Learning to do tricks consistently on an electric unicycle requires learning technique, (lots of) practice/repetition, understanding the parameters under which your wheel operates and recognising (and attempting to control) any variable(s).
- Try to practice as often as possible.
- There is an old saying that “repetition is the mother of all skill” and it is definitely true in this instance.
Controlling the Variables
A variable is an element, feature, or factor that is liable to vary or change. If you are trying to learn to do a trick consistently then it’s a very good idea to have a think about what elements, features or factors could vary, and how these may be controlled. Some variables are more practical to control than others.
Different types of surface will all provide a very different environment for practising and performing tricks.
A lot of flat surfaces are not actually flat. The most consistently flat and uniform outdoor surface that I have found are flat areas in professionally built Skateparks. Surface moisture reduces the amount of friction between the wheel and the surface which greatly affects turning and spinning – this can sometimes be used to your advantage. (This variable is best controlled by practising on the same high quality surface).
Hardness, smoothness, bounce, incline, moisture
Example surfaces which may all provide a very different riding experience:
- Wooden stage
- Dry Tarmac
- Wet Tarmac
- Paving Slabs
Different temperatures will have an effect on the riding surface, the tire, the motor, the control board, the battery and the rider. If you are practising in the middle of the day during summer then the wheel is likely to get hot much quicker. (This variable would be best controlled by practising indoors in a temperature controlled environment).
Distractions can impact on practice sessions, obvious examples include:
- other Riders
Electric Unicycle Variables
Some electric unicycle models seem more suited to tricks than others. It may not be possible to perform some tricks on all models. You may have to adapt your technique depending on differences between models. Variation between wheels may include
- Wheel size
- Centre of gravity (this can be greatly affected by where the battery is situated)
- Pedal Size
- Pedal Height
Changing the firmware that runs on your wheel’s control board may change the whole feeling of the wheel. (This variable can be best controlled by not changing the firmware version).
Many wheels have different riding modes which change the responsiveness of the wheel (E.g. hard/soft). (This variable can be best controlled by sticking to the same riding mode).
The tread and compound on a tire affects the huge difference on ride. (This variable can be best controlled by monitoring the tire tread and replacing with the same tire as soon as adverse wear is identified).
Changing the tire pressure makes a big difference. A higher pressure will result in a faster and more responsive wheel (but more difficult to control). (This variable can be best controlled by fixing the tire pressure as a parameter and regularly measuring/adjusting the tire pressure before a practice session).
EUCs can respond markedly differently at different states of charge. (This variable can be best controlled by fully charging your wheel before each practice session).
Attaching accessories to the wheel can impact on how the wheel behaves – these can alter the centre of gravity or restrict entry/exit to/from the wheel. (This variable can be best controlled by removing all accessories from the wheel or having the same accessories attached to the wheel when attempting to perform tricks).
Rider weight could be a source of variation.
(This variable can be best controlled by monitoring your weight and adjusting your diet accordingly).
(This variable can be best controlled by adhering to a regular fitness regime).
Wearing different footwear can affect your riding performance. Variables include:
- Sole thickness (this affects your ability to feel the foot plates)
- Padding & Support
(This variable can be best controlled by wearing the same pair of shoes when performing tricks).
Clothing can be a source of variation. Some clothes can restrict movement and even affect the weight or the centre of gravity of the system.
If you are practising for a show it may be sensible to practice in the costume that you are going to wear for the show.(This variable can be best controlled by wearing similar fitting clothing when practising).
(This variable can be best controlled by wearing the same safety equipment each session).