Avoiding bad habits while static free mounting

I’m a newbie starting to learn on a 24"

I’m doing assisted free-mounting, and can pretty reliably get up on the uni and get a 1/2 revolution in before jumping off. Starting to work on 1 1/2 revolutions before bailing. So the muscle memory is about to get “burned-in”.

A couple of questions–

  1. I’ve been mounting without holding the seat-- both hands out for balance before I jump on. I can do this just fine as the uni is a 24". But the uni I really want is a 29", and I’m unsure if I can do that with that size. Should I start to practice holding on to the seat with 1 hand while mounting?

  2. I have not been looking at the front pedal when mounting. I’m getting a lot of bad foot placements-- maybe 1 out of 5 is where I want it. Should I be looking at the front pedal on the mount, then look up? Or keep looking forward and work it out by feel?

Here’s my current state:


A couple of thoughts. I think you might be best off learning the roll back mount. You’ll also learn to idle quicker too, as a secondary benefit.

If you are going to learn to static mount, you’ll need to put less pressure in the first pedal. I would recommend you have your pedals in the 8-9 and 2-3 clock position.

I still have my hands out to mount, this is after riding for over 2 years.

For foot placement, I look at where I put my second foot. I tend to wear soft soled shoes (or, at least, not very hard soled ones), so I can feel the pedals.

Foot placement on the pedals improves over time so I wouldn’t stress about yours as yet.

Mounting a 29" is similar to a 24. Just higher. :slight_smile:

I watched your video. I am confused why, after a couple good starts, you did not continue riding forward past the 1/2 or 1 1/2 revolutions. Was it your plan to only ride 1/2 or 1 1/2 revolutions? You seemed ready for longer distances.

Whether or not to put a hand on the saddle may be determined by the degree of stability between your butt and the seat. It is common for beginners to ride without significant weight in the seat, and that causes a loss of stability. Which can be remedied by putting a hand on the seat.

I like watching kids learn to unicycle. A couple boys in my neighborhood, when they learned to unicycle, they held the grab handle with one hand. No one told them to. They were just intuitive. They needed stability, and they used their hand to get it.

If you’re interested in proper foot placement for the second foot, learn the tire grab mount. It’ll force you to lean forward and look down in the direction of the second pedal. Don’t expect to get a good pedal position on the second pedal unless you are looking right at it. Also, bad second foot placement can happen while rushing the mount.

I you go back to a fence or crutch, you will be able to place both feet in the right position. This will not help you get the right position for your current mounting style, but it will let you know what good foot position feels like.

The only bad habits needing your concern right now are the ones that could cause a bad fall. Bad foot placement is concerning. A missed second pedal could cause a face plant. I believe one hand on the seat is inherently safer, because the hand can guide the unicycle either in front of or behind the rider…during a sketchy bailout.

But, if you’re thinking about avoiding bad habits as a way to maintain some kind of idealized, pristine learning process, then I’d say unicycling doesn’t work that way.

Dude, go for it!

Just a bit more.
Please try to ride away after your half revolution. Because that’s the ultimate goal, right?

While mounting, I also like to point my toes down on the foot of the first mounted foot - it forces you on and over the uni. I got that tip on this forum :slight_smile:

Glad to read someone else had the same reaction. Doesn’t it seem like he’s ready to keep riding forward?


Thanks for the feedback!

To add some context why I was only doing a 1/2 revolution-- I posted this in my “Intro” thread:

To clarify what I was doing at that point-- I was following the method from this video (assisted free mounting): https://youtu.be/U4nAn7yBXSM

I realize that starting with assisted free mounting probably isn’t the common approach but I wanted to give it a try.

Steps listed there are

  1. rear foot on uni, sit and step completely over the uni a bunch of times
  2. rear foot on uni, sit and touch the front pedal and step off
  3. rear foot on uni, sit and pedal 1/2 revolution and step off
  4. then 1.5 revolutions and step off
  5. then try riding down the street…

I’ll try going for it on my next practice session! Might be a few days away due to my schedule.


  1. I think having a hand on the saddle is not really important. With a larger uni you may benefit with a hand on the saddle because can you and pull up on the saddle and push harder on a pedal to get going fast when needed to get balanced. It should be an easy change in method to adapt from no hand on saddle to a hand on the saddle.

More importantly:
2. Expecting to place your feet on a the pedals without looking at the pedal (as the foot is heading toward the pedal) is simualar to trying to hit a baseball without keeping an eye on the ball. Keep an eye on the pedals till the feet are placed, then instantly look up at some distant point and ride toward it.

It’s time to start holding the seat, looking where your second foot is going to land, and then riding away.

You’re ready to go. Just do it.

Swap out that brick for a slight decline to mount on. Work up to a flat surface.
It will get you away from that crutch.
Another option would be to introduce forward movement to your mount to replace the brick. (rolling/static mount)

Thanks again for the tips. I do have a driveway with a slight decline I’ll try there next time. I was kinda thinking I should be looking at the pedal…

I found learning rollback mount easier then static and can still only free mount via roll back. Can’t idle yet either, I am gradually learning static mount but can only do it assisted with a curb or anything to stop the wheel from moving. As for holding the seat you can learn holding the seat or having both arms out, I did find having both arms out made it easier for rollback mount.

Keep at it anyway and you’ll be riding that 29" in no time, I rode a 20" for 6 months before I upgraded to a 29" and it was like learning all over again.

My 2 cents:

I recommend learning things first, then making them better. Just keep at it, you are doing well. Once you are relatively consistent at mounting and riding away, you can worry about details like placing your foot better, or using a hand on the seat.

I’d say your foot placement is good enough. It’s a common misconception among beginners that it needs to be perfect, while in reality you will just learn to correct it while riding pretty quickly.

Applies to any movement, learn the rough movement first (in the case of freemounting that’s getting your body over the wheel, and your foot on the pedal), once that is dialed, you can focus on making it better. If you identify the “main movements” correctly, you won’t create bad habits. Of course, you do need to use your head a bit to figure out what the most important part of a movement is…but you are on the right track already, from what I see in the video.

Thinking about foot placement reminds me of the violin bow hold. I teach beginners to play violin, and they typically struggle with bow hold. One of the principles of a good bow hold is having control with the fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder. A bad bow hold (held like a sword or a chicken wing) takes away the control of the fingers and wrist.

On the unicycle, riding closer to the toe adds more ankle and toe control. Once I started riding closer to the toe, there was no going back.

Music teachers generally insist on a proper bow hold from the beginning of the learning process. But, I wonder if the opposite is true for the unicycle. Maybe it’s better to start riding near the middle of the feet. For a beginner, adding the toes to the equation just makes things more complicated. Maybe it’s easier to start with fewer variables. Then later on add the finer points.

If your second foot is landing too far back, that is going to make it harder to adjust. For the same reason, I think, that riding closer to the toe gives more control.

On my foot placement-- you all saw the good video… I had dozens and dozens of very bad placements resulting in a bunch of “takedowns”. I also am recovering from a mild right foot sprain and a beat-up right shin…


Ouch - not fun. I hope you recovery quickly.

When you put pressure on the pedal while static mounting the wheel comes back towards you. If you put pressure on the seat (by sitting on it) the wheel moves away (assuming the seat isn’t over the center of gravity of the frame). The sweet spot of unassisted static mounting is just enough pressure on the pedal to keep the wheel from moving forward away from you as you transfer body weight from your feet on the ground to your seat. This sweet spot lasts long enough to get a foot on the front pedal. As your weight transfer to the seat and over the center of gravity of the frame you’re in position to ride away with both feet in place.

That’s the secret, it’s what makes the static mount work on 20" to 36". Everything you need to know is all here !

there are some great reply’s here and I know what works for 1 person may not work for another. I don’t consider myself a noob anymore but I’m still very much green in my riding skills, I can still remember very clearly the struggles I had learning to free mount or static mount. I found holding the seat so the uni didn’t kick one way or the other if I put too much pressure on the first pedal was needed, you will get that when you remove that block, also I found the roll back method worked faster than the static mount, it took me about a year to get the static mount down good
I will say I didn’t spend time practicing mounts, I accepted that I would learn so once I was up I rode until I UPD and HAD to mount again. for me the way I did the roll back was I would put the pedal pretty much at 6 and just pushed off and stepped up to the second pedal and I always looked at the second pedal till the second I made contact then look forward and go

Chief, I agree you are doing great already, get some seat time in and it will help you learn to mount as you learn more about the sweet spots for balance
those vids that Bruce posted are great but I can say for me when I was learning that was too much stuff to try to do all at once as a beginner, you need to build a little muscle memory first. but they are great examples of how to static mount.

I agree. I never figured out the static mount. I use roll back mount for everything 20" to 36"…

So whatever you learn, you got a chance to change or modify or learn more mounts, or not. Everyone is different. Every uni size is a little different. Everyone can adapt…

UniMyra’s video shows a different technique for the 24" and 36" unicycles. On the 24" he shows a true static mount. On the 36" he rolls the wheel forward prior to mounting to compensate for a relative lack of weight in the seat. If you’re saying that static mounts are the same for any wheel size, I agree in principle, but in practice they have to be done differently.

Correct seat height is typically explained in terms of the amount of bend in the knees. For beginners practicing static mounts, however, perhaps the correct seat height is whatever allows them to maximize the weight in the seat while mounting. If the seat is too high or too low, that could make it harder to put weight in the seat.

My typical static mount starts with both hands on the handle or bar ends and my butt on the back edge of the saddle. I am leaning forward and pressing down hard with my hands. Achieving “stasis” is much easier when weight from the upper body is transferred through the hands.

Compare that to a static mount where the rider simultaneously puts weight in the seat and throws their arms up and out for balance. In this case, the arms create an “un-weighting” effect which tends to undo trying to keep the butt weighted in the seat.

Everyone should learn a proper static mount, but for beginners it may take some experimentation with other mounts…to get there. That’s at least the way things worked for me.

BHChieftain, you just need to keep pedaling. You will feel like you are going to fall off right away, and most of the time you probably will, but sometimes you won’t. That’s all there is to it. You are doing so many things right that there isn’t much to add. Just keep going. Your learning method looks like it will come with the freemount thrown in for free, which is also good.

Hanging onto the seat handle? That’s for riding over bumps or hopping up the stairs, not for mounting. Others will disagree.

Looking at the second pedal I am about to step on? Always.