Unicycle protection

When yo go out riding, what protective gear do you wear?

On a Muni ride the other day, I bumped into some unicyclists (They where not doing any extreme stuff, they where just riding on fireroads, they said they don’t do extreme stuff). I had a chat to them, as other than ony of my friends they where the only unicyclists I’ve ever met. I rode with them for a bit, and they said they have done it for a couple of months.

They where wearing all wearing shinpads, elbow and knee pads, full face MTB helmets, motorbike type gloves etc. Pretty much no skin was showing, all covered up with protective gear.

Then theres me with a road bike helmet, and fingerless gloves wearing running style t shirt, shorts and a pair of sunglasses. No pads or anything.

What do you wear? You think these people where little over the top or not? I’ve ridden for ages. I’m more of just a guy who just goes along roads, maybe odd trail here and there. I thought this was a little too much, and looked a little silly IMO.

Protective gear serves 2 purposes. First is to protect you against injuries. Second is to make you feel comfortable enough to try stuff.

I wear:

36’er riding in good light: helmet
36’er riding in poor light: helmet + knee pads
Regular Muni: helmet + knee pads + ankle braces + KH gloves
Muni out of comfort zone (or after talking with my mother): helmet + knee pads + ankle braces + KH gloves + elbow pads + back protection
Shooting video: Knee pads + ankle braces + KH gloves + Cowboy hat and colorfull sweater

as much as you need

I think the main answer is right there: if they haven’t been riding long, then the chance of falling is much higher and you also don’t know what your chance of falling is.

You’ve been riding for a while, so you probably don’t fall so much. And if you had hurt yourself a lot already, then you probably would wear more gear…

Looking silly while unicycling is pretty much irrelevant I think. If someone is worried about that, then you probably wouldn’t even leave the house. :sunglasses: If you have the safety gear and it’s not too cumbersome/hot to wear, then why not?

In my case, I wear KH knee/shin and a helmet for almost all riding. And while I now only need the knee guards every so often, I still do sometimes: I had an unexpected UPD on the 36er last week that was so fast I couldn’t run it out, so I hit the pavement and did a nice roll. With my knee guards I was completely uninjured, but without them I would have had a huge scrape on my right knee falling from high up on the 36.

For Downhill I usually wear a full face helmet, MTB downhill back/shoulder protector, ankle braces and gloves with wrist guards, but this is for extreme downhill (super steep and rocky trails that your average mountain biker can’t ride). For XC I just wear a half-helmet, knee and gloves with wrist guards. I usually don’t wear my ankle braces, but then I should: about 2 months ago I dismounted the 36 on a trail covered in leaves and landed on a root that was about 6 inches high that was hidden under the leaves and twisted my ankle pretty bad.

I’m only just beginning to unicycle – got a Sun with a 20 inch wheel from a local bike shop, and a helmet, knee and elbow pads from another the Monday after Easter. The helmet is a Pro-Tec that was probably cool in the 70s. The knee and elbow pads are pretty high tech, apparently – G-Form, they say. I’m still in the “riding alongside a fence, holding on with one hand” stage. Now that the weather is nicer, my shop closes earlier, and the sun is out longer, I expect to progress faster. I see a lot of posts here referencing shin guards. Are these also something of a necessity? Honestly, the only things sore after unicycling, in my limited experience, are my balls, and I get the feeling that’s just part of the fun, so I’ll live with it. I actually figured I’d need wrist guards, because that’s what’s going to hit the ground instead of my face if I’m conscious while falling, but I don’t see many people referring to them.

I refer to them. The only two gears I will not ride without, the helmet and wristguards. My wristguards are all banged up to show proof. Im gonna need to buy a third set soon.:wink:

Gloves - always
Helmet - almost always (except when messing about on a 20)
Leg armour - muni

Ive cut my hands up falling off a couple of times this year. In addition I’ve avoided doing the same thing a couple more times.

As for a helmet, a lot of my riding is on road or commuting.

I wear my steel-toecapped boots and… That’s it. :astonished:

I mostly ride on the road on my 36er and do easy XC Muni on my 29er. I won’t wear a helmet on the road out of pure spite, but I’m considering wrist guards. I’ve not hurt my wrists but I’ve fallen on them a few times! :astonished: And possibly a head-lid for Muni :smiley:

I’ve never really been comfortable in protective gear when riding. I gave the wrist guard gloves a go once, didn’t like them one bit. I’m not really a fan of helmets, but I know I should really get one. Usually I’m just in a pair of shorts (padded cycle shorts recently) and a tee-shirt. If its hot and sunny I don’t wear the tee-shirt :roll_eyes:

I’m not trying to brag in any way by saying I don’t wear protective gear, especially while riding on the roads. I’ve had broken bones from being hit by a car, but none of the protective gear mentioned would have prevented the broken bones. Protective gear is important, and could one day save your life…but comfort, when riding hundreds of miles, is equally important IMO.

Helmet; Billygoat full gloves; KH percussion leg armour. Off-road.

Not as silly as broken wrists.

I ride 24 and 26 inch unis on roads and footpaths, some of them quite steep with irregular surfaces and sharp corners.

I wear wrist braces, knee pads, elbow pads, hip pads and a bike helmet. After an injury on my first 26 ride I have started wearing lightweight motorcycle boots for ankle protection.

I rarely fall now but without the safety gear I would not try to push my skills. The wrist braces have some deep gouges mostly from early days.

If I am just taking a quick easy ride on my 20 inch I don’t wear any protection.

For me, i try to push the limits of what i can do and because of it i fell off my 36 a few times including on pavement. So far i haven’t hit my head but i do wear a bicycle helmet. I have leg armor and gloves/wrist guards. For cummuting i don’t wear any protection.

I wore wrist guard gloves (KH Pulse) from the start, then added shin guards after my first pedal bite, learning to free mount. Used to do XC like that until I fell off and slid and stopped just before a tree. On that same ride, I came across park rangers on horses and one said to me “Take good care of yourself sir” as I wobbled past in the mud.

Later that day, I bought a BMX helmet. I ride it when I muni/XC.

Recently I added knee guards which I wear on their own for road cycling, or combine them with the shin guards for muni. I have a pair of KH Leg Armor, but I’m not a big fan of them.

Your “learner” 20" Sun probably has fairly smooth pedals, so you probably won’t need the shin guards for a while. If you move to riding off-road, your pedals may be pinned, and shin guards will come in handy. Many riders (me included) have lots of interesting leg scars from pinned pedals.
The G-Forms are pretty good pads, I use their knee pads. They don’t offer quite as much protection as the hard-shell variety, but they are very comfortable. I wear them for long road rides, but for muni I wear the rigid kind. You will probably want to wear a pair of gloves – if you fall forward and can’t run it out, your hands will be the first point of contact with the ground.

Muni - five ten hightops, KH gloves, helmet, and kneepads
Road - Helmet


The only time I’ve whacked my helmet is on low hanging branches. If you are learning and holding onto stuff, the chances of hitting your head is ‘greater’.

I am a musician and cannot afford to damage my wrists. I have had a couple hard falls onto my wrists, and I am glad I was wearing the wrist guards.

As LanceB mentioned, you likely have smooth pedals which shouldn’t cut into your shins (though you’ll feel some pain), so maybe shin guards are not necessary.

So, at the very least, you should go with wrist guards and a helmet.

Freestyle: nothing
XC/Muni: Helmet, fingerless KH pulse gloves/wristguard, iXS hammer knee-shin-pad
Muni out of comfort zone: same + ankle brace

I wear a helmet, gloves, shirt, pants, a suitably restraining undergarment, and shoes(with socks) always. Well, almost always. I did once wear only shoes, but that was a special case. I usually also wear knee and elbow pads, but sometimes if I have long sleeves, I’ll eschew the elbow pads, and, similarly, if wearing long pants, I might skip the knee pads. Usually not, though. I do, in fact, wear knee pads over long pants on many occasions. I haven’t been wearing shin guards lately, but the next time I go offroad, I plan to.

What business is it of mine (or yours) to declare someone to be too safe? You want to take risks? Go ahead. Don’t criticize other people for taking some responsibility for their safety. You have nominated yourself to be fashion police, to the detriment of others’ safety. We’re not out there to look pretty for you. We’re out there to have a good time and/or get exercise. You want pretty? Go look in a mirror. You want me to be pretty? It’s going to cost you.

I ride on roads… a lot. It doesn’t matter how good of a rider you are if some motorist comes along and pushes you off. You’re going to want to be wearing safety gear if that happens. What gear you need depends on what you fall onto, how you do it, and how much of a surprise it is. To some extent, road riding requires having some faith in motorists not doing stuff like that. Yet sometimes they do anyway. It’s good to be prepared.

Does your odd trail here and there ever have a rock, root, dip, bump, drop, step, rut, loose patch, soft patch, etc. that you don’t see for one reason or another? If not, how long do you think that’s going to hold up? Any UPD can go bad. It’s a numbers game.

Also, I am an athlete. I am often pushing the boundaries of what I can do. It’s kind of the reason for being out there. Guess what happens at the boundaries. UPDs. Sometimes involving striking the ground with parts other than the soles of my feet. Not often, but not never.

Even something as seemingly trivial as a skinned knee is worth preventing. A broken wrist even more so.

As has already been mentioned, we’re riding unicycles. The not looking silly ship has already sailed and we weren’t on it.

Yes i agree with you on the protection front, but i noticed that when i strap on my gear i am associated less with the circus than without.

You’ve got loads of good and sound advice about safety gear already so just want to add one thing from my own experience. I’m not as advanced in riding as most of the people in this forum but here is my advice about gloves/wristguards:

I started to wear safety gear (best idea ever!) when I tried to learn Trial/street style tricks etc… Amongst other things I used to wear wristguards: I have to say they did protect my wrists from a couple of falls but sometimes I think they do more harm than good: I badly bashed one of my fingers when I was trying to grab the unicycle seat during a UPD - didn’t do any serious harm but for some reason the injury took weeks to go away. I found the standard/cheap skateboard wristguards to be cumbersome (the rigid protection bar gets on the way in the palm of your hand so you become a bit clumpsy with your hands - that’s why I bashed my finger when trying to grab the seat).

Afterwards I bought a pair of KH gloves. Very good investment. They make a huge difference and I think, unless you do something really advanced and extreme, they are very good protection for most falls. I now also wear them when I ride my 36er on the road and they have proved to be very comfortable and have saved my hands/wirsts quite a few times already. I have also started to do some Muni on my 26er and needless to say I also found that the gloves are a must have.

As other ones have said when it gets hot in summer, and I’m going for long rides on the 36, sometimes I tend to wear less protection and just be comfortable instead. I do get more scrapes and bruises though! :astonished:

Riding Muni for 3 years starting from beginner. Most rides I stay away from the ground, but every now and then the God of Muni likes to rub my nose in it. Well, knees and hands actually.
Race Face knee guards (they have non elastic straps so don’t slide down as soon as you touch the ground)
Wrist guards are the most important for me, pretty sure I would have had a Colles fracture a couple of times without them and would have been nursing deep grazes on hands for weeks in total.
As they say no helmet no brains, not ever going to ride anything without a helmet.
Shin guards when it’s not too hot, had three episodes of deep scratches from the pedals.
Elbow pads never took any heat so I stopped using them.
Would love to have a cushioned total body suit so I could bounce off anything, then I’d be a downhill demon! Geez I’d look silly, but probably unrecognizable!