How the Cyr Wheel Works

How to Use a Cyr Wheel

The beauty of using a Cyr wheel is that it can be as simple or complex as you wish. The apparatus is exactly the same for both beginners and professionals. With practice and patience, just about anyone can learn how to perform some basic Cyr wheel movements.

The first step is choosing the right size for your Cyr wheel. Most Cyr wheel manufacturers recommend buying a wheel that's roughly 3 inches (8 centimeters) taller than you [source: Coggs]. It's important that you can stand comfortably inside the wheel and that you can easily reach the edges of the wheel with your arms fully extended in the 10 and 2 o'clock position.

Wear loose clothing. Going barefoot or wearing socks work well for indoors, but you probably need sneakers if you're practicing outside on pavement. You'll also want to position the wheel on a non-slippery surface.

The key to getting started on the Cyr wheel is finding your balance. The basic Cyr wheel posture is to stand straight up, arms extended, and hold the wheel slightly forward in front of your body. This "V" shape places the center of gravity right in front of your chest [source: Tribble].

Before you try any spins, try simply standing on the wheel on the balls of your feet and balancing for as long as you can. Once you feel comfortable, try some of these basic starts and spins:

  • Skate start: With one foot on the wheel, push off with the other foot like you're riding a skateboard. Add the "pushing foot" to the wheel and continue spinning.
  • Wheel-to-toe start: Start the rotation of the wheel with your arms and step onto the spinning wheel.
  • Roll-by start: Start the spin with your arms in the 9 and 12 o' clock position. Twist your torso to hold the wheel to your side and spin it across the front of your body as you step onto it in one fluid motion.

You can find video tutorials for these three basic starts and more advanced moves on instructor Sam Tribble's YouTube channel.

In an interesting collision of past and present, the Cyr wheel has caught on with a fringe sports subculture that's existed since the heyday of the German wheel. Learn more about "wheel gymnastics" on the next page.