So you’ve chosen to become a unicyclist (welcome aboard!), and you are researching ways to achieve what appears to defy both physics and logic. I’ve generally found unicyclists to be a little higher functioning mentally than the general public. Perhaps I’m a bit biased. Anyway, you’d think that this abundance of brainpower would result in plenty of excellent tutorials about learning how to ride a unicycle. They are indeed out there, but often the lessons are over explained and unnecessarily complicated. This article aims to give you the no-frills basics needed to learn quickly and safely.
YOU WILL PROBABLY FALL…
Let’s get that out of the way. You may not land painfully hard, but until you get the hang of riding, you most definitely need some safety gear. Keep in mind that even if you only rely on the pads until you are competent, I can guarantee that your friends will want a try. Never allow a friend to attempt a ride on your unicycle without safety gear.
Wearing all of the items listed below will also allow you the confidence to push your limits without fear of horrific injury. They will absolutely help you to learn more quickly. Here’s what you’ll need:
Get a helmet that protects the rear part of your head well. You can fall in any direction from a unicycle. Bike riders usually only fall forward, so find one with rear padding.
-Gloves and Wrist Guards
Most unicycle falls involve instinctually reaching out with the hands to stop a more delicate part of the anatomy from hitting the pavement. Badly scraped hands and broken wrists are far too common in beginners.
-Knee and Shin Guards
Knees are the second most abused body part, and while shin guards aren’t critical to learning, they will be a necessity as you progress.
HOW TO RIDE A UNICYCLE…
Don’t use crutches, ski poles, or friends shoulders to stabilize yourself. Use a wall, a pickup truck, or a fence for support.
Figure out which foot you normally kick with. That’s your dominant foot. Put that foot’s pedal at 6 o’clock.
-Place your dominant foot on its pedal.
-Hold the front of the seat and place the seat under your butt.
-Now hoist yourself and the seat upward so that all of the weight is on the wheel.
-Put your weaker foot onto its pedal.
-Ride clumsily along the wall, turn at the end and head back.
After 15-30 minutes you’ll likely be getting pretty competent at this. Keep doing the same thing, but now when you are feeling balanced, let go of the support and see how far you can go. Challenge yourself. At first you’ll go maybe 1/2 a pedal rotation, but you’ll quickly improve.
That’s it, no more mystery. I learned to ride several hundred feet, turn, and come back in under 4 hours using this method. As I said though, this method is only for those who are fully suited with safety gear and are unafraid of the occasional fall.