Any tips for learning to free mount on upward slopes?

I can successfully free mount most of the time on level or downward slopes but on upward slopes I almost never get on and ride away. Do you guys have any pointers or is it just practice till I figure it out?

What sort of mount are you using? If you’re static mounting, then the easiest way I find is to hop the wheel back underneath yourself after mounting - this means you don’t have to jump so far forwards when getting on. Of course this requires that you can mount and go straight into hopping (and that you can ride off from a hop), but those are useful skills to have anyway.

Alternatively rolling mount - that’s what I’d started to do on uphills before I worked out the technique of hopping the wheel back underneath. In a way I wish I’d not learnt to hop the wheel back so soon, as then I might be better at rolling mounts!

Honestly, I’m not sure what the mounting style I’m using is called. I’ve just been riding about a month and a half. I put the left pedal at about 4 or 5 o’clock, seat in my crotch, step on with my left foot, uni rolls back under me, and I catch the right pedal with my other foot. That’s how I learned although I’m kind of jumping up into riding position now instead of having the unicycle roll under me. I’ve played with hopping but I definitely don’t have that anywhere close to mastered.

Got my muni 26" 5 weeks ago and got free mounting on level ground done 2 weeks ago. Been very happy with the fast improvement each week. Freemounting uphill is also a big problem for me. I mount just like arrover but with a pronounced lean forward with shoulders down, right arm reaching forward.I kind of ride the bike under me. This may not work for hills, but I am working on it everyday on a moderate slope… we will see.

This may or may not be interesting to others in the learning process, but when I first started trying to freemount my ratio of fails to success was 20 to 1. When I did manage the freemount I would then ride as far I could untill I fell or had to step off. So my actual attempts at freemounting only came at the end of my riding ability/fall. So, since my goal is to ride trails anyway, I went to a park with flat single track. Every root or bump would shoot the bike out from under me. But that was good, it caused me to have to freemount 10 times more often since I could not ride as far and improved my riding ability at the same time.

I am not strong enough to start on a steep uphill while facing uphill. I can ride up a steep hill, but if I have to mount while on the hill, I turn the unicycle perpendicular to the hill, start, then turn upward and keep going. This can be hard for me on some single tracks. On the 36" I grab the wheel while I jump up (perpendicular to the road or trail if facing uphill).

+1 on the static mount. Also u could mount diagonal (or even perpendicular) to the hill, then turn up the hill.

OP - sounds like a roll back mount.

Yeah forcing more frequent mounts helps. Eg ride your commute and do X mounts before u leave and at every corner. (See sig)

When freemounting uphill it helps me if I idle a time or two before riding away. If the hill is too steep for me to freemount on after a few tries I freemount down and then turn around quickly. If you can freemount on level ground you should be able to learn to do it uphill with a little practice.

Idle… have not attempted it yet. Seems to me that it will be the hardest thing to learn??

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I’ll keep after it. Gorgescrambler, it sounds like we started about the same time and are on the same learning schedule.

I can only Idle back and forth about 5 times. But I can get 2 or 3 in every time.

Try putting your left foot at 2 o’clock. This way as you jump up you will catch the right pedal at 10 o’clock. This should produce more power going forward on your right foot. Allowing you to ride away smoothly. From the description above you are catching the right pedal at 12 o’clock. This is the dead spot and hard to create forward momentum. Good luck!

I usually just grab the wheel to lock it in place if I’m mounting on sketchy terrain; it’s easier than trying to get that perfect balance of forces that make for a smooth static mount.

If the wheel’s all muddy or I rolled through some dog poop :roll_eyes: or something not-grab-inducing, I’ll mount at right angles to the slope and turn uphill with the first pedal stroke.

Rollback mounts on steep offroad usually get me headed downhill backwards too much to gracefully recover, and take too much trail space, but they work great on typical road hills.

First of all, congratulations on your progress over a short month and a half! Hills were not on my menu that early in my unicycling experience. For laughs, I have a video (on VHS) of me trying to do an uphill mounting workshop at my first MUni Weekend (1996). Zero successful mounts! But it was a quickie workshop, and I’m sure I got it after Jock Young got bored and turned off the camera. :slight_smile:

Rollback mounts are great on flat ground, and I recommend them as the best way to get comfortable with mounting. A Rollback is where you start with one pedal toward the rear. BTW, clock positions are only meaningful with a reference point; which side are we viewing from? Anyway, when you press down on that rear pedal, you let the wheel roll all the way past the bottom until that foot is out in front somewhere. At that point you put your foot on the rear pedal and go. Actually you can put your foot on the rear pedal anywhere past TDC (top dead center).

A Rollback mount is not where your pedals stop at the vertical and you ride away from there. That’s what I call a ‘dead spot’ mount. You have no leverage there, so the mount is usually sketchy. That’s probably what gorgescrambler was doing in his early days.

But the Rollback doesn’t work well on dirt, especially uphill. It’s harder to deal with both bumps and the slope. A static mount is better. That’s where you keep the back pedal in the back, give a big jump up and over the balance point, and start pedaling (or hopping) when your other foot gets to the front pedal. For this mount to work, you need to not let the wheel roll back, which just takes practice, and also to get your center of mass ahead of the axle to be able to ride away.

If it’s steep, I usually start with a hop or two, and often ride at an angle to the slope rather than tackling it straight up. But I did complete the Uphill course at Unicon XVI (riding up a section of a ski slope on grass). I had to stop several times for “oxygen breaks”, but I think I just mounted straight ahead each time. It’s doable.

Don’t expect mounting uphill to ever get as easy as mounting on level ground or downhill. It’s harder. But with practice, you can definitely learn to do successful mounts nearly every time. That is, the terrain can sometimes make it awfully hard!

johnfoss, thanks for your imfo. I spent an hour today riding single track and found static hopping up and over works best as you described rather than the roll back. I failed most of the time, but got it enough to understand what I need to do. I am pretty beat up, but had a blast.

Thanks for the advice, will try grabing the wheel and see how that works for me. A face plant most likely!! But I will try anything.

Yea, this is a fun learning process. I am averageing 30 minutes every other day to pratice. There is a clear improvement each time, which is keeping me pumped to stay at it. My brother and son are now expressing interest in getting unis. We usually go mtn biking or hiking every couple of weeks together, so now we will even more fun.

Jump higher …

Jump Higher Grasshopper

Johnny Reggae is right. But how?

Unigeezer has a good video on how to mount a 36er where he uses cinder blocks and a paper plate to practice.

I didn’t get out the blocks or the fine china, but I did get the gist of this method and use it on my 26er. It seems to be jump higher, then get your front food on the pedal all without putting much pressure on the back pedal. When doing this uphill, I have the pedals almost horizontal, so when my front foot is on, I can apply some torque to keep me from going backwards. Also a small divot or rock on the downhill side of the wheel is a bit helpful.

Mounting downhill I put my back crank almost all the way down to keep the “brakes” on, then it doesn’t take much to get going.

Now I should practice using the other foot…

5 weeks of uni-fun so I am still learning… happy to share with someone who is experiencing the same newbie pangs… and always looking for suggestions.


Went and rode trails Sat and focused on mounting on the milder uphills. Made alot of progress and lots of upd’s, but paid a heavy bloody price on the shins(forgot pads). My wife looked at them and just shook her head and asked sarcastly “did it ever occur to you to stop”. Well, no, I was already commited to an hour.
Sunday I decided to see how far I could ride on a back paved road, did not think my shins could take any repeaded hits like Sat. Winds were gusty which made the ride a whole new experience, even with that though, I was able to ride 3 miles in 45 minutes. Wow, I am still amazed. I walked in the house afterward so excited and told my wife about my grand feat. Her response was “Thats great, could you load the dishwasher before you take a shower”.