Circus Month - How to Ride a Unicycle

March 11, 2015

Here at Sternberg Clarke, we like to celebrate all sorts of different talents and abilities. Not only that, but we like to nurture talent as well. Keeping in line with Circus Month, we thought we’d give you a ‘how to’ guide into the art of unicycling. Read on to see just how to avoid collapsing to the floor every time (hint: at first, it involves collapsing to the floor every time).

Okay, so you have your Unicycle. That’s the spirit. What you need now is a helmet for your head and some pads for the rest of your body. It’s not mandatory but it is definitely advised unless you want to start heavily investing in plasters for the foreseeable future. No, you won’t look cool at this stage but these things take time.

Now that you’re protected, there’s nothing for it but to get on. Like riding a bike, it’s easiest to put one pedal at its lowest position and place a foot on that. Easy. Ensure that you’re near a wall or railing, hold on for support and pull your body up and onto the seat. Once in place, remember the phrase ‘weight on the seat, not on the feet’. See? It’s like riding a bike. (Just far more unstable.)

 Photo by Usien

Oi! Where are you going? No, don’t set off just yet. You need to work on your balance first. Hold onto a wall and rock lightly back and forth, allowing yourself the time to learn how your weight shifts. Back and forth, back and forth—Now you’re getting it! Guess what you have to do now?

That’s right. There’s nothing for it. You’re going to have to go for it. Push yourself off the wall and pedal in the direction you’re wanting to go. Feeling ambitious? Start by going backwards. Feeling sensible? Forwards is your best bet. When you get going, sit up straight and hold your arms out for balance—

--Then jump the hell off your unicycle as you start to fall. Let it crash to the ground and ponder the steep learning curve you’ve set for yourself. Maybe there’s a reason most people prefer two wheels to one. You could have tried juggling perhaps? No pads needed there. But no, you shall persevere and you shall succeed. So pick up your unicycle and repeat the previous steps.

That helmet you bought? Pretty good investment, wasn’t it? Regardless, keep practicing until you get comfortable. You will get the hang of it eventually. The laws of probability are in your favour. Pedal faster to catch up with the wheel when you feel it moving out from beneath you. Slow it down if it’s falling behind.

Yes! You are nailing this now. Why on earth do people shell out on that extra wheel? And handlebars! Who ever thought they were necessary? Ha! You can totally go forward at speed now, why not try going backwards too? Nailed that? Then guess what, you have mastered the art of riding a unicycle.

It’s up to you at this point whether you want to discard the helmet and pads. Or why not sell them and celebrate with the proceeds. We advise walking to the shop as carrying heavy bags and unicycling doesn’t seem like a great idea. Having said that, you’re full of confidence and looking to try a new trick so ultimately, it is up to you...

Title Photo by Usien 

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By Henry Fosdike