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How long does it usually take to learn to ride a unicycle?

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  • #16
    if you look at any list of tricks, by difficyulty/level, it will help you decide what to try next. some who dont look at it learn hard stuff like one-footed before they can even go backwards.
    "I'm probably not advanced enough to have thoroughly tested it while riding, but I'm unadvanced enough to have very thoroughly tested it while falling." -uniShark

    I ride for Christ-opher Walken

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    • #17
      In my experience 15 hours is about average. I've seen people ride unassisted in a couple of hours, and I've known people who took over a year to pass Level 1.
      - Kenny

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Klaas Bil View Post
        The free downloadable booklet "Learning to unicycle" has a chapter on how to learn idling. Get it from http://www.xs4all.nl/~klaasbil/uni_beginners.htm
        BTW: the section on cranks/hubs still lists cotterless (NOT Andy-less, nor Connie ) as the ideal crank. You might want to update this to include ISIS.
        - Kenny

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        • #19
          Originally posted by blueharmony View Post
          BTW: the section on cranks/hubs still lists cotterless (NOT Andy-less, nor Connie ) as the ideal crank. You might want to update this to include ISIS.
          Thanks for the tip. ISIS was not used in unis when the page was written. The page shows its age in several other small ways too. However, the page is specifically aimed at beginners, for whom I still think that splined cranks (which includes ISIS) are overkill. Cotterless is cheaper and strong enough. So from that perspective I think the information is correct.

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          • #20
            I vitnessed something quite amazing yesterday. All the neighbors were gathered outside in the street celebrating the norwegian constitution day, so I took out som stuff for the kids to play with. Slackline, pogostick, stilts and a few unicycles. There was a boy there about 13 yrs old who I hadn't seen before. He picked up a 20" unicycle and it was obvious that he didn't know how to ride it. Within an hour and without any instructions he could ride 50 meters in full control. If we hadn't blocked the street, I'm sure he could have gone further. His father told me that he was a good skier and a fast learner in general.
            UniMyra's YouTube channel

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            • #21
              Originally posted by UniMyra View Post
              I vitnessed something quite amazing yesterday. All the neighbors were gathered outside in the street celebrating the norwegian constitution day, so I took out som stuff for the kids to play with. Slackline, pogostick, stilts and a few unicycles. There was a boy there about 13 yrs old who I hadn't seen before. He picked up a 20" unicycle and it was obvious that he didn't know how to ride it. Within an hour and without any instructions he could ride 50 meters in full control. If we hadn't blocked the street, I'm sure he could have gone further. His father told me that he was a good skier and a fast learner in general.
              That's witchcraft!
              Torches and pitchforks!!

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              • #22
                hrs to learn to ride? Does that include the 90% quitters?

                I've always thought the 15hr to learn to ride never made sense to me.

                First, I doubt that number(a big chunk of data is missing: people who have quit. So the numbers reflect only the successful...and of course it's cool to brag about your 1 minute learning time, right?).

                So the accurate assessment is like this:
                Give 100 people a unicycle. Then here's a "possible" result.

                10 out of those people learned to ride with average time of 15 hrs.
                90 of those people quit.

                So the conclusion would be only 1 in 10 people can ride after 15hr
                So how misleading to just say 15hrs?
                See what I mean?

                Anyways, sorry to get technical.
                I know I should just think? I can ride who cares about quitters.
                But this fascinates me, because I want more people to learn and ride.
                I think non-riders face a tremendous mental intimidation obstacle.

                More unicycle riders = better world!
                Last edited by slamdance; 2019-05-19, 08:13 AM. Reason: Reason for Editing:

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                • #23
                  How long does it take to learn riding?

                  Originally posted by slamdance View Post
                  Give 100 people a unicycle. Then here's a "possible" result.

                  10 out of those people learned to ride with average time of 15 hrs.
                  90 of those people quit.

                  So the conclusion would be only 1 in 10 people can ride after 15hr
                  For starters, I think you forgot one step. If you give 100 ppl a unicycle, at least 90 shug it off and never even touch it. You could call that quitting after 0 hours, maybe.

                  More to the point, I disagree with that bottom line. I dare to guess that most of the ppl who quit, don't do that because they could "technically" not learn, but because they don't have enough perseverance/determination. I guess they could learn in (say) 15 hours if they continued trying for that long.

                  BTW, the 15 hours is just a ballpark figure. Actual learning time needed depends on age, wheelsize, sex, quality of instruction and more. There is some research published here.

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                  • #24
                    learning time?

                    Hi, I'll Weigh in. At the age of eight I learned by holding the open garage door to balance, then let go to try riding down a paved drive. At the end of that same day I could ride down the drive to the gravel road in front of the house, the road took me another week to ride any distance on. So I guess that 15 hours is within reason for someone co ordinated and persistant enough to gane the skill.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Klaas Bil View Post
                      but because they don't have enough perseverance/determination.
                      Unicyclists need a special kind of perseverance / determination. They don't have the benefit of a large percent of the population proving to them that it can be done. There is no pressure to conform, because unicycling is a fringe activity. Learning to unicycle borders on insanity; doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Beginners need to manage the fear of unexpected, sudden falls. Unicycling typically seems impossible or inscrutable to the beginner; they must be willing to venture into the unknown.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
                        Unicyclists need a special kind of perseverance / determination.
                        Totally agreed. It's no instant gratification. Quite the opposite because it's not exactly rewarding when you learn. It's only when you start to be able to go for more than half a dozen meters (10ft in non metric?) that you start to leave the realm of frustration...

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                        • #27
                          People don't like putting themselves out of their comfort zone.
                          Even more so with an audience.

                          Most people get their endorphin hit from a text with useless information, or a response to a embellished facebook post, etc...

                          So how many hours till you could ride... still applies to those that actually learned to ride.
                          Not the quitters, not the posers, and not the accumulators.

                          I would say 1 in a 100 has the potential to be a unicyclist with their 10-20 hours of counterintuitive activity learning.

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                          • #28
                            My elder son rode right across my front lawn after about twenty minutes in the saddle. I posted about it here.

                            The three people I taught averaged an hour to be able to ride ten metres.
                            Triton 36" + 29" | KH 29" | KH 26" | KH 27.5" Muni | Nimbus eSport Race 24" | Torker LX 24" | Qu-Ax Luxus 20" | Qu-Ax Profi 20" | KH / Impact 19" hybrid

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                            • #29
                              I will also weigh in on this zombie thread:
                              Originally posted by Klaas Bil View Post
                              If you give 100 ppl a unicycle, at least 90 shug it off and never even touch it. You could call that quitting after 0 hours, maybe.
                              This is true. A factor in learning to ride one has to include a pretty strong desire to figure it out. A large percentage of the population either assumes "they could never", or puts it on their personal list of "stuff I choose not to invest my time in". Like me and a Rubiks Cube.

                              In fact, most people (in most countries) never even try, for one of the above reasons.
                              Originally posted by Klaas Bil
                              Actual learning time needed depends on age, wheelsize, sex, quality of instruction and more.
                              Absolutely! Other factors are size, determination, previous skills the rider has learned, natural aptitude for learning skills, and the quality of the unicycle.

                              Yes, the unicycle matters, and I can say this with authority because I originally "learned" on a POS unicycle with a hard plastic tire, no ball bearings, tricycle cranks and other severe impediments to being a good learning model. Notice I didn't mention the seat. That can also be a factor!

                              Most unicycles you can find nowadays are fine for learning; fortunately the tricycle-type ones like what I learned on are mostly rust by now. I hope.
                              Originally posted by elpuebloUNIdo View Post
                              Unicyclists need a special kind of perseverance / determination. They don't have the benefit of a large percent of the population proving to them that it can be done.
                              Also true. Except for in Japan, where unicycles are now in the majority of elementary schools. For Japanese people that went to one of those schools, it was a piece of playground equipment that lots of kids would play with and lots of them would learn to ride them. After a generation of that, it changes the public perception of unicycling. It's not impossible! On the downside, for the vast majority of Japanese unicyclists, it's something you only do in elementary school, then you stop.

                              Why do we learn to ride anyway? These days, it might because you're interested in a specific type of unicycling. Starting in the late 90s, some people learned to ride one specifically so they could ride it offroad. Others these days learn so they can do Street and Flatland-style riding, like they've seen in YouTube videos. But a generation ago, it had less of a range of associated activities. You could ride in the neighborhood, ride in a parade, do shows, but not a lot of other stuff beyond that. So why did we learn?

                              For myself, I learned because it always looked like something interesting and difficult to do. I didn't have plans for what I would do after I learned; that was an end in itself. But then I was having so much fun doing it, and learning more skills (like freemounting the 6' Giraffe), I seeked out the local unicycle club, and got pulled down the rabbit hole of the larger world of unicycling...
                              Originally posted by Canoeheadted View Post
                              People don't like putting themselves out of their comfort zone. Even more so with an audience.
                              Also true, and something that probably inhibits a lot of people from spending quality time learning. But everyone who does try is intentionally putting themselves out of their comfort zone, and if they don't give up, farther and farther out. Most unicyclists must be people who like to challenge themselves.
                              So how many hours till you could ride... still applies to those that actually learned to ride.
                              Of course. Everyone else gets infinity. There's no useful result until you learn to ride.
                              Last edited by johnfoss; 2019-05-20, 05:13 AM.
                              John Foss
                              www.unicycling.com

                              "Who is going to argue with a mom who can ride a unicycle?" -- Forums member "HiMo"

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                              • #30
                                I’m not sure what the definition of being ‘able to ride a unicycle’ is. Would it be something like, able to ride on a flat surface for 100’? Maybe, ride as far as you want before tiring out? Is there a standard definition for it? Just curious as I haven’t come across one yet.

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