Which is a better support to learn with, a diamond mesh fence around a tennis court, or a sturdy tubular fence of the right height, as I have the option of either?
I’d go with tubular. It’s easier to slide your hand along as opposed to the mesh fence were you’d have to keep re-positioning. Though, I learnt by just riding into the abyss!
I’m using an oblong mesh fence at our local tennis courts and having success with it. Nothing tubular around here for me to compare with.
The pipe rail is easier for sure, but plenty of people have used mesh fences, and an amazing number seem to have used nothing, just gone for it…
I would very much dis-recommend learning alongside a fence:
If you have some speed and start to fall, you may grab for the fence, your fingers may get stuck, your body will keep moving, and your fingers/wrist may be be sprained/broken.
I learned with a basketball pole to my side, balancing until steady with both arms out comfortably and fingers lightly touching – not grabbing! – the pole, then leaning forward slightly and then pedaling. I did it exactly the same every time, and didn’t take off until I was comfortably balanced on my fingers and emotionally committed. (Sometimes took me about 5 minutes to reach that point.)
Repeat, repeat, repeat until your involuntary “kill switch” becomes desensitized, after which time your brain will allow you to fly!
If you use a pole, you will learn the crucial skill of falling correctly: always fall forward, let the unicycle slip out behind you, jump off the pedals, and try to land on your feet.
If you use a pole, you will be psychologically forced to balance yourself, since you know that the fence will not be there to “catch” you (maim you).
Just my .02, but it worked for me.
(Yes, I do know that Kris Holm recommends using a fence in his book!)
Yeah, I used an opened garage door… held on to the door above my head while I mounted, then went for it into an empty driveway, no support.
Be careful with mesh fencing… easy to get your fingers caught, sprained, broken…
I learned on a public tennis court surrounded by a chain-link fence.
I learned a long a gate with circular pipe at the top, and held onto that and pedal, then when there was no more gate I just let go and attempted to continue to ride
Add me to the list of tennis court alumni!
I had nothing around which is good enough to hold. So curb with building corner - worked perfectly.
Start with the tubular or fence if you like but don’t over do, once you get the hang of it on top of the unicycle rolling back ward and forward, look for a curb with nothing to lean on left or right, where only moving forward is the option.
I had the pleasure to learn unicycling while holding hands with my girlfriend :), and i spent many hours walking or slowly jogging beside her and holding hand while she was learning to ride.
Well, it took us about two months to be ready to freemount and ride independent. I think the “ride into the abyss”-method might have better results in less time so i’d suggest doing it the way newob described.
If you really want and have to decie between tubular and mesh i’d use the tubular fence.
Top rail of a split rail fence, and then went on to a paved parking lot, starting by mounting next to my car. My daughter’s boyfriend learned by mounting on a fence post and just riding into a parking lot. This not only irks me, but makes me want to buy him a unicycle for his birthday cause he could be amazing. This is NO exaggeration: In less than 10 minutes, the 3rd or 4th time he got on, Roman was freemounting and riding in circles. What took me months, he learned almost immediately!
Similar to Byc
Held onto Hubby’s arm while riding up and down my Mum’s drive. Took me four months of practice to be able to ride off by myself
That feeling when you ride off unaided for the first time and you realise that you can indeed ride a unicycle is simply ‘The Best’
I started in a hallway using the walls, then started riding into the abyess going a couple of meters, so I started on a wall but didn’t tay on it too long
I learned by mounting against a wall and then pedalling away from it, time and time again.
I don’t think holding onto something while you learn is a good idea. It teaches you to rely on what you’re holding onto.
Hallway was the way to go for me - I happened to have a nice long one.
A tip though I found was to deliberately aim to use the wall higher up than say any rail might be, more above your head. Done with some stretch. When I was getting close to the abyss launching stage, I’d use both arms out and up high and just try and glide a fingertip either side down the hall.
I think it helps keep you central, avoiding the cling to the wall habit, and the extension in the body helps with balance and breathing, weighting the body more like a pendulum over the uni.
The lauch into the abyss was the BIG step, and yes an amazing sense of success. Again, a little visualisation helped me: I pictured a small gust of wind, gently pushing me in the small of my back… This helped counter the tendancy to stop myself post lauch.
Of all the advice I saw online - the bit that helped the most, was to consciously Vary Your Mistakes. Always falling to the left? Try and make yourself fall to the right! Etc etc… This tip is basically saying discover it all for yourself.
After a first day of riding off a wall and hitting the ground hard several times, I switched to a tennis court. It was much better.
For me the initial step was just to ‘learn’ the motion of the pedals and how they felt.
For the kids I help teach we have them using hand support initially to ‘learn’ the pedaling motion. They also learn how to fall and land on their feet.
Then it is onto letting go of the hand after rolling. This way one axis of balance is taken care of.
From there is is off the wall into the abyss.
I think it helps if you have done some difficult balance sport before - like skate boarding. Then ‘off the wall into the abyss’ probably works fine. For me, I probably would have ended up in the ER. My young son was the only one home with me and every time I would hit the ground he would say “Dad, are you ok”. I gave him instructions to run to the neighbors if I didn’t answer the question.
I chose the abyss approach: