How to ride an electric unicycle - physics

How to ride an electric unicycle - underlying dynamics (physics) and technique for beginners

Teaching people to ride electric unicycles in our Academy for half a year now and reading our community's feedback, we came to a thought that there is no universal approach to teaching to ride an electric wheel. Though, there are few underlying techniques that speed up one's learning curve, and few of them were outlined by John Eucist, the guru of online unicycling community:

"I've been replying with this tip for over a year now in response to beginners' posts asking for riding tips but I think it needs its own post and explained in more detail as more and more beginners learn to ride an electric unicycle (EUC).

Most of us who have been riding for quite some time don't give it much thought as it has been incorporated into our muscle memory and have become second nature. However, for a beginner, it is important to understand the physics behind balancing on a euc and to be actively aware of this until it becomes second nature and incorporated into one's muscle memory so that one doesn't even have to think about it anymore.

When you ride a bicycle at a LOW speed (before gyroscopic forces take significant effect) you have to manually compensate by steering your front wheel left and right to avoid tipping over to any one side. Balancing on a euc at low speeds is a similar concept. If you are losing balance and falling (tipping) towards the left, then you have to steer or twist towards the left. If you are falling (tipping) towards the right, then you have to steer or twist towards the right. The magnitude of the manual compensation decreases as the gyroscopic effect increases with speed.

P42 note: This tip is great for both beginning and advanced users, since many riders struggle to maintain balance at a low speed

While on the topic of helping beginners, another tip is to loosely hold a luggage strap looped around the handle of the euc. This will increase your confidence as you no longer have to worry about damaging your unit, making loud tumbling noises, and/or hurting other people when you decide to step off in an emergency during your learning process. Note that this is absolutely NOT used to help you balance. The only downside to this is that one of your arms will not be free to flail to help you balance, however I believe the upside outweighs this downside. Be careful not to allow too much slack on the strap to hang too low as to let it get sucked into the wheel."

P42 note: Learning with a supportive strap gives a beginner the needed confidence to start riding by himself/herself, thus we strongly advise using them at the beginning.

Overall, there are many other useful advices to ease your learning process, but the only thing should be understood clearly: an electric unicycle is not a magically balancing gadget but a gyroscopic vehicle that requires momentum, manual compensation and confidence.