I believe there’s no age-limit (young or old) to learn a uni.
Ever since my young son started to imitate me on a uni, I’ve been trying to teach my 4 yr-old to ride his 12" Hoppley uni(with little success so far ). Anyone else tried teaching young kids? Your experience?
They have to want to ride, just like anyone else. Sometimes that works in their benefit though. The best advantage I’ve found is that it can do wonders for their self-esteem… also like anyone else. Just the impact on their life may be different.
For teaching, try walking behind the unicycle using both your hand to hold their hand. If it’s a smaller child (typically 8 and under), they will probably be able to ride with their arms stretched out for balance. This technique works really well with younger children as they feel fairly secure. Also really make sure the unicycle is the right size.
At the moment I’m teaching someone who is 11, and another who is 30. There’s really not much difference other then making sure that the equipment fits them properly.
My nine year-old rides. There are other threads with videos of younger riders. I agree - they have to want to learn. After that, it’s pretty much like learning for anybody else. Because they’re lighter, it’s easier to walk holding their hand while they’re learning.
My 11 year old son is getting quite good at muni. He’s been riding for about 5 months. We just got him a used KH 24. That freed up the uni that both he and I learned on, and after cutting a few inches off the neck and the seat post our 8 year old daughter is starting to learn, too. Our son is motivated to ride in the annual Asheville Muni fest in western NC.
started my (now 8 years old) daughter on a $40 BikeIsland 12" at 6 years old but it wasn’t until she got a 16" Trainer for her 7th birthday that she was able to ride 10 feet (her record to date). I think the smaller wheel is harder or at least that is what I’m telling my wife trying to talk her into a UDC 20" Club for $115 which, with an extra seat post (her inseam is 25" and growing), my old Nimbus Gel saddle, and a decent quick release clamp, is approaching something Daddy (who only owns 36ers) can ride. I can hear it now: Honey, she really needs a fully kitted KH24. Shame on me!
I don’t push too hard. My 6 year old son still uses training wheels (the cool spring suspension ones) on his 18" mountain b*ke. He can keep using them until he is comfortable without out them. One wheel or two, I try to make it all about them having fun. Or at least I put on a fake smile when I am holding her hand up and down the street for the 20th time that day. Deep down inside I’m screaming “Keep your weight on the seat, lean forward, and just pedal!”
My biggest issue I have with the kids is the protective gear. It’s hot, takes forever to put on, and the cheap stuff just slides right off (she’s got scabs on her knees and elbows to prove it). I order the good stuff (POC VPD elbows, SixSixOne EVO knee and shin, etc…) online but I’m not the one growing out of a new size shoe each month. How do I keep them protected without breaking the bank?
I don’t know - but I want to know when you figure it out. My daughter’s falls are still mostly clean - as mine were when I was learning.
The only rule I have is that she has to wear her helmet. The rest is up to her. She owns roller blade wrist guards and elbow pads and soccer shin guards. Occasionally she’ll put on the wrist guards. I think that stuff will get us by until she’s ready for more aggressive riding.
I’ve told her that as soon as she wants to wear them, I’ll buy her real full-length shin protection.
Most 12" unicycles suffer from being ultra-wide for their size. While the wheel diameter is scaled down, the Q-factor (distance of pedals from centerline) stays the same. For learning, don’t use a 12" if the child will fit a larger wheel. 16" and up are much better-scaled for learning. And 12" is also fine if nothing else fits.
Probably the biggest key. At that age, the only kids that learn to ride are the ones that really want to. Under age 8 or so, the difficulty of learning to ride gets higher as the age gets smaller. It’s a lot of work for a 4-year old, for instance, to learn to ride as they are still learning to work their own body. The teen years are generally the optimum ones for learning to ride; the rider has much better control of his/her body, and the idea of being afraid mostly hasn’t occurred to them yet. Then the ease of learning starts dropping off again as riders get older.
I don’t see why you can’t gently remind these things, long as you don’t overdo it. Just remember, the learning of any kind of physical skill comes from the inside. Regardless of coaching, if the individual isn’t motivated to learn, they won’t do very well.
Not unless he’s riding offroad. Until then, the fatness will just make it heavier and harder to steer. Stick with the street tire until he can ride!