Unicycling after Injury: Day 1 Log

This will be a different entry. I want to “log” my progress back to my unicycling skills after an extended break of 3-4 weeks of zero unicycling to get over a minor knee injury. Share with you’all my speedy progress back to full unicycle power, again. Hopefully. In the past, it has taken about a month or two. Providing, I get at least 3-4 sessions a week.

I’ve been riding for 6 years and have become proficient in basic riding and have learned a few tricks. So, let’s see how long it takes to get back to my original skill level
-SIF(strong side only, 1/4 mile distance and SIF idling)
-Backwards riding(half mile distance or longer, turn within 20 ft)
-Idling: strong and weakside, no hands or hands stationary
roll back mount(strong & weak side), SIF mount(strong side only), over-the-top mount on strong side)
from seated idling > > SIF idling > seated idling >…back, etc.

So, know I’m almost 100%. Actually, about 95% healed but “eager” to get back on my unicycle. Can I still do it. Did I forget everything? Free-mounting, SIF, backwards? How about just riding forwards without hurting my knees.
---------------------------------------------------Day 1-------------------------------------------------------------
Goal: just sit on the unicycle this morning for about a 15 minute session before work.
First impression, wow, where did the air go? Hadn’t ridden and unicycles been in my trunk for a bit. Time to pump the tires.

No problem, my dominant(strong side) is my right foot/leg=injured knee. So, used foot to push down on the pedal(6 o’clock) and rose up /rocked back/caught top pedal. No problem. Then left foot instantly started idling, like it was auto pilot. I also instinctively rocked my upper body and felt my butt centered on the saddle. So, my senses were on. Good control and no wild loss of balance, or mental “glitches”. All instinct. I was in a empty parking lot near the Griffith Park Sr. Center(with lots of handicap rails around ;o), but I just used my raised car trunk for support. No wild swings or bumping into the car. Success, for now.

Well, as I tried to bend the bad knee forwards for a slow 1/2 rev forwards or 1/2 rev backwards. I can slowly feel that “knee stress/pain” as the quad power muscle slowly generate power. Nope, Don’t push it. It’s happenned before, and re-injury will set me back another week.

I could probably ride with “minimal” leg power, if I can maintain full saddle weight. However, if I should hit something and lightning quick reflexes take over then there goes my knee again. Time to quit.

Let’s try again, tommorrow…slam…


I’ll be interested to be reading about your progress.

All the best and good to hear you’re mindful to stop before causing re-injury.

From unicycling, I’ve only ever had a minor sprain grade 1 (no tear) Anterior Talofibular and found that medical people, I dealt with don’t tell you exactly which parts are involved unless you ask.
It gave me confidence to know my path of rehabilitation separate to what health professionals, in a hurry, are willing to advise.
Must say, I did as much research as possible.

A little over a year ago I broke my arm falling off my 26er (a moment of stupidity on my part) and was back riding within 3 weeks. I was tentative at first but rarely think about it now.
I’m pretty sure you’ll be fine but I’ll enjoy following your progress.
All the best.

Unicycling after Injury: Day 2…and probably the same Day 3

So, my knee is day/day getting better. However, still not 100%.
You know how I know?

a.) My leg will “cramp” if I go down stairs briskly. Actually, the mechanics and leg power required to walk downstairs is quite “stressful”. Basically, you are momentarily doing a “one leg” negative squat. Also, resisting gravity which wants to make you go down faster. All take for granted when we are healthy and strong. You feel it when you are injured.

b.) I can squat down fully, but it takes about 5 minute to gradually sink all the way down. No pain. Just feel stiffness. Then to come back up? Nope. Not going to happen. Holding the correct squat posture I cannot rise. or two to go all the way down. No pain, but stiffness from lack of stretching this area. However, I cannot “just rise” like I normally can do. Need use my hands and tip forwards for leverage. This at the very minimum should be the “test” for me to meet “minimal leg power” standards.

Since, I rarely fall when I was riding. I forget what would happen from just a simple, Step off UPD. Where you continue running forward or squatting down as the unicycle is left behind you.

Years ago, I blew up my left knee. ACL, meniscus, cartilage, fractured femur. I remember the doctor recommending that I go down the stairs backwards for a while, post-surgery and, pre-surgery. It made all the difference in the world.

Wow! How timely. I’m not as experienced but sounds like almost exactly what I experienced from failed free mount. Will be watching. The stair thing is what is hardest at the moment. (But rapidly improving)

In Novemeber 2020, I was a month into 36er ownership and I’d put in several dozen miles, and could take either foot off it’s pedal and keep riding. I was overconfidently flying down a slight hill with a sharp turn onto a sidewalk, and I lost control without much 36er UPD experience. The seat carried me forward instead of dropping safely behind me, and I went down hard. For a second I thought I was fine, but then I saw my mangled lower left leg. Two weeks later, they screwed my bones together and told me my ligaments were shot. There’s lighting a fire. In December, I mounted my 29er and left the neighborhood. I could only just walk, but there was no reinjury. I took the next year off work, and at the height of my practice that year, I rode 15-35 miles everday for a month. The following December, I set both a new speed and distance record in one 3 hour session: 23 miles in 50 minutes, a short break, then 23 more miles.


I just sprain my foot yesterday dismounting they uni after riding on dirt and gravel ouch but getting better now but I’ll have to be off for a week or more at least.

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@ChrisCoolski ,

That sucks. I’m sorry to hear that, and am really hoping you heal well, and quickly.

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July 4th was my first attempt on the muni after ACL reconstruction in December. Not bad, 2 miles around the neighborhood including some inclines that I couldn’t do at first when I was just learning to ride. Then 5 miles in the neighborhood on Sat, including up the steepest hill in the hood, and then 5 miles out in Mission Trails Regional Park here in San Diego yesterday. Knee a little sore when I got up this morning, but I’m happy to be back out there!


Well, I’m back here, again.
Sorry, all for not keeping up with what I started the last time.
I was either having too much fun riding again and didn’t have time to write back.
Or…didn’t find any interesting or worthwhile to mention on the road back.

Recently, tendinitis in my left knee has flared up again. I was overdoing my running and unicycling, plus an accidental fall to the ground(not from sport). That means no more sports for at least 2 weeks. So, when I get back into unicycling, again, if there is anything interesting about the process I will try to share.

Oh here’s a few points, that I do remember, now:

  1. Do not get back onto the unicycle until you are 100% healed. Do not even just “sit on” the unicycle. Here’s why. Sitting leads to idling. Idling leads to riding. Riding leads to quick maneuvers, quick power step for balance and all those lead to re-injury. Since, mainly balance(fore aft and lateral) comes from pedal pressure and impulse at varying bent knee positions it all = stress to knee joint.

  2. Trust our skills.(unless total beginner) The “unicycle brain” has good memory. Maybe, that’s why I got lazy on this string regarding “recovery and getting back on the uni”. I’ve been riding for over 6 years and I consider myself intermediate/advanced. It took me less than a week to get back to my full powers/skills(riding, idling, SIF and backwards riding). Also, in my eagerness I may have been riding for hours at a session. Even more reason you need to be at 100%, Get ready for the fun!

  3. One thing I remember that may affect your riding is what happens when you are hobbling around with one straight leg and the other one doing all the work going up/down steps,…etc. The strong leg will get stronger, so when you get back to sports again there will be a bit of offset. Not only in strength but in precision, feel and speed, and in unicycle the ability to master those factors is crucial(and independently for each side). So, riding a very steep uphill where you are struggling pedal to pedal or riding slowly on a grassfield with blind bumps, that skill takes a bit longer.



Yes that is true. You think everything is fine because it no longer hurts, but it’s not stable again. In 2019 I broke my collarbone, a titanium plate came in, last year it came out again. Now I fell on the same side again and it’s cracked but the bone will never regain its initial strength. That means if I’m allowed to ride a unicycle again in mid-October then I have to be even more careful that I don’t fall on the side where it’s broken or has become unstable. It broke in exactly the same place as it broke before, not the best conditions for a good healing but one hopes for the best.

Good luck with all your progress. I’m with you that times I have injured myself and made walking painful I could still ride my uni around fairly easily. It was a weird experience.

Best of luck with your journey and recovery.