Balance Not Required

Learning how to ride a unicycle, does not require having balance when you first start. In fact, you do not have to have any to start learning to ride.

But of course, everyone is born with some equilibrium. If you weren't, you would keep on falling down when walking for no apparent reason.

Now, what exactly is it? A dictionary says that it is defined as:

"A state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc."

The last part to this definition is most important- "equal distribution of weight, amount, ect." Why? Because to stay atop a unicycle, you must have all forces around you be stable.

forces of riding
In the picture at the right, there is a guy on a unicycle. Pretty normal, right? But, you also see two arrows, one pointing forwards, and the other pointing backwards.

These arrows are obviously imaginary when riding your unicycle in real life, but for the purpose of teaching you what balance is, pretend they really are there when riding.

Now, the arrow pointing forwards says "Momentum". This is the force of riding forwards.

The other arrow, "Lean", is not really a force, but it's an action that you do to stay atop the unicycle. I'll explain this more in the next paragraph.

Momentum and the amount of leaning (lean) is like a chain reaction - one thing affects the other which affects the other and so on.

For example, if you add more momentum, or pedal faster, you have to increase the forward lean to compensate for the speed.

If you didn't do this, the unicycle would fly out in front of you.

All of the possible combinations of momentum and lean are:

  • Go faster, lean forwards to compensate
  • Go slower, lean backwards to compensate
  • Lean forward too much, pedal faster to compensate
  • Lean backwards too much, pedal slower to compensate
As you might have noticed by now, it is basically just fixing small changes. There's really nothing mental about it, aside from having to think about what's happening.

Just remember this:

Whatever is happening, do the appropriate action to compensate for what's happening.

With practice, you will develop a sense of balance, letting you stay atop your unicycle.

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