Another beginner - Devon UK

I tried backwards riding to help me learn idling - but I couldn’t do either.

With the free mounting nearly in the bag, I am also practising to kerb mount with my non-dominant foot, hoping it will help with the balance and feel for idling.
Plenty of work to do yet - then I can try to ride backwards again.

Casting my mind back 22 years, I remember how I learnt to idle.

Once I’d learnt to ride, I rode everywhere. Not being able to idle or free mount made that a little more challenging.

I decided that every so often, while riding, I’d stop, pedal half a revolution backwards, then start moving forwards again.

Before long I moved up to half a turn backwards, half a turn forwards, another half a turn backwards, then start riding forwards again. I worked up from there, gradually adding more rocks before starting to ride forwards again.

I found that the best time to do it was while riding past the local park, when I was in grabbing distance of the park railings :smiley:

Which also reminds me of my good fortune in being within grabbing distance of those railings the time I wrapped a shoelace round a crank. I’ve never again ridden with untucked laces.

Hey Reeny,
Seriously, you sailboard? One of the reasons I got into unicycling is my love of windsurfing. I used to windsurf annually 1-2 weeks at a club med since 1995. Recently, I’ve missed 3 years in a row. What to do? I tried balance boards, which I quickly mastered. Then for some crazy reason unicycle. It seems to be a great outlet for my physical/aggressive/independent(yeah…loner)/analytical/experimental/obsessive/engineering side.

When you say you hold your breathe during launch are you talking about “waterstarting”? That’s something I’ve never had optimal conditions to learn. Flat water, steady wind, shallow sand bars. I’ve tried in 20knot chop, but forget that. Beach starting? I can do. Is that what you hold your breathe/jump/go? I have developed great choppy water balance, so I kinda muscle it with the mast, board and work with wind/chop to find a balance and drift.

Now, back to subject of unicycle. I know “most of you” do the 3 and 9 o’clock “perfect launch with zero pedal pressure” take off. I can’t do that. I start at “dead time” 6 and 12 o’clock with “half idle rock back”. This forces you to really get up/balance/then go. Versus, Getup/Split second forward tilt/fully committed falling with gravity Go!!! Method. So, I really want to advocate the rock back(not whipback…there is the weight down at 9’oclock pedal method, too. Not advocating that). My pedal down foot(Dominant) is fully weighted down at 6 o’clock. Then partially seated already, slowly rise and place my top foot at 12 o’clock. Yank back a few inches. Forces my body to tilt forward in a stable/controlled “long” pause. Then go.!!! Then go. Yes, 1-2 go. More like 1-2-3 go, but for anyone “who can’t free mount” this may work. For anyone trying to “learn idling” this will get you closer. So mounting like this all the time, I eventually started rocking back/forth/back…then go. That’s idling!!! Yes. So a good thing!!! Win…Win…!!! Keep on!!!

So, I just can’t do the 3 and 9 method. The hop on your butt with “zero force” on pedal foot and lickity split go method. Just can’t. Didn’t make sense (however, I will eventually try and master it…so I don’t leave a blind spots in uni skills, but I be grudge)

BTW: I did start wearing shin pads(soccer shin pads) to stop losing blood/skin. My greatest injuries were not getting “thrown off”, but rather trying to hang on/getting stuck and falling “straight down into my pedals”. Probably no more than 6" or a foot of gravity drop can do a lot of damage. Ouch. Shin pads!!! Good.

I don’t think the rollback mount is necessarily any easier than the static mount, at least not for everybody. We all have a tendency to think that what worked for us will work for someone else. I started practicing the rollback mount because on the 16" I found I could do a sort of beginners version without the rollback, so I assumed it would be easier, but actually I’m making more progress with the static mount on 20" and 24". Eventually I’d want to be able to do both.

Does anyone know why slamdances posts are showing with very long lines of text, btw? On my phone, at any rate, all the other posts wrap round to a readable width but slamdances come out so wide I have to enlarge them and read half a line at a time. I’ve seen it happen in the past when people include large photos, but that’s not happening here.

Edit - actually, now I look back the previous posts are OK, so whether that means it is only that one that is weird or whether it fixes itself when a new page starts I don’t know. Not very important, I just wondered!

I was beach starting almost all of the time on longish boards - Bic Astro Rock 285cm long, 125L / F2 Phoenix 320cm long, 190L.

It surprised me that George Peck started unicycling as a winter fitness training method for his short board windsurfing.
Not because of the similarities between the two sports - dingy sailing sitting down in a comfy seat = mountain bike, or driving a car / sailboard = Unicycle adrenalin rush, or riding a motorcycle.
But because he lives in Alaska.

You spend a lot of time in the water on a short board, and the waters around Seward will be freezing cold.
There is a link to the video here in post #2.

Have you seen this unigeezer video?

It talks about mounting a 36er, but it’s actually a tutorial for the static mount technique which works for all wheel sizes. That certainly helped me a lot - unicycling tends to be quite a complex sport with lots of things going on at once, so it helps to be able to break it down. This teaches you the crucial part of the technique without having to worry about what a unicycle is doing.

The static mount and the rollback mount are equally useful (it’s hard to static mount into idling and it’s hard to rollback mount into hopping) and eventually you’ll want to learn both. I’m still more comfortable static mounting as it’s what I learned first, but I’ve taught my son the rollback mount as he was already half way there, and I see some very good unicyclists using that as their stock mount.

Another one worth mentioning is the tyre grab mount - you won’t see experienced riders using that, as once you learn to static mount it’s no longer needed, but it’s a very handy stepping stone to the static mount. In fact that’s how I first freemounted before static mounting - I learned it within a week of being able to ride.

p.s. I also used to windsurf, I have a couple of boards still in the garage, but I don’t think I’ve been out on one since I learned to unicycle (I got myself a racing surfski for playing on the sea instead - lots of balance required in a totally different way). Could waterstart on a modern shortish board - pretty much essential in places I sailed when there were enough waves to make uphauling on a little board tricky, though I never nailed carve gybes.

I find that video a bit misleading, I think. For me, when I occasionally get it right, it feels more like balancing some weight on the back pedal against my weight on the seat post as I swing up, rather than not putting weight on the pedal at all. But most of these things are about what goes on it our heads as much as anything. I’m feeling really chuffed - despite not having been able to get out to practice much this week, I’ve made some good progress in the garden, which previously I found really difficult. The cheap 20" uni that I put a big tyre on comes into its own as a lawn unicycle, and I’m now able to go the length of the lawn more often than not, which for me is practically muni! Also got some good free mounting on the grass - grass makes it a bit easier to get on, I think, but harder to cycle away. The mounting is very nearly there now, except that sometimes it isn’t!

You’re right, you do have to have a little bit of pressure on the back pedal. The pressure on the back pedal and on the seat work together. You just have to figure out the correct ratio.

The pressure on the back pedal is just enough to hold it in place - the important thing is to hold the foot where it is and modulate the pressure in order to do so. Given that the natural instinct is to put too much weight on the pedal, it can’t do any harm to train the opposite - it’s not all that difficult to then put a bit more weight on it. In any case, he’s not putting no weight at all on the plate in that video, just a minimal amount.

If you’ve not tried actually doing what is shown in the video, then you should - it really does help a lot.

It seems that there are two schools of thought on this, the UniGeezer school and the UniMyra school. I’m in the latter.

I haven’t figured out yet whether it’s two different ways of free mounting or just two different ways of thinking about and describing the same thing. But whatever works for you.

It could actually be that different people have different amounts of fast twitch fibers and leaping ability, and some of us need to step up because we don’t have to vertical leap to make that jump. Just looking at Terry, he’s obviously athletic in a way that I never was at any age. While I can jump up to a 20", I have to step hard on the back pedal to get onto my 24" uni or anything larger. Can’t speak for anyone else but I “break the egg” every time!

That may be a part of it for me, LargeEddie. I know I harp on about this, but I really do think that me being only 5’ tall must change the dynamics. The hardest thing I find about freemounting is not avoiding putting weight on the back pedal, it is getting up on top of the seat post instead of lagging behind and falling back.

Some self talk might help with that. At the instant you make your jump, say to yourself “get up there!” It’s like a last-minute command and reminder to your brain to go for it and might give you a little extra push . Even just a single word might work. “Jump” or “go” would work too at the very instant you make your jump. That works for me anyway.

Is it possible for you to adjust the geometry of yourself and the unicycle so that the act of putting the first foot on the pedal and applying weight the seat happen simultaneously?

If you’re putting your first foot on the pedal too close to the 6:00 position, then you’ll have a greater distance to raise yourself onto the seat. Try placing your first pedal closer to the 9:00 position, then apply the weight of your upper body to the seat. Don’t even worry about mounting; just try to maintain a momentary stand-still in this position. Lift your second foot only a couple inches off the ground, and attempt a momentary static position.

If I’m reading correctly, your technique of mounting involves an awkward interval between your second foot leaving the ground … and your upper body resting in the seat. This is, IMHO, scary. Maybe being 5’ changes things a bit. I suggest you experiment to see if that balance point, where the forward thrust of your torso on the seat balances out the rearward thrust of the first foot on the pedal. This technique can be practiced also by leaning forward enough that you’re effectively mounting onto your stomach; that could help to maximize the amount of upper body weight you apply to the static mount.

I think a true static mount can be, theoretically, performed in slow motion. I am a huge fan of the one-footed-still-stand. That skill is expressed at the beginning of a static mount.

You may have optimized your seat height for riding; it could take some experimenting with seat height while learning to mount, however.

I am a tall person with a long torso and a fair amount of upper body weight. I think this makes the mounting technique I described above easier. But I think you can still, with practice, achieve it.

Good luck, SpinningWoman. Nice to hear that your unicycling issues are evolving.

No, it’s not really like that at all. I have my seat up against my body from the beginning, pushing into it. In effect I swing up on the seat, with the ‘forward’ pressure of that held in check by the back foot which is in the 9/3 position from the start (or maybe a little more down like 4/8.). I did wonder about fiddling with seat height, but I can’t really see the point. I’m pretty much getting there. It feels like I would benefit from doing a rolling mount for extra momentum, even on the 20", but I don’t yet have the coordination for that.

I can get both my feet on the pedals, roughly horizontal, more or less 95% of the time. It’s just that maybe 55-60% of those mounts my weight is still behind the unicycle so I can’t get up into a still stand or ride away. But it’s definitely improving.

I’m a big fan of the UniMyra method too - though it looks easy on the 36", and I’ve never managed to jump that high.

SW, when I started on the free mount, I came across this video:

It probably won’t teach you anything you haven’t read yet, but the interesting exercice it suggests is to launch yourself over the wheel, to get a sense of the move. And once that’s acquired, you can move onto the mount itself. It’s a clever way to do it. Worked for me for sure - I also did the same thing whilst learning the roll back mount.

I’ve had the most luck free mounting by using the wheel grab method. I now wheel grab then hop a couple of times to ensure the unicycle is under me.

Same here. I taught myself how to feemount, without any videos or anything else. I decided then that pushing down on the back pedal would automatically move the seatpost up underneath me, and propel me up onto the top. All I had to do was catch the forward pedal with my other foot. I now realize that jumping up is a helpful (and necessary) component, but I still do it pretty much like I started out. (Except for big wheels, then I have to take a couple steps to get some momentum. Same with mounting uphill.)
(I’m not very athletic, and that probably has something to do with it.)

What size wheel though? I would be bent right over to wheel grab on my 20".

I’m quite a bit taller than you and successfully learned to wheel grab mount on a 20 (as my first freemount method).

I’m not sure if some people are missing the point of the unigeezer video - it’s not suggesting a fundamentally different technique to unimyra, it’s simply a way of teaching yourself the concept of keeping one foot in place with minimal pressure whilst jumping up with the other foot. Fundamentally you’re still doing that with the unimyra method. My “static” mount is certainly far from pure and anything but static - on anything bigger than a 20 I tend to start with the back pedal below horizontal and roll the wheel a bit before jumping up, which makes it more dynamic and allows a bit of pressure on the back pedal. However the pressure on the back pedal is still far less than is natural, and doing unigeezer’s exercise taught me to decrease the pressure on it.