I have learned how to ride an electric unicycle (EUC), and I’m confident that you can too!
I’m going to repeat what I said over at
patshead.com. I’m almost 43 years old, I weigh 200 pounds, and I’m not athletic. I don’t have an extraordinary sense of balance. I’ve never ridden a skateboard. When I was a kid, I was tethered to my bike every summer until I was around 14 years old. That’s pretty much the last time I rode a pedal bike more than a mile, though I do have an electric bike.
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Yesterday, I learned how to ride my electric unicycle. Sort of. I can usually go in a fairly straight line, I can make wide turns, and I can show down and dismount. The last thing I learned yesterday was how to get on and start riding without holding on to something. That's what I was excited about in this video! Today, I managed to make a few laps around the parking lot, so I definitely feel like I am making progress! How am I doing? #fpv #fpvracer #drone #drones #droneracing #droneracer #fpvdrones #fpvrace #multirotor #quadcopter #fpvfreestyle
I’ve been riding for about a month and a half now, and I would say that I’m quite comfortable now. I don’t have to think while I’m riding; it is better if you don’t! I can now ride for three or four miles without stopping for a break. I can ride pretty well at a walking pace, and I can negotiate my way around foot traffic on the trails at the park.
- Five Weeks with My InMotion V5F Electric Unicycle
- I Ordered a Self-Balancing Unicycle!
- I Bought an Electric Unicycle: I Have No Idea What I’m Doing
Riding your first mile is hard work!
I bet I spent at least 20 minutes in my backyard just figuring out how to balance on my InMotion V5F. That’s probably more time than I should have spent back there. The EUC wasn’t delivered until an hour or so before dark, and I just wanted to try it out. There’s only about 10 feet of pavement next to the house.
I needed the wall of the house to hold myself up at first, but the sidewalk was way too narrow and intimidating for me to attempt to ride without holding on to something.
I took it out to an old, rough parking lot two days later. I didn’t realize just how rough it was, and that entire parking lot has a bit of an incline to it. You should start somewhere smoother and flatter! Learning to ride uphill is hard, even if the hill isn’t even remotely steep. Learning to ride downhill is scary. Riding sideways across that hill made balancing much more challenging.
Before that afternoon was over, I was riding 6 feet, then 12 feet, and before I knew it, I could make it across the parking lot. Turning was difficult. Maintaining a smooth line was difficult. That’s OK, though, because I was riding, and that’s the hardest thing to learn!
At this point, I should have gone straight to the wide, smooth bike trails at the park. I continued to practice in the parking lot, though. This is all right, but I think I would have progressed faster on the trail!
When I finally did go to the park, I had no trouble following the trail. I was afraid to pass people. I was afraid to go past people that were walking towards me. I could keep to my half of the rather wide path, but just knowing someone was using the other half made me more wobbly.
On my first trip to the park, I rode to the bridge that is about half a mile from my house. On the way home, there is a hill that is maybe 50 feet long. On the ride up that hill, my feet were killing me. Riding my first mile was hard work!
It gets easier with practice
The pain from riding was in the arches of my feet. To move the unicycle forward, you have to put weight on your toes. You’re also doing a lot of balancing, so I figure I’ve been using muscles I’ve rarely used before.
I don’t believe I’m just building up these tiny muscles, though. I’m also putting in a lot less effort when I ride.
I can’t explain how to do that. I don’t even know how it works. I just know that I’m thinking less and riding farther. Concentrating less. That’s the key!
I can walk and chew gum at the same time!
I can pinpoint the exact moment when I decided that I knew what I was doing. I decided to pull a double-shot of espresso and make myself a latte to go. Would I be able to get on the wheel and ride without spilling my coffee?
Yes! I could!
I could even drink my coffee while I was moving with no problems whatsoever! I was absolutely amazed.
I haven’t run my battery down, but I’m ready to try!
My little InMotion V5F is one of the smallest, weakest, and cheapest electric unicycles on the market. I chose this EUC because it has more than enough range and speed for my needs, and it is one of the lightest wheels I could find. Portability is important to me.
InMotion claims the V5F has a range of a little over 18 miles. I imagine they’re exaggerating a bit, and I’m much heavier than the recommended riding weight, so I assumed I would get much less than the advertised range.
These are my three rides today, including the longest single journey I've taken so far. Can I call this sixteen miles? pic.twitter.com/xceUsZHFkh— Pat Regan (@patsheadcom) March 25, 2020
The most I’ve managed to ride in a single day so far is around 7.5 miles, and it is common for me to put about 6 miles on the unicycle in a day. I’m using the open-source WheelLog app to track my journeys, and it has an option to show a more accurate battery percentage readout.
The more I ride, the more trust I’m gaining in this battery readout. It is consistently telling me that I will run out of battery somewhere between 12 and 13 miles of range.
The weather is finally getting much better this week. I’m looking forward to putting the last 4 or 5 miles on my wheel in a single charge!
Everyone should have an e-thing
I’ve had an e-bike for a few years. It has been a lot of fun, and it does a great job taking me back and forth on some of my FPV quadcopter adventures. The bike is too big and heavy to load into the car, though. The EUC weighs half as much, and it only takes a few seconds to throw it in the trunk or back seat. It is a huge upgrade for me over the bike.
My friend Alex has a OneWheel XR, and he enjoys it a lot. My friend Brian has an Exway X1 Riot Pro electric longboard, and he’s been having fun riding it too.
I’m partial to the electric unicycle, but all of these personal electric vehicles are fun and handy.
An electric unicycle (EUC) is definitely the right e-thing for me, and I think the InMotion V5F was a really good choice. I can reach 15 MPH, ride for 12 miles, it weighs less than 25 pounds, and my refurbished wheel only cost me $399. Brian’s longboard cost more, has similar range and performance, but it weighs half as much. I’m a bit envious of that, but the comparatively gigantic 14” air-filled tire on my unicycle offers a much smoother ride.
Do you ride an electric unicycle or some other sort of e-thing? Do you ride for fun, or are you using the e-thing to improve the last miles or two of your journey or commute? Do you think I’m an idiot for learning to ride a EUC instead of a OneWheel? Let me know in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!