When do you change from "learner" to "rider"?

OK - I hope I’ve made this title clear and descriptive enough.

I’d like some input on when you felt you passed the point of “learning to unicycle” and could honestly tell people “I can ride a unicycle”. Everybody has conflicting viewpoints, and I’d like to see just how wide the range is.

Klaas Bil’s skill table defines it as “riding 50 metres” which makes a fair bit of sense, as it is long enough to know it’s not a fluke. I have been told “Once you get up to 3 pedals you’re riding” which I think is just wishful thinking.

So - when did YOU feel that you were officially riding?


I think you ‘can ride a unicycle’ at the 50m mark, but you ‘are a unicyclist’ when you can ride until you get too tired to keep going.


That sounds about right. But I think the ‘can ride a unicycle’ 50m must be done several times. I’d say being able to ride 50m 5 times in a row is a better gauge.

Probably the first IUF skill level would be a good indication, but I suppose you don’t have to be able to freemount to ride. So I guess just the 50m mark. Thats about when I said I could ride.

“Learner” means you have started to try to unicycle and are working on “riding” a unicycle. “Rider” means you have ridden a unicycle a couple of revolutions (assisted or not) and have the feel for being on a unicycle. “Rider” is actually part of the skill levels, though unwritten, in the USA and IUF, and is defined as anyone who can ride a unicycle, but has not yet passed level one (can’t feeemount and dismount gracefully yet).

I can do all of those things but I’m learning how to ride everyday.:wink:

HMM, the general consensus (and I do know that we never stop learning) seems to be that the 50m mark is it. However, Gilby seems to have a looser definition:

I have to ask - did GILD (aka Dave) bribe you to post this?


Overall, I’m in agreement with Gilby. Riding is when a person goes several revolutions of the wheel, enough to show a sense of balance and some control of the unicycle.

A newbie can say he/she has ridden a unicycle when they do that first ride of several revolutions. At this level I would not even say that person is a rider, only that they have felt it work, that they have ridden it for a short time.

A rider would be a person who is pretty consistent at riding and expects to stay on for a while. The control is expected by this person at this level.

Level one would take the person up to a unicyclist.

I realized that I was a rider when I realized that I had scratched my nose without thinking about it while riding – I rode good enough that I that wasn’t using all my powers of concentration to ride. Now, well:

Well… I’m of the opinion that unicycling can’t be faked. Not without some serious CGI work and a renderfarm… Thus, if you can ride a couple revolutions, yer a rider… if that’s all you can get, well, yer not a good rider, but yer a rider :slight_smile:

I knew I had arrived at being a true rider over the weekend when I found myself riding while thinking about something other than riding. My thoughts were completely on another subject and not thinking about riding the unicycle.

allow me to defend the ‘three revolutions’ theory
not in opposition to the burgeoning consensus on this thread, but rather in clarification of what we (johnj and myself) meant when we said this to jayne
once u’ve done three revolutions, u’ve had to do at least one, mobile, balance correction
and since the abillity to re-find your balance on the fly (or -wheel , whatever works for u) is the very essence of riding a uni, we maintained that with the kind of distances jayne is riding at the moment, she most definately qualifies as ‘one who hath ridden’
not as far as she’d like, yet, to be sure, but ridden without a shadow of a doubt
i wasn’t aware of the definition gilby posted so i couldn’t’ve been involved in the alleged bribery

having said that, she will have to do the length of the hall on a thursday night before i shake her by the hand and mutter the immortal words…


I agree that you can ride once you’ve done a few revolutions or so, as you’ve broken that barrier, and a little practice is all that lies between you and being able to ride indefinitely.

i think you can become a unicyclist the instant you sit on that cheap and nasty plastic learner saddle for the first time, and you just KNOW that you are going to conquer this thing even if it kills you.

I’m not quite sure I’m with you on this one. I did the level one skills 3 times in a row a couple of days ago but until I can ride from my house to town (about a half mile) I’m not going to call myself a unicyclist. I do consider myself to have ‘riden’ the unicycle though.

And there was me thinking you’d just said that to get me to abandon my New Year bonfire idea. :stuck_out_tongue: I still think the 50m (or until you WANT to get off) distance counts more as riding.


You are setting standards for yourself. But if you look at it as a non-unicyclist would view it, you can ride that unicycle. Thus you are a unicyclist.

Keep your standards and expectations high enough to motivate yourself, but don’t get discouraged from your own goals. When someone tells you that your riding a unicycle is amazing, smile and thank them. You’ve earned that praise!

Welcome to the unicyclist club!


Re: When do you change from “learner” to “rider”?

I felt like I was officially riding in 1963 when I could go a few revolutions of the pedals.

You can and may honestly tell people, “I can ride a unicycle.”

I didn’t consider myself a unicyclist till I made it downtown without upding. I think like 500m or less. Before that I only made it half way. But my cousin made it like 50 m and he was looking around the whole time. Like he knew how to ride. 50 m = knows how to ride. As long as you want or like 300 m = unicyclist. Not surre about the second part.



I officially declared that “I can ride a unicycle” on the day I could free mount. Perhaps I was being practical? Because at that point, I could go anywhere I wanted. Every time I fell off, I could just get back on and continue my journey, rather than having to walk to a pole or fence to mount (possibly even backtracking on foot in the process).

When can you say that you know how to ride a bicycle? If somebody needs to hold the bike and give you a push to get you started, then you are NOT a bike rider. Same goes for us. The statement that “I can ride a unicycle” conveys a certain level of competence that must include mounting. A reasonable listener of that statement will assume unassisted riding. That same person would also assume that “I can ride a bicycle” means you are not using training wheels (another form of assisted riding). Again, what meaning does the statement “I can ride a unicycle” have to a reasonable person? Certainly they would assume you can get on the damn thing!

We ride something that is very difficult to learn. But we know that fact before we even start. So why baby ourselves with a designation that is undue? Are our spirits so weak that we need a premature pat on the back? So that we don’t give up? I don’t think so.

Level One equals an unqualified assertion that “I can ride a unicycle”. (graceful dismount to the rear is optional)

You don’t have to officially test, but you need to mount and ride. And it needs to be a repeatable process.

Am I alone in my “no excuses” position?

(note: I am not against saying something like “I can ride a unicycle but I need help getting on.”)

Well put:)