How long does it take to learn riding?

Deze pagina in het Nederlands

In March 2003 I posted a poll in about how long people practiced before they could ride 50 metres. Here are the results. (A more detailed report is HERE.) This analysis is based on data from 66 people received before 6 April 2003. New data remain welcome and will be processed later.

In the picture I plotted the learning time versus age. The blue line is a 'typical' fit.

The main trend is that older people take longer to learn but we knew that already. Besides, there seems to be no 'minimum age' to learn. I would love to have data for very young children to see if that statement breaks down. And there is a strange hump around 10 years followed by an 'optimum' learning age up to at least 40. 

In addition to age, other factors matter too:


  • No instruction at all => 36% more time to learn
  • Limited form of instruction (such as the web or a book) => 2% less time than average.
  • Have an instructor => 19% less time than average. 

Moral: find an instructor.

Wheel size

Adults on a 20" or smaller wheel learned 30% quicker than adults on a 24" or larger.

Moral: pick a small wheel to learn on.

(Note that there were no small children on too large wheels (or so I think). Who's gonna put his learning child on a Coker from day 1, for statistics' sake? Adults on 28" or larger wheels welcome too.)


Females learned 18% quicker than males. I'm hesitant to give you a moral for this one...

Hours spent per day

I hate to say it but if you double your daily practice, you will spend about 13% more total hours. Moral? The more time you spend per day, the more fun you have!


Find out how long YOU will need to practice!

Download the spreadsheet hour_est.xls (Excel 4.0 or higher). Right-click, Save As and then open the saved file. Answer five simple questions and hey presto! The spreadsheet returns your estimated time to learn and ride 50 metres on a unicycle.

For more background, pictures and detail, here is the long version of this report.


Now online: Get your talent score!

Can you ride already? Then download the Unicycling Talent-o-meter from this page and get your personal unicycling talent score! 

(Bonus: that spreadsheet makes it also very convenient to e-mail me your personal learning data for inclusion in a future update of this page, if you so desire.) 


Back to Unicycling statistics.