Beginer's question : Road to muni?

I saw a video of moutain unicycling and immediately realized that was some thing I wanted to do. So I bought a unicycle and started learning recently.

It’s only my 2 weeks into unicycle and I still can’t ride yet, so this question might be a bit too early, but it doesn’t hurt to plan early :slight_smile:

Q1. What techniques are required to start muni? Hoping? Idling?
Q2. Which kind of unicycle should I use to practice those techniques? For size, should I practice on 19/20/24/26? For category, should I choose beginer, trail, or muni?

I know there is a long way to go, but I’ll get there some day, and your kind suggestions would be very appreciated.


Hi Lars,
I started riding trails and some easier downhill slopes a few month after I started unicyling. So it is definitely not so far away if you really want it. From the technical side you don’t need so much. Hoping could be useful, but I would consider it as advanced.
However, reliable freemount would be good, at least if you are going alone. Beyond that my advise would be to get a Muni and start riding somewhere where it is not paved, some gravel and mud roads, later start with small slopes, up and downhill, you will see its lots of fun.

Hey Lars you sound like I did two months ago! As soon as I learned about muni I knew it was what I wanted to do with a unicycle. When I was looking to buy I went ahead and got a 26" muni. I’m not sure how your terrain is, but as a new rider there are still a lot of hills that are too hard for me to crank the 26" up. My advice is start with a 24" muni which should be easier to learn mounts too.

Since I wanted to hit the trails so bad, I didn’t slow down to master any skill but just moved to the next challenge. I went from riding along a wall - riding empty parking lot - learning to turn some - getting a few free mounts - riding a gravel walking trail - beginner mtn bike trail mostly flat and few obstacles - then just started trying a little harder trails to see what was possible for me.

I was already a pretty good mtn biker and would say I caught on the uni pretty quick but you can see a couple videos I have put up in that section and the dates I posted them to see some progression. Hope that helps some and good luck with your unijourney!

I started Muni with a simple 20" (with a rather fat tire) as soon as I was able to freemount (after less than 10 tries :stuck_out_tongue: and trees are your friends!).
You can go as soon as possible on not too technical single tracks with a gentle slope.
though I am a very slow learner I swicthed to muni almost instantly.

I’ve only been riding a uni for just under 2 years now. I got my uni in April and was trying to ride rougher dirt roads and easy singletrack as soon as I thought I wouldn’t totally embarrass myself. That was around June of the same year.

Ride what ya got and as you learn more and hang around here, you’ll figure out what you really want based on your trails, your level of adventure, and things like that.

If your interest is in muni, don’t wait to develop a bunch of skills on the streets. As soon as you can reasonably freemount, go for it. After riding rough surfaces, your ability to learn things like hopping will get much better on the streets.

As for idling, I’m still working on that one (getting close!). I don’t see that one as a necessary skill for muni.

Just ride, fall a lot, and smile at all the fun you’re having!

Work on freemounting uphill.

I purchased a 26 oracle after riding for 6 weeks and hit the trails. At that stage I was able to freemount on level ground, ride holding the handle and I had discovered pulling up on the handle to climb. My first muni rides were more like muni walks, but that quickly changed and was soon riding things that had seemed impossible a short time ago. I have never regretted the 26 decision, or even had a moments thought that I should have gone with a 24. To me, the most important item for muni (or any riding) is my pads, which is another minefield of choice. I wear Shin, knee, wrist guards, gloves and helmet. My pads look worn and are covered in scars, therefore I am not. For the wrist guards I have been wearing these Dakine ones with work gloves . I started out with kris holms pulse gloves until I suffered a fractured wrist; you need support in the palm of the hand, which the pulse doesn’t have, to prevent hyperextension.

Riding uphill is one of the hardest things in MUNI I found. It was suddenly heaps easier after I learnt to idle, and even easier after I learnt to idle one foot. Makes sense after you’ve experienced it: less of a death grip on the pedals. Idling also gives control when pedals in the vertical position eg. if you meet a bump in that position.
Hopping is something that helps a lot and gets better and better over a long time in my experience.
I’m hoping gliding will be useful but might result in lots of falls. Going to find out as soon as I can master it.

Just do it

As soon as you can reliably turn and stop, just go do it. Talk to locals who know the trails and find one that’s not too intense. You’ll end up walking portions of it – sometimes long portions – but you’ll get out there and experience the thrill of conquering that first root or little hill or tree gate. Hopping, idling and all those other things will make you better at muni, but NOT knowing them won’t prevent you from getting started.

Ride on generally flat dirt trails at first. Freemounting will be helpful, but if there is anything along the way to hold onto, like trees, you can just mount there. So it’s not required. Hopping and idling are not useful at all when you’re just trying to ride an easy trail. Just step off when you need to.

Looking back, I was able to ride about 0.5 mile on the road before I tried to ride on the dirt. Everyone is different. Just go when you feel ready!

I have learned to idle and hop over the winter pretty much at will but have just begun Muni. Other then helping my ability to catch my balance these skills have not been much help to me yet off road. I was getting frustrated when I first started trying the trails.

So I tried a different approach. I went to the paved trails I always ride and started just hopping on the grass and riding for a while. When I would get tired I would hop back on the pavement. I started on down hill sections, after a while I went on up hill sections. It made me feel a good to have some success and see my improvement.

It was in the 50’s Friday so I went out again. I have a place on the trail that is becoming know as “unicycle bridge” by my frequent walking and cycling mates on the trail. It is where I like to hang out and try to learn new skills. It is 10’ wide, and there are barriers to make the cyclist slow down. The guard rails are there and perfect for one finger supports. Not to mention it is a beautiful place to hang out and look for turtles and such.

At one end of the bridge there is a is a dirt trail that starts down a 10"-15" hill onto a trail thru the woods about 500 yards to the creek. So I just went back and forth on this section. As the after noon went on I got better and better. By the end of my session I was making it down and back with out stopping, even rode up the hill once back onto the pavement. I got brave and hopped over a 4"-5" log! WOOHOO!!!

I guess the point I am trying to make Lars9 is just keep pluggin, find a way to practice with the best chance of small successes and build on that. But most important, HAVE FUN!

OK, first, learn to ride. It doesn’t really matter what kind of uni you learn on, but if you start with a 24/26 that can be configured as a MUni, it would save you buying two unis (not that you won’t find a use for the other one). If you already know MUni is your goal, I’d go for the 24/26 Nimbus MUni. 24" will be a little easier to learn on and better for super-gnarly trails, 26" will be faster and more fun on smoother trails.

Then, learn to ride. That’s mostly perseverance.

To do MUni, you really need to be able to freemount (there’s often no good thing to hold onto on the trail), so that would be the first skill I work on; or, you might even try to learn by jumping directly on, so you pick up freemounting and riding at the same time. That will make it slower to learn, but you’ll already have an important skill when you do.

Once you can ride, practice riding while holding onto the seat handle, which you’ll need to do to be able to MUni well. You’ll be more spastic at first.

Hopping is a useful skill, which isn’t so hard to pick up; it’s a little like pogo sticking. Focus on compressing the tire down rather than trying to lift the uni up.

Idling is not very useful for MUni; I wouldn’t put effort into it at first.

Once you can ride and freemount, go find an easy trail or dirt road. It’s not hard to start riding on dirt once you can ride. As you get more comfortable, keep looking for a new obstacle to roll over, a bigger rock, a bigger drop. You can ratchet up your skills really quickly if you go for stuff.

Good luck and enjoy!

^^ What Tom said.

Invest in a bit of safety gear too. A helmet is a great idea. Gloves and kneepads are too. Wrist protection (built into some gloves) is not a bad investment either.

Then you can ride fast and take chances.

What really made the difference for me when I started going off road, was getting the right tyre pressure. Where I am riding, that means as low psi as possible without bottoming out (you’ll find several threads on this topic here). I started out with way too high tyre pressure, which made muni very hard.

Yeah experiment w/ air pressure. What may be good for one tire may be too high or low for another model (or from one rider to another rider). Usually run as low a pressure as you can w/o hitting the rim or getting pinch flats, heavy duty tubes help a bit. If you are heavier and the bigger drops you do the more pressure you need.

Freemounting is good. The static mount or jump mount are better for Muni. It’s not needed but it can get annoying walking long distances looking for a tree or bolder next to the trail w/ ~ 10 ft of smooth trail in front of it.

I found it helpful to make sure I could ride at least an hour w/o being exhausted or a ton of UPDs, non scarry. Also ride off curbs consistently.

I think you meant a trials uni. You can ride TRAILS with a TRIALS uni but it’s slow, will pedal strike more, and is horrible at rolling over bumps.