Which hand do you use to hold the seat? I used my left hand today and I was able to go 100 yards straight on my 20", a new personal best for me. I usually don’t hold the seat at all, but it felt like it helped me stabilize myself a lot easier over a long distance, but I haven’t tried the same with my right hand yet.
Should I use my dominant hand? Or whatever feels comfortable? Is it worth practicing with both? Thanks
I hold onto the seat with my non-dominant hand so that my other arm is free for hurling me up the stairs. I probably could have learned it the other way around, but as I recall, I had some soreness in my dominant hand from other balance sports at the time I learned to hop, and I also would have had to learn to hop with the opposite stance. Now my technique is pretty ingrained.
Holding onto the seat can also be a good form of insurance against potholes and bumps in the road, especially if you are riding in the dark and can’t see them. It has saved me from many UPDs, though I think I do it a bit too much. Sometimes, on a perfectly level stretch of smooth pavement, I will discover myself hunched forward and holding the seat tightly, as if I were about to go on a muni trail.
Of course learn both. Why would you choose to be unbalanced?
Being unbalanced may lead to injury or riding limitations.
As well, I think there are advantages to gripping with your left or right hand depending on the variables of the trail.
I believe every skill should be learned ambidextrous and in progressive order.
Like learning (in order) to mount, ride, dismount, hop, idle, etc…
Learn several mounts so you can start anywhere, ride on every surface you find, and safely dismount in different manners.
By default, I hold the seat with my non-dominant hand, which leaves my dominant hand free for flailing. And in the early days, when unicycle saddles didn’t have protective bumpers, my dominant hand was the faster one at catching the seat.
I still have an ingrained habit to catch the seat whenever possible. Especially on my Road uni, which has a long, custom powder-coated handlebar. But when riding my Muni, especially my old one with the carbon fiber DeathGrip handle, I would let it go on the rough stuff. Nothing could hurt that handle!
Interesting and surprising answers. I also hold the seat with my non-dominant hand, but that’s because I have an old wrist injury in my dominant hand - I first tried using my dominant hand, but found I was getting a bit of pain. Definite advantages to having learned that way, as I can use either hand despite having a strong preference for the one I use most (I do sometimes work on using my dominant hand in order to maintain that ambidexterity).
However I hop with my front foot on the same side as the hand I hold the saddle, which is the wrong way round, so I’m tempted to suggest the correct answer is to use the hand on the same side as your natural back foot (which should be the foot you put on first when mounting, at least it is for me) if you’re at all interested in doing any hoppy stuff.
I’m right handed and always hold the handle with my left. It just felt more natural - it’s my brake hand on a bicycle (front brake), it’s my “grabbing hand” for the guitar neck or for carrying things like groceries, etc.
If you do a lot of hopping it’s better to jump away from your gripping hand (for me, jump to the right) but other than that I don’t see much reason to prefer one hand or the other.
And I haven’t seen any reason to learn to use both hands on the handle, anymore than I would want to learn to switch hit in baseball, or whatever. I’d rather spend time learning something else.
Good question! I learnt to unicycle using my dominant hand (right one) to hold the saddle when mounting and hopping. For some weird reason I started using my left hand (non dominant) to use the brake on my 36.
Once I’ve got into Muni I quickly realized that it wasn’t very practical to brake with your left hand and then switch hands to hold the seat when dropping/hopping etc…
In the end I had to force myself to use the right hand for braking. I quickly got used to it but it felt very weird in the beginning. However I still use my left hand to brake when riding the 36 with the handle bars (I still find it difficult with my right hand - not sure why).
Now to complicate things even further I have been practicing foot plants (with my right foot forward). For this trick you are suppose to use the opposite hand to hold the saddle (in my case it would be the left hand!!). Therefore I am forcing myself to get better at holding the saddle with the left hand (non dominant).
So, as you can see, I think the answer to which hand to use can be quite complicated … it is a good idea to get it right from day one though
I’ll just highlight this so it doesn’t get lost, I have had to break the news that they have to relearn hopping onto things to too many people. Always hop towards your free hand, it’s better for balance, and for your own safety, since you already have your hand free on the side you are most likely to fall onto.
same for me … but I mount right foot first then left.
(I would like to hold the handle with both hands -specially on my Coker- but I don’t succeed … I still need my flailing right hand);
This said I am not completely right-handed: I naturally do lot of things with my left hand.
“I think” that one should learn to freemount (several ways) as you learn to ride.
Gain both skills at the same time and now you have no limits. You need to get on to ride, No?
Ok, now you can ride. Let’s work on safe dismounts now. Again, several different types to train you to handle real world variables.
Now that you have the basics, you don’t need a curb to mount. You’re not trying to avoid crowds so you don’t have to do the dreaded re-mount. You don’t need to have a certain body position to mount successfully. (left foot, right hand, both eyes, etc…) No crutches needed.
To me, it all comes down to balance. Mind and body.
Again, my learning routine… rotate through these four.
-mount with left hand + left foot
-mount with left hand + right foot
-mount with right hand + left foot
-mount with right hand + right foot
Once you learn these different mounts you can pick up your uni and just ride away from any situation. No matter on body position, uni position, or any other variables.
You don’t have to go through the “bullrider” routine of slapping this, slapping that and having to repeat that pre-ride routine if your mount fails (or every time you mount).
Now that basic riding isn’t a problem you are safe to work on other skills to compliment your riding. Hopping, idling, SIF, etc… (stuff that isn’t really needed)
Interesting - I can hop either way, but far more confident hopping towards the hand holding the saddle. I suspect this may be more to do with the way round your feet are - as mentioned above I have the “wrong” hand holding the saddle for the way I have my feet (ie left hand holding the saddle, left foot forwards).
I’m not sure I want to be saving a fall with my hands whichever way round I’m hopping.
I am better at hopping up stairs while hopping to the left with my left pedal back. I decided I needed to practice hopping the other way. After several unsuccessful attempts to hop up the stairs on my weak side, I sketchily succeeded. On my next attempt, I went back to my strong side. I made it up the 17 stairs with less effort than on any previous attempt, there were no corrective hops, and I kept both hands on the seat (SIF) the entire time. The success I had on the strong side would not have been possible without struggling on the weak side.
When I first practiced one-footed riding, I identified a dominant, strong side. I was more successful practicing on that side. I forced myself, nevertheless, to alternate practicing on my strong and weak side. I had to think a lot harder about what I was doing on the weak side. This improved my technique on the weak side, and at a certain point, the strong and weak sides had switched.
One reason to practice using either hand holding the seat is to learn using both hands simultaneously on the seat/bars. This has been a real game-changer for my riding in general. With practice, I have learned to keep both hands on the handle as things get steep and uneven. My typical braking technique is having two fingers of each hand on the brake and the other fingers of both hands on the bars. I can remove either hand while still maintaining braking pressure with the other hand. This would not be possible if I hadn’t first practiced holding the seat with either hand.
You can probably guess what side of this debate I’m on…
The way your feet are is relatively irrelevant. When you watch trials riders, you’ll see roughly the same amount of people hopping to their backfoot, as people hopping to their front. But you don’t see high level riders hopping towards the hand that is holding the saddle (or using both hands on the saddle, for that matter).
It tends to happen when you are getting serious about trials.
Onto the whole ambidextrosity debate: There are serious advantages in being to able to jump with either foot forward, at least for Muni, which is why I’m dedicating some time to getting better at that. (Only the Muni specific jumps, for trials I don’t care)
The advantages of being able to use either hand are much slimmer, and I personally have decided to just leave it. I can use the left hand on simpler stuff to give my right arm a break on longer downhill rides, but for anything technical, I am fine with only being able to do it with my right on the saddle.
I’m right-handed, and I most often have my left hand on the saddle for mUni.
However, on long road rides, having both hands on the handle can provide a little saddle relief and smooth out pedaling.
I’ve also recently been experimenting with using my free hand as a counterweight to combat road camber and cross winds. A free hand flying into the wind, or on the high side of the camber, really seems to help in both cases.
Finally, I’ve started using a free hand as a counterweight on the outside of fast turns, but I’m still figuring out if this is a good idea or not.
Short answer: Either hand, depending on what I’m doing.