Training to Unicyle (again)

Hey everyone:

So I was big into unicycling a few years back while I was in college. I started learning on a cheap $50 one from amazon (Avena, I think? IDK), but worked my way up to a 24 inch Torker and finally a 36 inch coker big one v2, and I had a blast the whole way through…

Unfortunately a couple years ago I broke my ankle and dislocated my knee in an accident (not unicycling related)…and since then I’ve gained a bunch of weight and never really lost it again, and I haven’t been on any of my unicycles in over 2 years.

I understand that because of the nature of my knee injury and my weight, it would be dangerous to just hop back on (I remember falling quite a bit while learning), so some training / conditioning / weight loss has to happen before I give it another go. I’ve started walking 3 miles a day and it’s starting to not hurt the next day so I’d say that’s progress :stuck_out_tongue:

But I guess my question is, aside from walking, what other exercises would you recommend to start building up the strength to learn again? Would regular cycling / exercise biking be a good place to start?

My Birthday just passed this last march, and my goal is to be back on the wheel by my next birthday. Any help would be greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

I’m not a knee doctor, but I think if you can walk three miles, you can ride a unicycle. Put on all the pads you can find, and give it a try. Sure, a stationary bike would get the joints moving without the risk of falling, so that’s a reasonable “warm-up” plan if riding the uni makes you nervous.
On a less serious note, I recommend buying a five pound fork and spoon, so you can work out while you eat.
Good luck with riding again!

Hey, thanks for the vote of confidence man! Another serious problem is that I’m pushing 280 lbs right now…Even at 230, which was the heaviest I’d ever unicycled, I remember having problems with creaking cranks (at one point I even stripped the threading on my crank and the peddle popped out). Can you recommend a good sturdy unicycle for me to start on at this weight? Or do you think I should hold off until I lose a few more lbs?

Welcome back, Girdot! If you were big into unicycling a few years ago and you were in college then, then you’re still young and adaptable and that’s a big advantage. Good for you taking action now. It gets harder.

If you think about it, someone my size (sub 200 lbs) landing a 2g drop puts a lot more load on a unicycle than you would at your heaviest just riding along. I’d suggest any solid 19" trials unicycle (Nimbus or Impact for example) with ISIS cranks and a nice fat tire. Not being too far off the ground means that your ankles and knees won’t be taking big shock loads with every unplanned dismount.

Learning new skills and practicing old ones takes lots of effort and burns lots of calories. It’s much more intense than long easy rides, and should be good for regaining your riding form. I’m sure you haven’t completely lost it, if you were riding a Coker back then. Good luck!

Except for the occasional UPD, unicycling is easier on you than walking. (In my opinion. I hate walking, my feet hurt all the time.) Except your crotch, that you’ll have to just deal with. Time and distance will make that easier, along with weight loss.
+1 on LargeEddie’s recommendations. You never forget how to ride a uni.

Good luck!

well, your post has officially inspired me, Eddie :stuck_out_tongue: i bit the bullet on a 19’ nimbus trials bike today. should get here by this weekend :slight_smile: cant wait to get started

Hurry and cancel the order you bought one to many wheels :astonished: LOL

Welcome back you will be surprised how quickly you pick it back up.

Let the addiction begin!

Doh! Obviously meant uni! You can tell I’ve been off my wheel for too long :stuck_out_tongue:

Wow, I feel emotionally invested in your progress now. :slight_smile: I’m looking forward to reading about how your return to unicycling goes and I’m sure you’ll do well on it.

P.s.: Make sure you keep a pedal wrench on hand and check that they’re tight each time you ride. I also started on a 20" Avenir, if that’s the name you were trying to retrieve, but I’ve had the pedals on better unicycles start unscrewing themselves more than the ones on the Avenir did. That’s normally how crank threads strip, not catching that in time.

Hi Girdot,

Before I knew anything about unicycling, I was in an almost-fatal motorcycle accident in which a car hit me head-on. I crashed through their windshield and out the passenger’s side window. The cycle’s handlebars bent completely forwards from my body being thrown forwards. I was in the hospital for 6 weeks while the doctors debated how and whether to amputate my leg. My left tibia (the larger bone in the lower leg) had been crushed somehow in the weird trajectory that I took through the car. Of course, there were other broken bones too. Fortunately, a lot of care, 9 months in a cast, and 2 years of stationary cycling got my legs back to the point where I not only kept my leg, but was able to go on to long-distance cycling. It was sometime later that I discovered my passion for unicycling.

Having gone through this experience, I can’t recommend anything more strongly than cycling, whether it’s on a stationary machine, a bike, a tricycle, or a unicycle. There is something about the healing blood flow that comes with the gentle rotation of the legs.

Go easy at it and give it time. Good Luck!


Progress update!

So my new Nimbus trials Uni came in today:

And I decided to give it a go after not riding for years:

1st attempt from the gate in the background:
2nd attempt:

Thanks to everyone for inspiring me to get off my keister and back on the wheel!

Now I just have to re-learn how to freemount and gracefully dismount again :stuck_out_tongue:

Yay! Congrats on the new uni, and the new resolve to exercise. Keep at it!

Congrats Girdot! Give it a little time and there will be no stopping you. I think running is excellent cross-training for unicyclists, and vice versa.

Nice! Have a great time getting back to it :slight_smile:

Excellent! That sounds like a terrific first day back riding. Congrats, and here’s to many more.

Congrats! The Nimbus Trials uni is strong and should hold up well. Good luck starting but soon you’ll be addicted again and wanting to ride all the time.

As for other training, I think bike riding is also great. It’s usually the recommended exercise for most knee problems (e.g. after my ACL surgery I was recommended to cycle a lot which I did gladly and enthusiastically).

If you’re worried about hurting your ankles from UPDs, maybe think about some good supportive shoes that help support your ankles: The high-top Five-Ten shoes are pretty awesome.

Congrats on getting back into it. I think you’ll find that re-learning is easier than learning. Just have to refresh those neural pathways that are little rusty, and it will all come back. A few months ago I started back after a long hiatus of a few years, and within a very short period of time, I was up and running. Now, I’ve gone crazy with it, and I’m doing things I would never have done when I was younger. Keep at it, and good luck!


Great looking unicycle for getting back into the sport! That looks like the perfect choice. Please keep us posted.