Learn How to Ride an Electric Unicycle in 4 Steps

by freshlycharged

Learning how to ride an EUC is challenging, but it’s super rewarding when you figure it out. I’m going to show you some tips that I use to help first time riders learn. My 4 children all learned to ride, some picking it up quicker than others. What I have discovered is this: if you have the determination to learn and you put in a good effort, you will learn it and once it clicks, you will love it and you will have a new talent and hobby that is both rewarding and fun. There are a lot of ways to learn how to ride. For me, I was determined to learn and I figured it out through relentless– mounting… falling… and then trying again, and again… and again. This brute strength all-in approach to riding works if you are super determined but there are easier ways to learn how to ride an EUC and I hope this methodical approach can help you.

STEP 1: PREPARE

Intro to device The EUC balances forward and backward but does not balance side to side. That’s what the rider needs to do through a combination of balance and momentum, kind of like riding a bike. Make sure you are familiar with your particular EUC. Understand the foot pedals, handle, and the cutoff switch on your device if it has one and how it works. A big part of the learning process is falling. You will fall as you learn to ride and your wheel will get scratched up. You need to understand this. Don’t give up! If toddlers gave up on walking after their first few falls, society would be very different from how we know it. Some people protect their wheel using tape and foam from the beating it will take during the learning process. I embrace the scuffs and scratches as battle scars. Safety gear Wear a minimum of helmet and gloves/wrist guards. You can consider elbow and knee pads and I’ve done a safety gear video that you can check out here.
Wear comfortable clothing and athletic closed toed shoes. Plan a Location Wide open space. Preferably with a wall or rail. Empty parking lots, tennis courts or basketball courts work well. Some people like open grass fields to minimize the damage to the exterior of the wheel during falls, but the ride can be unsteady and less predictable. Turf field have fewer surface irregularities to worry about and falling is less painful, but the spongy surface of some turfs makes the EUC much less responsive. Get Emotional and Physical Support Bring a friend to support and encourage you. I break the learning process into two main parts:
  1. Mounting/Dismounting
  2. Riding
Mounting/dismounting is very different from actual riding. Since I find that people have a hard time learning both skills together, I teach both parts separately and then I put the two skills together at the end. This stepwise approach helps to limit frustration and disappointment of not “getting it” right away as new riders can focus on small wins as they work their way up towards becoming a safe and proficient EUC rider.

STEP 2: MOUNTING/DISMOUNTING

Too many people just want to hop on and go. Instead, I suggest focusing on one skill at a time and then putting it all together later. You have to learn to stand before you can learn to walk. Now that you have familiarized yourself with the device, have a good location to learn, have your safety gear on, and possibly have a friend with you, let’s focus on mounting and dismounting. One foot practice Center the wheel under you and mount one foot on a pedal. There should be two points of contact between you and your wheel… your foot and your shin.
Screen Shot 2020 05 25 at 10.22.18 PM
Refer to the image:
  1. Apply downward weight on your foot to keep the EUC upright.
  2. The top of the EUC should push against your shin laterally.
  3. Push back against the top of your EUC with the shin of your mounted knee.
Become familiar with the weight and balance of the EUC. Beginners will feel some discomfort during the first week of learning and riding in the calf/shin area. Don’t let this discourage you. This is natural and it will go away. Keep your back straight and knees slightly bent. Don’t hunch over. Rock the EUC back and forth to get use to the device. With one foot on the pedal, walk/hop forward with your grounded foot much like a kick scooter or skateboard.
Screen Shot 2020 05 25 at 10.04.27 PM
Practice walking/hopping around until you are comfortable. Try switching which foot you mount with to figure out what is most comfortable for you. As you get more comfortable and are able to go further distances on one foot, move on to the next step. Two feet practice Now that you are comfortable kicking off with one foot positioned on a pedal, try mounting your second foot onto the euc after kicking off. You will feel unsteady initially so just bring the foot back down to the ground to stabilize and try kicking off again. Keep doing this until you can mount both feet on to the EUC and travel several feet. This will take practice but as you practice your confidence and skill will improve. Again, keep your back straight. Avoid the temptation to hunch over. After both feet are mounted and you have momentum carrying you forward, keep your head up, back straight, and look forward. Use your arms for balance if you need to. It may look silly at first, like you’re swimming in the air, but it does help with the balance at first.

STEP 3: RIDING

Make sure you are comfortable mounting and dismounting your EUC before moving to this step. If you did not work up a light sweat in the previous part of this tutorial, then you are not trying hard enough. Go back and practice some more. A few of you will have figured out how to ride in the first section alone like my daughter did in a parking lot waiting for a group ride. Her story is an exception and I have found that most people need to learn mounting and riding separately for the best success. Once proficient at both you can put both skills together with more confidence. When first learning, this is what I don’t recommend: I’ve tried shopping carts, strollers, lawn mowers, ski poles, and even this rolling cart but I find that all these accessories become distractions and crutches and actually slows a rider’s progression. I believe that is why my oldest son, the most accomplished skier in our family, had the hardest time learning the EUC of all of my kids. He relied too heavily on his crutches.
Screen Shot 2020 05 25 at 10.02.58 PM
What I do recommend: We are not working on mounting here. We’ve already worked on that skill and will return to it later. Instead, find a stationary object like a wall, hand rail, or lamp post and use that to mount your EUC. We have even used a sturdy ladder for this purpose. Get comfortable standing on your EUC using the wall for balance. Rock back and forth. Set a goal to ride to. Your goal can be a physical object like another wall or lamp post or it could be an imaginary goal you set for yourself anywhere from 5 to 10 feet from where you are starting. Push yourself from your starting point, be it a wall or pole. Lean forward to further accelerate but don’t hunch over. Fight to keep your balance as you try to reach your goal. Repeat this until you are comfortable reaching your goal.
Screen Shot 2020 05 25 at 10.05.42 PM
Accelerating You will find that speed will be your best friend to help keep you upright. Put pressure on your toes to get the device to continue forward and try traveling at a brisk walking speed pace. Going slow will cause you to lose your balance so avoid the beginner mistake of trying to go too slow at the beginning. Set your goal further away as your skills and confidence improve.

STEP 4: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Now that you have completed Mounting in part 2 and Riding in part 3, you should be fairly comfortable mounting and dismounting and you should be confident with riding short distances. Now let’s put all your skills together. If you have a friend with you, consider having them help give you some support by standing behind you and possibly holding your waist or shoulders.
Screen Shot 2020 05 25 at 10.06.15 PM
Set Goals Set a short goal to reach about 5-10 feet in front of you. Without holding on to a wall or pole, do the following
  1. Kickstart to gain some good momentum
  2. Mount the EUC with both feet
  3. Look up
  4. Stand up straight and avoid the urge to hunch over
  5. Maintain speed similar to that of a fast walking pace by putting more weight on your forefoot and toes
  6. Keep your balance and fight to stay upright as long as you can. If you vere off toward the side, don’t worry about it as long as the space is open, just keep going.
Again, some beginners will want to go slow to be safe but keep your speed at a fast walking pace or slow jog. It seems counterintuitive to beginner riders, but the momentum will help keep you balanced. Stopping Slowing down or stopping on the EUC is just as important as mounting and dismounting. To slow down and/or stop, you need to transfer your weight to your heels. The best way I have found to appropriately shift weight to slow down and stop is to tell people to imagine as if they are doing a trust fall and shift their weight to their heels. Or I tell them to imagine they are sitting down on a chair. Both motions will help you shift your weight to your heels.
Screen Shot 2020 05 25 at 10.47.41 PM
Turning I tell beginners that the device goes wherever you are looking because it’s the subtle shifts in weight that turn the EUC. Once you’ve mounted both feet, stop looking at the ground or else that is where you will end up. Because beginners are usually so stiff when they ride, a turn of the head shifts the shoulders and waist which causes the weight to transfer just enough to turn the wheel. The EUC becomes a very intuitive device that truly is an extension of your body. In time, you will be able to control it without thinking. Practice turning by looking in the direction you want to go and turning your shoulders with it. You will only get better with practice.

CONCLUSION:

Learning to ride an EUC takes determination. If you feel discouraged, take a break. Some people figure it out all in one day, like my daughters. Others need to practice a little bit each day until they figure it out like my wife.
Screen Shot 2020 05 25 at 10.49.08 PM
Once you do figure out how to ride, don’t stop there. Keep practicing and keep riding. It took me over 100 miles before I truly felt comfortable on my EUC and I loved every mile of that learning process and I’m still learning and improving every time I go for a ride. Being able to ride an EUC is a fun and rewarding accomplishment. Think about when you first learned to ride a bike, swim, ski, surf, or drive. It took time and practice but after you put in the effort, you were rewarded with a skill and a memory that you’ll keep for the rest of your life. Choosing your first EUC: https://oneradwheel.com/choosing-your-first-euc-electric-unicycle-beginner/ The Best Safety Gear: https://oneradwheel.com/the-best-safety-gear-for-onewheel-euc-is-this/ Where I buy my EUCs: https://oneradwheel.com/where-to-buy-euc-and-e-scooters-a-review-of-ewheels-com/

EUC Comparison Tool

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the EUC options, so we made an interactive EUC Comparison Tool. You can sort, filter, and include or exclude data as you see fit. We hope you find this tool helpful!

You may also like

Leave a Comment

We are Andrew and Jimmy, two guys who love personal electric vehicles, and we hope to share our experiences and reviews to help you find the best next PEV for your needs.

Copyright © 2023 Freshly Charged.