Overcoming Stairs-Fright

Have you every ridden you bike down a flight of stairs?

Well, I did. But my bike has only one wheel.


I got my first wheel in 2014 and have upgraded a couple times since then. Transportation was the reason for my purchase and I have been using it for many years with no urge to do any crazy tricks with it.

Then came a day when I saw someone taking their unicycle down a set of stairs! I had to learn this new skill.

I started out doing curbs. Then I worked my way up to small two stair sets, always hitting them on an angle just in case I fall - grass is softer than cement.

In this video, you can see where I started practicing the smaller ones, then five stairs, and finally sets as large as nine stairs.


▶️ Watch on 3Speak - or - on BitChute


To the right, you can see me doing the largest set of stairs. Again, I head for the grassy area in case something goes wrong.

As it is, I did not fall while learning stairs. The trick is to approach the top step at medium speed and when the descent starts, do not try to increase or decrease speed. The wheel cannot brake when descending. When I was done learning, I found a stair set with hand rails on both sides. I attempted braking while going down. It did not work. The wheel took a tumble. I caught myself with both arms. Can you find that footage?

I have become very comfortable doing stairs around town, and I get a lot of looks when I do. Heads shake. Comments like, "You're crazy!" are heard as I ride away. I don't need all the safety gear either unless I try something I have not done before. I cannot take any and every kind of stairs I see though. I have to have a fair amount of space at the bottom of the stairs in order to slow down since I cannot brake while on the stairs. I have to stabilize, then brake.

Though I have not tried, I doubt that I could do a curved set of stairs or sets with short landings in between them. It may be possible one day but my main goal is to keep from falling off the wheel. I also do not try stairs if there are too many people near the stairway. I would never want to hit anyone.

Yes, I have insurance to cover anyone in case of an accident.


This was the first set of stairs I did, seen in slow motion on the video, and I had taken it quite slowly at first. lots of jarring on the knees. With lots of practice, I found that these go very smoothly as I increased my speed. That is because these stairs or a bit longer (less square).

Also seen in the video, there is a more square set (first photo above), that needs to be taken a bit slower otherwise the wheel does not touch all of the stairs on the way down - a bit scary. I remember one of those descents missing the chattering sound as I went down. These small adjustments in technique had to be learned in order to safely take stairs.

Other than that, I have not done any jumping, though I know it is possible. I will hold off on jumps for now. I may learn to ride backwards. My kids already know that one.

Thanks for reading/watching. The video was put together over a three month period. I still feel a bit of panic before heading down a set of steps. I used to land airplanes and the panic before landing went away over the years, I am sure this apprehension will leave me too one day.