Wheel walking-beginner-question

OK, so today, on my practice session, I was able to go from: taking the foot off the pedal-> to nicking the wheel with my foot on the way to a UPD


Hitting the tire 4 times with feet…2 per foot…on the way to a UPD

My question is of the WW learning curve.

When you wheel walkers started out, were your first strokes just kicking the wheel as fast as you could change legs until you fell?

I noticed definete progress, but is this the ‘first step’?

(I noticed a post recently of extending the legs…I’m not at that level quite yet)

Re: Wheel walking-beginner-question

“Sofa” <Sofa.dh5zb@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message
> > When you wheel walkers started out, were your first strokes just kicking
> the wheel as fast as you could change legs until you fell?

Wheel walking is actually done much slower than riding, so control is more
important than sheer speed to maintain balance.

There are really 2 key things to mastering wheel walking:

  1. Getting your feet comfortable with being on top of the tire
  2. Learning to balance with your knees up in front of you and your butt
    slightly behind you.

When you watch somebody wheel walk from the side you will notice there is a
bit of backward tilt on the seat angle. This is key to the trick.
You have to overcome the fear of falling backward and trust yourself to do
this. If you don’t you will find yourself constantly dismounting forward
before you’ve gone more than a few feet.

But before you work on #2 you need to get #1 wired.

To do this start by finding something to hang onto - a railing or even
something overhead (I learned in a basement which had a beam running the
length of the ceiling which I could reach with both hands)
Begin idling slowly, in a very small pattern with the bottom foot. Take the
top foot off the pedal and place it on the tire in front of the crown.

Continue idling slowly. Let the top foot move along with the tire, getting
comfortable with this position. Next try to transfer some of the pressure
from the bottom foot to your top foot, until the idling is actually being
controlled by your top foot only.

Now switch feet, and teach the exact same skill to your opposite foot.

Once you are able to do a decent “tire” idle with either foot, you are ready
to practice the wheel walk.
Begin a “tire” idle. When the tire foot reaches the forwardmost position,
lift the pedal foot off the pedal and place it on the tire behind the first

Now allow the second foot to perform a similar forward stroke. As it does,
the first foot will run out of tire and drop off the front. When this
occurs bring it back up and place on the tire behind the second foot, and
repeat the process. There is always one foot controlling the tire at any
given time.

Continue these single forward strokes, foot behind the other, using the rail
as needed for balance.
Once you’ve done enough of these to where your dependency on the rail is
almost not needed, try wheel walking out into the open.

Remember to sit back a little bit in the saddle, to offset the weight of
your legs being in front.

With some practice you should be making pretty good progress.


David Winston

David’s WW advice

thanks for your excellent WW advice. Your approach seems to make much more sense than all the other descriptions I have seen so far. You are offering a logical and (to me) intuitive way of learning. I’ll definitely give it a go.

Have fun,

Damn. I’m now worse off then I was before the reply :frowning:

Thanks, that’s very descriptive. It makes sense

i learned to wheel walk the wrong way like you sofa, and it took me ages, now i can wheel walk slowly which works much better, i just battered away at it untill it worked, now i can wheelwalk in a circle but thats probably from months of practice,

when i started going slow i noticed that there are times when it starts to fall apart and you just end up ballancing for a second before you manage to regain controll

before i realy started to practice ww i sometimes just grabbed a wall and put my feet on the tyre to try and get comfortable.

wheel size preference?

I’ve only been trying this on my 26r. Is it easier on a 20?

i’d suspect that ww is easier on a 20" on a 26" your knees would hit you chin

Anything will work as long as the seat is up high enough. If you have a 20" and a 24" unicycle, both with the seat adjusted for efficient pedaling, WW will be easier on the 20" because the wheel is further from the seat. That’s because the wheel is smaller.

I have a problem with the 20" flat crowns- my top foot hooks on the crown… much prefer the 24"… probalby just predjudice. Tried it on Lewis’ very light 29’er… seemed to have potential, but the sadle was low…

About 9 hours practice, and I’m at 6.5 revs from iddling. That bit of advice about iddling the wheel with the top foot seems strange, but I’m eager to try it. Mostly, I just act like a hamster being chaced by a blender. ‘UPDs’ are no longer dangerous, as there is plenty of warning when loosing balance.

Most critical thing to me is fully extending foot on each stroke.



Re: Wheel walking-beginner-question

“Sofa” <Sofa.di9ka@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message
> Damn. I’m now worse off then I was before the reply :frowning:
> Thanks, that’s very descriptive. It makes sense

Hopefully you’re not worse off. You can still use the “go for it” approach
but it will take more time like evilewan said.

Since WW is a trick that can actually be broken down and practiced in pieces
I wanted to show where you could spend a few minutes
focusing on a few key elements and advance yourself along more effectively
and hopefully save you a lot of time and grief.

The other part of mastering the WW is nailing a clean transition out of/back
into normal riding on the pedals without dismounting (you will want to learn
Having the pedal slam into the back of your calf at high speeds isn’t too
fun. Learning the “tire idle” skill and having a solid slow WW will make
this much easier to prevent.

The other benefit of the “tire idle” is that it teaches your foot a backward
motion, which if you ever want to learn Backward WW you’re already halfway

Once you’ve got WW down you can practice doing it at warp speed - at which
point you’ll be ready for Gliding!



very kewl description of the wheel walk, david
i cant wait to get home and give it a go