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!

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