There's something compelling about riding on a single wheel. It could be the simplicity of equipment, or the challenge, or that you can ride for years and always find something new.
A unicycle is a human-powered, single-track vehicle with one wheel. Unicycles resemble bicycles, but are less complex.Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicycle
Unicycling provides the cycling equivalent of minimalist running: a close connection to the environment you're riding. It turns the world into a playground waiting to be ridden, and these days there's a riding style to fit every age and ability. Keep reading to explore unicycle riding and find your next adventure ...
Unicycling is just as diverse as biking, covering everything from rides around town to remote backcountry trails. Here are the most common types of unicycle riding:
The most popular part of the sport and the way most people start, simply riding as a form of transportation.
Negotiating climbs and descents off-road over longer distances.
Riding style focusing on the descent, where the objective is to ride the most technically difficult terrain possible.
Crossover between freeride/downhill and cross-country, involving off-road climbs and descents of technically difficult trails over longer distances.
Riding over obstacles, either in natural terrain or in an urban environment, where the challenge relates purely to technical difficulty over short distances.
Combining urban trials with tricks. The objective is to use stairs, railings and other urban obstacles as props to set up tricks.
Doing tricks on flat ground (usually pavement). There are virtually an infinite number of ways to ride a unicycle and the challenge is purely related to the difficulty of moves.
Similar to flatland riding but with a performance aspect and its own style distinct from flatland. Freestyle is the oldest type of technical riding and is often done in a gymnasium.
This involves riding longer distances, typically on the road.
Other common riding styles include unicycle hockey, unicycle basketball and slopestyle.
Listen to Kris speak about unicycling at FEAT Canada 2013.
For many people, learning to unicycle gives a huge sense of accomplishment because it feels impossible at first, but with persistence becomes completely doable. Young or old, anyone can learn and it’s easier than most people think. If you’re new to the sport, here are a few tips to get started:
Find a good place to practice – ideally a smooth, level surface alongside a fence to hang onto, or a wall with a railing, with nothing nearby that would hurt if you fell on it. Avoid grass, gravel, carpets, or other uneven surfaces — you’ll have plenty of time for that once you’re riding off-road.
Stand so that your support is to one side. Put the unicycle between your legs and hold the front of the saddle with one hand. Decide which is your dominant foot, the foot you want to put on a pedal first. Often this corresponds to whether you are left or right handed, but not always.
Orient the pedals so that the pedal you will step onto is in the rear, slightly lower than horizontal. Put your dominant foot onto the pedal so that the pedal is centered just in front of the arch of your foot. Now grasp your support with one or both hands, and rock up onto the unicycle, sitting up straight with about 80% of your weight on the saddle. It will feel very unstable at first!
Rock back and forth, and get a feel for how your balance changes with different crank positions. You will have the most control when your cranks are horizontal and the least control when your cranks are vertical. Check your saddle height — you’ll want your legs just slightly bent at the bottom of the crank rotation — and make sure your tire is pumped up hard enough to avoid undue resistance when you turn. Look at the ground a short distance ahead, lean slightly forward, and start pedaling. Maintain enough speed to propel yourself through the vertical crank position. Hold onto the support as little as possible, letting go for short periods as you get more comfortable.
When you’re ready try riding away from the support. Look where you are going, not at your feet. Hold your arms outstretched, with good muscle tone but not tense. Don’t try to catch the unicycle when you fall unless you’re sure you can do it safely. Do this over and over until you are confident riding in a straight line. Above all, be patient! This step can take 10-20 hours of practice, or longer for some riders. For many, the initial steps of learning to ride are the hardest part to break through, but before long you will be wondering why it felt so difficult in the beginning.