Tackling the hills on my unicycles.

To preface, I was never much of a bike rider. In fact I dreaded up-hills on my bicycle.

Why is it that I hills on my unicycle aren’t that bad? I just slowly chug and I’m at the top. Hills I never would have bothered with on my bicycle.

Let me know about your experiences riding hills.

In relation to my ride today on some central PA hills, I also made this post:

On a bike, you’re more likely to be in a higher “gear” than on your unicycle. So, while the unicycle also requires energy to keep it balanced, you’re generally required to output less power than if you were on a bike, at least on pavement. OTOH, when riding offroad on steep hills, I think a bicycle can be easier.

Thanks Phlegm. (cough…sneeze… snuffle :wiping nose on sleeve in gratitude for your response: ) :slight_smile:

I was feeling superhuman for a little while now, I just feel smart for having a unicycle!

Makes sense. Well explained.

I’ve recently discovered how well I can climb hills on my Muni, and even better when I don’t use my handle all the time. I ride up an escarpment at the start of my ride, and I find I can ride most of it (except for the same few spots that always get me).

I don’t find that I really enjoy climbing big hills, but I am amazed at how well one can climb on a uni.

I don’t really mind too much. I certainly get a charge after I am done! I went riding with my kid today, he keeps up with me on his 20" two-wheeler. About 3/4 the way up a mile long low grade hill, he says, " THis is great I love it!!"

Just last year he would stop at the bottom of hills and walk his bike up without even trying! to this made me happy.

I have noticed that (once I catch my breath), pedalling feels a lot easier after riding up a hill.

they don’t get ME, need I come back there and learn ya all over?

before you get to the point of losing it, try to gain your composure into a standstill and hop sideways uphill a jump or two and then continue riding.

is one of these spots you’re talking about with the corrugated pipe in the road at the crest of the hill? (ride on the dirt path beside it on the right)

It’s amazing how quickly one improves at hill climbing. This spring I have started riding 10-12 miles a day on very hilly roads on my Coker. I sometimes wear a heart moniter. When I first road the one big hill my heart rate would reach 160 +. Now a few weeks later it only reaches the upper 130’s. I now don’t have enough time to ride the distance I have strength for.

Yes, Brian… you’ll have to come here and learn me… but first, you’ll have to let me unlearn you.

I had the exact opposite experience.
being with rather muscular legs I could climb really steep ascents on a bike.
On a uni I choked off very quickly.
But I work hard on that (“keep seated, keep seated, breathe, relax, …”) but steep hills are still far away on Muni and worse on road with big wheels…!
I think I can, I think I can, I ought to reach the top!

I agree. It seems the opposite for me as well. Hills (both on and off road) that I can climb easily on a bike are a killer on a unicycle. It seems odd, because the unicycle is lighter (although comparing my muni and road bike, only by a few pounds) and with a 28" ish gear (26x3"), so should go up hill easier than the bike. But I ride the bike up those hills in a gear much higher than 28". I’ve always just put it down to the fact that the unicycle takes energy to balance - as my technique has improved I can get up more hills on the uni, but it still drains my energy far more than a bike.
It’s probably mainly technique - I consider myself a pretty experienced and fairly good bicyclist, but only a mediocre unicyclist. People who have more unicycling experience than bicycling would maybe find the unicycle easier.

Isn’t that something to do with Thomas the Tank Engine? :slight_smile:


The grade and traction definitely make a difference in the relative difficulty between a bike and uni. I’m guessing that what is considered a hill climb for non-bicyclists may be very different than what good bicyclists call a hill climb. What it boils down to for me is whether I can keep a steady spin or not. If the traction is so poor and/or the grade is so steep that I’m forced to do half a revolution at a time, a bike would definitely be easier. But if I can spin nicely, a uni seems easier because I’m not tempted to shift to a higher gear. :wink:

I also find that a ‘steep hill’ on abike can often be taken on a unicycle more easily because you can, on the fly, take a path that is a foot or two over that might be a easier path, where bikers need more of a long line up the hill

For me, both were hard at first, but now they are both easy to do, if I’m on a bike, or a uni.

I used to wear 10-pound ankle weights on each ankle (duh) while riding up a 5 mile grade that is behind my house, I would do that everyday for a summer, at first it was extremely hard, then it became easy, then I took off the weight and was able to fly up the hill on my regular BMX bike, now i can ride up any hill I’ve tried without taking a breather and i can keep my speed rather high.

On my uni, all it took was a little time, at first i would ride up a hill and get tired, 2nd time i did it i changed my technique, how i was sitting a little, and leaned forward more and can go up any hill I’ve tried. =p

I think it is a little bit of both, you don’t want to just start powering up a hill unless you need to, cause on a low hill, you can just ride up them fluidly, they only time i have to power up hills are the ones that are troublesome to even walk up lol

Definitely both, depending on terrain, but constantly standing up and powering over a long stretch is unbearable, at least for me.

Does this ride up Whiteface Mtn. or this ride up Mt. Equinox count?

I was riding up some fairly steep hills today, and I tried focussing on staying in control, and not going too fast. Whenever I see a tough area coming up, I tend to power up and ride through it quickly. But I often lose control.

It went well… I still wasn’t able to make it all the way up, I did manage through some spots I couldn’t before.

I used to ride the same hills on my bike, and I remember it being difficult at first, but it got easier after a few weeks.

I’m having trouble mounting on up hills. Any suggestions?

  1. practice practice practice (ya ya ya)

  2. start with your muni angled to the side of the and make your first pedal stroke or two more across the trail than up it

3)work on a more proper place to set your pedals before hill mounting, for example, try with your first pedal more up/back in the revolution than how it is typically down on flat ground

4)non hill practice…make sure you can mount with your dominant/first foot in any position along the revolution

5)scan the trail a little bit, maybe 2-3 feet around you is a rock or a little divet you can put your wheel in/against so that very tiny area around your wheel isn’t really uphill at all when you first start

6)don’t UPD until you get to the top in the first place

i tried to go up this hill in back of my house… and… yeah… i like go up to it… and… like… fell forward… it was funny…