wheel walking tips

this is wierd. i can glide now, but i cant wheel walk. when i wheel walk i always kick my unicycle in front of me and i fall. If any has any tips i would appreciate it. jon

That’s really weird. How did you learn to glide without wheelwalking first?
Anyway, here are a few suggestions on wheelwalking.

  1. Get it down while holding on to a wall or the ceiling.
  2. It might help to try it barefoot because then you have a lot more control and a better feel for the wheel. This helped me alot.
  3. When you do try it in the open, lean back farther the seems reasonable and go really slow.
  4. Practice lots.
  5. Search the forums for tips. You’ll find lots of helpful hints.
  6. Explain how you are trying it right now, so we can figure and what your problem is and give you more specific advice.
    Note: you should probably have posted this on RSU.

WHAT! you had to try barefooted, i did that once it was harder and painfull,especially when you slip.

I really like doing freestyle barefoot. When I ride barefoot, I do it inside on carpet, with the ceiling close at hand to brace myself. When I get good enough at something, I try it outside with my shoes on. I found this especially helpful for spoke walk and backwards wheel walk. I don’t recommend riding barefoot on cement.

If i remember correctly Andrew Carter also likes to ride barefoot. I’m too lazy to search for the tread he said that though.

The main thing when wwing is to lean back and make nice slow motions. It also helps to repeat heel…toe…heel…toe…heel when you are attempting wheel walking.

Also, if you feel yourself falling forward, start to move your legs faster, and if you fall back grip and move slower. It is pretty hard to do but the slightest adjustment can help. So when going very fast try an almost galloping kind of thing, like:

Is speed wheelwalking.

I am learning to wheel walk now. I learned unicycling many years ago (decades actually) and am only now getting to wheel walking.

I have made a little progress but not that much. Then tonight I tried barefoot (outside) and I started to make much more consistent runs of 10 feet or so.

I am finding two keys:

  1. Barefoot so you can flex your feet easier when transferring from toe to heel
  2. Keeping your hips back a bit in relation to your upper body to keep a bit of weight behind you so that you don’t go to fast.

Seems to be helping me make some progress now.


Few month ago I started to learn the WW and I got some good tips from guys here. The most usefull for me was the heels tip by johnfoss:

You can view the full thread here: http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/showthread.php?t=92752

Good luck,

Well, I’ve been trying to WW for a year now. Uggh. I can ride one-footed etc, but can only manage 5 foot runs or so wheel walking. I know toe, heel, toe etc., lean back. I seem to fall the the side a lot when I lean back. When I don’t lean back I fall forward because I can’t push the wheel enough under me. I hold on to my car with one hand, then let go.

I’m pretty frustrated.

Where do you put your arms? Out to the side? In front? What do you think I am doing wrong? Should I try to push slower with my feet? I don’t always feel accurate with foot placement, but if I go to slow I seem to fall to the side.

Hi kahunacohen,

Your arm should be stretched to both sides with a little bent, as you do on slack line. They play important role in balance and corrections as they needed.

I can’t tell you exactly what you’re doing wrong, because I didn’t saw you in action, post a vid it will help me/us to evaluate… :slight_smile:

Ride on normal pace and sit with back straight. As you put the first foot on the wheel, lean back and take it slowly but think fast. What I mean is, in order not to fall to one side, you’ll have to correct it by pushing a bit harder with only one foot. If you going to fall left, push fast and harder with your left foot. The catch is that you don’t have time to think, it should be almost a reflex. If you think too much, you missed it…

Again, post a video - it will help a lot.
I’ll be here fo any help :slight_smile:

Have fun,

I learned to wheel walk pretty fast which is unusual for me. I started off with a mount which seems crazy to me now.

I keep my arms at my side about chest high and a little forward, moving them as necessary for balance. That is, when I’m not juggling or shooting a basketball. :slight_smile: I also try to keep a stiff upper body position (tight abs and leaning a little back like you mentioned) and keep my thighs pinched together slightly. I find it easier to wheel walk with a higher seat and with flat, thin-soled shoes. 5 feet is pretty good and I think you just need to keep at it. You may not be to the point where you’re able to correct balance by pushing the tire but with more practice you’ll get to that point and have longer runs. I’m finally at that point with backwards wheel walking and it’s taken a long time.

I’ll keep at it and post a video when I get a chance. This is def the hardest trick I’ve tried to learn, one day soon I’ll get it.

If you want to make wheel walking seem easy, spend an hour or so on wheel walking backwards! You will quickly gain an appreciation for all the traction you have when going forward. :slight_smile:

Arms: for steering. Because wheel walking is so much slower than regular riding, you may need to make arm/hip twists to correct if you’re going off to the side. So keep those arms out to the sides, ready to twist them one way or the other to make course corrections and stay balanced.

Don’t try to go fast, like the guy in that clip above. Fast is good, but until youl get used to it, slow will teach your feet the movements so you can later speed up without your feet kicking each other.

Yes, my video was more of a “what not to do”. I like to tell people that it’s always good practice to ride as slow and as straight as you can. Also, I think it’s great practice to pause when your pedals are level and balance as long as you can (even if that’s a fraction of a second). These are foundational skills that help with almost every kind of trick and riding.

For kahunacohen, do you still practice one footed riding? How well can you do it? I would also suggest practicing that, too. When I practice I like to mix in things that I can do already (but can get better) and things I’m just starting to learn (and not making much progress). My backwards wheel walk is taking a long time but my double wheel is starting to come around. I imagine the combination will be exceedingly easy:

That’s Gilby, right? A couple pushes of backwards wheel walk and kush kush.

It definitely looks like Gilby, and it also looks like his dad (BillG) with a camera on a stick or something. How great to have easy, local access to a gym full of unicyclists on a weekly (or more frequent) basis! :slight_smile:

Still plugging away. In another post John stressed the grip of the heel and that is helping. I am also sitting up straighter which also seems to help. I am now getting 7-9 kicks fairly often now, so I think I will break through soon.

Yes I ride one footed with my dominant leg pretty well. I can go almost as long as I wanted.

Finally getting somewhere, after John’s advice to push off with the heel. I also found a better place to practice, which is behind my house on my deck, with the railing at about arm’s height.

Another thing that helped is sitting straighter up and leaning back. I am finally able to steer a bit, which means when I start falling to one side, always the left for some reason, I can correct.

My record is 16 pushes without holding on to anything.

The mother of all wheel walking threads

So I can now (after several months) easily go 50 steps or more, and can steer in any direction, especially if it takes me slightly uphill, but I cannot seem to get my feet back on the pedals. After starting with my right foot and going 6 steps (or 18, or 30), I always have my left pedal sticking straight forward, and I can put my foot on it with no problem, but giving up control of the tire with my other foot to put it on a pedal that I can’t see… well, maybe I’m too cautious. The other option, after 5.5 steps, is to reach back with my right foot for the rear pedal, but that doesn’t work either.

There are videos about this, of course, and I even found one dedicated exclusively to the topic of getting your feet back on the pedals, but I am still stuck. There seem to be almost as many ways of returning to the pedals as there are wheel walkers. Leo gets back on the pedals by doing a very brief one-footed wheel walk, which is smooth and awesome, but not an option for us two-footed wheel walkers. Anyhow, if anybody has any suggestions, please share.

EDIT: Oops, not sure why this thread was in the “non-unicycling” section! It’s true that wheel walking is a somewhat separate activity from unicycling, but it cannot be done, as far as I know, without a unicycle.

I spent most of my time yesterday practicing wheel walking. I am typically a slow learner; with enough practice, however, I’ll get it. Funny how that works. I’ve been practicing on a baseball diamond right next to and parallel to a chain link fence. I discovered that instead of grabbing the fence with my hand, I can stick out one of my elbows and bump along it as I’m practicing the wheel walk (I’m wearing elbow pads). This is less disruptive to my balance.

I’ve been practicing by mounting into a one-footed idle. My other foot is on the flat crown of my Equinox frame. I start idling, unassisted by the fence but close to it; I focus on getting the idles to be big, from 3:00 to 9:00. When the foot on the pedal is as far back as it will go (is that 3:00 or 9:00, I never figured that out), I place the other foot on top of the tire, forward enough to accommodate the eventual placement of the toe of my other foot. I try to do a momentary still stand in this position, focusing on getting a lot of weight on my foot on the tire. Then, I move the pedal-foot into position behind the other, on the tire. Now, I do another momentary still stand, focusing on getting a lot of weight onto the heel/toe combination of both feet.

I read some threads where the poster said to remember “Heel, toe, heel, toe, etc.” I realized yesterday that for me, “Heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe” works better. In other words, I move quickly from one heel-toe combination to the next, but while both feet are on the tire, the motion is minimal, more like a still stand. This creates more of a jerky start-stop motion in the wheel walk.

Now, if you watched an experienced wheel walker (like the ones racing at Unicon), you’d see that the motions are fluid, not jerky like I described, above. I figure that after I learn to be jerky, I’ll smooth things out. My approach is also to perform the wheel walk very slowly, for the time being. When my feet start moving fast, this diminishes the amount of weight used by my feet on top of the tire, and this is the beginning of the end. There is one thing I do quickly: the transition between front/back foot combinations.

When I first practiced wheel walking, I felt like it was my job to stay balanced with most of my weight on the seat, whilst pushing the unicycle forward with my feet. This has evolved into more weight on the heel-toe combination, to the point where I can almost lift myself off the seat momentarily with the downward force of my feet. This new technique makes me feel more confident that I’m going to keep foot-control over the uni during wheel walking.

To me, using a fence is counterproductive and scary. In my early days of wheel walking, I used to launch from a volleyball pole, but in retrospect, I think it’s best to transition from riding or idling to wheel walking as soon as possible.

I’ve actually had very few of the hard falls that one might think wheel walking could lead to. I believe it was John Foss who said somewhere that your heel on the tire gives you way more traction than you might think (as long as your tire is clean and dry!).

Right. I think of this as getting the wheel out as far as possible in front of me. Learning to wheel walk, at first, is all about leaning back just a bit more than you would like to. That’s why it’s good to get away from that fence!

This is what happens to every wheel walker at first. Leaning back is scary, so you put your weight forward and have to run to stay on top of the wheel. One thing I did to help me take things slowly was to use the backs of my heels to hold the wheel in place after each kick. I have strange-looking holes in the backs of my shoes as result. This is not the right thing to do, it is just what I did. You may or may not want to experiment with it. It will insure that you can make long kicks, and it gives you an extra instant to put your other foot on the tire. Better wheel walkers don’t do it, but for me it was useful for making my first runs of 20+ steps.

Even more helpful, for me, was learning to twist in the direction (left or right) that I was slowly starting to fall. Sometimes it’s good (at least for me) to actually rotate my entire body (and uni) a tiny bit with each wheel walking step taken, even if I am not losing my balance. A related thing I learned on this forum that was incredibly helpful was to pump my tire up nice and hard when I plan to practice wheel walking. In this way you reduce the area of contact your tire has with the ground, making it much easier to rotate whenever needed.