Now some of you are probably asking, “What do I care about Sir Apfelot's new hobby? I want to read something about the new iPhone X Plus! ”. I can understand, since I don't have a blog about hobbies, but I still like to incorporate a bit of “personality” into the blog, because otherwise you could continue reading directly from any Apple news portal.
For this reason, the first note: If you are not interested in electric unicycles, just turn the page ... I think some readers will find it exciting and this article is intended for them.
Chapter in this post:
- 1 How balancing started ...
- 2 challenges are good for the brain!
- 3 From hoverboard to unicycle ...
- 4 A good start: the Inmotion V8
- 5 Electric Unicycle - Difficult to Learn?
- 6 What do I like about "sport"?
- 7 Accelerate and brake with the electric unicycle
- 9 Is this even sport?
- 10 Conclusion: EUC - a nice new hobby
- 11 Similar posts
How the balancing started ...
But now back to the topic. My first contact with self-balancing electrical companions was when I was on vacation with my children. There was a Segway afternoon there, where the children and adults used these well-known two-wheeled vehicles from Segway or Ninebot could try. There was a choice of models with and without a handlebar. My children stood right on top of the thing and after two minutes of getting used to it, they swept across the square and drove some courses.
After a few minutes of convincing myself, I got in line and finally I'm on top of one Ninebot miniPRO landed, which is controlled with a small stick via the inclination of the thighs. I think I was the most stupid of all adults, but in the end I drove the first shaky lap without help after just 10 minutes.
Challenges are good for the brain!
I had in one a few days earlier Blinkist book summary heard that new challenges - especially in old age! - are important, as these keep the brain fit and ensure that new neuron connections are formed. And since I didn't do inline skates or anything else that demands a sense of balance, I saw the right challenge for my brain and myself! So get on the Segway and do a bit of speed dating for the brain cells.
I have to say that after the first few laps it became more and more fun. So much so that after my vacation I sat down at my Mac and googled these things. Inevitably, I also noticed “hoverboards”, which work like a Segway, but are steered by the inclination of the pedals – i.e. completely hands-free and without a pole to cling to. This means you stand on the device and tilt your right foot down in front so that the right wheel turns faster than the left one. This way you can drive hands-free and still be able to take tight corners.
From hoverboard to unicycle ...
After the first bad purchase of a cheap hoverboard (see photo with children's feet at the top!) I'm at a "Beamie“ landed. This is a board that works the same as the other hoverboards, but that has more ground clearance and also provides a little more power. I could then drive over the freshly mowed meadow and then do a few laps on the bike path. But after two weeks it got a bit boring. For this reason, I read a little more about the topic of "self-balancing vehicles" or researched on YouTube what else is out there.
Again and again I noticed the electrically powered unicycles, which have a larger wheel than the hoverboards. While the hoverboards with a diameter of 10 to 12 inches are already at the top of the flagpole, the spectrum for electric unicycles extends from 14 to 22 inches. There are certainly still exotic models that have smaller or larger wheels, but in any case with an electric unicycle - also EUC for "electric unicycle" - you have a significantly larger wheel diameter, which has a massive effect on off-road suitability.
Since I tend to have forest and field paths, I decided to get an electric unicycle - even though it was already clear to me at this point that it would be much more difficult to drive this device than is the case with a hoverboard . But I don't have any time pressure and the brain likes challenges - so what can go wrong?!?
Good start: the Inmotion V8
It was quite a coincidence that I found a unicycle in eBay classifieds that I also saw in many YouTube videos. The Inmotion V8 is no longer up-to-date according to the current state of technology, but there is a protective cover for it and it is noticeably more motorized than the Ninebot One, which is also considered an entry-level model by many. From my point of view, the Inmotion V8 is the perfect device to learn how to ride a unicycle.
It is not as difficult as the large models and therefore easier to use. Due to the cover, it can take an extremely large number of falls without actually being damaged. And believe me: if you are learning, you cannot rule out falling of the unicycle. Only you hardly fall yourself, as you can hardly keep yourself on the pedals at first and always have enough time to get off in a controlled manner.
Electric unicycle - hard to learn?
It looks fascinating when someone drives around on a unicycle. But it is much easier to learn than a “real” unicycle, where you have to accelerate with the pedals and at the same time keep the same weight. The advantage of electric unicycles is that you can only tip over to the left or right. The bike independently maintains its balance forwards and backwards. I will write a separate article about “learning to drive a UEC”, but here's a note: After three 30 to 45 minutes of practice time (spread over three days) I was so confident that I could drive a few hundred meters. And I'm not a crack at such balance things - on the contrary. And if even I learn, you can do it easily! ;-)
I firmly believe that anyone can learn to ride an electric unicycle. In forums, too, you repeatedly meet people who have learned to ride an electric unicycle at the age of 70 and who say: It can be done at any age. If you are interested, you should definitely try it!
What do I like about the "sport"?
I recently heard in a podcast that it looks totally boring when business buffoons ride a unicycle through the city. And yes, I think driving it through pedestrian zones and streets is not particularly exciting. But when you've ridden a dirt road for the first time, you'll notice how the muscles in your lower back and legs are being challenged to compensate for the movements of the unicycle. And it is by no means boring. For me personally, it even feels more exciting than skateboards or inline skates, as you can ride over paths that other "wheeled vehicles" (which have smaller wheels) cannot travel on. And if you still think it's boring to drive around with it, I would like to recommend two videos that show two riders who are not professionals and who still have a lot of fun with the unicycles:
Do not get me wrong. I don't think it's good to drive through heavy traffic with a device like that. A fall would certainly not end well. But I think his driving skills are impressive - not his courage.
The colleague here is much more sympathetic to me: Well padded, he crumbles through the Finnish forests (presumably) and has fun doing it - without any unnecessary risk.
Accelerate and brake with the electric unicycle
Balance is the prerequisite for riding a unicycle. But if you stop on it and then drive, you also have to be able to accelerate and brake. This is learned relatively quickly, however, as you only have to lean forward to accelerate or lean backward to brake. In the wild it looks like this:
Is that even sport?
I talked about "sport" above ... can it be when you stand on a unicycle and drive through the history of the road? Certainly less on streets and bike paths, but things look different on uneven paths. I did a few comparative tests with my Apple Watch and saw that I burned just as many calories when unicycling in the woods and on dirt roads as when going for a "brisk" walk. Another positive aspect is that driving requires precisely those muscles that are usually particularly untrained in desk criminals: the back and abdominal muscles. And especially the deep back muscles, which you can actually only train with balance exercises. These deep muscles cannot be consciously tensed, so you have to train them with your reflexes. And this is exactly what happens when you ride a unicycle over uneven terrain, where you can no longer consciously carry out every movement, but rely on the reflexes of the body to avoid having to get off the bike.
When I came home from a one-hour tour at the beginning, I also noticed very clearly which areas were being trained. In the meantime this has changed, as the muscles have noticeably improved.
And another nice side effect: If you (like me) are interested in filling the red ring on your Apple Watch, you can easily do this with a unicycle tour instead of a walk. In this way: yes, it is sport!
Conclusion: EUC - a nice new hobby
Overall, I'm very excited about the new vehicle and the way it gets around. At first it feels very heavy and you just can't imagine that you will drive more than 3 meters on the thing at some point, but after a few days it goes into your blood and you don't have to think too much about how you are going balanced. When the time comes that you can look at the iPhone while driving and look at the area all around, then you are out of the woods and can fully enjoy the journeys.
In the meantime I've also infected my girlfriend and expanded our vehicle fleet to two unicycles. This enables us to go on trips together. It also offers a nice change from going for a walk, as the greater speed and range allows you to get to know completely new areas in nature around the home.
And - what you mustn't forget - with an electric unicycle under your feet, you can quickly get into conversation with people! I have already spoken to several people on the dirt roads who looked at me so inquiringly as I drove by that I turned around briefly to resolve the question marks in my mind. This usually results in nice conversations and one or two new acquaintances. You just have to be considerate and open and not drive past people grumpily, then you won't get any curses from hikers or cyclists even on narrow paths.
If you have any questions about driving an electric unicycle (EUC), please feel free to leave a comment. Since I still consider myself a beginner, I might be able to answer exactly those questions that go through your head at the beginning. ;-)
And a "warning" to my regular readers: I'm sure I'll bore you with many boring technical articles about weird unicycles in the future... I hope you can just keep browsing and still stay with me on the blog! :D
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.
9 comments on “My new hobby: Riding (learning) an electric unicycle (EUC)”
I have been riding an electric unicycle, brand "Ninebot" for 2 years. Since that time I have been doing small trips in the city within a radius of about 15 km, e.g. shopping, going to the post office, to the office, etc. with my "Ninebot" my inner-city fuel costs for the car have fallen by about half. I don't ride my unicycle on the streets, only on the sidewalk, on cycle paths and in pedestrian zones.
If the crowd gets too big, I get off and carry my vehicle.
! I don't need a parking space!
I have never caused an accident with the device, not even the smallest.
A runner needs 2 to 3 steps to brake. A pedestrian only one. I need the same braking distance at the same speed.
Everyone is talking about the electric car.
In an electric car, the motor has to move around 1,5 tonnes in weight before the driver can climb into it.
In my "Ninebot", whose battery is charged with green electricity, the motor only has to move 13 kilos before the driver gets on.
If I were to drive the distance of 100 km, it would cost me about 4 kW, i.e. about 1 euro.
It is thought-provoking that all of the adverse reviews I have read have been written by people who have never stood on such an economical means of transportation. I have to admit, however, that I drive less for economic reasons. The real reason is the great fun that the sport provides.
I am 78 years old and I hope that I can enjoy this fun for a few more years.
Hello Wulf! You encourage me and speak to my soul. :D So far I haven't even dared to walk on a sidewalk because German law is still not designed for such devices and in case of doubt you are "guilty" even though you were not "at fault" for the accident. I really hope it gets better in the coming months. However, the EU is obviously on the way and Switzerland has been EUC-friendly for a long time.
I have to say, whenever I stand on the device, it feels like being on the means of transport of the future. The little thing drives so extremely efficiently, is so easy to control and has virtually no wear and tear (except for the battery and the tires, perhaps). I would say that it is even more energy efficient than an e-bike. No question about it: You don't want to stand on it for 5 hours and cover huge distances, but it is ideal for small tours. And I'm happy that you can still ride it at the age of 78! I wish you a lot of fun with it! LG, Jens!
I would be interested in what the current legal situation looks like?
Is it (currently) allowed in DE or not to move such a vehicle on public roads?
I will soon have a new job and no more 60km to work, just ~ 2. I am toying with the idea of buying such a device. So far I've only driven it once on a test site. It was a hell of a lot of fun.
Can you tell me what it looks like on an incline? Both up and down: p From what% does it become critical?
Hi Mike! From a legal point of view, unfortunately, it still looks like the devices may only be driven on private property. They are not allowed in traffic. Partly tolerated, but if you are involved in an accident, you have a problem as no insurance would cover and you are on the road with a non-approved device.
You don't have to worry about the inclines. Even with the rather "weak" Inmotion V8, I've climbed enormous inclines >20%, which are exhausting even on foot. You just have to be able to keep yourself on the bike... :D
My Kingsong KS 18 L, for example, is designed for 65% (33 °), but at 65% you can no longer stand on it. : D
I've read your articles and decided on the Inmotion V8f. It's also my new hobby. I had only driven 250 km. After initial difficulties, however, there were quick steps forward. I try to drive a little every day to keep up with practice.
My question that arises now is the following:
How do I release the 35 kmh in the app setting, which the manufacturer specifies?
Many greetings from Arnstadt
Hello Uwe! It's great that you chose unicycling as a hobby. Sure to be fun! But that with the 35 kmh must be a misunderstanding. The Inmotion V8F only drives a maximum of 30 km / h. There is therefore no setting for 35 km / h. In the settings, however, you can set both the maximum speed and the limits for the acoustic warnings.
Thank you for the fast answer.
I found the right setting in the app.
Interesting to read with here.
Got me for a Kiwano KO 1
decided. It's a lot of fun, but it takes time
until you master it.
Hello Frank! Interesting thing, but I think you need a unicycle. That’s a lot funnier. I had already tried different self-balancing devices, but the unicycles are awesome ...: D