This blog post is from Philip Chan, a member of the PET community and founder of @scooterlifelondon Instagram/Youtube
Why did I decide to try an EUC ?
This is the story behind why I decided to try an Electric Unicycle aka ewheel or iwheel or just “wheel” to some. The initial reason was inspiration from Youtube channels like “Wrong Way”(WW) – Adam and “Hsiang”- Sean.
EUC’s first caught my attention, when I watched Adam doing an empty city (covid lockdown) ride around Warsaw, Poland on his EUC. I remember thinking ‘wow look at the amazing views of Warsaw’ – footage which could only be captured on an EUC, as you have your hands free to film using an insta 360 or GoPro camera. I couldn’t stop thinking ‘look how much freedom you have when riding on an EUC!’
My second thought came about when Hsiang was ripping up the congested urban streets of New York city and I thought ‘What the ???? How is this even possible ???’. From my experience this was nearly impossible on electric scooters (ES) in the same manner even in London, let alone New York City!
Still – many days, weeks and months passed as I continued to enjoy and love riding electric scooter.
Due to my obsession I kept upgrading my ES and each time I got a new one, I became interested in the next latest model. I came to the realisation, I needed something more. Over time I would find that the tyres weren’t big or wide enough, there wasn’t enough range or the top speed wasn’t high enough for me.
Eventually I reached an ES that was a beast! It had dual motors, big 10×3 tyres, ABS braking, huge battery, everything seemed perfect, I could go far and fast but most importantly all done while feeling safe comfortable.
However, I soon realised being in London, living in a flat and having limited storage space at work, a 30kg, 40mph, 30+ mile range monster electric scooter wasn’t so portable or practical anymore, stairs were tiresome, I couldn’t hop on public transport anymore or go shops with ease. For higher performance and safety there was a massive trade off with portability convenience. Overall defeating one of the main reasons why I had fallen in love with ES originally, which is what many in the community call “freedom of transport”.
And so I began my search for something that was powerful, rangy, but also portable and safe. ‘Is there such a personal electric vehicle (PEV) out there?‘ I wondered.
As a subscriber to the WW channel, I saw that Adam had released a video on “Why you should buy an EUC”. His video mentioned that EUC’s are powerful, rangy, with decent lighting, water rated and safe (which I wasn’t so sure about) all of this whilst being one of the most portable PEV’s out there today!
So it appeared an EUC could be the answer to all my prayers. I decided to find out!
1. Green and eco-friendly – they contribute minimally to global warming and atmospheric pollution
2. Offer a very convenient method of transport
3. Financially a very cheap way of transport (in my case = 1p / Mile )
4. Very portable and convenient
5. “Freedom of Transport” the idea that you can travel anywhere at any time with out having to be
limited by public transport, or private transport.
1. Poor lighting-both front and rear2. Usually not water rated3. Relatively small tyres4. Poor brakes in low-mid range scooters5. There is not one single perfect scooter to fit everyones needs, it’s a matter of the priorities of the individual rider, whether it’s safety, performance, range or portability, and then choosing a scooter that will best fit their needs
What it’s actually like to start riding a EUC?
This is my experience…
Learning to Ride
I began learning to ride at PET on an Inmotion V8F which known for its smooth, safe, conservative performance and easy to learn attributes.
In the beginning it was even hard to even just mount EUC, let alone any movement. One of the things that surprised me was the balance mechanism, it’s not forward and backward balance that you needed(like a uni cycle) but in fact the horizontal balance of the weight distribution of your legs – essentially hip control. Finding this equilibrium was the hardest part of getting started.
I received tips and advise from the experienced riders at PET (Roberto, Mark, Nikos and Vlad)
Some of the key instruction that really helped me were:
- Once mounting the EUC, stand up straight like a T shape, lean slightly forward and just focus on looking forward, don’t look down. This was the key turning point that allowed me to mount the EUC and actually ride in a straight line
- When turning, keep your body and shoulders straight and up right like a T, using only your legs and hips. Lock (keep) one leg straight and lift the heel of your opposite foot whilst slowly bending your knee, this is done incrementally as you turn the corner and then start to straighten up, and you finish cornering.
Note, if your turning left – lock your left leg and bend your right leg, and turning right, lock your right leg and bend you left leg.
Overall the whole process to learn to mount the EUC and ride in a basic manner took about 2.5 hrs of continuous practice. Despite the hard work, aches and failed attempts, there was something very addictive about wanting get back on the EUC and try again.
I even promised myself I would refuse to leave until I could at least go in a straight-line!
But once you get it, you’ve got it forever just like riding a bicycle and it’s one of the most satisfying learning experiences on any PEV once you finally successfully ride the EUC for the first time.
So don’t give up, keep persevering , if you fall get back up and try again, as you will get there! And you will be rewarded with great satisfaction!
From riding to “RIDING”
My first step to actually riding, leaving my safety net of the PET showroom, was about to begin!
Without a doubt in my mind, I slapped on my full face helmet, mounted the EUC and started flying out the gates of PET at what I thought was 25Mph was actually 5Mph. The sun was shining, the air felt fresh and there was a gentle breeze.
I honestly felt like I was flying.
I went around the industrial estate , over speed bumps, between parked lorries, past pedestrians , and embraced the fact that I was literally Iron man! It was the most freeing experience I had had yet to date on any single PEV.
I padded up with a motor cycle jacket, gloves and full face helmet and began heading home on the King Song 16X.
Initially I had planned to use the EUC to at least ride on a cycle path to my inter change bus stop, and hop on the bus from there. However from the first part of my ride, I was having so much fun and my confidence was building at 100 percent/hr, I decided to just keep going as far as I could. I rode on the pavement, which as a responsible PEV I never normally do, however in this situation, this was my safest option to get home home safely whilst riding the EUC. I felt at this stage with a lack EUC skill I deemed the road to be very dangerous for me.
Riding on the pavement actually proved to be very difficult, due to stopping and starting every 10 seconds. Between the many pedestrians and the unevenness of the road and ups and downs of the pavements, my speed was literally less than 5mph.
I’m sure the road was more fun and technically less challenging than the pavements, but safety first. I was determined to get home, no matter how long it took. Finally I had made it home, I was exhausted, but at the same time super satisfied that somehow, I went from not even being to even mount the EUC, to riding in public and travelling around 10 miles.
Getting on the Road
It was all well being able ride the EUC for fun and thrills, but ultimately my goal was to use the EUC as a PEV for my daily commutes, somehow I had to get on the roads.
After work at 11pm, the roads were quiet and the streets were empty, I padded up well, put on all my night gear, set up the EUC lights and RBG and headed out.
At first I took the small side streets, as it seemed like a good place to start. Keeping my body posture up right, I tried to find my “Zen” (the point where you feel balanced, calm, and in control) and just hover slowly moving forward. Upon finding my zen, I began feel the road, and tried to become one with road and make the road my comfort zone.
My zen began to break and soon I found myself spiralling out of control like a wave that I could not control, luckily I saved it and eventually brought the wheel to a stop. My heart pumped with adrenaline, unsure what to and with my body shaking, I decided it was time give it a rest for the night.
The next day I rang Roberto at PET, asking how I could control this wobble and the best way to brake. He advised me if the wheel starts to shake you need to stiffen you legs and you can try to clamp the wheel with your legs, this will help to negate the “wobble effect”.
The same night, I went out on the EUC and did just that, it helped a lot. I soon found myself accelerating through the street and braking for speed bumps with no problem. I continued to do a few laps around the block until I felt comfortable with my zen intact most of the time. On the final lap heading home I decided to join the main road and use the bus lane. At first I was nervous as the bus and cars surrounded me, but I soon learned to find my zen and just ride in the lane like a cyclist.
Practice Practice Practice
From riding on the road and also being inspired by Hsiang and evX EUC youtube channels I realised I needed to improve my actual riding skill and technical ability to become safer on the road.
It was all well riding in a very conservative and stationary way on the roads, but in the case of an emergency situation such as cars or buses or pedestrians suddenly pulling on on me, I need full control and manoeuvrability of the wheel.
I found the perfect location; Central St Martins at Kings Cross, at night it became playground. I would challenge myself, sweeping in better past circles around water fountains and hopping off curbs. Most importantly learning how to mount the EUC for a flawless take off and how to come to safe stop and dismount – which are two of the most important skills of riding an EUC. Especially on the road when you stop and start at traffic light or when you turn into a new road at a junction.
Practicing and improving all these skills are not only really important for safety but also to fully experience the potential of an EUC. Of course every rider will have different requirements of how they want to ride, but for me I really couldn’t handle the idea of being just a one dimensional rider, and needed to flow and be free.
So am I converted completely to EUC’s ?
In short the answer is no.
My reasons are as follows:
- Safety (main reason)
Despite the many reasons why EUCs are safer than scooters the stability overall on a scooter was far better on daily bases than an EUC for me at that this stage with my amateur level of riding ability and experience.I felt like I could get away with a lot more on a scooter than I could a EUC.
On an electric unicycle I had to really look ahead at the road for changes in terrain and obstacles and also pay more attention traffic of pedestrians, cyclist, cars and buses, so that I could be prepared. On an EUC being prepared or unprepared for what’s up next can have a huge impact on what will happen next i.e whether you fall or not.
On an electric scooter of course the same general rules of riding are applied but a small mistake or misjudgement can be corrected easily, simply because you have better control and balance over the vehicle in mild unexpected situation changes. With that being said it is also highly dependant on rider experience and skill level, as how the individual can deal with unexpected situation on their PEV
- Protection (minor reason)
This is subject to individual riders choice, however for me personally, on an EUC I always pad up very well. I wear a full face helmet, motor cycle jacket with abrasion resistant material with CE rated padding, two in one gloves with wrist protectors and finally knee pads.
This might see excessive but in my opinion very necessary, as a fall on an EUC is likely to be severe.
On scooters however there are also different levels of protection depending on the the type scooter and the type of riding you will be doing. For example if you’re just riding socially in a park, on a lower performance scooter at very low speeds then a half face helmet and gloves should okay.
However if you’re riding a monster high performance scooter amongst the traffic at higher speeds then you should also wear as much protective gear as you can.Overall this necessity to pad up full gear on an EUC, makes EUC slightly less convenient in terms of casual rides to the shop or social meets in restaurants and cafe’s despite the excellent portability of EUC’s themselves.
All in all, there are many reasons why I have now included EUC as part of my PEV transport:
- Performance to Portability ratio – For the amount of performance ur getting in an EUC, they are a very small PEV compared to electric scooters. This for fills one of my main criteria, as it means i can travel far, at decent speeds but also still hop on public transport if i need or take a taxi. Furthermore it means i can go to supermarkets, restaurants and cafe no problem, and finally storing the EUC at work under a desk or storing at home won’t be a problem either.
- Thrills and excitement – EUC’s are tons of fun! It’s like mini jets have been put on your feet and you can hover or fly where you like and when you like, the ultimate “Freedom of transport” lack of maintenance – By in large EUC’s are much less maintenance than scooters, just keeping your tyre pressures, and changing you tyres when they run out of tread, whereas, scooters are known to need regular maintenance of not only tyres, but also nuts and bolts need tightening once a week, brake cables need adjusting every so often.
- Urban riding and off-roading – EUCs are a multi-ride PEV as they perform very well off road as well as on road, which can spice up weekends for some off road action.
- IP Rating – As an all year round rider, having a PEV that can withstand the weather conditions of London is important. EUC’s tend to be more weather proof than ES. They have better mudguards to stop the splatter but more importantly tend to be more water resistant.
Are EUC’s for everyone as a main mode of PEV transport? Possibly not, but do they make an amazing additional PEV as a fun convenient mode of green transportation? Yes!
For those interested in learning how to ride an EUC, or even just curious about EUCs, I hope this blog has been useful and you can take something away from it.
If you would like to learn, try or buy an EUC (or any other PEV) please visit or contact PET.
I can 100 percent recommend them for their awesome selection PEV products, excellent in house and servicing (the best in London), warranty and most importantly complete honesty and transparency about advice and recommendations, to help you find the perfect PEV to suit your requirements and needs.
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You might be interested in these blogs:
How Much Power Will Be Enough? The Rise of Electric Scooter & EUC Power Lust