Why don't I fall off in the ice?

Everything is covered in ice here now. We did have dry frosty weather which looked great on the trees, and the trails were dry, but it warmed up yesterday for a little while, then froze again, and everywhere is now really slippy.

I went out for a short ride, to exercise my dogs, and I didn’t fall once. I didn’t try anything on a slope as didn’t want to tempt fate, but on the flat I felt quite safe. I have unicycled in the ice before, but it still surprises me.

Once you get you head around it, you can travel along quite happily. Is it because you are perfectly balanced when you are on the unicycle? I know there will be limits to what you will get away with, but just riding along is easy.


One thing that helps to keep you on top when riding on ice is the coefficient of static friction. As discussed in the article linked, the coefficient of static friction is quite a bit larger than the coefficient of dynamic friction. This means that as long as your wheel is rolling and not sliding it is not very likely that you’ll fall. If you apply a lot of torque to the wheel (by climbing uphill as you mentioned or trying to stop downhill) the chances are greater that your wheel will break free from the ice surface and you will go into a skid from which you can’t recover.

I was just out for a longer ride on mainly tarmac, and it went well. The only time I had a problem was when I was riding over an area that looked slippier than other areas, my head was telling me that I souldn’t be able to ride over it and I tensed up making me have to get off.

Harper; that must be why you feel quite safe when you keep a steady pace and don’t do any sudden turns.


+1, also your center of gravity is usually directly above your wheel which helps.


We have had a good hard frost here in the Highlands over the last couple of days which has been great as I have been learning to freemount and the hard ground on my lawn has been perfect for me and I havent got muddy when I have fallen :sunglasses:

Above your wheel, yes.

Above your contact patch, no… unless you’re still-standing.

I ride on outdoor downtown skating rinks with a 24muni tire until security kicks me out. It is so fun, with practice you can spin the tire without falling, hop, and more. Free mounting is difficult. Someone has posted articles online about using metal studded tires and doing routines with figure skaters.