Ok here is the deal. has anyone got any tips for increasing your speed, not the speed of the unicycle, but your personal speed.

I’m trying to get the best out of my current setup, which means improving the rider not the machine. Now I’m aware from other stuff I do that just randomly trying to shove myself harder isn’t long term productive, so what do I do to improve/refine my technique ?

Have you tried running laps or hiring an instructor who trains people who sprints/marathons and so forth??

I’ve found that leaning forward more helps me pick up speed. By leaning forward more you’re effectively forced to spin more quickly to keep yourself from falling. There’s a nice middle ground between lying flat on the road and perpendicular to it where I achieve my maximum speed.

this also rapidly increases the amount of soreness u get in ur legs, becoz u have to pedal alot harder to stop urself from eating the concrete…

but this is also good coz it builds up the legs

I disagree in a way, uhm, with unicycling your speed is in a high cadence instead of like in cycling where your force and power in each pedal stroke controls your speed. Because you don’t put that force in a unicycle stroke your legs don’t go sore as fast, I always lean forwards and never have sore legs so I can’t say I agree with you. That nearly answered your question, you have to think in Revolutions Per Minute, RPM, not (core) strength. I know you wanted to keep it to your personal improvement but your unicycle plays a big part in this too. For road riding I use a completely customized unicycle, I’ve switched from the extra wide hub to a less wide hub for speed, I use some of the shortest cranks on a coker because basically your max RPM will be around 200, and on flat for a long period around 150 RPM. This means that you will go faster on shorter cranks. Rather than strenghtening your legs try increasing your pace and yes, like HistoricalGoof said, lean forwards more. Handles help too.

Lean forward, pedal your ass off, lean into turns, and build up the muscles of your upper legs.

I’ve found that doing this while pushing down on the back of the seat with one hand makes it a lot easier to do this for longer periods. Your body is leaning forwards, allowing you to pedal as if you were running, but the seatpost remains more vertical, which prevents the momentum from taking over and making you crash.

Give it a shot. I do it everytime I want to ride as fast as I can.

It’s also possible to do this just by consciously leaning forward just above your hips, not with your whole body. But leaning my whole body forward, including the seat it’s on, helps me the most. Once I went so fast on a track that way I had to roll to keep from breaking my face, but that’s been the only mishap.

Just got back home from a really nice ride. It’s spring here, beautiful and the trail I rode was dry. I was thinking about this as I was out and first thought it really only helps me on flat land, but then I tried really leaning into a hill and sped up it like never before. Too often I get into some really slow pumping while the wheel careens back and forth. This was much better, but I sure was breathing hard at the top.

You really want to keep the unicycle with you, so I think you want to increase the speed of both. You said you wanted to get the best out of your current setup, which you didn’t describe, nor did you give us an indication of where you are now. How are you measuring your speed? Are you timing yourself on rides or distances? You need a baseline of some sort to start from, and you measure your improvement from there.

With more information about where you are now, what you’re on and what you’re trying to do, I can offer some more useful information. For now I’ll just offer “pedal faster for as long as you can” as a start. It all kind of boils down to that… :slight_smile:

On flat it healms it I lean forward at the hips, pedal very smoothly and really pulling up on the back pedal, holding the handle firmly to reduce the side to side wobble, and really focusing on my feet moving in a circle and not just pushing downon the forward pedal.

Pushing down on the handle when I hit bumps helps.

I usually can really focus on two of these for breaf instances. Pedaling smooth and trying to eliminate sudden backpressure on the pedals to regain ballance is what has worked the best for more than say, a quarter mile.

On uphills if I can keep a cadence going instead of half strokes I go faster and less overal effort.

Don’t put too much weight on the pedals, try and float on the pedals, whilst spinning very very fast.

Ride lots.

If you want to improve maximum speed, try riding as fast as possible for a minute, rest for a minute, repeat until your legs tell you it’s time to stop.

You might want to combine this with longer rides, so you can get fast at going a long distance, rather than a minutes worth of riding.

I think there is very little technique to riding fast that can’t be learnt by riding lots. The leaning forward thing, if you’re too far back it’ll slow you down loads, you’ll just get this naturally if you ride lots.

Fitness is important for riding fast, but like Dustin says, it’s all about the cadence. You’ll find once you’re hitting high speeds, at least on the flat the speed you can spin is what limits your speed rather than you run out of breath or get tired. For the first 30km or so anyway. After that, tiredness does start to kick in if you’ve been riding flat out.

Oh yeah, someone mentioned handles, I primarily use mine just in emergency to catch me if I go over a bump, always have a hand on it if you’re riding fast, as riding fast is when you’re most likely to hit a bump and crash.


There is some good advice here.

It helps to get your foot to move in a circle not up and down and reduce the pressure on it. “floating” your foot on the pedal is the affect you get when you do this and you will know when you have this affect, you just seam to go faster with less effort. I get better at this after I am warmed up, this normally takes about 5 miles of riding to get there (I have never been a spint person). The warmup bit is not like warming up for running etc. although there will be some of that; it is partly a balance warmup and also getting to the point where you are relaxed. You can not sprint if you are not relaxed on your unicycle.

One comment about the floating feet and pedals. Metal pinned pedals are essential. Not having them is what caused me to break my arm at UNICON on the practice ride. I had the wrong pedals on and I floated my feet to speed up down a steep little hill and they just floated off the pedals!

As joe says… ride lots.


I don’t know if it is just me but i go faster when riding one footed.

Roger breaks his arm when riding one footed (accidental one footing admittedly).


A unicycle tends to be undergeared most of the time, so the speed limiting factor is not so much the gear size but how fast you can pedal without falling off.

In order to pedal fast, you need to stay as relaxed as possible, as soon as you tense up your legs, it slows down the speed at which you can pedal in circles. So in effect, as Joe and Roger mentioned, you want to “float” on the pedal, which means having just enough pressure on the pedal to adjust your balance every now and then.

A good handle is useful to help you lean forward and lower your centre of gravity. When I’m riding fast, I’m in a similar position to a bicyclist- ie my back is pretty flat to the ground, about 30-40 degrees.

There is some useful stuff here thanks

first an apology for the mes that was my initial post, when overtired I should just step away from the internet, it goes nowhere good.

and now onto some stuff, thanks to joe,roger & ken for the kind of technique tips I was looking for.

John I’m using a cycling computer to give me my max speed at the moment thats the only thing I’m intrested in increasing (I have a ridiculous plan in my head) once I’ve hit a target I’ve set then I’m going to go & work on increasing my average speed and increasing distance.

The uni is set up for a certain amount of speed, being Mikefule’s road razor. It currently has 125 cranks on it, which I don’t intend to swap out for a month or 3 and due to my shortness of leg there isn’t a lot of seat play.

So I need to try to work on relaxing & floating the pedals, whilst my legs go like the clappers & I lean forward for aerodynamics whilst showing no fear ? is that about the gist of it :slight_smile:

Toe-clips! For me they are an essential factor for spinning fast - you can ‘float’ without any fear of loosing the pedals, and can push forwards and pull up a bit as well as just down (though when you think in circles it all becomes part of a single thing). Plastic cup type ones without straps (see my pic, left) work well, as you can’t get stuck in them. I have UPDed at speed (not too often!) and never once had a problem with being caught on the pedals. Just step off them like normal platforms - no extra concentration or technique needed.

Once you feel like swapping down cranks it’ll be a different world - more speed with less effort (to a point)! Some people who race on 28" wheels have silly little cranks (60mm?!).

I wouldn’t worry about ‘aero’ too much - at uni speeds it has only limited effect, and is more scary than it’s worth.

Yes, as everyone says - relax, and ride lots (more practice = more relaxed). Riding with bikes helps a lot too, for speed motivation. :slight_smile:


It was more of a coast really.

I think where he went wrong was not getting into a proper aero position before he started to coast, the drag caused by his upright position pulled him off the back of the uni. I reckon in a proper aero position he’d have gone another 20 feet or so before gravity caught up with him :wink:

Haha, I was about to say! Very stylish it was…

Like Sam says, toeclips are very good, after Paul told me Sam (and others) use toeclips for distance riding I couldn’t resist and bought myself a set, I absolutely love them, mainly because your feet stop shifting. I have had a UPD on my MUni with them that was unpleasant but I doubt you’ll be having such problems on your road unicycle. I havn’t.