Updated: Nov 16, 2020
Learning how to ride a unicycle can be intimidating at first. That's why I would like to help you get started today.
There are many different ways how you can learn to ride a unicycle. The good news is: with enough persistence, you will eventually be able to ride a unicycle using any of them. However, there are certain ways that are faster than others and hopefully this post will help you find your shortcut.
The key to learning how to ride a unicycle faster is getting the right support. There are lots of different resources for beginner unicyclists already out there, you just need to know where to look.
1) Find a local unicycling club/group
The first thing to check is if there is a local unicycling club or group in your area. Experienced unicyclists are your best resource when it comes to learning how to ride.
Even if you have never tried to sit on a unicycle, I am sure the group will be more than happy to welcome you. Unicycling is a really friendly community and I have never seen anyone turn down a beginner asking for advice.
A great place to look for clubs is the Open Unicycle Map: https://sites.google.com/view/openunicyclecalendar/open-unicycle-map. The map shows unicycling clubs worldwide as red pins and is a good starting point for your search. However, it relies on entries of individuals and is by no means exhaustive.
If you live in the UK like me, you can head to The Union of UK Unicyclists, who keeps a list of unicycling groups and clubs throughout the UK: https://unicycle.org.uk/clubs.html.
In general, it's worth contacting governing bodies of your country (if it has one) with your inquiry for clubs as most unicycling groups are usually rather small and many won't have their own websites.
Another place you should definitely check for unicycling groups is social media and in particular Facebook. In recent years, many unicycling groups have created Facebook pages and groups. Just use the search bar. You might want to include nearby towns and cities or even entire regions in your search. Unfortunately, unicycling groups are still a rare find in many countries.
Joining a unicycling group will be lots of fun. If you are based in the UK, check out http://www.stfulondon.co.uk/.
2) Find another unicyclist or unicyclist-to-be near you
You will learn much faster if you find someone to ride with. This could be an experienced rider who can give you some advice or someone who is also just starting to learn. No matter what skill level the other person is at, it will push you to give your best if you practice together. I guarantee.
So first of all, try to persuade a friend or family member to learn with you!
Unfortunately, unicycling is not everybody's cup of tea. (I tried to persuade my parents to try it for years - without any success). So in case you're unsuccessful in finding someone in your own social circle, Open Unicycle Map can again be very helpful to find riders near you: https://sites.google.com/view/openunicyclecalendar/open-unicycle-map. Individual riders will be marked as yellow pins on the map. Don't forget to sign up yourself!
Another good way to find other unicyclists is to join the "Unicycle Chat" Facebook group and ask for other unicyclists in your area: https://www.facebook.com/groups/115835695144753.
If you are based in the UK, you want to head to "UK Unicycle Chat": https://www.facebook.com/groups/1041382582901319.
3) Find a virtual training partner or group online
As I mentioned before, it can sometimes be difficult to find local training partners. Don't give up just yet! In our globalized world, we have become more and more connected and it is possible to communicate with people from any part of the globe. So one thing that I would like you to consider is looking for a virtual training partner. I know it's just not the same. But nevertheless, it can be extremely helpful for your learning process to find someone who you can exchange experiences with.
In order to find like-minded people, head to the Facebook "Unicycle Chat" (https://www.facebook.com/groups/115835695144753) or Facebook "Beginners Unicycle Chat" https://www.facebook.com/groups/2890245571210616), which I recently founded, and ask to form a learning support group with other beginners. You can talk about your experiences, ask and give advice, and even share videos.
4) Find beginner tutorials online
Thanks to YouTube and some committed unicyclists, it is very easy to find online tutorials for unicycling beginners these days. A simple search will give you the choice of lots of different tutorials. However, they vary significantly in their quality and some of them teach bad form, which is why I would like to give you the links to a few videos that I can definitely recommend. All of these feature experienced riders who know what they are doing. It's worth watching all of them as you will learn something new in each individual one.
Here comes the list:
Beginner Unicycling - UNIQUEST - Level 1
by Chris Huriwai
How to ride a unicycle: Basics
featuring Benoit Gonneville Damme
How to Ride a Unicycle — Unicycle School Ep. 1
by Eli Brill
5) Take videos of yourself and ask for advice
Another great way to speed up your learning process is to take videos of your training and analyse them later on. If you watch the tutorials that I have recommended, you will learn what is important to successfully ride a unicycle and what common mistakes to look out for. Often, you will be able to spot the mistake yourself in the recording.
If you should feel that you are not making any progress and you can't spot the mistake yourself, it can be helpful to ask for advice online. Please post all your questions about learning how to ride in the newly created "Beginners Unicycle Chat": https://www.facebook.com/groups/2890245571210616. The members of the group will be more than happy to look at your video and give you some advice. For the future, it will also make sense to look through the old posts in this group as someone else might have had a similar problem.
Please don't post it in "Unicycle Chat" as the group is for more general unicycle topics. (Note: If you are an experienced rider and you would like to help out with some advice for beginners, please join the new group.)
I hope you this has given you a good overview of where to find the right support to learn how to ride a unicycle. Let me know if you have found any other resources that you think are helpful and worth mentioning!
Find a unicycle friend!