If you’ve ever seen a stereotypical street performance or a circus act, you’ve probably seen someone riding a unicycle, perhaps even performing seemingly impossible tricks while on one. Even if you’ve never seen one in person, it’s pretty easy to conjure up a mental image of a performer riding one while offering the same spectacle. So you’ve heard about unicycles - of course, but now you’re thinking about getting yourself one.
The truth is, the unicycle really isn’t the realm of performers and tricksters. It’s a discipline that requires great persistence, determination, and strength paired with a commitment to master, or even to do at all. Perhaps you’ve even heard of using a Unicycle for Mountain Riding and are interested in taking the plunge and getting on a unicycle for the first time.
Or, perhaps you are a seasoned unicyclist who’s just interested in learning more about using a unicycle for mountain biking and seeing if there are any other benefits besides the great difficulty of becoming adept and proficient in the sport. In any of these cases, today’s your day, because here are five great reasons to get yourself a unicycle for mountain biking.
1. It’s Great Exercise
Riding a unicycle is really great exercise, even if you aren’t looking at getting one for mountain biking. Even just learning to ride a unicycle on a flat and even surface will require great dedication to practice as well as great strength, balance and coordination just to stay aloft. It takes so much more to effectively navigate a unicycle over and around obstacles or up and down slopes, all of which things you will find in the real world and on mountain trails.
Balancing and riding effectively on a unicycle requires great strength and coordination as we stated, and as a result, it is also a great way to condition and strengthen yourself, and that conditioning will have benefits for you in other areas of your life, but we’ll address that later.
Contrast unicycling with a high impact activity like running. Running is a great exercise and we’re not here to tell you otherwise, but unicycling has some significant benefits over it. Particularly with people who have concerns for the long term health of their joints, unicycling is a low impact way to get the aerobic benefits of such exercise while causing minimal impact damage. You can say goodbye to shin splints and ankle problems if you take up unicycling.
Unicycling even offers distinct advantages over alternatives like biking. Biking is another great low impact alternative to running and other athletics and it also requires you to develop a great sense of balance that can be transferred to other athletic activities as well. But with a unicycle, there’s an entirely new dimension of balance and strength required of the rider that a bike just doesn’t demand.
While many of us remember the struggle of getting on a bike without training wheels for the first time and keeping our balance, a unicycle demands a whole other world of skill. To remain seated on a unicycle, the rider must be perfectly balanced laterally and make potentially infinite shifts between forward and backward momentum to remain upright. All of this requires a great deal of attention to balance and a huge amount of strength in the legs and the core. It requires just as much if not more strength to create progress with a unicycle, obstacles or no.
Now consider the strength and stamina required of a unicycle rider who uses a unicycle for mountain riding. The rough terrain of trails or hilly country is enough of an obstacle for pedestrians and bicyclists, let alone unicyclists. You’ll probably get tired quickly your first time on a unicycle, and if you stick with it and start trail riding, you’ll experience fatigue on uneven terrain, but over time that extra duress will pay you dividends in increased strength and stamina.
Mountain riders need to navigate steep, hilly, uneven terrain often peppered with obstacles like rocks and logs that are hazardous enough on foot. Being able to maneuver over and around these can do wonders for conditioning, but it also has the added benefit of making you a better trail rider if your chosen set of wheels is a bike. Speaking of which:
2. A Unicycle Can Make You A Better Bike Rider
Even if you are a bike rider, unicycling can have vast benefits for your bike riding skills and stamina as well. Whether you’re an urban biker, a trail rider or just someone who likes to cover long miles for bragging rights, riding a unicycle can make you a better bike rider in a lot of ways.
Riding a bike still requires great balance, strength, and endurance, and riding a unicycle can kick your training into high gear. Think of it similarly to how baseball players add weights to their bats when they’re training or warming up. Fight through the crutch and you’ll be way more proficient when the crutch is removed.
If you train yourself on a unicycle to become a better bike rider, only imagine how much more easily you will find your balance and be able to navigate unforgiving terrain once you’ve gotten back on two wheels. It will be easier for you to find and maintain your balance and easier for you to handle your bike at speed. You’ll even find yourself getting less tired than you would be if you were only conditioning using your bike alone.
There are plenty of people that use unicycles for trail riding and urban riding for their own sakes, and those are challenging and fun disciplines to pursue, but you can just as easily use a unicycle to make you a better biker, too.
So hop on a unicycle and practice your balancing skills and build your strength to be a better biker while you’re at it. You might even find that you like a unicycle enough to devote some of your practice to master its use as well.
3. It’s Great Training For Other Athletic Activities
We’ve touched on this already, but the endurance and strength that are required for mastering the art of riding a unicycle will help you attain great benefits for your health. All of that extra strength and stamina can be rolled over into other areas of your athletic life. Riding a unicycle can make you stronger and get you in better shape overall, which doesn’t just mean you could be a better bike rider.
What if you’re a backpacker? Backpackers cover long miles in rough terrain, usually carrying a large amount of gear. Modern suppliers have been following a trend of competing with each other to find the lightest gear that hikers can throw in their packs. The idea is to work smarter, not harder - but not working harder never made anyone stronger. Some backpackers condition themselves by carrying weights around. Riding a unicycle as a conditioning activity is another great way for backpackers to get in shape.
Using a unicycle for mountain biking will present the backpacker with many of the same obstructions to progress that hiking will, all while building extra strength and endurance. You might not have a 45-pound pack on your back while you’re on a unicycle, but you sure will be burning energy.
That’s only one example, however. If you’re a weight lifter, unicycling is a great way to add cardio to your resistance routine. If you play basketball, unicycling is a great way to build strength in your legs and core and make you more responsive to changing obstacles. If you participate in track and field activities, it’s a way to switch up your normal routine to help avoid plateaus.
The point is that there’s a holistic benefit to your health you can gain from unicycle riding, especially if you take it riding off-road. It can be a fun and interesting new way for you to build your strength and stamina while teaching yourself a new skill. Actually, that reminds us of another point.
4. They’re Great For Teaching Yourself To Tackle Complex New Skills
Riding a unicycle is a challenge that will make you stronger and more coordinated. We’ve already covered that clearly. But there’s another facet of riding a unicycle that we haven’t touched yet.
It’s unintuitive, it requires a great sense of attention to details in the environment, and it requires creative thinking. There are people that might be able to get started teaching you how to ride a unicycle, but a lot of it has to be experienced rather than watched or taught. You’ll learn a lot more if you dive right in than if you stand on the sidelines. Observation is great, but practice is better.
Much like learning other complex skills like solving intricate puzzles or learning how to play an instrument, learning to ride a unicycle requires your mind to work along creative new avenues and think differently about challenges. If something doesn’t work, you try something new. You file away successes into memory that you can use in the future to challenge new obstacles. You pay closer attention to small environmental details and factors that you might not have noticed if you walked right past them. Learning to ride a unicycle presents a challenge to the mind and senses that can’t help but grow from the trials and challenges. There’s even evidence to suggest that tackling an unfamiliar new skill like riding a unicycle can have effects on the process of learning.
On top of the physical benefits that learning to ride a unicycle can have, it is a way to engage and stimulate your mind. Exercising the mind is every bit as important as exercising the body, and learning new skills can help you build critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It’s just another thing to add to the list of benefits that the process of learning to ride a unicycle for mountain riding can have for you.
5. It’s Just Plain Fun
Speaking of the fact that learning to ride a unicycle or deciding to ride one on the trail is physically and mentally taxing, it’s just plain fun as well. As anyone who’s ever ridden one can tell you, it’s just plain enjoyable to master the skill of riding a unicycle. There’s also a certain amount of pride that goes along with conquering a skill that many other people will view as impossible. On that note, it’s bound to gain a certain amount of attention as well.
You’ll enjoy the feeling of conquering ‘the impossible’ as much as you’ll enjoy the endorphin rush of zigging and zagging down mountain trails and hopping over logs with ease. All of those things, of course, can only come with time and practice, but there’s no feeling like them once you get there.
So as if it weren’t enough reason for you to get in shape and engage your mind, you can have a whole load of fun while you’re doing it, too.
You might just enjoy the idea of learning a new skill, but even if you are in it for the cross-training or the good old challenge, you can find the unicycle for mountain riding you’re looking for right here at Unicycle.com. In fact, you can find the best unicycles in the industry here on our site.
If you’re looking for mountain unicycles take a look here on our site at our selection of models designed for mountain riding. We’ve got the widest selection around, featuring models from Nimbus and Kris Holm, we have models in different sizes and even colors to suit your fancy. Getting into unicycling in general and trail riding in specific can be a challenge, so let the experience of the experts help you out when you’re getting into it.
We’ve also got some serious experience with unicycling, so if you have any uni-questions, give us a call at 800-864-2925 and pick our brains. Whether you’re a beginner or you can talk the uni-talk, we’d love to help you out.