I can’t remember how long it took (because I have a bad memory too) but it was a long time. Consequently I never read the ‘I got on and learned to ride 5 miles within the first 5 minutes’ type threads, they just make me depressed.
It took me a long time to learn to ride, or at least my learning was spread over a long time. I had my first unicycle at Christmas and it wasn’t until mid summer that I could really ride it anywhere. I probably only practiced about an hour per weekend during the winter, then had a couple of months off due to a sore back and a long bike tour, then got back into it again. I think I could have progressed more quickly if I hadn’t leaned on walls so much. As soon as I decided to change my practice technique and ride in an open space (on grass so I wasn’t so nervous of falling) it only took me a couple of hours to be able to ride around a bit. It was some time after that though that I could relax enough to ride very far without killing my legs.
I think if you use the drag a hand on the wall idea
Most people I have seen ( all 2 of us ), could start to ride away from the wall, at least a bit, by the second day. I took months to bother with free mounting, despite riding hours a day. Alex started free mounting right away.
Personally, I think having fun riding is the only important determiner of greatness. If you have fun putting in 10,000 hours, you will do it. If you lose interest, you will quit before your tires are worn, even if you did learn to do a 180 down a 3 set wheel walking with one foot, after riding 3 days for Christ while eating mushrooms at Burning Man.
Intensity, and fast learning doubts, are only for those who aren’t having enough fun. Focus on having fun with your riding. If you are having fun you will stick with it, and be very surprised at how your balance improves.
It took me a couple of weeks of half an hour every other day before I could pedal more than a few revolutions. Free-mounting came a lot easier, much to my surprise. Three days of having a piece of wood to keep my wheel from going backwards and I had it nailed. But I still can’t go much further than 200 yards or so. Not because of UPDs, but because my legs are just exhausted after just a short distance.
I got my unicycle for Christmas also 2 years ago, but wasn’t as enthused about unicycling as I am now, I really started getting into it and learning it a few months ago. I don’t think I am as slow as you but, still slow none the less:)
I got my unicycle so I could learn something fun and unusual for my 40th birthday (cheaper than a motorcycle, much cheaper than a “real” midlife crisis). Yesterday, just after my 42nd birthday, I rode down the long gravel driveway, successfully did a 180 in the bumpy grass and rode up the slight incline back to the starting point. WooHoo! At this rate, I’ll hit level 3 or 4 when I’m 90, but it’s still fun!
It took me about a month before I could really ride anywhere on the wood deck that I learned on. Now that I’ve refinished my deck and don’t want more unicycle tracks on it, it’s taken me this long to be able to ride on the grass and gravel with any consistency. Freemounting at least is becoming pretty consistent. Glad to see I’m not the only one.
Nope, definitely not. Like rob.northcott, I’ve had to take several-month breaks due to back problems – several breaks, in my case. And for the same reason I just can’t get out nearly as often as I’d like: I was out yesterday (and got another freemount!), and based on the way my back felt afterwards I don’t think I’ll be out again until the middle of next week.
But I’m hitting the gym regularly to strengthen my back and all of my core muscles, and I still have no intention of giving up. I’ll be riding freely before I die! And as soon as I can, I’ll be looking into a 29er (and I’m sure I’ll hate learning how to freemount that just as much, but I’ll love it when I can). Then I’ll look at getting a Coker (ditto on the freemount thing). And maybe I’ll throw a 20" in there.
I know there are a few younger riders who take longer to learn, and some who start late in life learn quickly, but generally it seems that the time it takes to learn is directly proportional to age. I guess there’s something to that old dog/new trick thing.
And I couldn’t agree more with:
Despite the back pain and the freemounting frustrations, I LOVE the fact that I’m learning how to ride a unicycle!!
My son came home from studying and a fossil-digging trip in Montana last week. We were fixing the tire of his b*cycle and while waiting for the glue to dry, I figured I might as well get some uni-practice in. He hadn’t seen me on the thing yet and when I mounted and did a round around the cul-de-sac, he exclaimed “That’s so cool!” It made all those hours of practice worth it.
Your son thinking you’re cool: priceless!
I learnt to ride when I was 12 then gave up on it untill last year, so the free mounting and riding only took an hour or so to remember.
I can now ride about 10 miles off road and hop on the spot…that’s it!
I can’t for the life of me learn anything else…
Can’t wheel walk
Can’t jump mount…can’t do nothing
I can’t work out whether I am too scared or just rubbish
But you know I don’t care because just riding a unicycle is SO cool:)
It took me about a month before I could ride down to the end of the street. It’s been maybe 9 months now, and I can freemount, but not 100% on the first try. Just general pedaling around, I’m okay- may have an UPD at rough spots. I’ve got a 3 mile loop I go around, and on occasion make the whole thing without any UPD (though I have some rest stops along the way, too).
When I was first learning, I was spending maybe 30 minutes a day at it.
I tried riding in the parade a while back, and that was really hard for me. They were moving at about 1/3 of a walking pace for the longest, and I couldn’t ride quite that slow, but can’t consistently just swoop around doing figure 8’s or ovals, either. When they finally sped up a little, I was a lot better off.
It’s nice to see that I’m not the only un-coordinated person here.
I got my first unicycle on my birthday, in the beginning of May. By autumn I could ride around in a very uncontrollable manner, and sometime during that winter I learned to free mount. It wasn’t until the next summer (a whole year later!) that I started to do little tiny hops. It took me about a year to get to the same point that some people get to in just a few hours!
I stuck with it for a long time, and after just six years I learned how to glide. (a life skill that I’m particularly proud of). Yeah.
Perseverance > skill! …at least, that’s what I tell myself to feel better.
I am probably the slowest to relearn the uni. I started last Sept. and my best ride is about 50 yards. I can’t seem to keep my weight on the seat and my legs are still killing me. I practice about 1 hour on the weekends. I tried riding with the seat high and low. I am in the Philadelphia, PA area and need to find a person to critique my riding.
Nice idea. And keep up the good work with the unicycle!
I’m a slow learner too. My husband and two boys participated in Unicon 13 i Switzerland i 2006, and I was along as non-competitor. It looked very funny, so I decided: “I do also want to learn unicycling!” The time horizon was fairly clear: Two years - then I should be able to participate in Unicon 14, which fortunately is held here in Denmark.
I begun practising in August 2006, once a week in a unicycle club. It took me literally months to be able to ride from one end of the hall to the other (40 meters). Hereafter I begun to practise freemounts. I counted how many successfull attempts out of 100 I could get. In the beginning 5 or 7 were fine to me. I do not know how many attempts I have made, but it is several thousands. But at last I could make the IUF level 1 – victory!
I also began to ride outdoors, and I have now been riding for two years. And I still think it is fun. I have trained to be able to get level 2. The worst thing was to freemount whith the “wrong” foot (which is my right) … I began trying / training in the winter, and again – the first time I got 2 out of 100 it showed that the impossible was possible, and it got better little by little. It was just like starting all over again. But, new victory: I managed to do level 2 about one month ago!
Right now I find it difficult to do small circles or narrow turns. I try to idle, and I can hop a little, but only if I have support in the beginning. I also try to ride backwards. Three full wheel rotations is my best result so far …
Anyway, I still think it is fun, and I will participate in Unicon 14 – in disciplines, where I do not need to turn! Well, except the IUF obstacle lane, where I make BIG turns in the slalom cone line. (My oldest son, who is a very skilled unicyclist, call this kind of slalom “parent turns”!)
That’s all for now.
By the way, I have seen the abbreviation UPD several times at this forum, and I can’t figure out what it means - could anyone de-abbreviate, please?
Thanks for the kind words. I was thinking about counting the freemounts out of a hundred as well, but decided I might not be able to count that high.
UPD stands for UnPlanned Dismount. I still remember my first few weeks of learning how to “ride.” What I really learned was how to UPD. And I can still see the scratches in the concrete where I was starting.