Any advise for first mountain uni?

Tomorrow I’ll travel with my family to an italian Dolomite’s peak. I’ll try on Thursday to came down with my Kh 29" with 180mm disc brake from 2670 metres to 2100 metres for a 5.5 km ride (during winter it’s a red/medium skiing trace).

I ride since 2017, I cannot idle nor perform any kind of trick: just ride straight, turn and use the brake on gentle slopes. I tried freewheel for the first time last week and achieved 2 complete rotations after 2 hours of attempts…

I know I’m a newbie, but I won’t get any muni chance for long if I skip this one. So I’m going to try…

I own a complete “dragon scale” armour which I’ll use to avoid main injuries… Can you suggest me any advice (instead of just pray)?

I’ll use 2.4" Maxxis Ardent tire with low pressure (don’t know exactly the pressure, just know it feels right for me). The ride will be mainly on rocks and some short grass (If I is snow I won’t try it)

Only two pieces of advice:

Stay save: be realistic about your skill level, and look at the trails from a standpoint of how much can happen. If the trail is really exposed (steep cliffs next to it), don’t ride there if you are not 100% sure you are not going of the trail, even if you fall. If there are lots of big rocks sticking out of the ground, you probably should be able to know you are not going to faceplant there. No protector is going to save your neck if you fall down a cliffside, and if you fall badly on a rock you will break your arm through any amount of protective gear. Your brain and some common sense is the best protective equipment there is. (I’m not saying you shouldn’t wear what you have, just that you shouldn’t think it makes you anywhere near invincible.)

and have fun: Aside from safety related things, don’t overthink, just have fun. Ride what you can, and walk what you can’t while enjoying the scenerie. I’m sure you will be able to learn a lot.

I appreciate your tips. And hope the trail will make me a better unicyclist… however my wife and child will walk the same trail, so I’ll be supported and I’ll start riding only the easiest part… if it goes well than I’ll consider to risk a bit more (I’m a frightened chicken usually)

You’ll be fine. The trails in the Dolomites can be rocky, but most of the ski runs are pretty easy, just steep sometimes.

Keep the wheel pointed downhill and keep pedaling. You’ll get over most obstacles.

So I take it you don’t take the asphalt way down. It will help that it goes downhill. Going uphill with rocky sections can be challenging.

And basically what Finnspin says. On the one side ride safe, but if you think a section is doable, but you chicken out, give it a try anyways. I noticed that myself with drops from tree roots. They look much scarier than they actually feel. At first you have to adjust that the uni might hop away as you come down, but by making your body relax you can catch yourself and continue riding. This takes a little practice, but is also fun.

Good luck and have fun.

Keep to a reasonably cautious speed downhill so you have plenty in reserve.

When you hit a short patch of rough or uneven terrain, ride at it confidently treating it as a single obstacle rather than a series of small obstacles.

For very short steep descents with a safe run off area, it is sometimes safer to let the uni have its head, rather than nursing your way down.

Take plenty of water, plenty of emergency calories, spare tube and/or puncture repair kit, basic tools.

Take breaks.

Enjoy. There will always be another day. If you try too much, push yourself too hard, and wear yourself out physically and mentally, you will be demoralised.

Interesting … reminds me of what I was told when riding horses on narrow precarious trails up and down steep hills … something like, if you try to control the horse too much, you might get hurt. Just trust the horse and don’t interfere with it. The horse knows what it’s doing and doesn’t want to get hurt either.

Certainly seems to work for a lot of sports – go with the flow, don’t fight it.

A horse has its own sense of self preservation. A unicycle simply obeys the Law of Gravitation and has no issue at all with rolling right off a cliff.

That is why what I wrote was <<For very short steep descents with a safe run off area, it is sometimes safer to let the uni have its head, rather than nursing your way down.>>

Imagine a 45 degree down slope for a couple of metres, with a flattish,smoothis area below it. Depending on the exact steepness and height, and your ability, it is sometimes better to let the uni go down at its natural speed, with the rider doing little more than steering. The alternative is to try to keep it under perfect control with each pedal stroke, losing it and finding yourself being projected like a stone from a trebuchet.

I would add: lower your seat. If you’re mostly ride on flat with the occasional bumps or gravel, it’ll probably be way too high for downhill. Last year I muni’ed in the Swiss Alps with my 24". Started by lowering the seat by 2cm, but quickly I realized I needed to be almost 10cm lower than normal! Take an allen wrench with you so you can adjust on the spot - in my case, I had to do it several times as there were long stretches of flat track between steep descents.
And use your brake, your legs will thank you at the end of the day!

Yup, I read it as you said it, within that context.

It was too difficult

I’m back home and alive! :smiley:

Due to a misjudgement the trail was completely impossible for my skill level. Only rocks about 10 to 40 cm diametres, steep descents difficult also by walking… Probably a 4.8" tire could ride 40% of the descent… maybe a top rider could ride about 60% time.

However I was completely scared. About the end of the trail it became feasible, but I chickend out squeezing the brake that could’t stop me (I’m learning freewheel and I didn’t remember that I can brake with my legs too!).
I did a lot of tries just to freemount… When I finally decided to release the brake and use only legs to freemount… everything goes well and I manage about 200 metres ride (with the steepest descent I’ve ever done).

The party:

  • The Adventurer: Me, 38 y.o., wearing a dragon scale plate armour and a 29 KH
  • The Witch: my 37 y.o. wife wearing the youngest child wrapped to her body and casting curses on me and our idea of walking down the rocky trail (we should had chosen the normal walking path, but it wasn’t my fault: she decided our fate “sensing” the way)
  • The Cunning: our 6 y.o. son
  • The Imperturbable: our 8 m.o. son wrapped to his mother

Witch’s shoes. They exploded due to the easyness of the rocky trail

Scared to death:
Parents: The Cunning performed shouting a new move: the famous Death’s rolling! While his parents where staring to him due to his shouting of scare he perfomed a front flip rolling on his back on a big rock. I throw my uni, fly to him crying that if he’ll live after that fall I’ll help him die. No injuries at all, only a big fright.

Happyness for being alive at the end of the trail.
Happyness for my wife’s feet which weren’t hurting or bleeding too much
Happyness for my wife having not killed the Imperturbale not falling frontward on him
Happyness for me riding about 3% of the descent

Now I’m going to sleep. I cannot read the forum tillnow, but found a lot of truth in you all!
Thank you!
Tomorrow photos

  • Adveturer
  • Cunning
  • Looking at the trail form the beginning… “Look those rocks are small… you can ride!”
  • The “Easy part”
  • My family cursing my unicycle
  • the exploded shoes

Wow that looks like a brutal ride! Congratulations on getting through it with your family none the worse for wear!


The part I ride was easy with almost flat land to freemount.

The saddle was lower than normal.

The uni “decided” to roll over a lot of possibile small rocky stops as I keep slowly standing on pedals and go on pushing whatever could happen.

Today I ride successfully for my fist time the steep downroad to my garage. I thought what I did during the mountain experience and everything went ok

What an adventure! Yes, I guess it helps to know a trail beforehand, so you don’t bring the uni where you’ll have to just carry it. :slight_smile:

Wow, the exploded shoes! I gather those were not made for hiking. Or being outdoors… :astonished:

Those were old good shoes… the soles became hard and lost all elasticity during 10 years of stop. First steps on the rocks made the hard sole disconnect from the rest of the shoe

What a beautiful place! Too bad the trail wound up being too hard for you, but as long as you keep pushing yourself you’ll make progress quickly.

I think the same. In these days I find the bravery to try stairs: 20% went ok on a 5 steps stair; 0% of success on a 10 steps stair… however I did try, which is a great success!