What is the absolute essential satefy equipment for unicycling?

What would you all say is a must for safty equipment when riding a
uni? And do you really use it?

Off road?





Re: What is the absolute essential satefy equipment for unicycling?

Here’s what I use.

Off road:
Helmet, gloves, shinguards, kneepads. I don’t have wristguards or elbow
pads but if I did I’d wear them (eventually I’ll get some)

Nothing but normal riding clothes. If I’m practicing something that’s
really difficult for me (or has a high chance of me getting hurt) I’ll wear

Helment, gloves (sometimes kneepads)

Incidentally, I’ve never had an accident where protective gear helped
(perhaps with the exception of the gloves.)


“Norman Patterson” <patterson00269@earthlink.net> wrote in message
> What would you all say is a must for safty equipment when riding a
> uni? And do you really use it?
> Off road?
> gym?
> touring?
> Thanks,
> Norm

My best purchase was wristguards. You only need to catch yourself in one fall without them to hurt or even break a wrist.

In retrospect, I would have greatly benefited from shinguards while learning.

I’v only ‘used’ my helmet a half dozen times- from the lumpy dents in it, I’d say it was well worth the bother. A couple impacts from falls, many more from branches- one hard enough to swat me off my wheel.

I’v come home to find impact marks on my Roach leg armour from impacts I NEVER FELT. Priceless.

Seems like the few times I’v riden without wrist protection, I lost chunks of skin and had to coddle stiff joints. They also are worth far more than I payed for 'em- especialy in a roll, when I depend on them to allow me to feerlessly guid myself.

As I become more agressive, I’m seeing a need for arm/elbow protection. I’d like padded hips and tail bone armour, too. The 661 Straight Jacket looks tempting for spine and body.

In order of ‘Must have’

  1. Helmet - not from frequencey, pure importance
  2. Shin/knee -frequent impacts (specialy with new skills)
  3. Wrist -off road and new skill must. Difference between having a bad fall and having fun.

The money spent on these 3 items are the best spent. I’d recommend investment here before higher end cycles, air sadles, etc.

I learned in a Gym. For a nice controlled environment like that, I might shun a helmet- if I was lazy. Also, shin armour is more important than knee (of coarse, knee injuries are a bit more debilitating, yes?). So, if you were learning in a Gym, you might use just shin protection; however, knowing what I do now, I would not ride without the 3 numbered items above AS IT WOULD LIMIT MY SKILL DEVELOPEMENT out of feer of, and actual, injury.

I cruze at 14 mph on the Coker and stroll at 11. The more protection the better- especialy for high speed rolls. I also wear a full face helmet on the 36" wheel.

Harbinger wrist guards, allthough they leave a nasty stain from poorly set dye, are excelent. Roach limb armour is equaly well recommended, but run a bit small, and tend to slide down. I wear long socks and push them down to keep the armour in place. Other people I know have had some trouble with the straps chaffin- I have not.

Have fun! (which is easyer to do when you’re not hurt!)


I have only ridden in a gym twice. For these two instances I wore helmet and wrist guards.
I ride various off road conditions ranging from wood chip strewn trails to dirt single track. For these rides I recommend a helmet, wrist guards, and shin or shin/knee guards depending on the trails (steep downhills, rocky trails for knee protection).
Arm and elbow protection is next on my list.

proper leg armour that includes ankles and knees, gloves or wristgaurds

i know it’s sensible to wear a helmet, but i’m young and stupid, likewise i wouldn’t recomend drinking or smoking.

Re: What is the absolute essential satefy equipment for unicycling?

I learned in a gym and still sometimes ride there. Nobody wears any
protection, and indeed I think it is not needed in a gym. Having said
that, when learning to mount I hurt my shin and calf quite often - but
never badly.

When touring I usually don’t wear any protection either. But I (still)
ride on a 24" wheel with 5" cranks and my speed is limited to about 10
mph, so I can easily run out of trouble.

For MUni I use:

  1. combined knee/shin pads - if only because I have spiked pedals;
  2. combined wrist/gloves (Harbinger extreme) - I had a spill once
    without them and I hurt both hands. Recently I had a violent UPD on a
    steep uphill and was very glad wearing them - no harm at all!
  3. helmet. Like someone else said: not for frequency but potential

Remark: the 661 4x4 knee/shin protection seems to offer good
protection, but I find it somewhat fiddly to put on (I’ve heard Roach
is better). It’s also unwanted thermal isolation, but what can you do?

Klaas Bil

I posted only a single copy of this message.

I always wear a helmet and wrist guards when on any unicycle.
I also shove a long knee bad down the back of my pants to act as some padding for the tail bone. Still refining straps for it though.

For MUni I wear thee 661 knee shin guards that Klaas Bil mentions. They are so important especially with platform pedals with pins as they can whack you in the shins at times. For Upd’s, you can’t beat them.

The knee shin guards do heat things up a bit on the legs to the point that your sweat is absorbed through the back side(near shins) and works its way through the seams to the front and then out front, much like a paper towel.

I have ridden with these in over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and didn’t notice them much even then. I think the issue of the heat build up and how you notice it, is a personal thing. The first time you UPd down on your knees sliding down a hill on them, you will be thankful you have them.

Like rhysing, I have been looking into getting arm elbow pads, only because I fell at the CAl MUNi weekend and got a hemotoma that was 2" x 1" underneath my forearm, near the elbow. Over the following weeks, a bruise developed that coverered nearly the entire half of the area under my arm. I think it is an optional item, that if purchased, I would ride only for downhills or rocky areas and carry them in my back pack other times.

At some point you have to balance out the amount of gear with the heat build up and restriction of movement that may be a factor. Do I really want to ride like a mummy? Thoughts to consider.

When choosing protective gear there are several factors to consider, each can change what you wear.

*type of riding
*your riding style
*what you feel safe with

I’ll run through how they affect what you wear. First though if you are at all serious about unicycling I recommend you have the following available for use:
*shin and knee pads
*wrist guards / gloves

These are the 3 most usefull pieces of equipment bar an actual unicycle and the 2nd two are almost guaranteed to save you pain if you do any thing other than the safest sort of unicycling (ie riding across a smooth gym floor)


These range from relatively safe areas like gymnasiums and carparks through to busy city streets, country roads, gentle offroad and extreme downhill courses. Different protective gear is appropriate for different context.

I ride with a helmet if I think there is any chance of a head injury (ie cycling on roads with traffic or on any terrain where an unplanned dismount can have nasty consequences). I have yet to use my helmet but I know of friends who have given up unicycling due to head injuries resulting from being hit by cars etc. They weren’t at fault but a bad concusion is persuasive even when you are in the right.

In a gymnasium the only hazard I have to worry about is me and mostly I will wear no protective gear unless I’m working on something like 360 unispins and thought about it before starting. At that point shinpads are a shin saver and prevent me spattering blood everywhere.

For other terrains I wear various bits of gear based on what I’ve hurt in the past. A good rule of thumb if you are unsure is to wear as much as possible for several rides and note when you think “boy I’m glad I was wearing that”. After a while you will have an idea what is required for different terrains.

Type of riding:

As a general rule, the more extreme the riding the more gear you should be using. Factors like high speed, potential big falls, long drops and the like all spell the need for protecting points likely to come into contact with the ground (hands, knees, head, elbows). If you are doing trials type riding hopping over picnic tables and the like then shins, calves and just about everywhere else is also in danger. This is why some people where much more gear than others. What I wear for different types of riding is as follows:
freestyle: nothing
gentle offroad: leg armour, gloves, wrist guards
extreme offroad and trials: leg armour, gloves, wrist guards, ankle biters, helmet
commuting along footpath: nothing
road riding: helmet, gloves and or wrist guards

Style of riding:
Lets face it, some people like myself and Max Dingemans are just born for punishment. When we get on a unicycle even trivial tricks can result in nasty crashes, breaking unicycles and damaging ourselves. If you continue to push hard past your limits drawing blood on a regular basis is the likely result. Other people take it much slower and two unicyclists doing the same things can have very different risk factors based on their riding style. This affects how much protection you require and also where that protection should be.

For example, I have managed to bash my ankles badly multiple times. I have numerious bloodied and ripped socks to testify to this. My 661 ankle biters are one of the best protective purchases I ever made yet for many people they are unneccesary. Some people bash their shins while others hit their calves. While it does depend a little on what skills you are working on you’ll find you have a tendency towards damaging certain body parts. Protect these.

What you feel safe with:

People attempt much harder things when they feel safe from hurting themselves. I know once I started wearing protective gear on Muni rides I began tackling much tougher terrain. Wear enough gear that you feel safe and comfortable with the risks you are taking.

What feels safe changes with talking to people and your own injury experiences. Having seen the results of falling off a Coker at high speed I would not ride one without wrist guards and don’t feel safe cruising at 20km/h on a unicycle without them.

Having badly sprained both ankles while trying to avoid falling unprotected into rocks I now use ankle protection and leg armour.

Remember that safety is worth more than comfort and it is also worth paying for. If you can’t afford gear appropriate for the riding context work on something safer till you can. There are plenty of challenges in the unicycling world and many of them involve very low risk of injury.

You don’t have to jump off cliffs on a unicycle to have fun!

Happy riding

Re: What is the absolute essential satefy equipment for unicycling?

I’m saving that post.

Thanks, Peter.

Unicycling is a dangerous sport.

In 10yrs of mountainbike racing I have 8 stitches and a few scratches.

In 10yrs of Tae Kwon Do I’ve never had more than a bruise and a kick in the head and several below the belt.

In 1 and a half yrs of unicycling I’ve had 4 sprained ankles, 1 broken ankle, scars all over the back of my calves, three sprained fingers, 12 stitches, several whacks in the head (from low flying branches) and a sore crotch after every 30k ride.

Take care. Buy the stuff above.

Ken :slight_smile: