Another beginner - Devon UK

The wheel grab didn’t work for me on a 20 inch. Grabbing the wheel puts me in a position that I can’t even move, much less mount the unicycle.

I hadn’t seen that one, thanks.

In other news, since I started sitting down on the seat better, I’m suffering considerably more! I always wear padded undershorts. I’ve not really had issues before.

Have you tried changing your crank length?

I tried the 127’s again today on the 20" (previously been using 114’s) and the 127’s took a bit of getting used to because of the longer throw when pedalling.
114’s are good for me / 102’s are usable / 89’s too short.

Part of the problem with longer cranks is the sideways spin out, which can be fixed by using a fatter, squishy, or stickier tyre.
And part of the problem is the instability of my rubbish technique.
Too much leg movement and the Uni is harder for me to control.

The 24 is better on 127’s, but that is likely to be the gyroscopic effect.
I’m going back to the 114’s as soon as possible.

more free mounting talk

I really want to advocate the rock back method, because it also taught me how to idle. However, I feel i must learn the “popular method” to get perspective. The “traditional 3 and 9 o’clock/zero pedal force” method. Help. Is this peer pressure??? So I am going to do it. What the heck.

Wish me luck. This is my “renewed plan” because I’ve tried this before and gave up quickly. (that’s how I ended up doing the 6/12 rock back).

1.) Fully pad myself(or ride on grass) and hurl myself forward at same time my “start pedal foot” (at 3 o’clock) steps down. Yes, I know zero force, but feets will do what feet will do!! Push down!!! So why not throw my body forward at the same time? The net effect should be equilibrium for a split second. My body and the unicycle will both be moving forward at same speed for a micro-second!!! Kaboom. Get up. Do it again. I think after several dozen repetitions, I will get over my fear and get some control. Start reducing my “start pedal foot” from a stomp to finally a zero force. Hallellujiah!!! Yes. I hope.

2.) Also, I plan to lower my seat as much as possible. Springing your body up with one foot is not easy peasy. (have you ever tried a one foot squat?) It takes a lot of power, so lowering the seat will save me a lot of energy. Especially, to do it consistently and reliably.

Wish me luck. I’d rather go on a 3 mile ride on easy concrete, but I think this exercise to learn something new can only help. (I eventually want to learn other crazy mounting methods: jump, run…,etc.) Also, I hope to definitely gain more perspective so I can share my experience and possibly help others.
Keep on.

Correction: Starting with foot at 9 o’clock, and I will throw my body in whatever direction will counter or go with motion. Gonna be fun!!

Free mounting standard 3/9 o’clock pedal start

Well, I tried it. I got it!!! Surprising quick. My 2nd and 3rd try. Not to brag or discourage beginners. (I can idle and free mount 6/12 rock back method already, but only after thousands of fails)

I never could do it before, because watching any training video on the classic free mount technique(3/9 o’clock), it looked like this:
1.) Step up
2.) Land on pedal
3.) Pause and balance
4.) Lean forward and go!

I could never get it. So, I tried something different this time. Yup, and I got it. This is what it really felt like:

It’s all one motion. As soon as you land the “pedal feet” 3 o’clock becomes 4,5,6 o’clock instantly. And…you are pedaling/moving, Instantly. Ready or not. Then. Fall…crash.
You don’t just land your foot and balance/pause. Nope. (unless, you are already experienced…yes I know you can pause a 3/9 position on start……but I’m talking beginners, here)

How did I get it? I envisioned my “whole body weight” on my foot landing on the pedal. At the same time my whole body is not just landing on the seat, but with “right amount” of forward momentum. The “falling forward” sensation.

So, your whole body must already be going forward. That’s main thing. Your feet landing on the pedal is secondary. I know that’s backwards, right. Just illustrating a different mind set. Don’t focus on the pedals, first. Instead, focus on the body moving/leaning forwards beyond the pedal. Once your foot lands on the pedal, it happens very quickly. You must be instantly balance and moving forwards.

I don’t think I would have ever gotten this method as a beginner, unless it was explained to me like this. It’s all about falling forward and fighting for balance while you are falling. This may not make sense to anybody who can already do it. If you are a beginner and you are at the point of “throwing your unicycle into the air” give this a try. Fully padded, of course. Keep on. Good luck.

An excellent post Slamdance,
Now I need to work out how to jump (or hop) over 10-inches high, and 2 or 3-feet forwards on one leg.

At the moment I need to use the rollback mount to “step up”
Or use a backstop / incline / uneven ground to prevent roll-back and do a kerb mount.

Hopefully these old and tired joints will get there in the end and complete a decent static mount.
This is where UniGeezer video kicks in by training the muscles.

Good description. I’m sure that for somebody learning that is the way to do it - I’ve been teaching my son mounts and his problem when trying that method (he’s currently doing a kerb mount, having apparently totally independently discovered that - I certainly never suggested it) is not getting far enough forwards. My instruction to him is to aim to jump over the front pedal, but land his foot on it on the way over (there was a helpful video posted on this thread or another recent one with jumping over the front pedal as a drill) and keep going.

Sure I can do a mount like that fairly slowly with a pause - but then I’ve been mounting like that for years and it’s pretty much 100% even in difficult conditions - you’re correct to identify that for a beginner that’s not going to happen.

Though one thing I would suggest is to learn to hop if you can’t already - I can mount like that to a balanced position and go straight into hopping. But more importantly once you can mount to hop you can use it to save the mount (which is where I get my nearly 100%!) Not only if my balance isn’t quite right, but there is no longer any need to be going forwards - you can mount and still be behind the wheel falling backwards, but simply hop the wheel back behind you, which is incredibly useful when mounting going uphill and it’s hard to get over the wheel. Relatively advanced stuff, and not something you’ll get instantly, but definitely worth working on.

The craziest mount of all is the first one you learn!

I perform a lot of jump mounts on my 20". Jumping seat-in always seemed scary to me, so I learned how to do it with the seat-in front (SIF) and both hands on the seat, so the seat is still out in front when I land the mount. It’s really fun. Try it on some soft grass. Don’t worry about riding away. If you keep your eyes on the pedals during the jump, you will land on them. You need to be holding the seat firmly with two hands. Both legs are involved in jumping, as opposed to the awkward one-footed jump of some other mounting techniques. This is so easy, your grandma could do it (after she landed the jump, she’d probably fall over and break her hip, however). This trick is mostly psychological. A complete beginner could do it. Make sure your pedals are not too slick or too grippy, and wear shin guards.

Congratulations on your progress, Slamdance!

More freemounting!!!

Hey Elpueb…I’m hoping to learn jump mounting next.

I like the idea that you suggested of just trying to land on pedals only, and holding the seat in front of you. I have begun experimenting with “off seat” pedaling. That is simply getting off the seat and putting all weight on your feet, but still pedaling. It’s kinda counter to “being efficient”. It takes great leg strength(as when you first learned). Putting weight back on the pedal is handy when moving ultra slow or going over tree stumps. More weight on pedals more stable. Especially when trying to turn on wheel “edge” (vs. twist turning).

My strategy to learn jump starting will first involve some “cheating”. I plan to use a rope or cargo straps to anchor the wheel against the fork. So it won’t turn, and then jump, jump, jump…till I can do it blindfolded/tired/even drunk…haaaa.

A final note on “standard freemount” in 3/9 o’clock position. A good “aid” is to do this on a slight…or steep downhill. Your back foot will automatically be “locked” at 9 o’clock(there will be no danger of rock back, because of the hill). Also, your upper body will already be “in downhill tilt”. This is almost like starting with a block behind the wheel. Then go for it. Remember, do not try to land “body straight up” and there is “no pause”. Get set > Step/land/go. I was just doing this a few times today. It felt great to finally conquer my downhill freemount fears!!! Keep on. Hope this helps beginners, and always “stay padded”.

Several months have elapsed, and I still struggle with any free mounting of whatever design. I have been successful about thrice, failed about a zillion times. I just keep plodding on is all… !! :o:(

Experimentation is the right attitude, slamdance! To some extent, thick grass performs the same function as strapping down the wheel. I’m curious how your strapping-down experiment works. My concern is that, by keeping the unicycle fixed, it becomes a tripping hazard. When I UPD with both hands in front, I generally use my hands to get the unicycle out of the way (and it doesn’t go shooting away from me, either).

Regarding the off-seat pedaling, beginners are often advised to keep as much weight in the seat as possible. I think it’s a better idea to learn how to vary the amount of weight in the seat. Which is what you’re doing. When you stand on the pedals, are you holding onto the seat with one hand? Getting one hand on the seat, even for a brief moment, is a first step in learning how to ride seat-in-front.

There’s a pretty good group ride scene in LA. The email list is called “One Love”. Don’t know if you’re on it, already.

Can you post a video of your free mount attempts? Maybe that will give us a clue that might help.

I could not agree with elpuebloUNIdo more! I struggled with SIF the longest time then I started riding standing up trying to hold the seat with my thighs. The next step was holding the seat with one hand, then both hands.

The other thing that helped was to go into SIF pedal a few times and then go back to seat in. Just kept doing this and doing this and after a while it was almost second nature.

Now it is just a matter of getting the strength built up and learning to relax more. As to free mounting just keep at it. For me I look at it as 1000 try’s per trick. But when it clicks I shake my head and wonder why di it take so long!

Have you tried the wheel grab mount? Worth sticking with.

When I was practising I tried mounting from a kerb or patio step first to prevent roll back, and to gain an extra 6-inches height on the jump up to make it much easier to get myself started.
Once I could ride away OK, I did the kerb mount with a backstop from ground level (still do with the 24" and the 26 fatty).

From there I could mount the 24" on grass if I found a hollow in the ground, or a decent back slope to put the wheel into to prevent roll back, and gain that all important extra height.
But that isn’t a free mount in my eyes - it’s a kerb mount with a backstop.

It took a while for me to learn the roll-back mount.
The 16" wheel with the sticky trials tyre helped massively with learning the balance techniques.
And the 20" is getting a lot easier now.

Just keep plugging away at different methods & skills until you find the correct technique for you.

Well I’m now glad I’m reading this thread! Far from a beginner, but SIF is something I can’t do which is on my list to learn, so thanks for the tips.

Jump mount is another one I’d like to be able to do (well I did one once, but have never worked up the courage again) - though I can kick up mount (badly and not consistently) which is probably way harder!

I think with most of these skills if you can find a way to repeatedly practice the motions that helps a lot - with the static mount Terry’s drills do that along with kerb mounts and/or wheel grab mounts, with a rollback mount you can practice the motions whilst holding onto something.

Stupid and happy happy all in one day!

So, the stupid part came first. There is a shop in my local city that sells a few unicycles among the various bits of juggling kit and less salubrious stuff that forms its main stock. Today they had a Nimbus Ultimate wheel and I found myself inexorably drawn into buying it, just because I really wanted to know what it felt like to ride, even though I guessed it would be way beyond me at present. So I did, and it was. It really reminded me of the first time I tried to sit on a unicycle and it just kept squirting out from under me. I have no idea whether I will get anywhere with this, or even if I particularly want to. But I did discover that you can fit 4 unicycles in the boot of a Nissan Micra if one of them is an ultimate wheel.

The happy part came next - I decided that I really needed to focus on freemounting and work out why it wasn’t working for me when a month or so ago it felt like I was almost there.

First thing, interestingly, was water. The other day, though I had a good time, I was worried by my poor balance. I was failing on takeoff quite a few times even when starting from a support. I also had a couple of wobbly spells on getting up in the morning, and it was particularly bad after my unicycling day. I realised that I had actually let myself get into a habit of not drinking enough water, and that day was worse because it was unexpectedly warm and so I ended up overclothed. So since Saturday I have been making a point of drinking plenty of water and it has made a big difference. Interestingly, once I started drinking more, I actually became more obviously thirsty. I think it must be like hunger, which actually goes away after fasting for a few days. I suppose the body gives up asking for something it thinks is in short supply. Anyway, that had a major effect - I felt much more balanced and secure today.

Next thing was seat height. I hadn’t wanted to reduce seat height for mounting, but when I looked, it was actually set a good inch above my usual mark. I don’t even remember why I changed it, but anyway, i changed it back and it felt a lot better.

The third thing was I realised I had slipped into the habit of trying to mount with the back pedal slightly lower than the front one. I went back to keeping them horizontal or even the back one a touch higher, and that really helped me get my body up and over instead of lagging behind.

Net result was - I’ve got it! I’m now freemounting consistently, at least on friendly terrain, and spent a couple of hours enjoying the new freedom. Thanks, Slamdance, for prodding me into working on this again.

Wowee Spinningwoman, I am made up for you, so pleased you have cracked the free mount business… now you are well ahead of me… !!!

Excellent news…!!!

I cannot do the wheel grab thing as I am quite tall, and leaning over so far gives me vertigo, or something akin to it. Must be something you get when you reach your late teens… ?? :smiley: