Surfaces that unicycle damage?

I’ve been asked if using unicycles on astro-turf has ever damaged the surface of it, has anyone had any experience of astro-turf? Can you give me any experiences/advice about it?

Also, tarmac tennis courts? Can unicycles cause any damage to them at all?

If anyone has used such surfaces at a previous venue and not had any problems perhaps you could let me know so that I can contact the venue people and get them to let my enquirer know if it is safe?

Cheers for any help!

Astroturf doesn’t get damaged by unicycling. However it’s a terrible surface, it’s really hard to turn on, and depending on what is underneath, will either hurt badly, or very very badly when you fall on it. I put myself on crutches for a week falling hard on astroturf. Astroturf has a kind of grain that makes the unicycle want to keep going in a straight line, I turned it sideways and suddenly got thrown off as the wheel stopped completely.

We use a tennis court / five a side place to play hockey on at EMUs, no problems there. Dunno what the surface is, bog standard council tennis court surface, some kind of tarmac.


I’ve played hockey on loads of tennis courts without any damage to the court. Some softer trials tyres might leave a rubber mark, though.

The modern synthetic soil astroturf with rubber balls in it would be pretty bad for riding on. I’ve got a squre foot of it on the shelf in front of me and a unicycle under my desk so I could try it. The older carpet style astro would be better. The local kids regularly ride their bikes where I play football on this surface and it seems to be undamaged

IF you could see if it has any impact that would be greatly appreciated. If I can’t convince him that his astro-turf wont be damaged then itll be a right pain. Thanks for the advice so far, keep it coming! :slight_smile: I think i will try to find out more about his surfaces to be able to give a more accurate prediction of what unicycles can do to it.

There’s an astroturf pitch near me that could be used for unicycle hockey. I was unsure about unicycles damadging it so what Iv’e read in this thread is usefull. Hopefully I’ll be able to convince the owners of the pitch to let unicycles on it.

That’s the sort I crashed badly on, or at least I think it is, the stuff with the little ‘grass’ pieces of plastic on a big piece of carpety backing?

If so, it might be okay for riding bikes on, but for unicycles it’s horrible. I think notts university jugglesoc tried unicycle hockey on astroturf once too, and discovered this independently of me. It certainly isn’t a suitable surface for unicycle hockey. It’s just not nice to ride on, and not safe to ride on.


In case he doesn’t spot this thread, drop Steve Colligan an email/PM. He planned a hockey tournament in Liverpool a year or so ago, but before the venue allowed him to run that, he had to have a single game on there to satisfy everyone that there wouldn’t be any damage. Maybe your potential venue could even contact Steves venue to see how well behaved us unicyclists are.

Oh, and as no one else has stated the obvious… plastic pedals are much safer than metal ones! :smiley:


Honestly, you’re not going to want to play hockey on astroturf. Believe me. Don’t put too much effort into getting permission to play there! Try riding on carpet. Deep carpet. It’s much better than astroturf, from my experience.

Worst surfaces I’ve ever had to perform (do my Freestyle show) on:

  1. Wet astroturf. If it were dry I’m sure it wouldn’t have been much worse than carpet, but it was wet. Had to put pinned pedals on my Freestyle uni to be able to do anything!

  2. Lumpy carpet. That is, a decent piece of carpet laid over a circus ring with a lumpy rubber floor. Horses tear up a rubber floor. This was the Riga Circus, in Lativia.

  3. Grass with tree roots under it. Whose idea was it for us to perform there?

All of these were for professional performances. Part of the fun of being a pro! :slight_smile:

Carpet sucks. So does astro turf.

We’ve got some astroturf on our back porch that’s really worn out and flattened down, it’s actually not all that bad.

Big knobby tires might tear holes in it if it’s cheap, but I think it should be okay. I wouldn’t recommended it though.

I’ve had to do a show on lumpy grass with tree roots. But at least I had a bunch of trials obstacles to get up off the ground with! :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m probably going to do some shows at a fair later this summer, on loose gravel. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some kind of stage risers/platforms to do flat/freestyle tricks and stuff.

The issues people have w/ their tennis courts are wear and the marking of the textured surface from the tires and hard metal things hitting it, like pedals or those nasty old bumpers.

Any plastic pedals should be fine, but I noticed a mark a pair of my plastics left on concrete once. Pedals w/ rubber ends like these would probably be best.

Any non-marking tire should work, but again a white one would probably be best. I’ve noticed skid marks from bikes on asphalt using white and red “non-marking” tires. I could easily see the mark from the red tire, but the white one I had to look more closely to notice.

Even if regular tires don’t leave a mark they put more wear on the surface than shoes, but non marking tires I think would put no more wear than a tennis player would.

uhm never done astroturf, but i’m sure you could mess up a tennis court w/ a pedal put into it reallllly hard(all your weight falling on the uni)… astroturf sucks bad, but they pay football on it… ??? does that not say anything about it?

we played hockey on a sand laid astroturf at the Scarborough juggling convention a couple of years ago - it was absolutely awful, turning was tricky and unpredictable and falls led to nasty abrasions / friction burns to the body which were helpfully filled with sand. Additionally, the surface was very grippy on the stick heads so it made hitting the ball awkward. As to whether the pitch would get damaged its hard to say as it was so bad we packed in playing after about 15 minutes and went and did something else less boring instead :slight_smile:

Roland (not a very helpful answer but the limit of my astro turf experience)

Damage to surfaces

I practice riding skills on an outdoor basketball court. The tires do leave some black marks on sharp turns. These wash away after a rain. Also the pinned magnezium pedals do scratch the surface. Keep that in mind. I am lucky that the court is old with cracks on the surface. So a few more scratches from me are not noticed.