Off roading with an electric unicycle is a unique challenge. There are many off-road trails that people can go on but they require different skills than riding on the street or sidewalk.
In this article, we will discuss 15 tips for off-roading your electric unicycle and understand what it takes to do so!
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1. Dress Appropriately
One of the first tips for off-road riding is to dress appropriately. Choosing the right clothing is important because off-roading can be dirty and result in a lot of debris. It’s probably best to wear more fitting clothes and pants that don’t catch on environmental obstacles, e.g., tree branches, bushes, etc.
You may also want to wear clothing that doesn’t rip easily during a fall or when it’s caught against jutting branches when you’re going through narrow paths, like single track mountain biking trails.
2. Wear Good Shoes or Boots
You should wear shoes or boots that are comfortable and flexible to give you control on your EUC pedals. You may also want footwear that has a solid, but flexible sole to maintain grip on the pedals. Good shoes will allow you to have a more enjoyable off-road experience. Make sure you have freedom to move your feet with your shoes, while choosing something that can protect your ankles from any potential spraining or damage from twisting off the EUC due to off-camber ruts and other hazards.
3. Consider Spiked Pedals
One of the best upgrades for an electric unicycle to ride off-road are spiked pedals. These come in many shapes, sizes, and styles. Spikes, nubs, or anything that adds additional grip to your shoes over grip tape (e.g., which is essentially sandpaper) will give you added confidence when riding over unpredictable terrain. This is particularly true in damp conditions, on muddy trails, or when traveling over loose gravel paths.
4. Don’t Let Your Wheel Get Away (Consider a Leash)
If you have to hop off your EUC unexpectedly, the wheel may run off down a trail, fall in a ravine, or worse, hit a bystander. To prevent a runaway electric unicycle, you may want to get a leash or some type of cable, like a surf boarder uses, to keep your wheel from escaping too far.
Of course, the risk with a leash is the possibility that the wheel will take you down with it. Because most EUC’s for off-roading are heavy, attaching a leash yourself may cause more damage to your body than if you just let it go. Weigh these pros and cons of using a leash with your expected trail riding needs.
5. Wear the Best Protective Equipment
The off-road electric unicycle will be much more difficult to balance on so it’s important to wear the best safety equipment available. It is important to protect yourself from injury off road with an electric unicycle by wearing the best safety equipment possible. To learn more about recommended safety gear for riding an electric unicycle, check out this essential safety gear article.
6. Bring First Aid
Something may happen where you or someone in your group will need first-aid when riding an EUC off road. Be prepared to have first aid on hand! This means having a small kit that includes bandages, gauze, and tape. Some people also like to bring along iodine or hydrogen peroxide in case of emergencies.
7. Water and Snacks
Even if you weren’t taking your electric unicycle to far away places, off the beaten path as it were, you’ll still want to bring water and snacks. You’ll need to stay hydrated, so make sure you bring enough water for yourself, especially if off-roading on a hot day. It’s also important to have something in your stomach as well because it will allow you time to digest without feeling hungry while riding those long distances to nowhere in particular.
8. Pack Rain Gear
I may suggest packing your rain gear when off-roading in poorer weather conditions. Sure, your EUC is waterproofed and IP-rated, but you aren’t going to enjoy the ride soaking wet, are you? Don’t cancel your ride over a bit of drizzle, bring rain gear. You are more likely to be exposed to the elements and will need a way of staying dry while off trail. If you’re off-road riding in wet conditions, make sure that any electronics can withstand moisture as well.
Pack an extra set of clothes. Once off off-road, you may be stuck out there for awhile and want to change if it rains or gets muddy. It’s always good to have a spare shirt just in case–you never know when the weather is going to turn sour.
9. Smartphone and other Communication Devices
One of the most important reasons to bring your smartphone off road is to have a way to call for outside help during an emergency. You’ll also want access to GPS and other mapping information. To emphasize the point, communication tools are essential for off road travel with your EUC, especially if you’re riding alone. If you ever need emergency assistance or find yourself in danger off trail, your phone may be your only life line.
Smartphones also have many other off-road uses: they’re used as cameras, maps, compass, GPS tracker, flashlight, and much more.
10. Tire and Wheel Maintenance
If you’re offroading with your electric unicycle, you should make sure to bring tire slime, or even a spare inner tube with you and a good tire pump and the tools to disassemble your EUC. Depending on your brand of electric unicycle, you may not need too many tools, maybe just a few select hex wrenches, pliers, and tire levers.
A good idea with any off road adventures with your electric unicycle is to actually use tire slime before you head off on your ride. Tire slime will help prevent a flat, or actively work to slow a leaking tube after a small puncture.
Finally, make sure your tire is properly inflated. Under-inflated tires are a risk for a pinch flat (when the tube gets pinched and cut between the wheel rim) and a bent or broken rim.
11. Plan Ahead
As an off-road e-unicycle rider, you should take into account the terrain and weather before going on a ride. The route should be thoroughly planned out beforehand, with any potential hazards or obstacles taken note of so they can be avoided. Off-road electric unicycles are more susceptible to changing atmospheric conditions than other devices, e.g., ATVs, because it has less contact with the ground. It is crucial that off-roading riders know what their plan would entail in case they get lost while riding off trail, including who to call first looking at maps ahead of time and making notes about topography such if there’s an hill coming up, etc., that could put undue strain on your electric unicycle motor/battery.
12. Range and Battery Care
An important part of planning to riding off road, especially for longer distance, with your electric unicycle is to know your maximum range. Your battery is how you have fun, but also it’s health and charge are how you get home.
Know your total battery capacity and it’s true range for the speed and terrain you’re riding on. For example, a 2000wh lithium battery may have a 60 mile range on pavement, but off road, this range could drop down to 30 miles.
Know the terrain ahead. Plan accordingly so that when you are off trail or off roading, where there might not be any access to a charger and/or an outlet, you don’t get stranded by tiltback. If you have a range in mind, learn how many off road miles your battery is capable of before it will need a charge.
The rule of thumb for my own long distance travels is to use 30% of my battery out, 30% to get home, and leave 30% in reserve in case I get lost or need to go a bit further. Sure, this is a bit conservative, but better safe than sorry dragging a 60lb dead-wheel miles back to my car.
13. Reduce Speed Expectations
Riding off road with an electric unicycle is a great way to get some fresh air and enjoy the land in ways you might not be able to on foot or bike. But, it can also be dangerous if you’re unprepared for how off-roading will take away braking power and control from you.
This may sound obvious, but it should be said that you should probably lower your overall riding speed expectations when off road with your EUC. Of course, how fast you go off road will depend a lot on the terrain.
A suspension electric unicycle can traverse rough terrain at higher speeds with less problems, than a normal EUC. But, off-roading will take off some of your speed down no matter what. When off-roading, it’s important to know how much braking power you have available before hitting a rough patch in the road or trail.
To help you go a bit quicker off road with an EUC, build up your skills. Try taking trails in grass or loose gravel to get a feel for what its like to ride with a smaller safety net. This will help give you an idea of what’s safe off road so you can better plan your off-road adventures.
14. Pedestrian and Biker Avoidance
Taking off road trails in the local area is an excellent way to enjoy the off-the-beaten-path experience. Along with off-roading, however, comes the responsibility of ensuring you don’t run into pedestrians and bicyclists. In order to keep off-roads safe for everyone, maintain good control over your EUC.
For example, when going downhill on loose terrain/gravel and you know people are on the trail, consider dismounting. Losing an EUC downhill is a disaster waiting to happen if there are others on the path.
Things you can do to avoid pedestrians, hikers, and other bikers on the trail is to keep a watchful eye for them, make some noise with music or a horn/bell, and don’t ride at night on shared trails without plenty of visible lights.
15. Respect Local Rules and Regulations
Your local area where you ride an electric unicycle may have rules and regulations for what is legal. If you’re off-road riding an electric unicycle, it’s best to check first. You may want to talk with the landowner or public official before going off road in that particular managed area.
If there are no posted regulations on trail use for off-roader electric unicycles (or other electric mobility devices, such as e-bikes or e-scooters), use your common sense. Try and respect others, so (hopefully) they will respect us when we are riding our favorite electric rideable.
I hope you found these off road electric unicycle tips handy and gave you additional ways to enjoy your EUC adventure.
Riding an off road trail poses many different challenges than riding on pavement does. Taken together, off roading with your electric unicycle is a great way to experience the outdoors in a new and exciting way. There’s no better feeling than one of exhilaration as you bust through mud or tackle an off-camber trail on a single wheel!
Have fun, be safe & enjoy your ride!