Beginners Issues & Learning to Ride stuff

Okay, I’m getting lost with all this advanced unicycle stuff: free wheel, tree diagrams, brake fit issues, 36 vs 35"…you know. I am forgetting about the real reason, why I like to participate in this forum. That is to be able to share my ability to help others. To promote the sport. To get people who can’t ride to actually ride. I believe “most” members of this forum and “non-members” come here just to learn how to ride a unicycle.

So, I want to hear from you beginners who cannot even ride yet or who can barely ride to participate, and allow us “experts” to help you do better and really enjoy the sport. This topic area is for you guys/gals. ** You can just begin with:

1.) How long have you been “trying”?
2.) What size unicycle?
3.) How are you “trying to learn”?
4.) What do you “think” you are supposed to be doing?

There’s a lot of misinformation or too much good information out there. I don’t want this topic to be cluttered with a back/forth about “weight on seat” vs " weight on pedal" when learning debate. Enough said. So for you’all good riders out there, let’s just hear their story. Then help them case by case figure out what they need to do so they can ride a unicycle like the rest of us.

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  1. I’ve been learning for a bit over a month.
  2. 26" nimbus muni
  3. I can comfortably ride around now without getting too winded, and trying to learn some skills that I think I’ll need for muni on singletrack.
    a) I want to learn to jump over/onto things, like hop over/onto a curb. I’ve looked at a lot of videos, and they mostly just say “and here is where I compress and jump up”. My issue is that my natural instinct is to try to push up with both feet, but that’s very difficult while pedaling (while the pedals are rotating, pushing down on the front pedal meets no resistance, and pushing on the back pedal “bucks” me). I think what I need to do is actually roll the unicycle a bit out ahead of me before I want to jump, then put my weight on the back pedal like I want to slow down, and push up from the back pedal more than the front? Any physical cues you guys could give me would be appreciated. I can come to a stop and hop vertically, but can’t get it working while rolling forward.
    b) I can pretty consistently free mount, but mounting uphill is still very difficult for me. I have tried the method of starting with one foot on the pedal, and also tried to jump mount. I’ve been mildly successful at each. Any tips? I know I’m just not getting far enough over the unicycle (since I’m starting lower). I probably just need to practice more.

I don’t think that you want to push the wheel ahead of you too much.
That “bucking” is what you want, you just have to control it.

Start over.
Ride along very slow and stop just before a crack in the road and then hop over it and keep riding.
Get this down and then start to introduce forward movement throughout.
Ride up to the crack, lean back very little and engage the back foot for a small/quick brake (just a millisecond), and then immediately after hop up and slightly forward with both feet and while pulling up on the seat.

Your first few may not even leave the ground but you will get the body movement needed to complete the jump and continue riding.

I learned this way by trying to jump puddles, sticks, and cracks along my rides.
Puddles are my favourite because they give you an actual measurement of what your jump distance is.

The repercussions are less dangerous as well with everything happening on a flat surface.

The uphill freemount just requires more speed and energy on the initial jump up.
You can always dump excess energy instantly during the mount (if needed) but the jump will fail if you don’t have enough to overcome the hill deficit.
Try running at your jump mount.

I’m a beginner myself, but one thing I have noticed hopping on a 36er is that stopping the momentum of the wheel before hopping is fairly difficult so my first hop or two carries me forward significantly, (15-30cm?). It’s basically a forward hop that I use to correct my forward momentum and stop the wheel from rotating. My 27.5 doesn’t seem to have that same rotational mass and I don’t noticably need to do this.

Based on this, I’d practice commencing hopping while you still have a little bit of forward momentum then gradually increase your speed and try and hop further.

a) Rolling Hop Tutorial - English Version - YouTube Old, and not super detailed, but I still think this is a great tutorial.
You are onto correct things with the back pedal being the one you push down on more. But I wouldn’t think about that, or getting the unicycle in front of you, that’s something that (I think) happens automatically.

I agree with Canoeheadted, start slow and progress to faster. At first it will be: ride slowly - stop - jump - ride (which you can do). Try to get that smoother and smoother, until the stopping is gone. Then, increase speed. Once you can do that at “relaxed cruising” speed, I would introduce obstacles to hop onto (curbs etc.), and make them bigger over time.
(I know it’s not the physical cue you were looking for - If anyone knows one, I’d love to hear it, while I can rolling hop well, it’s still hard to describe. But the progression I described seems to work with most riders.)

b) Learn rolling mounts (starting from walking, then put your back foot on the pedal, and use the momentum). Alternatively: mount sideways to the hill, then turn into it to ride up.

Thanks everyone for the advice. I really appreciate it. I like the idea of starting with a crack in the sidewalk and trying to slowly jump farther.