unable to go very far...

I’ll apologize in advance if this has been covered somewhere else, but after three full months of fairly consistant practice, I still can’t go more than fifty feet! Most of the time I feel myself losing my balance and I jump off, other times (Perhaps out of shear repetition) I end up just bailing off the thing. …It’s hard to explain…
One rider I know watched and made the observation that the uni ALWAYS falls behind me, never in front, but he didn’t comment that I was leaning too far foward or anything like that. He just made the statement and left it at that.

I also find that I tend to pedal a long LEFT turn, I am pedaling a large arc when I do get going.
Have any of you experienced these kinds of problems?

The cycle is a “Gravity” 20 inch, but I am reluctant to blame the equipment. :thinking:

how old are you? age can affect learning time drastically. if your unicycle isn’t of good quality (never heard of Gravity before), it can also affect riding ability. slowly turning one direction is a common problem among learners, and goes away with practice (try riding with a wall to your left).

I’m 53, but this has been the same situation for two months! Learning is a progression of steps and plateaus, but I’ve been at this same spot for quite a while!

You’ll probably hear this from others, but here goes anyway. Place all of your weight on the seat and pedal lightly. It is very common among beginners to have this problem. So remember, heavy on the saddle, light on the pedals. Good luck.

Just a guess, but maybe you need to not jump off and instead figure out how to correct your balance. I mean, the challenge of unicycling is figuring out how to correct your balance while you are constantly losing it. As you improve, you will correct more gracefully and gradually, making it appear more controlled. Nonetheless, you will always have to deal with losing your balance.

Make sure you’re sitting up straight and looking straight ahead. Falling off the front could mean that whichever leg is in the back at the moment is pushing too hard on the pedal. Practice resting your weight on the seat, and relax your legs as they come around.

Don’t worry too much about the left turn. You’ll figure out how to ride a straight line eventually.

I learned by riding along a 4 footish fence. Going away from the fence or turning left or right as the fence turned left or right was just too frightening. So I just did laps along the 80 ft. fence, like swimming laps in a pool. Two months after starting to learn on my 24" I got a 16" w/ a long seat post and could ride away from the fence and make turns almost immediately.

I still don’t have the courage to try the 24" again. But I can ride up and down smooth driveway ramps and do figure 8’s w/ diameters 15-20 ft.

Going on three months. I am 32 and still can’t walk that great since breaking my back in '99, but can walk better since starting uning!:smiley:

Right on!

I can certainly attest to this. I’ve been stuck on plateaus myself and it seems only persistent practice gets me past that. There’s been many times that I thought I was going to fall off or keel over, but after a few crazy seconds of wild contortions would surprise myself by staying on and getting stable again. It’s been a series of these almost UPDs that has gradually increased my ability to stay on.

some people take 15 minutes to learn to ride some people take 6 months. if you know anyone who uni’s ask them to help you out, you may be doing sometihng wrong, otherwise just keep at it, you will eventually be able to do it.

Maybe when you realized you can ride 50ft you stopped riding with support?

What I suggest is just go back to the wall (or rail or other support) where you started learning and keep on repeating riding along support several tens times in a row paying attention to “all weight on the seat” rule and riding as long as you can.
Do it say 20 times – treat it as a warm-up. Only then start riding touching support lightly, and then go on without support.

This is what helped me to get out of plateau; your mileage may vary of course, but I think that repeating as your warm-up easy stuff that you learned before is a very good strategy – builds up your confidence before trying harder things.

good luck!

Another suggestion.
I also am late to the unicycle game. Started riding about four months ago. The technique I used was to use two push broom handles from the local hardware(approx. $3.00 each) for balance. Used them like ski poles. I have a long gravle road as a driveway and would mount the uni with the poles and “walk” slowly to the gate and back, about 1/4 mile. First trip took 45 minutes and I walked back. MANY UPD’s. I did this for about two months, had about a 2 week transition to 1 pole, used the pole onley to mount for about a month and am now plateaued at freemount with 5-10% success.
My longest ride without a UPD was monday of this week at 1 mile on the track at the local school.
I feel that the use of poles helped me immensely because I was able to ride,though with assistance, and was able to see my own progress as balance and whatever elce happens improved.
Hang in there and keep rollin.

Try riding while pushing a grocery cart w/ smooth, not gittery wheels.

I also found doing a warmup using easier skills to be important. :sunglasses:


The advice folks have given above is valuable. Don’t get discouraged.

My brother-in-law has the same problem you do. 50 feet is about his maximum. His riding is a series of violent corrections that ultimately dump him on the road. I’ll echo the advice that says to sit with your weight firmly in the saddle and pedal gently. I’ll also add that I’d recommend that you look toward the horizon, not at the ground. Golf is the only sport where you should be focussing your eyes on the ground. You never see high wire walkers looking down. This bit of advice doesn’t get a lot of attention in the uni world but I find it makes a big difference. Best of luck to you!

I’m in Vermont this weekend and brought both my 20" and my 28". I’d forgotten how much of a difference there is in the two. Maybe I’ll have some photos or video before the weekend is out.

Thanks, everyone who responded

Several of you mentioned making sure my weight is in the seat, and that may be part of the problem. I noticed one evening while wearing compression shorts and basketball shorts over them, the combination made me slide around on the seat a lot. I must be getting off the seat slightly, and/or pedaling too hard.
But what about the ‘Dismount’? If the monocycle always exits backwards, could I be leaning too far foward?

Weight on the seat!

I’ve only been riding a month, but I would say that if you are moving around on the seat a lot, you don’t have enough weight on the seat. The shorts are not the problem. Concentrate on making sure you are sitting on the seat. Don’t look down, look forward. Got this advice from Harper when I started. Keep reminding yourself. It seems counterintuitive sometimes.

I am working on relaxing now, untensing my muscles. Lets me go farther.

After a month, I still can’t freemount yet, but I can ride as far as I want. Only thing holding me back is fatigue. I’ve started getting up early (0600-0630) every morning and riding at least 30 to 40 minutes.

Hang in there. It only gets more fun :slight_smile:


I find when I am teaching people, usually they fall off behind the wheel, which is bad. You want to fall of the front, because that means you are leaning forward, like you should be. Leaning forward makes you pedal and keep going. When you’re learning, it difficult to lean too far forward, but as you get better, you’ll learn to lean backwards more as you slow down and more forwards as you speed up.

I think tomkarches hit on a very valuable tip. I also ride 30-40 minutes in the morning on the way to work. Everything is much easier in the AM when you are fresh. I also think it’s worthwhile to try to visualize whatever you are trying to do before going sleep at night. seems to program you for success.

I think that is my problem too; I can ride for a distance (~25 feet not 50 though…) after a freemount or mailbox-supported-mount, then I always fall. I need to try that once I actually get my own. Also, what is a “UPD”?

UnPlanned Dismount

Basically a fall.

Everybody learns differently, don’t they.

I still tend to look at the ground - in unicycling as I do in life. Yesterday i rode 16 miles (after learning for about a year and a half). Also, i always practice in the evening, after work. There is no time before.

Whatever works for you. Just never give up and you will get there. Some people take longer to learn than others. but that doesn’t predict that you will be a lousy rider (see Uni magazine for confirmation).


Yup, sound’s like my experience. Some of us had to fight for every inch. Doesn’t hardly seem fair when there are some that just seem to pick it right and can ride seemingly effortlessly. I don’t have any sage advice that will fix your problem but I can tell you to keep hitting it. If you adopt the mindset that you will not let that unicycle own you eventually you will push through the problem.

Keep at it. :sunglasses: