Am I better off trying to learn to wheel walk on my 20" Onza or my 24"x3 muni? I suspect maybe the bigger wheel would be easier, but I’m not yet at a level where it makes any difference. (I.e., I’m still at the point where I fall off as soon as I try to move my feet forward, no matter which one I try. ) Although, the 24" has a 28" frame so there is quite a big gap between the frame and the wheel.
BTW, when I search for “wheel walk” using the forum search I only get 1 thread returned. That can’t be right, surely?
I would use the 20". The first thing to do is find a wall with flat riding surface. You need about 10-20 feet to start. Use the wall until you do the wheel walk in the correct form for 3+ revolutions of the wheel (15 feet). Also, the first thing you need to learn before leaving the wall is how to fall off. For wheel walking, you mostly want to fall off backwards. If you are falling off forward, it means you are not leaning back far enough. Initially you will probably try to land on one foot, but don’t leave the wall until you always land on both feet. This is because you will get one foot knocked out from under you a good number of times by the pedal. If that is the one foot going down, you will land on your butt or on your hands, or worse.
The wall allows you to experiment safely with leaning back far enough, and it therefore speeds up your learning curve. It also allows you to practice the correct form in slow motion. At first your shoe will probably bump and drag across the form/frame while trying to get on the tire. It will take some practice to get these movements down correctly, and slow motion is the way to go.
Also: don’t put your feet side by side on the tire. I see a lot of learners doing this, and it isn’t the correct way to do it. Your feet should never be side by side. If you want to rest with both feet on the tire, put one foot out front and just the toe of the other behind that foot, on the top of the tire.
Once you can go along the wall and fall off safely, if you get balanced, veer a little away from the wall, or start trying with just your finger tips touching. Once you get to 3+ revs most of the time, (and falling safely) the wall is a waste of time, except to start. Do a rev or two and veer off.
You can start off with the big tire, because it gives lots more room for your feet. Go along a wall or fence, and put your toe on the tire first, rolling your whole foot down the tire until your foot is near the front of it with just your heel on. Your toe and heel have more grip than the middle of your foot. Use your whole foot.
Once your feet get used to the motion, it may be easier to actually wheel walk on the narrower tire though. The grippy knobby might make steering sluggish.
Good advice from Iunicycle, who snuck in before me. Great advice on dismounts. From wheel walking, you generally end up with the wheel rolling forward, and your feet swinging wide to the sides and back to get underneath you. It’s an awkward type of dismount, but if you don’t get your feet wide enough the pedals will get them.
Also, when learning the walking technique, make sure there is always a GAP between your heel and toe on the tire. At least 2" or so. It may seem excessive at first, but once you start actually going, if you don’t have that space between your feet they’ll bang into each other, and off you’ll go.
Oh, and grit your teeth for the inevitable comments from those who don’t seem to understand that wheel walking is harder than riding with your feet on the pedals. Just another bonus of practicing in public.
As John said, the larger tire might give your feet more room. Get grippy, thin/small shoes (that fit). The newest fad in footware seems to be the wide wavy bottomed type that hog lots of the vital real estate on and around the tire. There are cheap varieties available. I found the Converse Allstar to be too slippery for me, and they cost around $35, but the shape is ideal.
That’s right. If your goal is audience response, learn the kickup mount, jump rope, and hop up and down. And pick up a juggling prop from the ground. Optionally you can juggle, but a bigger response seems to come from being able to pick something up.
No need to waste your time on hard tricks if you just want to entertain an audience. Wheel walking, coasting, and other hard skills are learned by people who are in it for the skills
Many performers like to round out their skill set as well, so it’s okay for performers to learn this too. But it’s true, once you go beyond the most basic and visual of skills, the audience just kind of stares glassy-eyed.
Actually, I don’t really like the being-looked-at part of unicycling. I don’t know how unusual that is amongst unicyclists… I think maybe I’m a bit shy. I’m in in for that great feeling you get as something transitions for being totally impossible to being something you can do almost without thinking.