Turning tip for beginners

The natural thing is for you to automatically correct for tipping sideways by
doing a turn. This is part of the automatic sideways balance. So an easy way to
initiate a turn is to “accidentally” tip sideways the wrong way so the turn you
want comes automatically. To do this, turn in the opposite direction that you
really want to go, and then recover.

For example, if I want to turn left, I give a quick swivel of the hips to the
right, which makes me start falling to the left. Then the only way I can recover
my balance is to do an extra sharp twist to the left. This leaves me slightly
turned to the left.

That’s why it’s hard to learn to turn. If you turn in the direction you want to
go, the automatic sideways balancing forces you back.

None of these moves is very strong, or else you would just fall off. However, as
you get better at it, you can make tighter, smoother turns.

There are two kinds of turns, one for beginners and one that is more advanced.
Most all beginners will make a turn as a series of jerks. It is easiest to jerk
left just as your left pedal is almost to the bottom. A harder, smoother, nicer
looking turn that is easier on the legs is to tilt sideways and ride in a
circle. Some people tilt the whole body and unicycle as a unit, i.e., the body
and unicycle are in a straight line. Most people find it easier to leave the
body straight up and just tilt the unicycle under them. This doesn’t look as
nice, but it works. The hardest thing about smoothly riding in a circle is that
you have to be going just fast enough to keep you from falling toward the
middle. The tilt has to match the speed. With the easier, jerky turn, you just
vary the number of jerks.

I’ve been riding for five years and I still have trouble doing a lot of turns
without wearing out my legs. The problem is that I never really graduated from a
jerky turn to a smooth tilted turn. I can do it, but whenever I get in trouble
its back to jerking.

Jerky turns happen when the foot is near the bottom. This wears out the
tire there.

Finally, if you can, practice on a gym floor. It’s a lot easier. Or, pumping up
you tire a little harder will make turning on concrete a little easier. Don’t
overdo it. A tire pumped up to 100 pounds feels too slippery. But 50 to 70
pounds is a lot better for turning than a tire that has leaked a little and is a
little soft. By the time the tire looks soft, it is way too soft. Pinch it to
see if it is still hard.

Dave Matthews GoatLover@aol.com