“Do something crazy with your energy, and you’ll always get back more than you put in” – C.P
The world of unicycling is the gift that keeps on giving. When I purchased my first unicycle last year, I realized it would take a lot of skill to be able to ride it compared to a bicycle. I knew it would take a lot of practice and getting better would likely be frustrating at times, especially after upgrading to a larger unicycle and having to relearn certain skills. Since my last unicycling report on April 18, I’ve been training on a regular basis with my 29″ unicycle and have improved in a number of ways:
- Instead of 6.5 miles per hour on long rides, I can now ride at 8 miles per hour
- I can go up big hills. A few days ago I climbed an 80 foot hill with an average grade of 10% without stumbling or dismounting
- I can now idle a little on the 29″ unicycle, for 20 cycles at most
- I can juggle while unicycling for up to 2 miles without dropping, 3.5 miles with a few drops; I can even juggle while going up and down hills, so long as they aren’t too steep. My joggling ability definitely helped me with this skill.
In my experience, all it takes to ride faster is feeling more comfortable on the unicycle, and so this it the easiest thing to improve in the short-term.
Idling on the 29″unicycle was particularly difficult at first. Though I could often idle for several minutes nonstop on my 24″ unicycle, at first I found idling impossible on the 29″. I just couldn’t maneuver the larger wheel the same way I could the 24″, and kept dismounting after dozens of failed attempts. I grew increasingly frustrated with my inability to idle on the 29″, then one day it clicked and I was elated. It was a magical moment. I finally figured it out and 1 idle became 3, then 10, then 20. It’s still much more challenging and tiring than on the 24″, but it’s starting to feel almost natural.
Hills are still a challenge as well. There are steep hills around here that I can easily climb with the 24″ that I still can’t do with the 29″. Juggling while unicycling doesn’t feel like joggling yet, but that will take a little more practice. I still need to work on hopping and going backwards. If you’re new to unicycling and are struggling, just keep on practicing. There are tons of videos on Youtube that give a lot of useful tips. What seems impossible now may soon come easy to you with enough practice.
All in all, I’m enjoying unicycling and the fitness benefits, even if learning certain skills can be frustrating at times. Discovering strange new abilities certainly makes it a worthwhile fitness challenge.