Tips for beginning riders


I’m new to this fourm and I got my new Nimbus 24" Muni three weeks ago. I wanted to learn how to unicycle for awhile now. So I finally got one from Now that I been learning for the last 3 weeks in my free time, I just had some questions about learning to ride. I would also appreciate some additional tips for beginning riders.

-What am I doing that I’m getting bruised from the frame on the right side of my leg?

-What am I doing that I’m dismounting from the back most of the time?

-What is a rule of thumb for setting the seat post height?


  1. Where on your leg? It could be from how you’re mounting. If you have your right foot down on the pedal the frame might be bumping your inner right knee as you bring your left foot onto the pedal. Or vise versa.
  2. You’re leaning back. Are you purposely dismounting or do you mean that every time you fall you’re falling backwards? If you’re falling backwards every time, try shifting forward so that you fall forward every now and then. Your body will eventually find the middle ground of balance. But dismounting purposely from the back isn’t a bad thing.
  3. Knee slightly bent on the downward stroke. Or, whatever feels right. The knee slightly bent thing seems to work for most.

Welcome aboard! I’ve been learning on a Muni 24 the past few months. Here are a few things that have helped me.

Seat height: For riding around your driveway and learning to free mount, I found lower is better. However if you want to ride any distance, I raise it back up or I find my legs get sore faster and I can’t pedal as fast.

Tires: I started out with low psi in the Duro Leopard and found it was difficult to learn to turn and control on pavement. I increased the psi closer to the max and that helped some. I switched to a Maxxis Hookworm and that made a huge difference. It transformed my Muni into a street machine. I’ll put the knobby back on once my skills get better.

Hope these help.

The leg bruising could be a cambered road or pavement, forcing you to twist one way to steer straight, and/or push down harder on one leg.

If the rear dismount is planned - you are kicking the pedals forward correctly to exit from the rear, making it easier to catch the seat, and easier to land on your free foot.

If the rear dismount is unplanned - you are not leaning forward enough.
I can go down very hard if I don’t commit to a forward lean.
If I slow the pace down, I will hover for a spilt second in the dead spot, before coming crashing down.

Tired legs will slow you down as well, and produce an early exit to the rear.
Or a seat height which is too high, and prevents you from stepping off.

Note: I am a newbie learner as well - so I have been there.

Seat-height and falling-back might be related. If your seat is too low, your knees are too bent, your posture is more like someone reclining, and there’s more chance of falling backward.

Regarding the bruising: try to determine if the contact with the frame is happening while mounting, while riding or while dismounting. It could be that, at the moment of dismount, one foot disengages from the unicycle first, and the other foot causes the frame to be thrust into the leg.

I think many beginners start out with the seat too low for the following reason: It helps them mount. As a beginner, my first few mounting-techniques were not very elegant, and they involved having the first pedal in the fully downward (6:00) position. In this position, the seat had to be lower in order for me to get on top of it during the mount.

Later on, I learned to static mount, and the pedals started being more in the 3:00 and 9:00 positions. At this point, I had too much clearance between my butt and the seat during mounting, and this encouraged me to raise the seat up.

You should plan on eventually learning a static mount. The stasis in the static mount is the balance of force between the force of the rearward pedal pushing the unicycle backwards…and your butt and/or hands pushing the unicycle forward. When the balance is achieved, the unicycle moves neither forward nor backward. But the seat needs to be higher to make this happen. (Side note: I struggled with the static mount, and actually learned it first, and still prefer to perform it with the seat-in-front and both hands on the seat; this allowed me more control over the pushing down force on the seat.)

It’s all right to have your seat lower for the time being, but just keep in mind that, over time, it could be good to experiment raising the seat by tiny increments. I suggest searching the forum for “tire grab mount”. That technique should work well on a 24". It allows you to mount into the 3:00 and 9:00 position, which can be done with the seat higher. Later on, you won’t have to grab the tire so hard, and you’ll be on the way to a static mount.

Good luck!

When you get bruised, than probably you hit it.
When you say “right side of the leg”, I assume of your left leg?
Whatever, this does not sound beneficial at all, and sound like you’re sitting odd.

I don’t understand “dismounting from the back”. You mean dismounting to the back? If so, than that’s not bad. Unless it’s UPD’ing (UnPlanned Dismount’ing) all the time. In that case teach yourself the very simple analyse-method:

Unicycling is a constant fall.

  1. If you fell forward - your speed was too slow in comparison to you.
  2. If you fell backward - your speed was going faster than you.
  3. If you fell to the left - you were not steering correct.
  4. If you fell to the right - you were not steering correct.

When being absolute beginner don’t pay attention to 3 and 4, don’t try to steer, just follow where you’re going.

For children: bellybutt height, for adults: so high that almost can’t touch your pedals with your heels anymore in the most far-away position. Just VERY slightly bend. In my case that still translates to exactly bellybutt height when having a 24" wheel. A 20" wheel will be a bit less.
Mind that beginners always tend to set the seat too low, as the THINK it would be easier, as the dismount becomes less high; in reality a too low seat cause the rider to not sit and the result of that is being unable to balance.

If you’re learning, its easier with a fully inflated light weight tire, not at all what you’ll be using for MUni.

Great advice, I had learned to free mount with a low seat as any higher seemed to make it increasing more difficult. Today I had some practice time in the light rain and decided to try putting my seat as you suggested which was several inches higher than I’d ever mounted before. After a brief adjustment it turned out to be even easier to mount and got rid of my sore knees on longer rides. Thanks for the advice!