Hello all. I am a bicycle commuter and for the past few years I have been more and more interested in learning how to unicycle. Everyone I seem to ask about it (including some LBS) kind of give me the eye roll and think it’s silly. At any rate some questions. Would this be a good starting Unicycle to learn on? http://rochester.craigslist.org/bik/3380620427.html I don’t know anything about brands. I don’t know if the wheel size has anything to do with my size. I am only 5’ 9’ . Also is commuting on a unicycle far fetched or do people do it? Will wearing a backpack screw up your balance? Any feedback would be appreciated.
Do it, riding a uni is awesome and once you’ve started you’ll be hooked believe me. That one you’ve linked to would be ideal for learning on, won’t be any good for commuting but once you’ve got the hang of things you can buy something bigger that will be. As for wearing a backpack it won’t screw up your balance, you’d probably notice it at first but the more you ride you more you’ll find yourself naturally adjusting to compensate.
I’m by no means an expert (I rode a trials 19" uni for around a year but generally for 1-2mile road work and the occasional trail) but I would highly recommend giving it a go, and don’t expect it to happen overnight. Took me around 9-10 hours before I could confidently jump on and go and I still overbalance and make mistakes but it so much fun I don’t care. Looking into picking up a new ride in the next few weeks and I’m pretty sure I’ll be buying another down the line!
@therandommancan that is actually my old unicycle I started on. I sold it a couple years ago. I will pm you. I am a unicyclist in Rochester, there are not too many of us in this city, it is great to see another person interested.
The Sun would be alright to learn on, but you will want an upgrade as soon as you achieve success riding.
There are many people who commute on unicycle. I’m sure some of them will be happy to give you their feedback.
Backpacks will for about 5 minutes mess you up but it becomes a part of riding quickly as many of us use hydration packs while riding especially in the summer months.
Please feel free to IM me, glad to help out anyway I can.
I’m an all year bicycle commuter as well and have learned to unicycle in September after learning that you can do pretty much anything on it that you can on a bike, and it’s a much simpler machine :).
I learned on a 20" unicycle and commuted on it with a backpack. It took 1:10 to get to work. On the bike it takes 30 minutes (10.5 km). Having little kids the extra time was a bit concerning so I got a 26" uni and now I keep it under 55 minutes which is OK. Planning on going bigger this year.
Some things that schocked me is how little my conditioning from the bike translated to the uni. I couldn’t just ride the 10km. At the beginning I was completelly exhausted after 500 meters. Still, it came quickly. Within 10 hours of training (from 0 skill) I was OK to ride to exhaustion. Within 20 hours of training I was doing 10km with a 30L backpack on a 20" unicycle to work and back (20km/day).
Some nice things compared to the bike is that it’s warmer in winter and less wind noise if you listen to stuff.
BTW whereby I always rode my bike on roads/MUPs, the unicycle pretty much stays on the side walk for the commute. I don’t ride faster than some runners. I don’t have the confidence to ride on the road just yet but will most likely switch over once I get a 36".
At the start it will feel impossible. Stick through it for the first 10 hours in half hour sessions. This advice is what got me through the periods of hopeless suckage. I just used a curb (no wall/fence, etc.). Get wrist guards.
After I had some skill the next moment of complete hopelessness was how much it hurt to mount the thing. I figured men do it so this must go away with extra skill. It does, one overcomes this as well. I was worried there for a while that all this effort might be for naught as the pain was too much :).
I’m also one of the few in the Rochester area. I mostly ride trails, though I just bought a 29er that I’m hoping to get out on the road soon.
Most people seem to learn on a 20"or 24" wheel.
Once you’re into it, you’ll almost definitely want a 29er or 36er for commuting.
for example: http://www.unicycle.com/unicycles/commuter-touring
I have a basic 24 that I learned on. You can borrow it before you settle on buying something, if you’d like. The current saddle is different than pictured, but either way, it won’t have much comfort. Modern saddles are much better.
Thanks for the advice all! Crazy that the one I posted was an old one of Ally’s and she lives right near me. haha Small world! Alas, that one was sold weeks ago.( a bit peeved when people leave adds up for stuff they already sell) The feedback is really helpful and I feel more confident then ever. @muniorbust Is that a Torker 24? Very similar to what I was considering buying. If I do buy new are these things hard to assemble?
Nope, it’s not a Torker. It’s a cheaper brand called “Cycle Designs”. A Torker is better. But if you don’t want to spend any money yet, you can borrow my cheapo.
They aren’t hard to assemble. Just some allen wrenches and maybe an open-end wrench or socket depending on the uni.
You can use common sense torque on parts like the seat post clamp, but for the bearing caps/covers you’ll want to be careful not to over torque.
Here’s a good video to walk you through it. It also shows how to be careful with the bearings:
If you are interested in unicycling you definitely should give it a go. That is a great unicycle for learning but as the others have said, it wont be very good for commuting. I just got a 29er and I find it perfect for commuting, it’s not too big to bring around and it can carry a lot of speed. And if you plan on just using it for commuting you can get a pretty good price on a 29er.
I use my uni to get places, it’s a great for distances under 10 miles or so for a typical commute. Sometimes you can keep the time close to a bike since a lot of time is taken up at lights anyway.
My 7 mile commute each way takes between 30-40 mins by bike and between 50mins and an hour by uni.
It’s a great workout and more fun than a bike IMO.
Screw the LBS, they often look down on unicycles and unis, because they don’t understand them. Some LBS are great (I have on in my area that loves unis) but a lot of them are snobby and think unicyclists are clowns.
I ride my uni with a pretty small backpack with a chest and waist strap and have never had a problem with that, though I’d learn without wearing any backpack.
As far as wheel size, I’d learn on a 20 or 24, but once you are ready to commute (meaning you are pretty good) get a road 29, and then maybe graduate to a 36 eventually depending on your commute.
Sorry to be off topic but what does LBS mean? I’m new here.
Local Bike Shop
A bit of an update to this. I met up with MuniOrBust yesterday morning someplace and he let me borrow his starter Uni to practice with. I then traded it in for a bag of gummi bears…haha JK! He’s a nice dude and im grateful. So far it’s been slow going but I am keeping at it. Using the side of my car in the parking lot to launch off from. Most times I don’t get past one pedal rotation but today I was able to wobble about 10 feet. Think I have to mentally remember to keep pedaling which is hard to do. Got alot of stares from people passing by but doesn’t bother me. Need to also not expect to much to soon of myself. Either way not quitting!!!
Its good to see you are starting along the road to riding a unicycle. It was very nice of MuniOrBust to loan you a ride. I learned the same way you are learnin, taking off from a car. You have probably already figured this out, but a brick or rock behind your wheel will steady your starts, and begin with the pedals level to the ground. Best of luck, keep us posted on your progress.
Ten feet wobbling is the start.
You got airborne for the first time this way. Going this far means that you managed somehow not to put too much pressure on the pedals, now you should take care of putting your weight in the seat. When you don’t have to support your full body weight with your legs you get less exhausted.
Hey BYC! Yeah I am working on keeping my weight focused on saddle. I do have a nice bruise from letting the left pedal wack me in my shin when I go to mount. (foolish) I seem to have 1 really good takeoff out of every 10 so far and I feel ok about that.