Unicycle Comebacks and Jokes

If you’ve ever ridden a unicycle in a public place, you’ve probably had to face a range of jokes and questions about the fact that you only have one wheel. I’m here with a nice list of comebacks for you.

Where’s your other wheel?/You’re missing a wheel!

There was a half-off sale at the bike shop.

My dad bought a bike for me and my brother to share. We couldn’t decide who got to use it today.

(Look behind) It’ll be along in a minute.

(Turn around, surprised) Whoa! It was there a minute ago!

I lost it in the divorce.

I decided I didn’t need the training wheels anymore.

Think this is bad? Should’ve seen me before I got this wheel.

I’m you trying to save money on tires.

Where’s the challenge in that?

What?! I’ve only got one wheel?! (pretend to lose balance)

Real men/women only need one wheel.

(To cyclists) No, you’ve got one extra!

How do you ride that thing?

I ate a well-balanced breakfast this morning.

Like this! (keep riding)

Is that hard?

Only after I’ve sat on it for an hour.

IMPORTANT: Don’t be an a**hole. All these jokes are meant to be said light-heartedly — replying to “Someone stole half your bike!” with “Someone stole half your joke!” is rude, arrogant, and give unicyclists a bad name. BE NICE and HAVE FUN. :)

If you have any more, leave them in the comments!

Learn to Ride (Part 8): Skill Review Part 2

So you passed the first skill review and you’re ready for the next? I hope you’re feeling confident, because it starts to get harder here.

Free Mount

This one’s not to hard. Simply get on your unicycle with no assistance from walls or poles or people and ride for 10-15 meters. Don’t expect to be able to free mount every single time. Even after five years of riding, I occasionally mess it up. Once you can do this at least three times in a row, move on to the next task. If you don’t even know what free mounting is, head back a few parts.

Zig to the Zag

Hopefully you still have chalk from the first part of the test, because you’ll be using it here. In an open space, draw a zig zag line. Be reasonable with how sharp and frequent the turns are — each “zig” should be about 1m, if that makes sense. Then ride along it with your unicycle, keeping on the line as best you can.

Cones of Dunshire

You can only really do this if you have access to cones/witches hats. If you don’t never mind. This one’s mostly for fun anyway. Scatter your cones in an area and ride through them, without touching any. If it’s too easy, make the cones closer together and harder to navigate. Also, don’t stick to the same route each time. Use your pivot turning skills to manoeuvre through.

Uni Slalom

With the cones (if you have them) set up a slalom course, such that you have to ride through several pairs. Make it as tricky as you want by varying the distance between each pair and the sharpness of each turn requires. You can also time yourself a deduct points for knocked over cones. It can be pretty fun to try and beat your best scores.

Well, I think that’s it. Hopefully you all passed!

If you have any more tasks that you think helped you master the basics of unicycling, let me know in the comments. :)

Learn to Ride (Part 7): Skill Review Part 1

Now it’s time to see if you actually learned something in this guide. In this post are some tasks you can do to make sure you’re good enough to start the fun stuff.

If you can’t do a certain activity at all, maybe you should go back and have a read through the step that we learned it in. If you can do all of them pretty comfortably, congratulations! You’ve done an awesome job to make it this far.

All right. Let’s see what you can do.

Back to Basics

We’ll start off with something easy. Find an area where you can ride around comfortably, and set yourself about about 25-30 metres from something that you can use as a reference point (line, pole, brick, etc.). Get on your unicycle (whichever way you want, we aren’t testing mounting yet) and ride towards it. If you can reach it easily, good job! You can officially ride a unicycle!

If you can’t do this (uh oh), you definitely need more practice. Head back to parts 12 and 3.

Keep it Straight

Being able to ride it is one thing, but actually being able to control it is another. For this task, rule a line on the ground in chalk that’s about 10-15 metres long. Mount your unicycle and try your best to ride on the line. If your wheel strays more than 10cm from the chalk line, start again. Just remember, don’t focus on the chalk. You will be able to tell if you’re straying from it. Instead, keep your body upright and your eyes forward. Did you make it? If that was a walk in the park, try the next challenge.

If you couldn’t do this, but you can ride just fine, try practicing this a as many times as you need. You’ll get it eventually! If you can’t ride a unicycle at all, go back to the start.

Plank o’ Wood

Now it gets fun. Find yourself a plank of wood that’s about 15-20 cms wide and 2-ish metres long. Set it up on some bricks (one at each end and one in the middle for support) and with a friend’s help, mount your unicycle whilst on the plank. Using your skills, ride along the plank without falling off. This should be easier than the previous challenge because you have the whole plank, but the fact that you’re off the ground makes it a bit more scary. Once you reach the end of the plant, dismount your unicycle. We don’t want you hurting yourself.

If you’re actually attempting this, I assume you’re a reasonable competent rider. If you find yourself falling of the plank, keep practicing using the chalk line until your feel confident. Then give it another shot.

Round the Bend

Using your trusty chalk, draw out a circle that has a diameter of about 2-3 metres. Draw a second one around it that’s another half a metre bigger. Get on your unicycle and ride two laps around the ‘track’, staying within the lines. Do this clockwise and counterclockwise. If you go out of the lines or fall off, start again. Just for fun, rule a start line and see how quickly you can do two laps.

If you struggled to turn or stay in the lines, go back to step 4 and brush up on your basic turning.

That’s all for the first part of the skills review. Hopefully you passed so you can move on to part 2. If you couldn’t do one (or more) of the above challenges, go back to their respective steps. I think you’ll find you’ll be able to do all of these with a little practice. :)

Learning to Ride (Part 6): Free Mounting

In the very first step you learned how to mount your unicycle next to a wall. This next bit is tricky and will take you some time to master.

Essentially, it’s the same as the mounting next to a wall:

  1. Place your uni in front of you, with the seat between your legs.
  2. Rotate your wheel so that the pedal on the side of your preferred foot is at the bottom.
  3. Place your preferred foot on the bottom pedal and keep yourself balanced.

This is where it’s different.

Now you want to put most of your weight on the bottom pedal and push yourself up on to the unicycle. As you do this, put your other foot on the top pedal and start pedalling straight away. Make sure that you transfer your weight from the pedals to the seat. See the blow diagram:

 

 

 

Some tips:

  • Pedal! You need to pedal as soon as you’re up. It’s the only way you’ll be able to stay on the unicycle at this point.
  • Lean forward! Most people tend to fall backwards because they try to balance before moving off. Lean forward and pedal to avoid this.

This is hard, so just keep up with it. Even now, I occasionally can’t free mount on my first try.

Once you can do it at least 1 in every 3 times, you can move on to the next step — a review of everything you’ve learnt!

 

 

Learning to Ride (Part 5): Pivot Turning

Once you’ve mastered basic turning, this step shouldn’t be too hard.

(Note: This type of turning is only for turning sharply – you shouldn’t use this for wide bends and corners.)

To start off, you want to be riding your unicycle. If you can’t do that yet, head back to the start!

Now, instead of leaning your body to turn like you learned before, you want to pivot your unicycle on the spot.

The trick to doing this is to make use of your body and pedals. As you’re approaching the turn, have your arms out wide. When you turn, simultaneously twist your upper body in the direction of the turn and quickly push the pedal down on inside of the turn (left pedal for left turn, right pedal for right turn).

The half pedal rotation helps to quickly accelerate you and the unicycle around the corner, which I think you’ll find is a big help. Twisting your upper body helps convert your unicycle’s momentum into the turn and quickly pivot it.

If you fell off, don’t worry. It may take a few shots, but you should master it in no time.

A few tips if you’re having trouble:

  • Arms, arms, arms! I can’t emphasise this enough. Wave your arms around, and really use them to quickly change your unicycle’s direction. Who cares if you look silly? You are riding a unicycle, after all. ;)
  • Keep pedalling! Another fundamental unicycle tip. Particularly important in this part of the guide, as that quick pedal rotation really helps to pivot the unicycle and keep your balance.
  • Don’t start off too sharp! Easy tiger. Don’t go trying to turn a full 180º right away. Start off small – I’m talking turns that you could more easily do with the basic turn. Really work on pivoting the uni. Slowly build up your turns to sharper and sharper.
  • Keep the speed up! A slow and sharp turn is fraught with disaster. By now you should hopefully know the ideal speed for unicycling. If you don’t, I don’t think you’re ready for this step yet. Head back a few. Apply that speed here – but the turn itself should be a bit faster again, due to that quick half pedal rotation.
  • Practice with a pole! If you’re struggling, try to find a pole that you can comfortably ride around without risking hurting yourself. Ride up to it, grab it with one arm, and use it to sharply turn the unicycle around it. This is great for getting the feel of really sharp pivot turns.

That’s all there is to it! Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find the pivot turn is actually pretty easy and great for quickly avoiding an obstacle.

If you think you’ve mastered the first five parts of my learn to unicycle guide, you should test yourself with the skills review. Let’s see if you really know how to ride. :)

Once you’re confident you can do all that, we can start some of the fun stuff!

 

 

Learning to Ride (Part 4): Basic Turning

So you can now ride your unicycle. Sort of. You just can’t control it yet. Well, don’t worry. This small guide should get you turning your unicycle in no time!

Before doing anything, you want to be confident with just riding the unicycle. If you can’t ride 10-15 metres 9 times out of 10, go back a step.

Basic turning is really quite simple. It’s a matter of leaning your body slightly to the left or right, so that the unicycle wheel is also angled. By staying in this position while pedalling, the unicycle will turn. The further you lean, the sharper you’ll turn. If you’re confused, see the below diagram:

How to Turn on a Unicycle

Notice how your body has to stay upright and in line with the unicycle – everything leans together. As always, keep your focus point in the direction you’re travelling and keep pedalling. Around the turn itself, pedal faster. It will help keep you on your unicycle.

This way of turning won’t allow you to turn very sharply, but it’s the best way to start. You’ll be able to get more control and confidence once you can at least manoeuvre around a bit.

Some tips:

  • Use your arms! Turning will feel weird at first, so wave your arms around to stay balanced. It seriously helps!
  • Keep moving! This is a general unicycling rule. Always keep moving if you can!
  • Pedal faster! Around the turn, you’ll definitely want to speed up. It will help keep you on the unicycle and make the turn more stable.
  • Pull out of the turn if you think you’re going to fall inwards! If you turn too sharply, your pedals can hit the ground and you’ll hit the deck.
  • One direction may be harder to turn than the other! At least this is what I found. I’m a right-footed person, and turning to the left is much harder for me. I’m not sure if this is normal or not, but if you’re experiencing this, don’t worry! After six years of riding, I still have trouble turning sharply to my left sometimes.

Once you have this down pat in both directions, try going in large circles or figure eights, gradually making them smaller with sharper turns. Another good activity is to rule a curly line on the ground in chalk for you to try and follow. It’s harder than it looks, but an excellent way of practicing!

Easy, huh! In the next step, we’ll be learning how to turn more sharply. Don’t worry, it’s not very hard!

Learning to Ride (Part 3): Riding Without Support

Once you’re confident with riding along a wall or rail, it’s time to try without. This is going to be the single hardest bit in learning to ride a unicycle, so hang in there.

The thing with unicycling is that it has a very abrupt learning curve. You basically spend a heap of time falling of, and then suddenly you can do it. See the diagram below to see what I mean:

Unicycle Learning Curve (not much of a curve, is it?)

Unicycle Learning Curve (not much of a curve, is it?)

Source: Seth’s Blog

See, when you’re learning to unicycle, there’s no in between. You go from falling all the time, and then you’re riding. Just like that.

So the important thing with this step is to persevere. It will eventually just click. You’ll only be riding short distances at first, but this is when there is a learning curve (see the graph). So don’t give up. :)

To get going, follow the steps below:

  1. To start off you want to mount your unicycle by something you can use as support.
  2. Make sure you’re balanced.
  3. Go! Pedal away from the wall in an area where you have plenty of room.

Simple, right? Wrong. You’ll undoubtably fall off many times trying to do this. Below are some useful tips that will help to speed up the process:

  • Wave your arms! It’ll look silly, but it seriously helps to keep your balance.
  • Focus on pedalling in half pedal rotations! Count each half-rotation in your head. 1…2…3…
  • Pedal smoothly! Just because you’re focusing on half-rotations, doesn’t mean you should stop and start pedalling at the end of each one. Pedalling should be one, continuous motion.
  • Look forward! People have a tendency to look down at their feet. This will ruin your balance big time. Although it’s hard, keep your body upright and your eyes forward at all times.
  • Keep moving! Probably the most important advice I can give you. Movement = balance. Even if you feel yourself falling, try to pedal faster. You’ll be surprised how often you can recover from an almost guaranteed crash.
  • Don’t try turning (yet)! That comes later. For now, just ride. You’ll probably go in all different directions unintentionally, but don’t worry about trying to stay in control. Put all your focus on staying on the unicycle instead. This is why is good to do this on a large flat area, like a basketball or tennis court.
  • Keep your body weight forward! Also very important. Since you’re moving forward, you want your centre of gravity that way as well. Not too far forward though! The ideal spot will eventually click. It’s all a part of the learning curve. Or should that be learning staircase, with a few missing steps!

All I can say is good luck. This will take the longest to master, but you’ll get there. Don’t give up! 

Once you can ride 10-15 metres consistently, it’s time to move on to the next step. Turning.

Also, don’t worry too much about not being able to ride more than a small distance at this point. As you learn to turn you’ll find that you feel more confident and in control. From this point it’s pretty easy.

Learning to Ride (Part 2): Basic Pedalling

All right, so you know how to get on your unicycle – now it gets a bit tricky. Learning to actually ride it. Don’t expect instant results, because this step takes a while.

To start off, you want to be near a wall, like in part 1. Mount your unicycle (if you don’t know how to do that, go back a step!) and get your balance.

Using the wall as support, pedal forward one half-revolution (top pedal to bottom) and stop.

You’ll probably fall off. If you don’t, good work! Some people pick it up much quicker than others.

The next think to do it to keep trying this. If you fall, work out where you went wrong. The following troubleshooting steps are assuming you’re working next to a wall. If you’re practicing with a wall or rail on either side, you’ll probably have less trouble with the last two, but the forwards and backwards issues still occur.

I fell backwards!

This happens to most people when they start. The unicycle moves forward and you don’t! The easiest way to overcome this is to lean forward as you ride. Not really far forward, just keep your centre of gravity in the direction the uni is moving. At first you’ll probably fall forward instead (see below). It’s a matter of finding that perfect balance.

I fell forwards!

If you’re falling forwards, your centre of gravity is probably way too far in front. Since you’re only doing half a pedal revolution, you don’t need to lean forward much at all. To correct this, try bringing your body more upright. Never lean backwards though, otherwise you’ll fall off that way. You want your body and the unicycle going in the same direction, after all.

I fell sidewards into the wall!

A lot of people struggle with this at first. Since you’re still finding your balance, it’s very tempting to put all your weight on the wall to keep you on the uni. Not a good idea. Your unicycle will naturally want to go away from the wall, and you’ll be riding on somewhat of an angle. There’s a good chance it will slip out from under you, which is probably what happened. To fix this, try to only have one hand on the wall, with the other one for waving around to keep yourself balanced (get used to it, you’ll be doing it a lot!). Focus on keeping your body upright and if you feel yourself pushing on the wall too much, either correct yourself or stop and start again.

I fell sidewards away from the wall!

This will happen if you don’t have enough support on the wall – easy tiger, you’re still learning. To fix this, just use the wall a bit more. Not too much though, otherwise you’ll fall into it. Use the guidelines from above.

My problem isn’t listed here!

If you don’t know how to correct something, contact me! I’ll reply as soon as I can, and possibly add your problem to the list.

Once you’ve sorted everything out, keep trying. Practice makes perfect! Once you can do half a revolution confidently, try a whole one. Then two, then three, and so on. The troubleshooting above applies to any distance of riding along a wall, so make use of it!

Once you can ride well with support, you can move on to part three – dismounting.

Trust me, you’ll want to know how to do that!

 

 

What Types of Unicycles Are There?

There’s a lot of different styles of unicycles out there, and they all serve different purposes. Some are for fun, some for tricks, even some for transport. But how do you know which type is right for you? 

Learning

For your first unicycle, a standard learning one is the best way to go. They’re simple to ride and won’t set you back much. Depending on your age and size, you should get either a 16″, 20″ or 24″ wheel. Unicycle.com has a neat section for beginners to get an idea of what you should get. I rode a learner uni for several years myself before I upgraded to a Trials uni.

Learner Unicycle

Learner Unicycle – perfect for beginners

Trials

Trials unicycles are built to last. They’re designed so they can be hopped, spun, flipped, or whatever you want. Think of trials as the BMX version of unicycling. A good trials uni has a strong frame, comfortable seat (with a handle), thick tire and decent pedals. Definitely my favourite style of riding, and I recommend everyone gives it a shot.

Trials Unicycle

Trials Unicycle – the BMX of unicycling!

Funny

I’m sure you’ve all seen a giraffe unicycle before. They look something like this:

Giraffe Unicycle

Giraffe Unicycle – watch your head!

Awesome, right? They’re really fun to ride, but very scary at first. You can get them at all different heights, but the higher up you are, the further you have to fall! These fun unicycles should only be ridden after you are fully confident with a normal one. Other funny unicycles include:

Two Wheeler

Two Wheeler – it’s not a bicycle though!

Ultimate Wheel - where's the seat?!

Ultimate Wheel – where’s the seat?!

Three Wheeler – a triunicycle?

Transport/Commuting

If you’re looking for a unicycle to ride long distance on, this is what you want. Commuting unis have huge wheels and small cranks. That way you travel further and faster with less energy! These aren’t great to learn on, but if you’re an accomplished rider I definitely recommend checking them out. They’re a heap of fun:

Commuting Unicycle - some models even have brakes

Commuting Unicycle – some models even have brakes

Mountain

Mountain unicycling, or muni, is just that – mountain biking, but with one wheel. As I like to say, half the wheels, double the fun! Munis generally have large wheels, but not as big as the ones on the commuters. They also have thick, strong tyres, tough frames, and brakes for those tough slopes.

Mountain Unicycle - built tough

Mountain Unicycle – half the wheels, double the fun!

And that’s it. There’s more types, but most fit into these categories more or less. Any questions? Leave them in the comments!

Learning to Ride (Part 1): Mounting

These first few steps are going to be the hardest, but after them it’s smooth sailing.

To start off, you want to learn how to mount your unicycle. Place your uni by your side and adjust your seat to about waist height. (Note: This isn’t always the case, different styles of riding use different heights. For a learner, waist-height is easiest.) After this, find a wall that will be able to support as you ride along. Even better, use somewhere with walls on either sides (hallway, alleyway, etc.).

The next step is to learn how to basic mount. There is a better way of doing this which you will learn later on, but this is by far the best way to start:

  1. Place your uni in front of you, with the seat between your legs.
  2. Rotate your wheel so that the pedal on the side of your preferred foot is at the bottom.
  3. Place your preferred foot on the bottom pedal and keep yourself balanced.
  4. Using the wall as support, push yourself up and place your other foot on the top pedal. As you do this, keep your other hand on the front of your seat.
  5. Hold it here! Don’t lose your balance, if you feel your unicycle slipping out from underneath you, use the wall to bring it back. Stay on until you feel comfortable.
  6. Keep trying. You’ll only get better with practice!

Mounting for Beginners

Congratulations! You’ve just mounted for the first time. Once you feel confident, you can move on to the next step.

See! Wasn’t that hard, was it?