Why aren't I getting any better?

I’ve been practicing one-footed riding for about a month now. I can do 3-4 pedal revolutions every time, and I’ve been able to for the past 2 weeks. My friend can do ten, at least. Why aren’t I progressing as much as him?
Also, has anyone else noticed that www.unicycling.org isn’t working? Or is it just me? At my school it’s not working either, so I don’t think it’s just me.

Do not despair! Sometimes progress is slow, sometimes fast. People have different aptitudes and learning times.

I’m not a brilliant one foot rider. I spent several weeks (only a couple of short sessions a week, though) and reached a stage where I could confidently ride 100 wheel revs one footed. I stopped practising that particular skill, and on Saturday, I discovered I was back to 10 or 15 revs before a UPD. :0(

You can optimise your chance of succeeding by making sure that you have all the base skills in place first. Can you:

  1. Freemount confidently?
  2. Ride indefinitely? (Indefinitely means hundreds of yards/metres at a time, in this context.)
  3. Steer confidently?
  4. Ride slowly?
  5. Idle confidently?

If you have five yeses, then riding one footed will be achievable with practice. If you answer ‘no’ or ‘well… maybe’ to any of the above, perhaps you need to work on those skills a bit more first.

Then for riding one footed, the difficult bit is getting the unicycle moving (I always start from a one-footed idle). After that, just give a little extra impetus to the pedal as it moves from just past top dead centre to about horizontal (say 1 to 3 on the clock face).

If you push the pedal for more than this, you risk it stalling at bottom dead centre.

Another thing is the arms. One foot riding is a skill where arm position really helps me. Lift both arms to shoulder height, like you’re making aeroplane wings. Now, bend them slightly at the elbows, keeping them horizontal. Your hands should be slightly in front of you, and palms down. Your arms and hands are very heavy. Putting them in this position helps you to move that weight very subtly to aid balance. It looks dorkish, but it helps you to learn the skill.

Also, remember the basics: weight on the saddle, and don’t look down. Ride smoothly.

Good luck.

Yeah, I can do all of those basic skills. I’m not excellent at idling yet, but I’m pretty good.
I started out learning one footed riding, and then on some website I read that it was easier to learn to idle first. Oh well, it still works for me.

I dont like the 1fted from idling method, it resulted in too many falls onto my backside. I prefer to go from riding. Just ride along, lift your foot up and plonk it onto the frame. This avoids the problems of the uni flying away from under you and also getting stuck in the dead point. It gets the momentum going first and lets you carry fairly smoothly.

As I said, everybody has different aptitudes. There are many right ways, all we can do here is say what works for us and hope it helps.

I rode for over 15 years without ever learning to idle. Then last year I set that as my target. Honestly - I decided, “This year, I will learn to idle the unicycle.” I had no idea how easy or difficult it would be; I had never seen another unicyclist. Then I met a semi-professional unicyclis/juggler who showed me the basic idea.

A year or so later, here’s me with 7 unicycles, riding silly distances at warp speed, training for a 24 hour off road race, and dishing out advice like a maiden aunt at a wedding feast.

But of all the things I’ve learned, I’d say idling confidently has made the most difference - because if you can idle, you can reverse, you can slow right down, you can stop and start again, you can mount more easily, you can pause and consider obstacles, you can 3-point turn… and you can soon le

If you really really work on the idling, you may find all the other skills will come more easily.

I sure hope this advice helps, because I burned my dinner while I was typing it:(

I suppose that I should work on idling then. I’ll still work on one footed, because if I don’t then I’ll lose all my practice. But I’ll also learn to idle better.
And I don’t like the idea of one footed idling either. I wouldn’t have any momentum to start going, and it looks so much smoother if you just go along, then take your foot off.

Make sure you lift your foot up onto the frame, instead of just taking it off the pedal and dangling it behind you. My friends and I started with the dangle method, and learned with the dangle method, but when discovering that putting your foot on the frame was easy, we also found that riding like this was much easier also! So don’t waste time learning with your foot hanging behind you, learn to put it up on the frame, even though it may take a bit to get the hang of.


My friend used to use the dangle method, but then I told him about the foot on the frame method. Now we both put it on the frame.

For me my big breakthrough in one foot riding and one foot idleing came when I got the opportunity to ride in a gym. Prior to that I was practcing on an asphalt parking lot. In the parking lot I ccould only get a few pedal rotations one foot riding. In the gym I was able to ride across the gym within one practice session. So find a smooth floor like in a gym and practice your one foot riding there. The smooth floor made a big difference to me.

The only super smooth floor I have access to is my garage. That worked as I was learning, but now I can only go about 2 pedal revolutions in the garage before it goes onto the asphalt.
I can try the tennis courts, but usually there are people playing there.

Some schools have covered outdoor basketball courts with a smooth concrete floor. A tennis court would also work if you can get access and permission to ride there.

The trick is finding a place with a smooth surface with minimal rolling resistance. I was amazed at how much difference the smooth floor made when learning 1-foot skills. After you learn the skill you can adapt very easily to riding on asphalt.

If you are able to find a place to practice indoors or on a tennis court make sure you have plastic pedals on your unicycle so you don’t damage the floor. And make sure your tire won’t leave marks on the floor.

would a (slightly) higher tyre pressure help?

be sure to check your tyre for lil’ stones that mey be stuck in the tread

Yes. I learned 1-foot on my freestyle uni which I keep at a high psi.

Re: Why aren’t I getting any better?

In article <James_Potter.odorn@timelimit.unicyclist.com>,
James_Potter.odorn@timelimit.unicyclist.com (James_Potter) wrote:

> The only super smooth floor I have access to is my garage. That worked
> as I was learning, but now I can only go about 2 pedal revolutions in
> the garage before it goes onto the asphalt.
> I can try the tennis courts, but usually there are people playing there.
> –
> James_Potter
If there are any juggling clubs (no, not that sort!) near you, you could
go along to one. Usually they’re in halls, which have very smooth floors
and the jugglers probably won’t mind sharing with a uni. At the club I go
to a lot of people do juggling and uniing.



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Nope, there’s no juggling clubs near me.
I’ll try the tennis courts, and a higher psi.

I’m glad to see Mike is back with the Roland Hope School, my longtime favorite. Also, buried deeply in his post, is the best advice for someone who is stuck on only being able to successfully turn a few revs one-footed. The tendency is to try to stabilize it with your legs rather than with your weight on the seat. This tends to make you wobble and work harder than necessary. I would add that a very slight downhill helps a bit in learning.