Unicycling after 50

Thanks @Bug72

I had quite a nasty fall off my 36er almost 2 years ago, I smacked my knees up quite badly. I then got the KH26er and immediately preferred the control i had of it. I’m now riding on 110 cranks and love it. It also helps with riding alongside pedestrians, I feel more in control and I get fewer silly reactions.

4 Likes

I’m 63 and started unicycling 10 days ago. I started because I saw a uni for sale at £5 and thought it was too good to miss. I’m now at a point where I get 2 revolutions quite a lot of the time and 3 occasionally. I’m now getting to the stage where I’ll need to walk up to a local park to get practice as 4 revolutions will use all the space I have and living in a city, I won’t be anywhere near the roads or pavements. I’m really enjoying it so far; mostly I come off forwards and walk off but twice I’ve ended on my bum. I think fear is what mainly is holding me back at present although I can feel that I’m making progress and wobbling less.

11 Likes

Keep up the good work before long you will be free mounting and covering some distance. What size wheel is on your Uni?

Fear becomes more of a factor as we get older. I broke my arm falling off my uni whilst doing a bit of Muni, and it’s had a big impact on my riding.

20". No idea what age or make it is but that doesn’t matter so long as I’m enjoying the challenge. Looking at the tyre, I had thought I’d need at least a new inner tube but it holds pressure no problem. What sort of pressure should it be?

That is the million dollar question, I ride 35 lbs of pressure with my road unicycle but my tire is 29x 2.5. I was never able to ride high pressure in my tires because it made me feel uncontrolled. I’m guessing your tire is narrow, I know when I get on my son’s 20, I smash that tire right down if there is not high pressure in it. A lot of road riders ride at max volume while muni riders ride with very little pressure. If you spend a little time with the search feature of this forum you will find a lot of discussion on tires and tire pressure.

Just a thought you may want to consider a 24 inch wheel. You may find it easier to learn. I know I will catch some flack for this comment because the trials and flat land riders thrive on 19 and 20 inch unis but it is more of a child’s size unicycle . Trials and flat land unicycles are very specialized unicycles made for an advanced rider with longer seat post tubes and made to take a heavier rider and made to take a beating Your unicycle maybe more likely a uni geared toward a child, You will probably feel more comfortable on a slightly larger wheel. Just my opinion.

3 Likes

One more piece of unsolicited advise, do not discount your own safety. While unicycle crashes usually occur at low speed they can result in broken wrists arms, kneecaps and toes, concussions, damaged teeth, bruised and brush burned knees, elbows and shins. I personally always ride with a helmet and wrist guards at an absolute minimum. But knee pads, elbow pads and shin guards are not a bad idea. Also a major cause of crashes are shoe laces getting wrapped around a pedal propelling you face first , always make sure you have them tucked out of the way or by wearing Bungie laces or some sort of laceless shoe that is adequate for riding.
After all recovering from injuries is a little harder for us older riders.

6 Likes

By chance, my progression in my unicycling “journey” has brought me to the point where I believe I may be ready to attempt this online unicycling Challenge.

Hill climbing by unicycle the height of the tallest mountain in the solar system in the next 3 months.
Olympus Mons (height 21500m / 70538ft)

The event app has set other mountain’s heights as milestones.

I have a “plan”, and a 6.8kg 29" unicycle with 127mm cranks.
My 56th birthday is in March.

6 Likes

Proudly flying the flag for the “Unicycling after 50” group!
Today, I completed 9012m elevation gain in 14 days - hill climbing on my 36"-110mm and 29"-127mm unicycles in the
Olympus Mons Challenge 2024
“Everest’ed”

https://rs-sudety.fly.dev/challenges_mobile

note: Ben Soja is competing while currently on a family holiday in Japan.

8 Likes

I like to learn how to ride a unicycle and I am 67 years of age now. The People that I see ride make it look so easy however reading some comments, seems like learning on your own is what most do. I thought there might be a Club or Clubs, Associations to join to learn and help us newbies plus others. I currently live in Edmonton Alberta Canada. 55+ Group/Summer Athlete groups if any please I love to join and learn more about Unicycles before I purchase one since various sizes are sold.

4 Likes

Do you use any protection gear?
Using that can help you in reducing of an influence of a fear factor.
It also can save you from some injuries.
Wrist and knee protection and a helmet are desirable. Also avoid falling “into” the unicycle.

1 Like

It does seem that a lot of people learn on their own, as I did, or maybe they know one or two others who encourage them into it. Don’t give up if you don’t find a club, and also don’t think that the videos you see are what ‘everyone else is doing’. The real experience of learning would be very boring and repetitive to show in video, eg I took a whole 2 week summer break of trying again and again before I could even ride a few feet, and it was a year later before I had time to learn to free-mount, so I could ride out on the open road. The videos can be awe-inspiring, and hopefully wonderful inspiration as to what’s possible, but the early (and later!) steps can be very small and undramatic looking. However for the rider those small steps can be so satisfying and celebratory because you can trace your progress towards something that is fun, active, inexpensive, and impossible-seeming!
Size-wise, the bigger wheel sizes are for later, I would suggest a 24" unicycle (obtained second hand - new ones can wait until you know you’re going to get on with it - I’ve never yet bought a new one) since it’s slightly more controllable in my experience than the 20", which is the other popular starter size. Most people end up with a number (or even a fleet!) of unicycles.
Hope you are able to go for it and find your way of learning - in my experience it’s a wonderful thing to discover and gradually progress later on in life

5 Likes

Thank you for your reply and encouragement plus advice

Thank you for your reply
From
Judith Knight

1 Like

Just to say “you want to ride” a unicycle is a big deal.
Most people would say it looks impossible and would never ever try it.
The fact that you do not follow that crowd and that you are a member of this website says that you are unique and fearless. Just keep reading, researching and you will meet others that will help you.

…slam

3 Likes

I recently posted this on the 100 mile day list thread and it was suggested that I post here.

My 100 mile day

I rode a unicycle as a kid, starting with a homemade one that I make from a tricycle wheel and some scrap iron about 60 years ago. After I wore the hard rubber tire off the tricycle wheel I did find a well used 24” Columbia unicycle. I rode it for awhile and I stopped riding about the time I got out of high school. Then fast forward 50 years later I saw a 36” one on the internet and thought that looked like good exercise and fun. So about three years ago I found an old Coker 36” unicycle and learned to ride it. Just like they say you never forget how to ride a bike, the same thing is true for a unicycle. I could ride the 36er but it did take some time and effort to get used to the larger wheel, free mount it and build up some strength for longer rides. After a year I was able to complete a 50 mile ride in one day and the next year did a ride my age 70 mile ride.

I don’t know of any septuagenarians that have done a 100 mile ride but I’d bet there are a few that could if they wanted to. After being able to ride as a kid, I starting to ride a 36” unicycle nearly 3 years ago. One of my goals was longer distance road rides. I just completed my fist 100 mile ride.

With the idea that a smoother and flatter route requires considerably less effort on a unicycle, I had originally thought about finding a location that was as flat and smooth as possible for a 100 mile attempt. However with the current restrictions on travel, lodging and such, the logistics just did not work out. I did my 100 mile ride on country roads right at home. During my ride I never got more then a few miles from home and just rode back and forth all day long. The dead end road I live on has very low traffic and as paved roads go, it is quite bumpy. The average road grade is about 1.25% with short sections up to 10%. Over my 100 mile day I figure I gained and lost about 3300 ft of elevation.

I used the entire period of daylight by stating at the beginning of civil twilight and riding till the end of civil twilight. That gave me about 14 ½ hrs of riding time and I used ever minute of that. I rode my 36” Nimbus with a UDC trainer saddle and cranks set at 109mm. With very soft boxer briefs and lightweight flexible fabric pants (with lots of handy pockets) I had absolutely no problem with the saddle and was quite comfortable the whole day. I rode no more then 15 or 20 minutes between short one or two minute “butt” breaks. The 109mm crank setting was fine most of the day but I did think that a little longer length would be nice when I got to about 90 miles. By that time I was getting slower and slower but did not want to take the time to change the pedals and adjust the saddle height. Because I was close to home I packed no water or tools on the unicycle.

The weather was good with temperatures ranging from 34° to 62° F. I ate a big breakfast (oatmeal mush) before I started and had snacks and a P&J sandwich during the day. Overall I drank about a gallon and half of sports drinks or water with electrolytes during the day. My muscles were tired at the end of the day but I had no muscle cramping or burning.

My moving average speed for the day was 9.1mph and overall average with breaks included was 6.9 mph. I started at with a moving average of over 10 mph and by the end of the day I was down to below 8 mph with longer breaks between riding sessions. I was pretty well spent at the end of the day.

Other then a little muscle soreness I had no adverse effects from the ride and am ready for the next one.

Jim

14 Likes

Hi Jim
Thank you for the encouragement and looking forward to my first unicycle at age 67 however this group recommends Facebook Marketplace to find a 20".
Judith

2 Likes

Hi slamdance
Thank you for your email and encouragement, I am looking forward to finding my first unicycle. This group recommends finding a used one 20" to start with, via Facebook Marketplace.
Judith

Thanks Jim.

At our team ursli indoor trainings there are usually around 30 kids but also a growing 50+ group

At the muni trainings we are between 2 and 5 50+ riders

9 Likes