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!




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