and I was on a trials uni with a tire on. I made it about 1.5-2 rev on my best try. the hardest part was the line twisting under the tire, making riding a tightrope far more difficult than a loose rail ride. Riding a slackrope with the tire on is nearly impossible, due to the twisting. Unless you’re taking the tire off Andrew, you’re doomed to failure.

Then again, I never got very good at slackroping. I could do a pretty long stand on one with a self mount but I could never switch feet or walk.