What qualifies as a LONG ride?

Age: 47
Years riding: 9

This is exactly how I feel. Muni or Coker, on road or off, it’s time that matters, not distance. I guess Ken’s numbers above are good for me too. For instance, I went on a Long ride (5:45 on Coker) last Sunday. But it was only 30 miles. I would not call a 30 mile ride in general Long, but this one was (lots of 20% climbing on dirt, 4000’ of climbing, rocky, etc). I did an Ultra ride once (12 hours, part Coker and part Muni), but it was only 37 miles. It was really Ultra though, with over 12000’ of descent and a huge climb to 14250’. I was sore for about a week afterwards! I’ve also done 30-40 mile rides that are Medium and quite easy.

The other one I really liked was Sean’s definition: any ride over 20’ trickless. That shows the range of opinion for experienced riders. And of course when I was learning, around the block (1:45, that’s 105 seconds) used to leave me sweating, tired and sore.


That’s about the same for me, except I’m 16.
and I’ve been riding 3 years.


I’m almost exclusively a muni rider (dink around on a Coker and once a week practice street on a Muni) so my calculus is skewed toward my experience. For me, and many of the people we ride with, a “long” ride is not measured in time in the saddle or miles covered on the road or trail. It’s measured by effort and fatique. Several weeks ago we rode a new (for me) trail up in Santa Barbara which is no more than fours miles long, tops, but it’s even rockier and more continous than the infamous Tunnel Trail. We made it down in a little more than 90 minutes, and all three of us were spent. I’m not is super great shape right now but even so, the three hour ride I did yesterday was far easier than the SB whopper.

My point is that pace and difficulty figure into just how much any of us do. Coker cruising on the bikepath can seem moderate even after three or four hours. Bashing down a steep, rocky single track can torch me in far less time and after far less miles.


It seems there is great variation in the definitions of ‘long ride’ – in terms of both distance and time.

I’ll tell you what a ‘long walk’ is, tho: Any short unicycle ride where your uni gets a flat tire. The rest of the way, no matter how short your trip, you look like someone who hasn’t learned how to ride (or at best, like someone who doesn’t know how to maintain his uni). Ugh. I hate those times.

I’ve got to say that those are some big distances.

I’m 35, do a lot of road cycling and think that I’m in pretty good condition. I typically ride about 200 to 250 miles per week in the summer with Saturday and Sunday rides of 50 to 60 miles each. I’ve done quite a few centuries.

Last summer I learned to ride the uni and after a few months bought a 29". I wanted to go on a longish ride so I went on a 15 mile ride. It was one of the most taxing things that I’ve ever done. No UPDs but near the end, free mounting was very difficult as my legs were spent. Even riding in a straight line was difficult. I couldn’t believe it but I was totally exhausted I only rode for not even 2 hours but I was wiped out. Riding two hours on the 29" uni felt worse than doing 5 hour century on a road bike. I was hoping to do three hour rides to occasionally replace a bike ride but one hour is really near my threshold of pain and exhaustion.

I find that it is hard to carry food and water like you can on a bike. I use my cycling jersey pockets but it just isn’t the same. One pocket for iPod, one for water bottle, and one for a little food versus two bottles on the bike and two pockets for food. It is hard to keep up your energy levels on the uni…

Peace Out,

Road unicycling is a different skill to road biking. If you keep practicing, you’ll learn to sit right and to ride in a more relaxed way. Plus you’ll develop the muscles you need. You’ll already have the base fitness from cycling which is why you managed to do 15 miles pretty soon after getting the 29er. What you tried to do is kind of equivalent to thinking “I can road bike 100 miles, I’ll have no problem swimming 10 miles”, it’s just a different skill, the same as learning to ride a unicycle is different to learning to ride a bike.

As for food and water, road bikers seem to be a bit sneery about them because they’re something mountain bikers wear, but camelbaks really are great on a unicycle (personally I like wearing one on road bikes too). Easy to carry a bit of food and tons of water. If you have a hydration sack with webbing on the side, you can stuff bananas or cake in there too, which is nice, as it’s really easy to grab out.