The Beginners "Today I..." Thread

I find that I use my left hand to hold the seat. The right arm is just to balance and yet, my right arm is sore after a long ride. Weird.

I also don’t feel like I flail my arm much anymore, but when I see video of myself I still flail more than I thought I did. I flail my arm more if the wheel is smaller. On the 24" I can look like a one-winged bat, on the 29" I flail some, on the 36" I only flail when doing something steep or iffy.

I will be at the one year mark in March (unicycling).


Awesome progress! You’re very close to making the big breakthrough where you can ride indefinately. As for your questions, I think Natosha has given the best advice. I agree issues like yours tend to work themselves out as you aquire more time in the saddle. Don’t worry about the flailing. It will be replaced by confident, relaxed riding.

Other tips:

Practice in a large parking lot and dedicate some time to turning and riding in circles. If you veer to one side, spend more time practicing turns to the opposite side. Same thing with circles. Start with large circles then slowly make the circles smaller as you improve.

By the way, never be shy or embarrased by what you think are meager accomplishments. Next time I’d suggest stating something like this: Today I rode .25 miles!!!

It reminds me of a time I was riding in town. A kid around the age of 12 saw me as he rode a bicycle. He commented, “I could never do that.” I of course responded, “Sure you could.” Anyway, you can do something 99% of the population can’t do. And every bit of improvement is progress toward achieving your unicycling goals. :sunglasses:


I’m coming up on my 1 year mark this spring. I plan on making a video of what I’ve been able to learn in a year. I’d encourage you to do the same. It kind of makes for a fun project and goal.

I’m gonna do that, sound like fun.

Today I worked on getting legwraps consistent and I did. I was shooting for 10 in a row and got it by 1. I also worked on riding backwards more and can get 4 revs consistently.

Thanks to all for the suggestions, thoughts and sharing. I know I’ve only been at it a short while and I get a little impatient.

It is quite frustrating to observe your body doing something while your mind is screaming “no, not that. do this!” and not getting any result. (Be patient, grasshopper.)

r711…I’ve been making an effort to not favor my right or left side from day one. I knew that I would easily fall into a rut if I didn’t. It is slow going but I see progress and I don’t feel like my left is better than my right or vice versa.

SuperG…My practice area is a large, little used parking area with few, if any, cars. A complete circuit is .1 mile and I make an effort to go both ways–clockwise and counterclockwise. The turns in either direction seem to be equally difficult but I do notice that veer to the left no matter which way I am going around. Interestingly enough, there is a lane running right down the middle that has concrete tire stops on both sides. When I ride down the middle, the veering to the left seems less. Go figure.

Today, I…

Practiced freemounting to idle and had little success but felt real good about the process.

Also today, I (off topic)…

Went to a Jazzercise class with my wife. Every year around Valentine’s Day, the class invites spouses and significant others to join the regulars in an hour of aerobics. Unicycling is good exercise, but I promise you, this class will make you sweat as much and more! This is my third time to go and each time I give a new meaning to the word “uncoordinated”.

Today I managed to do a figure eight. I used all the space at the top of my driveway - 20’ x 30’.

I still can’t ride up over the lip into my garage. Don’t laugh, it’s only a couple inches if that. Every time I try to ride over it I do a upd… What do I have to do to keep going when I ride over this?


I’m not really a Unicyclist yet… but, I would say for small
obstacles the key is speed and confidence.

Don’t let the obstacle intimidate you.

Today I went about 50 or 60 feet without holding onto anything!
I tend to veer right very slightly, and I am most comfortable doing
left turns in almost every sport I do.
I also tried to dodge nails & debris (it’s a demo/construction site in a vacant building)

If you’re doing a Hula Hoop on a unicycle, I don’t think you’re
really a beginner.

I remember falling when I would hit the 1-2" bump going up a driveway. As you ride over cracks and other bumps you will just “get it.” I see a bump or root, rock, rut in dirt, or whatever and I push a little harder over it. I lean back a little to compensate for the “bump” throwing me a bit forward. You’ll get a feel for it. Is your driveway uphill? That would make it harder.

Thanks mbalmer - I’ll try and lean back a little. Me, dumb a$$, was leaning forward to compensate. Totally backwards. The driveway is pretty level as it enters the garage. I have about 100’ of hill in my driveway that goes down to the road from the area I practice in. I still can’t manage to ride all the way down - I start going too fast & bail after about 50’.

That’s funny, I tend to lean forward when I see a bump coming up. Although now that I’m thinking about it, the lean forward might just be pre-bump to speed up a little for momentum to get over the obstacle. I’ll have to pay more attention to what I actually do at the bump.

This weekend I finally figured out some new mounts. I’ve been using a rollback mount, and now I can also do a static and rolling mount with some predictability. For me, these two mounts feel almost the same. Credit and thanks to muniaddict (unigeezer) for his video on mounting a 36" – watching him helped me visualize just sort of quick walking my two feet on in rapid succession, whereas before I’d put the first foot solidly on then tried to jump up all with the second foot, which never worked. Watching him hop his 36er also encouraged me to work on hopping a bit, and it is coming along. I’ve got to say that watching the crazy things that guy does on a 36 have reduced my hesitation to learn new things on my 29 (my 20 is no longer available for training since I cut down the seatpost for one of my kids).

I also got out and did some wuni on snow trails that started out as xc ski trails, but have been packed down by dog walkers. All snow, too deep for rocks, as I found any time I wandered a little of the beaten path. It became increasingly difficult as the sun softened up the snow, and the new mounts were much easier in these conditions than a rollback mount, which was nearly impossible (at least for me :roll_eyes: ).

I’ve got a Big One arriving tomorrow – new challenges ahead, and hopefully a more consistent and faster commute. :slight_smile:

Interesting point. When is one no longer a beginner? I’ve had my unicycle since July and been getting regular practice since October. I still feel like I am learning basic skills (although with extra props). Maybe once I achieve most of the skill levels I will no longer be a beginner, but I think I’ll always have the beginner’s mentality. I hope that my posts do not discourage anyone in this thread and they are not meant to show off, but to record my progress.

I think beginnerhood is relative. I will always be a beginner when it comes to free mounting the 36", trying to hop up a curb, or doing technical MUni. I don’t believe I am a beginner for riding distances including hills. Whenever you are learning something new you are a beginner at that thing. I don’t think anyone cares if you post in this thread when progressing.

uniShark and JoeBike, I was thinking about the bump thing. I do lean into it, but that is on impact. I lean back a little in preparation for a bump. That probably doesn’t make sense but everyone figures it out. It’s the unexpected/unnoticed “bump” that can still throw me.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” - Shunryu Suzuki

Embrace beginner-ness! :slight_smile:

That’s a good point - I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.
I think I saw another post about jumping a 4 foot wall or something like that,
and thought “In a beginner thread?”

I suppose that’s a beginning for someone. :wink:

Very well put, mbalmer.

The very first time I tried to mount my 24, I thought I was 10 ft. off the ground and it was scary and difficult. Sitting up there now, it’s “Meh, what’s the big deal.” Well, it’s not a big deal anymore–but, at present, trying to idle is a little scary, difficult and frustrating. I feel like a beginner.

And speaking of beginners, today I…

–spent a lot of my practice time trying to keep my weight down on the seat. Doing this and using my butt and hips more to steer, I was able to cut down on the left veer problem I’ve been having. Tho, I’m still having a problem with using my legs so much for the turns that I can’t get past the .25 mile distance–just too tired. But I’m working on it.

–tried riding a slalom course using the concrete tire stops that are lined up in the parking lot where I practice. I was able to do 3 to 6 ins and outs consistently before losing it. Will try again next time.

–found consistency and comfort with my left and right static mounts. After a lot of failed attempts, I made one physical and one mental adjustment and it started happening. Woohoo! Hope it is not a fluke.

Today I:
Received my Coker! :slight_smile:
. . . but it’s dark, cold, and a bit icy out, so I’m resisting the urge to (try to) ride it until tomorrow. :frowning:

Congrats! Have fun with that :smiley:
I desperately want a 36" wheel too…they look so much fun.

Oh, and on behalf of a friend of mine who isn’t on the forums (yet): Today, he learnt how to ride!!

It’s so exciting watching another person shed their training wheel and metamorphose into a beautiful unicyclist :smiley:

In addition to the advice of others, (speed, confidence, anticipating the “tripping” effect with a slight lean-back as you hit it) I would suggest you also try to slightly un-weight the seat as you hit the bump. Not enough to hop, but an almost-hop that doesn’t leave the ground. This seems to help me with getting over 2-3" tree roots when doing MUni (not all of them - I have the bruised knees that go with failure). :o

Today I rode my Coker for the first time. Took a couple tries to get the feel for it, but then I managed to do 10 successful free mounts and work a little on turning before it got dark. Wasn’t quite able to turn around in the street, but I feel like it’s coming pretty quickly. I’m 6’4", so the height difference between riding the 36 vs my 29 didn’t really seem like that much. Actually, the extra height helped a bit for upd’s, because it gave me more time to land on my feet. The bigger difference for me was the inertia from the weight of the wheel, combined with 125 cranks (I’ve still been riding with 150’s on the 29).
Big and Fast and Smooth; I likey. :slight_smile:

That’s cool that you can free mount with the 125 mm cranks. I can only free mount on a downhill. Luckily I’ve never had issue finding something to hold on to to get on. That is one reason I am looking forward to a Schlumph for my 29". Free mounting will be a non-issue.

Do you have or will you get a handle? I want one but I have NO extra seatpost for the handle I already have. I guess I can order the KH handle, but I hate to spend the money while saving for a geared hub. I wish I would win the lottery (but, I’ve never purchased a ticket).

I saw a unigeezer video on mounting the 36 about two weeks ago, and it just kindof clicked for me. I was able to get a static and rolling mount on my 29 for the first time last weekend, and that’s what worked on the 36 (actually in a way easier for me on the 36, because the weight of the wheel helps avoid inadvertent roll-back). Just a quick two-step up, as opposed to putting one foot on and trying not to weight it. In other words, I do it too fast to put much weight on the first foot, rather than trying to do a one footed jump up.
My height also probably helps; if you’ve got no seatpost showing, I’m quite a bit taller than you. :roll_eyes:

I actually have two handles – a KH T-bar I got for Christmas, and a Coker pi bar that came with my Big One. I haven’t felt quite confident enough to try riding with either one, though. Still working on being able to ride using the seat handle, with hands in pockets, or behind my back, etc., before I try a handle bar. Once I do, I’ll probably compare the two bars. My 29 is likely going to become more muni-oriented, so I doubt I’ll need a handle on it. Another factor for me is whether I’ll keep the Coker seat, or upgrade to a KH (probably street, if I’m planning to use a handle). It does sound like the KH T-bar would be the best option for you, but I agree they’re not cheap – I wouldn’t have one but for my father wanting to get me something uni for Christmas. :slight_smile:

Sooo, if you end up selling your KH36, keep me in mind, and maybe we can get you my T-bar as part of the deal. . . .

Off topic, but I also agree with the lottery ticket strategy – better to save pennies than buy tickets.