The Pros and Cons of Electric Unicycles
Electric Unicycles, or EUC’s as they are widely known, are an amazing way to get around. They are fast, efficient and fun. We are absolute fanatics at e-RIDES, and like nothing more than sharing the love! However, since they are a relatively new and ‘disruptive’ technology, there are some things that you need to be aware of before deciding to make an EUC part of your life.
In this article, we take an objective view of the things that make EUC’s great…and some potential pitfalls too.
The Pros of EUCs
There are so many things to love about being an EUC user, and we’re sure that everyone has their own take on this. However, here’s the e-RIDES list of what we LOVE about EUC’s!
The amazing EUC community
Even though EUC’s are a fairly new technology, they have already established a strong and supportive community of like-minded people. Social Media is awash with individuals and groups that are EUC converts, and there’s tons of help and support available at the click of a button. More than this, you will find that communal rides are a big deal, so it’s a great way of meeting new people that share a common passion.
We find that the world of EUC riders is a youthful, optimistic community with an amazingly positive and supporting vibe. We’ve made friends for life thanks to EUC’s!
Environmentally friendly transport
Since EUC’s are electric, and powered by a rechargeable battery, they have next to no impact on the environment. If you happen to have access to solar power, then so much the better – your wheels are essentially being 100% powered by nature! As a piece of kit, EUC’s have a relatively low number of components and are mass-produced, so minimal energy is required for the manufacturing process.
As city centres are getting more and more clogged with polluting cars, EUC’s are a perfect solution to green transport. Also, your EUC should last you many years without needing replacing, so are not likely to be a disposable purchase. So why not join the green revolution and get going on an electric unicycle!
A low-maintenance way to travel
There are a small number of components that go to make up an EUC, and very few moving parts. This means that that your EUC is going to be reliable, and very unlikely to break down. EUC’s can be easily maintained with a limited amount of technical knowledge. Basically, we advise you to keep your wheel clean to avoid grit getting into the mechanism; a quick wipe down after each use should suffice. Keep you wheel charged to around 80% capacity, and try not to let it run out of power. This will ensure that your battery has a prolonged life. Apart from that, form a relationship with a local dealer like e-RIDES, and get them to give it a once-over every year. Sorted!
EUCs are a healthy way to get around
Ok, so we accept that an hour on an EUC is probably not going to burn more calories than an hour at the gym; nevertheless, a journey on your EUC is still going to bring health benefits. Using your EUC will help your core strength, as you are going to be doing a lot of leaning from your core tummy and abdominal muscles. EUCs are pretty much guaranteed to raise your heart rate too…and you will build lower-leg stamina as you ride. And that’s before we get onto the mental health benefits that are related to connecting to the community and the world around you. An EUC trip produces endorphins each and every time…it’s a buzz that’s hard to beat!
The future…right now
If you are an early adopter, you’ll be familiar with the thrill of being one of the first out there. EUC’s are still a relatively rare sight in the UK, so you’re gonna get noticed for sure! So, be prepared to turn heads…and expect the inevitable cry of “Cool!” if you are seen by a passer-by.
We believe that the rise of micro mobility is inevitable. We refuse to accept that in 10 years’ time, the roads won’t be full of EUC’s and e-scooters. So, it pays dividends to get onboard quickly. It means that you will be ahead of the curve. You will already be a confident rider who has all the kit. You’ll probably know the best places to go on your EUC. You’ll also know all the in’s and out’s of your own EUC.
EUC’s are easy to learn and use
Getting used to your EUC is no more difficult than learning to ride a bike. It quickly becomes an instinctive thing and is one of the biggest draws that people have towards EUC’s.
Control of your EUC is largely done by leaning. Your EUC will have a built-in gyroscope which will allow you to lean forwards to speed up, back to slow down and to each side to turn. It is a completely intuitive way of controlling your ride, and we’re pretty confident that you will have mastered it within an hour.
Once you are confident, then it’s a case of getting on and setting off. What could be easier?
At the e-RIDES HQ in Greenwich, we have a space where you can try your EUC and get used to the art of controlling it. Get in touch to find out more by calling us on +44 (0) 20 3633 9748 or emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org
EUC’s are so cheap to run!
Beyond the initial outlay of your wheel and kit, EUCs are an incredibly cheap way to get around. All EUC’s use a rechargeable battery and will recharge quickly, so there’s little concern about rising fuel bills. You don’t need to pay road tax on your EUC, nor will you have to worry about congestion charges or having a driving licence. Insurance is very cheap, too!
…and on that initial outlay, you may find that EUC’s are cheaper than you think. Some of e-RIDES’ best sellers cost under £1,000. Check out our brilliant range of new rides on our website.
All the while, prices are coming down whilst technology gets better. There’s even a burgeoning second hand market for pre-loved wheels too. All of this makes an EUC a low-cost way of travelling whilst having fun.
The upgrade itch
As with any tech, it’s best to jump in at a level that feels comfortable for you. This will mean thinking about budget, performance and functionality. However, it probably won’t be long before you get the bug, and find yourself hankering after something new. This could be a new wheel, or new kit. EUC’s have loads of scope for upgrading. We know some enthusiasts who have a more than one wheel, depending on the route they have planned. So, if you are the type that likes to scratch an upgrade itch, then the EUC world might be just what you’re looking for!
The Cons of EUCs
Here, we look at some other things that you need to take into account when becoming an EUC user. We think that all of these potential issues are surmountable, so we have tried to offer some solutions to each of these ‘cons’.
The legal bit
As we write this article, EUC’s are only permitted on private land, with the land-owner’s consent. EUC’s have not been included in the government’s e-scooter trial rental scheme, which is currently operating around the country. So, use on Britain’s roads is pretty limited.
If this all sounds a bit depressing, don’t despair! Even though Britain may be lagging behind the rest of the world, we will catch up. Legislation across Europe for example is relaxing all the while, and we foresee a time in the very near future where EUC’s will be legalised. Why? Well, which government isn’t looking for an environmentally friendly travel solution that promotes fitness and wellbeing and reduces inner-city congestion?
So, we say get on board now, and you’ll be ready and confident when the law changes!
The British weather
Yes, we’ve all heard the jokes. But we’re a pretty hardy bunch in the UK, and won’t let a little rain stop our fun!
EUC’s are, of course, a brilliant way to get about when the weather is fine. It doesn’t even need to be particularly warm, since EUC kit is technically advanced enough to be lightweight and high-performance. EUC’s are also ok in light rain or showers, albeit we advise you to modify your speed accordingly and think about your route particularly if there are big hills involved.
It’s only when things get REALLY wet that we tend to stay indoors. This is for a few reasons. Firstly, getting water into the inside of your wheel can be harmful to the motherboard. Also, the wetter it is, the less grip you are going to have, so the risk can ramp up.
So, try and plan in advance. Check the forecast, the terrain and dress appropriately.
A bit about health and safety
EUC’s are fast! Really fast!! They don’t have to be, of course, and if travelling around at 10mph is your thing, then of course EUC’s can accommodate that. At this sort of speed, should you take a tumble, then the only thing you are likely to hurt is your pride. However, with some EUC’s capable of speeds above 50mph, then there is an associated risk.
Here’s a quick e-RIDES guide to safety on your EUC:
- Ride at speeds that take into account the terrain and the weather
- Ensure you are wearing protective gear. A helmet and a pair of gloves should be a staple, but think about protecting your elbows and knees too. Safety gear these days is lightweight and inexpensive, so you shouldn’t be put off
- If you are new to EUC’s, then take a bit of time to get to know your wheel. Get a proper feel for how it speeds up, brakes and turns corners
- Be aware of your surroundings and other riders. Are there potholes in the road? Are you riding in a busy area…other people can be unpredictable! Again, if you are sensible, then there’s no reason why an EUC shouldn’t be a perfectly safe way to get around
Due to the size of their batteries, you can’t currently take your EUC on an aeroplane; this rules out flying. Also, some more powerful EUCs can be heavy. If they don’t have a built in handle, then you will potentially have to rule out carrying it on and off a train.
So, think carefully before you buy your EUC. If you are planning to go abroad, where most countries are welcoming of micro-mobility, then go for a wheel that is reasonably lightweight and has a trolley handle.
The alternative is to hire your wheel at your destination. There are an increasing number of dealers who offer this service, and can rent out the kit you need, too. Or, use social media to get in touch with the EUC community at your destination and ask about borrowing a wheel!
The term ‘range anxiety’ is used to describe the fear of your battery running out, and leaving you stranded. As all EUC’s are powered by a rechargeable battery, it is something that you need to consider. Thankfully, all EUC’s have a charge indicator, so you are never going to be riding without knowing how much juice is in the tank. However, there are a few steps to take to ensure that you don’t get range anxiety:
- Ensure your ride is charged to around 80% full before you set off
- Check the range of your wheel. Every EUC has a different range, but all manufacturers will quote a maximum range. So, plan your trip to be within this range and you’ll be fine!
- Steep hills and faster travel will drain the battery more quickly, so ensure that you take these into account when planning your trip
- Take your phone with you! Should you get stranded for whatever reason, then you need to be sure you can contact friends or family