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My Journey to learn to ride a unicycle with my Husband.

Posted by Christine Burke on

My husband had always wanted to learn how to ride a unicycle. One day while browsing online, he saw a deal on here for unicycles and figured why not. After he got one and learned to ride a little bit by himself, he found a unicycle club right in our city. The club gives free lessons to the public once a week in a big ice rink that is defrost in the summer. They even had their own unicycles for people to practice and learn on too. The ice rink is nice and flat, and has a railing that goes all the way around, perfect for learning, so he started going once a week. I got a bit curious and wanted to see all the people riding, so one day I decided to go. At first I was to afraid to learn, so I would just happily watch and take photos of all the people riding. After getting over my nerves, and a little peer pressure from the club ;) I decided to give it a try.

First few times around the rink on the railing was a bit hard, I had a death grip with both my hands so tight on that railing, my hands would cramp up. I was basically just pulling myself along in circles lol After a bit it wasn't so bad, I was able to sit up straight, lean forward, and petal, holding onto the railing with one hand. Trying to let go of the railing was another challenge, your mind does not want to let go. What was once helpful turned into a crutch, but once I was able to let go of the railing and just ride, that's where the true passion started to hit. It is such a unique feeling riding a unicycle, nothing like riding a bike at all. It's hard to explain the feeling exactly, kinda like you're just floating along.

Now my husband likes put into a lot of research into his hobbies, so I already knew about distance riding, mountain unicycling and more before I even started, plus the club had a lot of info to give too on different types of riding. He always wanted to try muni, but distance is what caught my eye, so now that I was able to ride without the railing, all I wanted to do was get a 36er. I was able to let go of the railing on a 20inch in October of 2015, and that same year a month later in November I got my 36er, I didn't have the patience to work my way up to a 36er lol Now that the cold weather was here we no longer had access to the ice rink, but a friend of the club had access to a warehouse that we could ride in. I am a bit short, so I got the Night Fox, but I did not know how to free mount at all, let alone on a 36er. Luckily for me my husband is tall so he would help me up, and walk with me a little bit, until I got well enough where I did not need him to walk with me at all. Still need him for the mounting though lol but only on the 36er.

Eventually my husband got a custom 27.5inch muni and ended I up getting his 26inch muni and learned free mounting on that one, which was a huge pain learning. Worst than learning to actually ride a unicycle and I am sure most people would agree lol I HATED learning to free mount, but once you learn it's even more freedom of being able to just hop on and go without needing any help, so it is worth it. Anyway since my husband was more into the muni riding than distance, we decided to keep the 26inch so I could try muni too, granted he still got a 36er also so that way we could do both muni and distance together. Once you learn how to go on a 36er, it seems like it's just trying to build up endurance and seeing how far can you go before you tire out. Muni on the other and I noticed is where my skills really increased. Learning how to take on roots, rocks, bumpy dirt was another challenge. I had a hard time riding on the 26inch though, I kept wanting to go around the roots and rocks, but couldn't control the unicycle well enough, then panic and fall off. Eventually I ended up getting a 24inch muni and even though it is slower, I like the maneuverability way more. My husband on the other hand, likes to plow through everything on his 27.5inch muni, I did get better with rolling over roots and rocks too.

Once we got well enough to ride outside the ice rink and warehouse, we started to invite some of the club members on rides to the local trails too. Which also really helped on the learning curve. It just seems like it's much easier and quicker to learn to ride when you have others there to help you. Now basically every weekend in the summer, some of the club will get together and do both distance and muni rides, whatever we all feel like doing. Also in winter as long as it's not to cold we will ride in the snow too. My husband and I got more involved with the club and started to get the club to participate in local bike events (my husband is a big bicyclist too) on our unicycles. At first we would ask the bike events if it was okay for just him to ride on a unicycle, not wanting to impose on their bike event, but once we tell them a bit more about unicycling and about the club too, these events always seem really excited and want us to invite even more unicyclists. So now all the bike events love having the club participate, and always invite the club back to other bike events in the future too, whether it's distance riding or mountain biking, they really enjoy having us there.

Never did I think I was ever going to have a passion to unicycle and be involved in it so much. It gives me a reason to be active. It gives me a reason to travel and meet more unicyclists. It even gives me ideas for my art. Unicycling gives me a reason to smile.