Breaking a Bad Dismounting Habit

Ever since I began unicycling I have dismounted off the front - I have been riding a 24".

I have just purchased a KH29 (very excellent) and still find myself dismounting off the front. For the life of me I cannot dismount to the rear!

I know I will have to learn the rear dismount if I ever put a touring bar on the 29er.

So my question is - Does anyone have any tips to help me break this habit?

BTW I find freemounting the 29 easier than the 24 is that normal?

Cheers in advance


I always used to find dismounting from the back (“unicycle in front”) really awkward and just stepped off the front. What prompted me to change was when I got a coker - if you dismount off the front and catch the saddle as usual, it leaves a big unicycle in a really odd position and it’s much harder to swing it round to the front for walking/remounting than it is with a smaller wheel. So I got into the habit of coming to a stop and dismounting off the rear (which is much easier to do with a big wheel than with a small one because you can put more weight on the back pedal as you step off).

Now I always dismount to the rear of the coker, most of the time on the 26" muni, but still always off the front of the 20" when I ride it (hardly ever).


EDIT: As for tips, I don’t know - it’s certainly easier to do a rear dismount on a bigger wheel I think. I just slow down, then before it quite stops use the last bit of braking force on the back pedal to step down off the back. Hard to describe really. It’s a little bit like what you do if you let the unicycle go out forwards after getting out of control on a steep muni descent, but done on purpose.

I use the same dismount technique that rob described. For me, it’s kind of a natural progression from the way one leans back when making a suddenish slowdown to grabbing the handle and allowing the wheel to keep going while stepping down.

As far as breaking the habit, I’d suggest putting some sort of non-rigid (nerf? cardboard?) extension onto the front of your seat that will non-painfully “remind” you when you front-dismount.

I have the same experience - the slightly greater stability of the 29 seems to benefit me in that regard. I’ve noticed that the seat height makes a much more substantial difference to my ease of mounting on the 24 than the 29.

I had the T7 handle on my Nimbus 36, and on my 29er, and that didn’t stop me from dismounting off the front. So it’s not something you need to do.

I’ve never really had a problem with leaping off with the uni behind me, but recently I’ve become aware that it doesn’t look as controlled as stepping off the back so I have tried forcing myself to do this on my 20" and 24" unis. It feels wierd, but starts to feel more natural the more you do it. I guess I probably dismount 40% off the front and 60% off the rear now, although I’ve had a lot more messy dismounts where I overthink it and kind of do both at the same time.

Robs instructions are probably about as good as you’re going to find on this. Learn on smaller unicycles though and work your way up to the larger one.


Practice, practice, practice.

Besides that, I guess my Planned Dismount technique (regardless of Uni size) is pretty much to come to a stop in the same configuration I end up in from a static mount. For me that is left foot back. From that position I prett much do a “reverse static mount” that is I typically static mount with left crank back, left foot “lightly” resting on the pedal and sort of jump off my right foot while avoiding putting any pressure on the left crank and come over the top of the uni and place my right foot on the right crank and off I go. I know that was a long sentence but alot is happining all at once! If you’ve got the static mount down then reversing that process on a dismount should be fairly easy since it’s kind of like doing the opposite. I come to a stop in that static mount position and kind of lean back, taking my right foot (forward foot) off the crank and have zero pressure on the left crank and so my right foot comes down to the ground and I’m holding the uni in front of me with my left foot still on the crank and then just step off. Hard to describe I guess but that’s what I do…(when I’m planning my dismounts anyways :wink: )

I have always stepped off the unicycle with the uni in front. I’m pretty good at UPDs where the unicycle flies out behind me though. Getting off, on purpose, in front of he unicycle seems awkward .

My 29er is easier to mount than my 24 when the pedals are on the 167mm setting. When the pedals are on the 137 it is harder for me. I would like to get the 150/125 cranks. I think the 125 would be hard to mount, but it would be fun riding.

Thanks for all the tips, very helpful.

I guess it comes down to practice, practice, practice - as always :smiley:

Can you idle? If so, try coming to a halt and then stepping off backwards (top foot first) as you start the backwards stroke of the idle.

My usual dismount is essentially a reverse of the standard mount.

When I dismount to the rear of my 29er, I usually slow to a stop and stand up like I’m about to do a static hop, my dominant foot to the rear. Then I backpedal a quarter rev, taking my weight off of the non-dominant foot to step off.
You should first practice idling on the 24" while holding onto something. Push down on the saddle handle when you’re ready to dismount, taking most of your weight off of the saddle. Put your weight on your dominant foot on the lower pedal, and take your non-dominant foot off of the upper pedal.

I’ve pretty much got my dismount nailed now.
Slow to an almost stop, then put my full weight on whichever pedal is on the downstroke so it’s at the 6 o’clock position.
Then grip the handle and step backwards.
Somebody wise (I forget who) said it felt very similar to taking a final step off a ladder.

I’m happy I am not the only one who has this bad habit. When I was a kid I always jumped off with the unicycle in the rear and of course taking riding back up I am doing the same thing. I think about it as soon as I do it, but of course it’s too late. I guess it all comes down to think before doing and practice, practice. Right now I only have a 20 and 24 so I’m not too concerned but of course down the line I do want to get a Coker and probably should think about breaking bad habits now then let them continue.

Even though I can do a good dismount to the rear, dismounting to the front has always been the easier way for me. When no-one is looking, or when doing any quick emergency stop, I dismount to the front. On any unicycle, 20 to 36 inch (or 55 inch if you count the gear), and with or without T7.

Years ago I wanted to get my level 1. The way I could dismount to the front (and gracefully at that, as the rules dictate) was this: slow down, then when you’ve almost come to a stop, accelerate the wheel a little bit forward. This will move the wheel from under you, to the front, and so you have no choice but to step off at the back.

Lots of good advice here, my wife can’t seem to get the rear dismount down either, and it annoys the crap out of me. Reason being, she usually hops off the front with her knees locked, and usually ends up hurting herself. It can be done right, and I’m aware of that. I’d say that in at least 90 percent of my upd’s I jump off the front of the uni, and land on my feet with my knees bent, absorbing the velocity as if I had jumped of a loading dock or something. However every time I dismount intentionally, I step off the back. At low speeds, this seems like a better way not to hurt yourself. (Sometimes a front dismount is good for avoiding pedestrians)
Everything I would have said has been said, however I’ll recap on the things I’ve found to work the best for me. Slow down to a stop, and begin to lean back slightly (chances are you’re already doing this to stop). Put your weight on the back (or bottom) pedal and dismount opposite of how you freemount. Took me a while to do this gracefully (it used to kinda fly out in front of me, one time I caught my mother in law’s shin w/ my pedal, lol).
Just keep at it, as you gain more control of the uni, it will get easier.

Dismounting off the Rear

Actually dismounting off the rear is the exact opposit of the static freemount!

I was riding for about two months before I could mount without the aid of a pole or wall. I was only able to freemount once mastering the rear dismount.

The best way to do it is by using your rear foot to put downward forrce on the pedal during its upstroke. Then just kind of “fall” back and put your front foot behind you in order to catch yourself. Keep in mind that when you lean back, or put your center of gravity behind the wheel, your hips are going to be pushing the wheel forward, you are then going to be puting a counterforce on the rear pedal in order to stop the unicycle from flying forward. Hold on to the front of the saddle throughout the whole process.

Once the rear dismount is learned you will not want to dismount any other way!


Like Unicorn says, the key (to me) is to get the static freemount dialed in. If this isn’t your primary mount; make it so. It is probably one of the most versatile mounts that exist; especially if you have to mount uphill, on rough terrain or on a skinny surface. Once you have the static freemount the dismount should be obvious, as Unicorn says it is the oppposite process… Just my $.02…

While I agree that it’s a versatile mount, I wish the opposite was true. That you could easily static mount if you can step off the back. :frowning: It might be the opposite process but the forces required are quite different, :).

No problem here stepping off the back. It’s much safer for those around you too.

Static Freemount

MuniSano could not be more correct in stating how versatile the Static Freemount is. If you are a freestyler you probably use the roling mount more. Many consider it the “lazy man’s” mount. However if you are on any type of rough terrain or limited space then the Static freemount is best. Unless you have the balls to do a jump mount or suicide mount!

When practicing the static freemount the most important thing you can do is to push the unicycle forward and down with your crotch. This is what gives you a counterforce to the “step” on the pedal. When I say “step” on the pedal I don’t mean putting your whole weight on it.(unless you are on an extreme downhill slope!) Otherwise the pedal is going to slam into your knee/shin. The amount of weight applied should be exactly opposite the forward push that you are doing to the saddle with your crotch and also depends on the slope of the ground. You then use the unicycle as somewhat of a reverse pendulum and swing up. you should be keeping as much weight as possible on the saddle during the process.

Now for the dismount - When dismounting try to keep as much weight as possible on the saddle until your foot touches the ground. This will allow you to put more weight on the back foot that is still on the pedal. The reverse dismount will also train you much better for backward UPS when doing those crazy downhills. I for one would much rather fall backwards than forwards.
The reverse dismount will also teach you how to brake and better control the unicycle on downhills.

Good Luck!


I’m still very new, but this is the primary way I’ve been slowing and dismounting since I started riding unassisted. I’ve found that I just need to be careful to start by taking off the front foot. A few times I’ve tried to dismount while my dominant foot was in the forward position, stepping off with the rear foot without thinking. This results in more force on the forward pedal, the unicycle shooting out from under me, the other pedal catching my non-dominant calf/foot, and me on the ground.

I don’t know if anyone mentioned this, but based on Scoope’s original post, my impression was that he doesn’t know how to idle or ride backwards. If you can do those, a rear dismount is a no-brainer. Or, you can think of it as a stepping stone toward learning those skills if you don’t do them already.

As a former motorcycle instructor, I know the importance of learning how to stop (most minor motorcycle damage comes from drops, which often happen when stopping). On a unicycle, learning the mechanics of stopping shows you where your feet need to be, and from there you can easily add a step off to the rear.

You are correct John - Idling and riding backwards are skills yet to be learned! However all the responses to my initial post have been food for thought and I am looking forward to trying them out. It is always a help to hear essentially the same advise from different perspectives - once again, thank you all for the input).