Its the Hardest Thing

Posted on Feb 21, 2009

Few people realize how hard it is to learn how to unicycle. Actually a lot of people probably realize how hard it is to learn, but few appreciate how hard it is. I started learning to unicycle when when I was seventeen. I received a Semcycle 24” Deluxe for Christmas that year. Immeadiatly after receiving the unicycle I started to learn. Or should I say I tried to learn.

During the time I was learning Jon was living with us, trying to graduate from High School and he was a great help to my learning. Without Jon I may not have learned as quick and it is possible that I would have given up before actually learning to ride. Since I had a partner to learn with I had someone pushing me to do better and learn faster.

Since I started learning in January it was cold outside. Probably not as cold as it would have been if I lived further north but this was before global warming. Cold weather is not very conducive to learning to unicycle. Something about falling on cold concrete seems to be less fun then falling on warm or hot concrete. So instead of venturing out into the wild blue I started learning in the long hallway at my parents house. This was going great until I made a few scratches in the wall. After that I was banished to the basement.

At the time our basement was wide open, no TV, no couches, just a pool table at one end and a bundle of book cases. This was great. I could start at the door and ride all the way to the pool table. Well I actually couldn’t yet but that was the goal. I would get on the unicycle with a death grip on the door and try to make it as far as possible. This worked out great until disaster struck.

It wasn’t really that big of deal, when you are first learning to unicycle you have no idea where the unicycle is going to end up and where you are going to end up. I had just started to lean forward to attempt to ride across the family room when the unicycle slipped out from under me and slammed into the wall. Hard. The unicycle’s wheel left a unicycle tire size hole in the wall. For those of you that don’t know unicycle tires are basically the same as bicycle tires but it just sounds cool to call them unicycle tires.

Needless to say my dad was none to happy about this hole. This simple event led to me, Jon and the unicycle being banished to the out of doors, cold weather or no, for the rest of the training period. Undeterred Jon and I took are training to the streets. Using the side of Bessie the Bug-o-love we started training in earnest.

For the next few months Jon and I spent hours a day taking turns learning to ride. One of us would take the unicycle, mount it using the side of the bug and then lean forward peddling furiously. The other one would yell encouragement and get ready for their turn. We would talk about what worked and what didn’t and just keep trying.

Eventually I was able to make it around the block, then it was a mile and then it was miles. I even got to where I was able to ride around town like I would do with my bike. Since I first learned unicycling I have been trying to learn tricks on it. I have learned to do a few mounts and can do a halfway decent idle, not well enough that I can juggle but it is getting close.