How to ride a unicycle: tips and tricks
If you’ve always wanted to learn to ride a unicycle then you’re in the right place. I’ve got some simple tips and tricks that will make the entire process a whole lot easier and you’ll be riding around before you know it. Check it out!
There’s a reason why not everyone knows how to ride a unicycle. It’s hard! However, it’s not impossible. If a mom of four boys like myself, who is pushing 40 years old can learn to ride, you can too! Riding a unicycle has been one of the hardest things I have ever done but very rewarding. Here’s what I learned and hopefully it will help you.
Buy the right type of unicycle
My son bought a cheap unicycle online and it literally broke the first day. So, we did our research and shelled out a little bit more cash for a high-quality unicycle. Here’s a few unicycles that I recommend:
Regardless of whichever unicycle you buy, it will definitely take a beating. As you’re learning you’ll drop it a lot, so buy a good, sturdy one.
Always wear protective gear
Don’t try to be invincible. You WILL fall when you’re learning and you don’t want a broken wrist. Get a good helmet, wrist guards and even knee pads and elbow pads if you have them. I fell on my wrists and my elbows when I was learning and I was lucky I didn’t break them. Plus, all that gear made me more brave. What’s the worse that could happen when you have all that protection on?
Start with a shorter unicycle
At first I started learning on a tall unicycle with a 24″ wheel. But whenever I fell, it felt like a long ways. Then I switched to a unicycle with a 20″ inch and the seat came to about my hip. That way, when I fell, it was more like I was just stepping down. It didn’t scare me as much and it gave me courage to keep pedaling even if I was going to fall.
Keep the tire slightly less inflated
When your tire isn’t super inflated the wheel doesn’t roll along the pavement as quickly. So, it’s great for learning. It gives you the ability to manipulate how fast you go and learn how to balance.
Mount slowly with one pedal down
Place the seat in between your legs. Hold onto a sturdy object with one hand and place one foot on a pedal in the down position. Then quickly bring up the other foot onto the other pedal, all the while, still holding onto the study object. Just try sitting on the unicycle for a minute to get the feel of it.
Start learning along a wall or fence
You’ll want a sturdy object to lean on as you mount the unicycle. Then, slowly inch along the wall or fence as you get the feel of the unicycle. Go as slow as you want. Don’t feel like you have to rush yourself. We found that the stage in the gym of our church was the perfect place to start learning. Once you get comfortable, try pedaling away from the wall.
Get creative as you progress
As I ventured away from the wall, I would use all type of means to practice the unicycle. Many times, my wonderful husband would hold me hand and walk next to me as I rode down the street. This helped me get the feel of what it’s like to ride a unicycle without falling all of the time. You could also try riding down the hallway in your house or riding between two rows of chairs or holding onto the garbage can.
Look up when you ride a unicycle
This is one of the things that helped me the most. When you ride a bicycle, do you look at your feet or do you look at the road ahead of you? That concept is the same with a unicycle, you have to look up. Stop focusing on your feet.
Use your arms
Don’t be afraid to flail your arms back and forth as you are learning. This gives you the ability to correct yourself when you’re about to fall. It seems silly at first but it helps.
Practice 15 minutes per day
When you’re first learning the unicycle, it’s exhausting. So, just set a goal to practice for 15 minutes per day. Any longer than that and you’ll get tired and just fall all of the time.
Repeat, repeat, repeat
Learning the unicycle is like riding a bike, you’ll never forget how once you learn. You need to build up that muscle memory. So even if you don’t seem to be making any progress, keep getting back on and try again. Pretty soon, you’ll be riding down the street!
Focus on sitting down
When I was first learning, I was basically standing on the pedals the whole time. I couldn’t get very far because my legs were burning. As you make more progress, focus on actually sitting on the seat. Then, you can actually enjoy the ride.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and I hope they are going to help you as you learn to ride a unicycle. Check out my video below that I made about my journey to learning to ride.
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