I ❤️ to ride Electric Unicycles!
With nearly 10 months of riding and well over 3,000 miles of mixed street and offroad riding, what’s it like?
Riding an EUC is Stupid Fun!
It’s a magical vehicle that “reads your mind” (by responding to your body position). It’s even more fun with more experience! I’ve put in a lot of offroad time which has helped me become a better rider. It’s slower and falls are softer than asphalt but it really helped me train for rough streets.
Roads usually have at least some ruts, bumps and potholes so it’s important to gain competency and stay with the wheel throughout as it tracks, skids and gets kicked around. It’s a cooperative endeavor, you have to go with the skid if you want to stay on the wheel.
Invisible Vehicle from the Rider’s Perspective
Perhaps the most mind-bending aspect of riding an EUC is the lack of visual reference to the vehicle you’re riding. On a bike or scooter you see your arms and hands holding the handlebars in your field of view. With an EUC or other self-powered, self-balancing devices like hoverboards and OneWheels, you’re just there, magically rolling down the road or trail.
Is Riding an EUC Difficult?
It absolutely requires training and practice. I acquired the basics in about a half hour but it took many days to get better at turning and months to get comfortable with bumpy and offroad riding.
I still can’t go backwards and have only ridden in the standing position (not seated). I probably can ride with 1 leg on a controlled surface but haven’t really tried; I’ve gotten better at adjusting my feet on the pedals while riding which is sort of a baby step in this direction.
It’s incredibly rewarding to ride. For the effort I put in, I get back so much more than simple transportation.
Training on an EUC is Fun!
I’ve enjoyed the entire learning experience, even those shaky, early days. While it takes training to ride comfortably over multiple terrains, you can take it step by step, skill by skill. Just make the next offroad a little quicker or bumpier. When I revisit terrain that I initially struggled to go over, I’m generally amuzed by how easy has become.
Cool, cool, but … What About Injuries?
I’ve had a few minor bruises from some low-speed falls, generally offroad hitting a hole or a ditch where I couldn’t keep the wheel under me. Most of my falls have been on grass and most of my accidents have been under 5 MPH.
My left elbow got a raspberry from an early crash and failure of my safety equipment and was bruised again because I missed the elbow pad in the jacket on another fall. My fingers got scraped up and there’s been various bruising in calves where they contact the vehicle early on but nothing major.
Is Riding an EUC Exercise?
It isn’t exactly a cardio workout but it also isn’t exactly doing nothing. I’m typically between 85‑110 BPM but on extended offroad trails my HR can peak at ~160 BPM.
Core & Leg Training
EUC riding requires balance and an active stance with at least a slight bend to the knees. All in all, my core from abs to hips get used to carve and stabilize across bumpy terrain.
Calf, hip and hamstring stretches feel fully necessary at times. It uses some muscles in a different enough way that I’m still building up my strength and endurance.
My right knee sustained an injury when I was 11; it left scar tissue and occassionally, often weather dependent, I experience pain and soreness at and near the injury.
Since riding an EUC, my knee’s only flared-up once. I suspect this is because I’m strengthening all of the connective tissue and muscles while being magically transported around town.
Is EUC for You?
If you think you’d like to ride an EUC, give it a chance! It’s fun, light exercise with the health benefits of improving balance and posture.