Unicycle for Health!

When I was little, my parents recall me pestering them for a unicycle. They didn’t know I was serious (neither did I, really) but when I came across the right one for me in a circus shop in France this summer, my wife didn’t try to dissuade me: she could see I was determined. So I got it – a shiny minimalist icon – and failed to get to grips with it at all. Dismantled and packed deep in the car, it would have to wait til I got home for some serious attention.unicycle

Several youTube tutorials later, I began in earnest once the kids were back at school. I fell off a lot and faced the distressing possibility that I was too old (or just too uncoordinated) to get the hang of the thing. But within a few weeks I was trundling along merrily, my joy exponentially enhanced by its being the realisation of a lifelong ambition.

What I didn’t expect was that it would be so physically and psychologically beneficial. It seems to me to be a discipline very much along the lines of Pilates and Feldenkrais. The abdominal muscles are engaged, the back straight and the hips aligned. It requires fully intuitive and dynamic balance involving every part of the body. Feldenkrais’ method aims to “make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant”: this describes perfectly the business of learning to unicycle and could usefully be adopted as a motto for life. Or, put another way, riding a unicycle is a guide to successful living.

2 thoughts on “Unicycle for Health!

  1. Woah! Another unicycle riding bass player? Very cool, and so true what you said about intuitive balance honed through discipline. I started age twelve and remember progressing not at all during the first few days. But towards the end of that week, it clicked. The same sudden, intuitive breakthrough happened while learning to idle. (Bass practice, in subtle ways, is just the same for me too.) Anyway, my pops, after years of claiming to have better things to do, is really enjoying his own unicycle learning curve. Instead of taking a daily power walk, he heads to the local pubic schoolyard, which has a nice long fence. These days, he barely needs it. I’m happy for him because I know how much fun it is! Anyway, found your website after seeing trumpet Simon’s photos of the ICO on FB. The power of social media and whatnot. Thanks for your posts. Will definitely be subscribing.
    And I hope to catch one of your performances sometime (and get back to Ireland).


    Bridget (in Canada)

  2. I came across your site today while looking for health benefits of the uni.
    I have had mine since 4 sep 14 {to day is 9 nov 14}
    have always had an interest but never perused it.
    it took me about 18 hours to consider myself as being able to ride it {able to go more than a hundred feet on purpose!!}
    by the way I turn 48 in a few weeks.
    anyway I do have & have had a bad lower back for all of my adult life. & I have noticed MUCH improvement in posture and the pain & fatigue of my lower back.
    I notice you ply a Bass.
    well I look forward to getting back to another thing I have had an interest in for a long time but had to put aside for personal reasons {not Bass playing} learning the Banjo!
    I really do feel like it will help my learning to play as concentration is defiantly improved by riding. it can only help my concentration with the Banjo, just wish the Uni. Could help with the dexterity needed to play! 🙂

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